A gray shape darted past me to my right. I turned to the ragged bushes entangled with dried weeds. One of the stems shuddered and I heard a rustling. But the overgrowth was too thick for me to see what was moving around in there. Back home—my previous home—I would have guessed it was a lizard. But here, in my new home, it could have been a rabbit. A wild rabbit.
My doorway was done. My masterwork of alchemy and carpentry. Humming with electricity.
It was done.
The royal physician, Galena by name, examined the festering bruise just below the king’s ribcage. The king lay in a sleeping stupor. A state he had been in for three days, and yet it was only now, and only by order of the queen that the royal physician was allowed to examine her king.
Galena peered down at the bruise, around the margins of which there appeared an oozing of bright purple fluid.
“I had thought him a fool, but a harmless one,” the queen said.
Galena did not look up as she answered. “Is there such a thing?”
I thought it was a reflection at first. Not the moon. Some streetlight or something, from outside, getting past my curtains. I was too lazy, too sleepy to get up and deal with it. But I do remember thinking it was strange.
Isn’t the light too bright to be a reflection? I thought, peeking up at the ceiling.
I do remember resisting the urge to rub my eyes. I wanted to take a closer look.
Did I just see something floating in the light?
You think you know our story. The asteroid. The extinction. The line of descendants who succeeded in taking to the air in ways we never did, never could.
I stopped writing and dropped my pen. I glanced up at the monitor that displayed a magnified image. And shifted my gaze over to the already withering leaf mounted on the simple light microscope.
It was my imagination. It had to be.
Too much blood. Too much blood is dripping. He’ll smell it. He’ll find me.
Once again, she stopped for a moment and leaned against a wall under the flashing red bulbs and the piercing alarm. She inhaled and drew the blood back into her body through the poorly sealed gash that arced over her shoulder. A dozen rivulets trickled up her bare arm.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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,”]
I settled the headphones over my ears. When I inhaled, I felt a little lurch in my stomach.
Every time I turned them on, I was afraid I’d lost the signal. And every time I turned them on, I was afraid I hadn’t.
This was getting out of hand. This…investigation that I’d gotten caught up in. But if it was a prank, it was—I was going to say “epic,” but that word gets overused. It was…extravagant.
“Memories are unreliable…”
Max paused, hesitated actually. He’d rehearsed aloud what he was going to say so many times—despite not needing to remember the words—that he’d fooled himself into believing it all sounded reasonable. But now, he was about to say the words out loud to another person, the most critical person he could possibly tell his truth to.