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There are only two things I live for, eating and catching mice, and though my cousin, Toby argues that fishes make the best delicacy, I think otherwise. Oh! Where're my manners? My name is Syl–meoww–vester. Scratch that, my name is Sylvester and yes I'm a cat.
Eleven o'clock is my most favourite time of the night, because that's when the mice come out to party. Speaking of which. I look up just as the old wallclock strikes eleven. Hunting time!
I dash straight under the dining table, towards the miceholes in the kitchen. I stop in the doorway and flick my whiskers, then I began to creep, side against the wall like a rat on a stealth mission to the biggest hole. My ears perk up as a squeak from within the hole breaks the night-time silence. Three. Two. One. I dash forward just as a little mouse scampers out right before me. What! I was expecting a big juicy fat one. The mouse's black orblike eyes lock with mine, its a she-mouse. I could almost feel the fear racing through her like steeds of warhorses. Anyways, to my favourite part of the hunt, the chase. She's going to run and I, the almighty canine will play with her, running around with her even in a matter of life and death until in the end when she finds herself wedged between my jaws. It grips me and I yawn, baring my teeth but the mouse doesn't move. "Sir, sir" she began to say, fidgeting, "ple–please spare me, spare my life"
Strange! This rathead is a daredevil. In all my two solid years of micehunting I've never heard a mouse beg for her life. When a mouse sees a cat, there was only one option: flee.
"Why didn't you run?" I ask.
"To tell the truth" the mouse says "I'm tired, I'm just plain tired of running. All my life I've always been on the run, from humans, from predators–" she stopped to look at me, then drops back her head and continue "from my family, from everybody!" There is a brief moment of silence and before I can break from the spell, the mouse says "But what now? Where can I run to, when I've been bani–ni–nished" she choked on her last words as tears welled in her eyes.
Something stirred within me, an emotion I'd never felt.
"Why were you banished?" Every voice of instinct in me is shouting at me to stop the chitchat and have my dinner but I can't just move myself to do it. It would feel like murder. Murder? I can't believe I'm thinking this. What kind of cat am I becoming?
"I was– I was–" she stutter "chosen"
My ears prick up "Chosen?"
Yes" she whisper, wiping her teary eyes with the back of her paw, " but I refused...it was to bell the cat"
Something rang in my head. To bell the cat. The story Kofi read to me in my basket a long time ago, when I was a kitten. He had read it from a fancy picture book so I thought it was a fable or just some silly story humans made up. I was wrong.
I turn to the mouse, so my face is just an inch from hers. Something tingles inside me, but I erase the feeling in a flash. "Why shouldn't I have you for dinner?"
She shivers "any other cat would already have, but you are–" she stopped for a second. "different, It's in your heart, compassion, I can feel it"
I fight back the warm sensation rushing to my cheeks and instead yawned baring my teeth. " You're just saying that because you're at my mercy"
The mouse shakes her head. "No"
"So you expect me to spare you, and break a feud as old as earth itself"
She looks me right in the eye and says "it can start with us"
"What's your name?" I ask.
I smile, just then I hear heavy footfalls in the distance. Osama, the neighbour's big cat.
"Mind if I share your dinner?" He says, then laughs.
"No!" I purr, shielding Ratatalittle as I take a fighting stance. It's going to be one hell of a night. I know it.
Sanni F. Oluwatimileyin is a contemporary and speculative writer. He has been writing for over eight years. His educational background in science and journalism has given him a wide range of approaches to writing.
He has written many short stories, poems and essays which can be found on literary platforms like Wattpad, Allpoetry and African Writer. He is a member of Writers' Group and ANSA, Association of Nigerian Student Authors. Apart from writing, Timileyin likes to draw and paint, using his skills to change stereotypes and educate the public. Most of the time, he's usually seen in a corner with a book in his hands.
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