The Strays - Episode 2

in PowerHouseCreativeslast year (edited)

We, the rejected ones, the unwanted and discarded, we will rise again. We will not be forgotten and fade as shadows in the night, for we are survivors and we will fight. ~ the Strays

Read Episode 1: Prelude HERE

The Strays

Original Episodic Fiction Series

She heard the sounds of the morning before she opened her eyes. Waking from a dream in which she was hurling along, carried by a frantic wave of water, tumbling and twirling and unable to right herself. The twisting in her stomach was back. Or maybe it hadn’t gone away. The rain pounding Outside made her breath heavy. Today was the celebration of her birth, Mama had told her before bed last night. But today was not a happy day already.

Listen to your instincts, Mama always said, they are never wrong. “The only times I ever got in trouble was when I didn’t listen to my instincts,” she’d said.

“What are in stinks Mama?” Digit had asked, which made Mama laugh.

“Instincts, darling. Instincts come from within you. They are a feeling, telling you what to do; what’s right and wrong. Like when you step too close to the edge and you get that twisty feeling in your belly, that is an instinct telling you not to go further, that something bad will happen. Or when you are thinking of doing something you know you’re not supposed to, your instincts will tap you on your shoulder and remind you that what you’re thinking about doing is not appropriate.”

“Like when I snuck out after everyone was asleep?” Her brother had asked.

“Yes! What did you feel?” Mama inquired.

“Well, when I was waiting for everyone to fall asleep, I felt a buzz, like a bursting of energy inside me, just waiting to be let out. But then after I had snuck away and was around the corner, I felt something different. I was afraid, and I felt a sort of gnawing in my gut that got bigger the further away I went.”

“Exactly!” Mama replied. “The gnawing feeling in your gut was your instincts. They were trying to tell you that what you were doing was not right. You noticed that feeling went away when you came back, right?”

He smiled and nodded.

Mama nodded too. “Instincts give you a physical sensation since they don’t have a voice. When you are looking over the edge of a tall place your belly twirls and whirls and you get dizzy. That instinct is called vertigo, and it does that to warn you to back up so you don’t fall. We are all curious beings, and adventure is in our nature, so nature gave us a safety feature to keep us from doing things that will hurt or kill us. Instincts protect us from danger. We also have instincts that warn us if someone means to do us harm or if something bad is going to happen. If we make a point to listen to our instincts we have a better chance of survival.”

Digit’s instincts had been gnawing at her for a few days now, but had grown bad last night. She’d wanted to say something but she didn’t want Mama to worry more.

They had taken her family one by one.

The sounds of her brothers and sisters screaming stayed in her head. Even when the Door closed she could still hear them. Their cries grew fainter as they were taken further away until a loud machine Mama called a Car would roar. They never saw them again, even after the machine sounds disappeared.

But no matter how hard she covered her ears, Digit still heard the sounds of her siblings screaming.

It was just her and Mama now.

“Today is a big day, my sweet little Digit,” Mama was giving extra special attention. She liked it when Mama called her by her nickname.

“I know Mama. But I just want to lie here and sleep. I know I’m supposed to be happy, but…” Digit trailed.

She felt Mama stiffen. Mama’s thoughts felt far away. “I know, baby, I know,” she whispered after a moment. “But all we have is The Now. We have to live The Now. Yesterday is the past, it’s gone forever. If we live for the past, we destroy our hearts. If we live for tomorrow, the future, we shorten our lives. We must always live in the current moment, The Now. It’s all we truly have.”

“But I wish we could go back and stop everything. Hide everyone or something. I know there’s something we could have done.” Digit hesitated, then whispered “Will they bring everyone back, Mama?”

Mama sighed. Her eyes looked far away to Digit, as if Mama was imagining a different place. “I’m sure we will see them again my sweet girl.”

Digit could feel Mama wasn’t telling her everything. She snuggled deeper in Mama’s soft fur and Mama curled around her. But even in the comfort of the embrace, Digit’s instincts didn’t fade.

She held her breath, afraid she already knew the answer. ”Will They take you and me, too?”

Mama busied herself with grooming. Digit watched her lick her sleek paws and smooth her face and whiskers. She’s so beautiful, Digit thought. Her heart swelled with pride at how beautiful her mother was, both inside and out. “If they try, I will fight them with everything. Worry not my sweet girl, nobody’s going anywhere. Except for you coming here to get clean, we need to get busy." She smiled her beautiful, perfect smile and drew Digit in for a wash.

Digit snuggled tighter into Mama’s warmth, breathing in her sweet scent and allowing herself to be lulled by her comforting purr.

Digit could still smell Mama whenever she thought about her.

Screaming. Struggling. Rough hands gripping and mauling. Loud rumbling throbbing through her body. Mama’s screams mixing with her own.

They shoved her in a pillowcase. She couldn’t see the opening; couldn’t claw her way out. Her heart was beating so fast she felt it would explode from her chest. Visions of Mama kept flashing before her, Them holding her back, her beautiful face contorted in fear. Reaching for Digit. Calling and crying.

The Door closing on her.

Digit caught The Now and breathed deep, sharpening her available senses. Harsh smells assaulted her nostrils and hurt her head. A low drone hummed through her body. She was in the Car. It bumped and jolted, twisting her stomach. She could hear Them murmuring calmly but didn’t understand their words.

After some time, the Car came to a stop. Digit felt herself being lifted and carried. Cold seeped through the thin cloth along with strange, stinging smells. She could hear more of Them rushing past. Her throat closed and her heart beat in her ears. She couldn’t think. Panic suffocated her.

She felt herself being lowered and set on hard ground. She struggled and wrestled with the cloth, every muscle coiled and ready to spring. She was dizzy and her throat was on fire from screaming in the acrid air. She could see an opening in the folds. She heard Them, their unintelligible language getting further away. Struggling to right herself, she appraised the noise around her then slowly stretched to peek outside.

There was no color, only gray. Every surface was sharp-lined and hard, shining with wetness. She recognized Them walking away, their strange gaits carrying them around a corner.

Digit acted with little thought. She slipped out of the cloth and ran after Them, knowing that if she lost Them she would never find Home and Mama.

She reached the corner just as They closed themselves into a Car. She pushed herself faster, she had to catch up. The Car pulled away then gained speed. Tears flew from Digit’s eyes as she ran desperately, watching as the Car quickly became smaller as it picked up speed and rolled further away.

Still she ran, she had no choice.

New Episode every Wednesday!

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How sad! I was thinking at first the people that took Digit and dropped her off were some animal shelter people, but now I'm thinking it's the people that own Mama, and everytime she has kittens they take them far away to a rural area and abandon them there.

A very emotional piece. Well done!

You're close!

Thank you <3

I'm looking forward to the next episode. It's a great story!

Love this - your writing is so gripping

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 last year 

Fantastic story! I love this. Poor Digit.
And boy do I regret trapping my feral friend Freddie (he had bitten me so I had to so I could quarantine him), then taking him to be fixed, ear tipped, nails clipped and rabies vaccinated. The poor fellow had just started to trust me. After that he disappeared for a few days and I had to start nearly over getting him to trust me again. Now he's in my house at night and roaming outside during the day, so I think we've made our peace. But this story makes me so sad for all the little kittens and even the grown up cats that humans think they know so much more about how the cats should be living than the cats themselves do.

I operate a rescue home for burned and abused cats and kittens. I used to work with all animals but one day I counted 18 kittens, 6 cats, 1 dog, 1 puppy, a Houdini snake, an ADHD hamster with rapid tooth growth condition, a bearded dragon, and a bunny, all at once in my 3 bedroom house, I reluctantly had to downsize my efforts. Its not that I didn't have the ability, its that I didn't have the quality time to spend with each one. After treating their immediate medical needs, their hearts need healing next- which is the longest part of the process. Getting a pet to trust again and open it's heart after suffering abuse takes great patience and time. But it's so totally worth it <3

Unfortunately, the evil and disgusting things some humans will do to animals is horrific and disturbing, and I've become quite jaded. However, I can't not keep helping :)

It's truly a labor of love. And the inspiration for The Strays Series.

Freddie is blessed to have an amazing friend in you <3

You have a pure, kind heart! Thank you for speaking for the animals who have no voice! @arbitrarykitten💫💓🐾

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 last year 

I read that you once had your own personal zoo. We need more people like you and more love for the creatures that make us more soft and to deal with life. Thanks for the shared story piece

Oh no this story is so sad. It is so hard to read and I could not bear the little kitten being separated from Mama. I hope this has a happier ending as I could not bear sad stories. Too much drama in life already.

 last year 

Disposing of animals like this, no comment!

Mama kitty knew what was coming trying to explain, no wonder so many strays live the streets today.

A well told story thanks, hope it makes some think before abandoning any pet.


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Run Digit run!! "in stinks" are strong in this one. Cute story.. Not sure yet whether to feel sad, or excited. This new chapter could bring good things to Digit. Digit will be just fine. I know it!!

 last year 

Aww, poor Digit! How frightening for the poor little creature. It is definitely an interesting take on the story to look at it from the kittens point of view.

Fantastic story. Great reflection on instincts. Humans too have them but we are taught to gradually ignore them until we bury them so deep in social adaptability that we forget who we are and what is our purpose.
You did a great job transmiting the perspective of the terrified cats and all the drama and uncertainty produced by humans.

 last year 

A gripping story line here my friend. Glad that I am not the only one that gives voices to animals hahaha.

Well done, @arbitrarykitten! Poor little Digit. My heart aches for her! Cruelty to animals and abandonment are terrible, and I know it happens all the time. I will hope for a happy ending!

Hello @arbitrarykitten. A beautiful and sad story. People throw away animals without a second thought. The sad part about it is if they don't want to get they spayed, then give them to a loving home or do it the right way. I hate to see animals running in the streets, becoming victims of accidents. It breaks my heart. There is always an alternative.

Irresponsible pet owners should be penalized to the fullest extent of the law. They do their dirt under cover of night or out of sight, traveling long distances sometimes.

Thanks for sharing this lovely story through the eyes of those who are the victims.

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