I don’t belong here | Short Story

I don’t belong here. But I’m never sure how I ended up in this wasteland.

The howling wind slips under my fur to my bones as my paws crunch through the snow. My fur bristles at the crisp, cold air as a chorus of dead branches creak. Despite my surroundings, I push myself to continue, feeling the warmth drain from me.

I can never remember much about my past. I can only recall the warmth of my mother as I kneaded her stomach and drank her milk. Even though I didn’t have eyesight back then, I knew I was not born here. Here where the cold leaks into you for months on end. Here where it takes three months to warm the earth again before winter comes.

A rustle in the bushes catches my attention. Breakfast, hopefully. I attempt to scent the wind, but it’s flow dances here and there. A hint of a mouse reaches its way to my nostrils. I can’t pin where the scent is exactly so I turn my ears to try to listen to it scurry. After catching a quick glimpse of my prey,  I crouch down and begin stalking. The mouse realizes where I’m at, however. It runs; I chase.

My heart pounds and adrenaline pours through my veins. Weakened by lack of food, my legs tremble as I turn sharply to follow the mouse down a path I didn’t recognize. Prickly thorn-like twigs of undergrowth poke at my belly and legs. The crunching of snow is replaced by a strange thumping noise. I had found my way onto some sort of stone. The added traction of cold stone allows me a to land a perfect leap, snatching the mouse into my jaws. Finishing the mouse, I lick my lips and feel a chill run down my spine. I knew these plains inside and out, yet I had never seen this place before.

A large pile of stone juts out from the dense snow with steps up to the top wrapping around the structure like a blanket. Curious, I climb up the stairs. The winter never allows for much exploring so I take what I can get. When I reach the top, I notice see pillars with intelligible markings on them in each corner of the ruin. The middle appears to have circular etchings similar to those on the pillars.

A deep breath reveals unknown scents, a unique blend that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. A blue flash of light catches my attention. I spin my head around to catch it, but my sight reveals nothing. Perhaps the food is getting to my head, I thought. Food after a long while did occasionally do things to me as it caused dreams I’d rather not review.

Flash.

Flash.

Each flash pulses higher than the last. Now convinced it isn’t a hallucination, I spin around, looking for the source.

Flash, flash.

It’s the pillars. The etchings on the pillars light up one at a time, climbing higher.

Flash.

The blue light blinds me, forcing me to close me eyes. The ground shakes beneath my paws as the wind whipped my fur in every direction. My heart quivered with the ground, my muscles tensing. Just as I begin to lose my grip on the stone, it stops.

Silence.

My breath wavers as I open my eyes. I could barely make out a blurred figure. It moves in multiple directions, not in any recognizable form. As my eyesight cleared, the figure shapes itself into something more concrete. A cat stood a few tail lengths in front of me.

The poise the figure took seemed normal for any feline like myself. Yet I know something is wrong as I watch three tails grow out from its hindquarters. A third beady eye opens on its forehead, staring directly at me. The figure grins.

Taking a few steps toward me, its face shifts. The third eye moves down below the left and another eye appears on the right. My heart skips a beat, and my stomach turns as I watch this disgusting formation. Its eyes analyze me before opening its mouth to speak.

“After all this time, you survived.”

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