It was the turning into her fifth year, when Anushka would enter the next epoch of her childhood, the first learning years. Being a child whose family was of modest wealth, there were a few minor enchantments that were gifted to her. One was a book that could summon any one of a hundred different fairy tales within its pages with a simple chant. Another was a pair of boots that could lace themselves. And still another was a mysterious card placed within a vivid green envelope embossed with the golden letters of the giver’s initials.
She remembered darkness. And she remembered her name. That was all.
Spark zoomed into a heap of advancing clouds, grinning and gasping at the sensations of cold and wet, reaching out to touch what could not quite be grasped. She emerged on the other side, and spotted a colossal formation of rock and stone with three spires so high they topped the clouds. A mountain!
Maybe there, she thought.
I am known as Ring to those who know beings by names.
I am a planet-builder.
That is, I am soon to be. The task is imminent. And after eons of watching, studying, and waiting, I am ready for it.
They were right all along.
Rhine grinned as she wrote down the words in what she called her “production notebook.” From the corner of her eye, she saw a white blur dash past her as she sat at the picnic table in her back yard.
I felt my gut drop.
I can’t believe I did this. How did I do this?
I’d almost missed the train. Almost. But I’d made it.
I thought I’d made it.
But I’d missed my train after all.
I was late after all.
I was a whole day late.
I was a pauper.
And then I found a penny, and all my fortunes changed.
Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, about the pauper part.
I had enough money to eat and to sleep under a roof and even to feed Cadbury. But if my fortunes didn’t change soon…
Sporting a magenta and lime blazer, Cliff Blazer gave his nightly weather report on the local news channel. The screen before which he stood displaced animated clouds dripping over the landmasses representing the closest three counties.
“Rain is in the forecast, folks, and a lots of it,” Cliff said. “It’s going to be raining cats and dogs, so don’t just bring your umbrellas, bring your treats, your toys, and your litter boxes.”
Cliff signed off, threw the broadcast back to the main anchors, and strode toward his office. A little bit of paperwork and he was done for the day.
His boss’s assistant poked his head through the doorway.
“Got another one for you, Cliff,” he said, and gestured to his left.
When I was child, I wanted them to be real. But even as a child, I knew they were not. Not in this world. And so far as I knew, this world was the only world there was. The only real world. But for someone who’s never been anywhere near a real horse, I had a keen yearning for their mythical counterparts to be real. And for me to find them, meet them, be accepted by them, and in my deepest desires, be favored by them.
I learned all their stories.
And the stories were more vivid to me than the dry and distant history of my own kind.
Don’t spend too much time looking around, I told myself. Just find Andy, fix the harness, and come on back.
My brother had said the place was amazing and the people were great and that he couldn’t wait to take us there, once he was sure it would be safe.
But I couldn’t let that dazzle me. Especially since a small part of me wondered if he’d somehow gotten enthralled into staying longer than he’d intended. Maybe he’d lost track of time. I glanced over at the kids, who stood thirty feet away in the doorway. Andy didn’t allow himself to lose track of time anymore, unless someone else was taking care of the kids. And the state of his bedroom, his garage…
Remember why you’re going there.
Greetings! Nila here, interrupting the regularly scheduled story posts with a showcase.
There are hundreds of stories on the site and a good number have been made into podcast episodes. The showcase is one of my recent efforts to help readers and listeners find the stories that they might be most interested in.
Between 5/11/21 and 5/16/21, I highlighted five cat-themed short stories right in this post.
In the full post, you can see the trailer for each story, a brief description of the story and how it came about, and links to the stories (and podcast episode when applicable).
I’m open to suggestions for future showcases. If you have one, please feel free to comment in this post (or you can email me at email@example.com)
Here’s the main trailer. Please do check it out!
Genres: Fantasy, Fable, Mystery, Mythology
Main trailer narration is a clip from the podcast episode for “The First Days of Moonlight”
Music: “Palaver” by ROZKOL
Scroll down for details and separate trailers for each story. Or click the button to jump to the bottom of the post where you can get quick summaries at a glance, and go straight to the stories.
[Video description: Trailer. Duration 55 seconds. Music plays: “Palaver” by ROZKOL. Center image of a cat’s right eye, surrounded by a burst of fur. Over the eye, an elongated rectangle with curved corners, circles of color radiating from the center, and text lies above, reading “Fives Days of Felines” with a cat’s paw symbol to the right of the words. The image recedes and a series of six images from the featured stories appear in sequence. First, the silhouette of a seated cat, three-quarters view, facing left. Second, the same image in four quadrants. Third, a robed figure with a cat’s head and arms upraised, standing under a full moon. Sparks of light stream down from the moon into the open mouths of cats in the foreground seen in silhouette. Fourth, a diffuse shape suggesting a cat’s head with a glow around it and bright red eyes. The head shakes, then fades. Fifth, a cat with patchwork fur sitting down on all fours with tail wrapped around itself and looking over at a mouse who stands on hind legs. Sixth and last, the face of a tiger staring forward. The final image expands slowly, and shifts color. Text boxes appear throughout at bottom in time with narration: “We’re fascinated by cats, aren’t we? Cats on the internet. Pictures, videos, memes. Cats in our homes. Ancient civilizations shaped statues of cats out of gold, ebony, and bronze. They have been associated with magic, with evil. They sometimes seem aloof and uncaring. Sometimes charming and playful. Sexy. Dangerous. Mysterious.” A watermark of the site URL appears at bottom center throughout, fading at the end when the poster image appears. Over the tiger’s eyes, the word “Storyfeather” appears. At bottom appears text, “A showcase of five short stories featuring cats.” Below the tiger’s eyes at a slight upward angle from left to right, a banner displaying, “May 12 to May 16 2021,”]