So I recently began participating in a new flash fiction contest over at Cracked Flash Fiction. My most recent story required the use of the opening line “The cat stared at him” and could or could not use the photo prompt below. This story placed first!
The cat stared at him.
The only way he knew it was a cat because of the tapetum lucidum. Good thing cats gave themselves away like that; otherwise there’d be no way to discern their presence in a dark such as this.
The fire cracked beside him and he said, hand outstretched, “Here kitty kitty.” He plucked a piece of moist chicken from the bone and tossed it a few feet in front of him. “Here kitty kitty kitty.”
But the cat, beyond the safety of the firelight, remained, as it were, uninterested in anything but him. He averted his eyes but for a second as he dug into his chicken leg and the cat was gone, vanished into the night.
A branch snapped behind him.
He jerked around and smiled, “Oh there you are. You’re a sneaky little fellow aren’t you? You sure you don’t want some chicken? I’ve got more than enough for the both of us.”
He tossed another morsel the cat’s way.
It meowed as cats should and he could have sworn he heard a voice from somewhere say “Soon.”
He looked over both shoulders but the firelight’s radius provided him a consolatory comfort.
Then another pair of appeared, substantially higher than the other and he convinced himself his second guest perched on a low tree branch. “Does your friend want some chicken too?” He tossed it a little further into the dark, listened to the rustling of the brush, and watched (admittedly with relief) that second pair of eyes, more phosphorescent than the first, disappear.
Then that voice again, saying “Soon.”
Chance stood and took from the fire a long branch, less than half of it a bright orange smoldering mix of ember and flame.
There was laughter then, and a thousand yellow eyes.