The Strays - Episode 4

10개월 전

The Strays

Original Episodic Fiction Series

Scroll down for links to previous episodes.

It surprised Digit how much of a difference a bit of food in her belly made. Almost completely lost in thought, even though she was on the lookout for a safe place to sleep with her belly happily gurgling her brain was able to think about something other than imminent danger and starvation. She considered this as she trotted along the sidewalk, eyes surveying every possibility.

On the Outside, you needed two things- shelter and food. Water wasn’t terribly hard to come by but food and a safe and dry place to sleep seemed nearly impossible to find. Mama had been given two bowls a day of food back home but out here nobody cared. Outside, nobody paid you any attention. You weren’t important if you didn’t have a home, Digit thought. She stopped suddenly at the realization, I’m not important- I was thrown away.

Her throat twisted and her belly twitched sickeningly. Digit shook her head hard, I can’t think like this, I’ll lose the little nutrition I have. She focused hard on the task and tried to fight off the tickles in her concentration that promised great insight but only delivered gut-wrenching confirmation of her new reality.

She kept close to walls, surveying as she went. A few spaces caught her eye briefly, but nothing screamed safe and warm. The more the city’s lights activated to stave off the shadows, the greater her skin was prickled by anxiety. She had to find a place to hide, and soon. She picked up her pace, pressing her tiny legs faster, ignoring the worn-out muscles that wailed hopelessly for rest.

Her instincts tugged at her awareness as she approached a heap of bricks. They had fallen from a building and led to a hole in the wall. Two senses battled for control of her reasoning; one cried danger and tried to pull her away while the other pressed her forward with the possibility of drying off and having a decent night's sleep. Her tender paws, unaccustomed to the coarse asphalt, agreed with her fatigued body and nudged her to inspect the cavity.

An acrid aroma greeted her as she neared, making her eyes squinch. Being unfamiliar with the different smells of her new surroundings was disconcerting, but Digit figured that understandings would come with experience and the only way to get experience was to go about your day. So Digit pressed on, oblivious to possible potential danger.

She stretched her head in and listened, every muscle in her body still and at the ready. She heard nothing so advanced a few small steps, stopping to allow her eyes to adjust to the lack of light. Stale warm air fell heavy, encircling her. it reminded her of the inside of a mouth.

Her breath paused, ears begging for a sound. Her heartbeat echoed in the cavernous space in which she couldn't see an end. It seemed to go on forever.

Nothing moved so she quietly slid the rest of the way inside. Without the diluting abilities of the rain and moving air currents the smell inside was overwhelming and Digit suppressed a cough. Sudden movement erupted from deeper in the hole and Digit felt a presence encroaching on her fast. A flash of eyes, glaring and slit in anger, sucked all rational thought from her and she backed into a wall and stumbled as panic overtook her, sitting back on her butt hard.

The presence was upon her. Digit still couldn’t see and scrambled to her feet. She was hit with a whack, knocking her down and causing her teeth to bite down on her tongue. She was briefly aware of the sharp taste of blood before finding herself airborne. She hit a wall with a thud, hearing a menacing “Stay out!” as she slid down to the ground.

She clambered for the opening, praying she could make it before whoever this was killed her. “Who’s there?” a different, softer voice called out. The voice of the presence beside her called back, “just an imbecile who thought today was a good day to mess with the wrong-” “Wait!” The other voice interrupted, much closer now, “it’s just a kitten! I don’t think-” “Silence” the original voice shouted, “Nobody takes from Abigor without bringing first! I’m done with those who would dare to look for weakness within me. I will make an example of this, this, child,” he hissed, whacking her so hard with one paw it made Digits head ring. Her eyes had adjusted enough to allow her to see her tormentor glaring at her with brilliant hate, rage quivering his substantial muscles just as perfect fear trembled Digit. His paw is as big as my entire body, she thought in one dazzlingly lucid moment before losing all thought to involuntary survival. Her body sprang to action, arching her back and thrusting each hair out in an effort to appear larger, muscles taught and ready for defense or escape. Unsheathed claws glinted as the tyrant beast raised his arm, causing a growl to emerge from deep within Digit. She expected it to sound menacing but came out high pitched and child-like. Surprised, she spat at her attacker, leaping toward him in spurts, but that, too, felt infantile and weak. She braced herself.

But instead of being hit she was... being laughed at? The cat called Abigor was laughing at her.

Before she could react a cat knocked him off balance. “What are you-” he cried before a scuffling ensued.

Digit took this opportunity and scurried back through the fallen brick opening. Once outside, she took off at full speed.

“This is my territory,” she heard his voice roaring behind her. “Stay out! Next time, I’m eating you for breakfast!”

Digit ran.

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Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

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Aww, poor Digit. I feel for that little kitten.

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