Feed The Cats

Before I start today’s post, I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to read my last weekly challenge response, Dream Chaser.  In the community vote, that piece tied for third place!  I’m excited because it was so much my younger son, Pickles.  Thank you!

This week, I’m back to Darlene’s Story.  Since it’s been an extra week between segments, here’s where the story left off:  the FBI agents had taken Darlene’s nosy 82-year-old neighbor, Myrtle, away for questioning in the death of Darlene’s husband and the disappearance of Darlene’s father.  Before Myrtle left, she asked Darlene to feed her cats.  So, here, Darlene embarks on the task of feeding the cats.

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Darlene watched the Lincoln drive away with Myrtle in the backseat.  She glanced at her bare feet, then at Myrtle’s front door.

She gulped.  Guess I’d better feed her cats…

Darlene’s sudden perspiration could be attributed to the 105 degree temperature, but her heart palpitations signaled the real culprit:  fear.  One of her earliest memories involved cats.  She’d been playing in the food bin and her mom’s three cats circled her legs like sharks around a row boat.  Next thing she knew, Lightning, the black cat, attacked her leg and she had to get five stitches.  Ever since then, Darlene hadn’t met a feline she trusted.

She took a deep breath and trudged up Myrtle’s walk.  At the door, her slick palm rested on the knob.  I can do this, she told herself.  With a deep breath, she flung the door open, expecting cat stench to assault her senses.  She was surprised when that didn’t happen.  Darlene noticed the waist-high stacks of newspapers along the walls.  “What is it with elderly and newspapers?” she muttered.

Cat food.  She had no clue where Myrtle kept the cat food, but figured the kitchen would be logical.  She rummaged through the cabinets, first low, then high but couldn’t find the cat food.  Darlene put her hands on her hips and scanned the floor.  Funny.  I don’t see food or water dishes.

“What are you doing in here?”

Darlene let out a startled yelp and turned to the sound of the sharp voice.  Dottie Anderson.  “Hello, Mrs. Anderson.”  She smiled so she wouldn’t appear flustered- or worse: guilty.

“Well?”  Dottie folded her arms across her chest.

“Myrtle asked me to feed her cats.”

The old woman smirked.  “Really?  She doesn’t have cats.”

Darlene spotted an unopened bag of Meow Mix on the counter, partially obscured by a potted plant.  “Ah, this must be it,” she said, then grabbed the bag.

“That’s not yours!”

“Good day, Mrs. Anderson.”  Darlene squeezed by before she could protest.

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 330) using the following word/definition:

APPEAR:  to have an outward aspect:  seem.  <appears happy enough>

If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  Happy writing (and reading!)

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This continuation of Darlene’s Story is still in Darlene’s point of view.  Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks for stopping by!

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81 thoughts on “Feed The Cats

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge May 27, 2013 / 8:13 AM

    Congrats! YEA you!
    and this one: Cats circling a child like sharks – terrific description and comparison….and the neighbors are circling like cats – er, sharks…
    Love the suspense

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 8:57 PM

      Thanks, Phil! The neighbors circling like cats – that’s a good one! I’m glad you liked this part 🙂

  2. pattyabr May 27, 2013 / 8:27 AM

    this is funny because my daughter will be “cat sitting” soon.

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 8:58 PM

      Better watch out for the ‘sharks’ near feeding time 🙂

  3. Sam Edge, Writer May 27, 2013 / 9:27 AM

    Congrats on the win(s) you’ve been killing it lately 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks, Sam! I hadn’t placed in anything at all this year until recently, so it’s been a crazy surprise (but always welcome, of course :))

  4. Imelda May 27, 2013 / 9:49 AM

    ooooo…there must be something in that feed bag. What is Mrs. Anderson up to? Why is she there? The suspense, the suspense! 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:00 PM

      Mrs. Anderson is almost as nosy as Myrtle and she wanted to find out what was going on. About the cat food bag…yeah, that will have to be cleared up next time, Imelda!

  5. Scriptor Obscura May 27, 2013 / 12:51 PM

    What’s in the bag? Can’t wait to see what happens next.

    Self-publish this. You have nothing to lose. People are self-publishing a LOT worse stuff out there than this. You really should try it Janna. You have a built-in fan base on the blog, and people seem to really like this story. I could see this being a novella or a novelette. Go for it. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:03 PM

      I’m seriously thinking about it, Scriptor. I’m working on trying to fill it in right now so it flows better and then I’ll get a couple of guinea pigs- er, friends to read it and see what they think. I don’t want to publish garbage- I want it to be decent, so I’ll have to wait until I feel like I’m there. Thanks for your support and encouraging comment, Scriptor!

  6. Sandra May 27, 2013 / 12:56 PM

    Hmm, wonder what’s in that bag! Congrats for last Friday.

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:05 PM

      Thanks, Sandra! It was exciting to place. The significance of the bag will be revealed…later. How’s that for vague? 🙂

  7. Lance May 27, 2013 / 1:08 PM

    DARLENE!

    Good job with desciptive words and dialogue. There’s so much well-written subtlety here. well done.

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:05 PM

      Yes, Darlene is back 🙂 I appreciate your enthusiasm and for you continuing to follow the story, Lance!

  8. Michael May 27, 2013 / 2:09 PM

    I knew there was more than met the eye about Myrtle’s cat request. And as a cat owner myself…I don’t particularly trust them either. They’re sneaky. 😛

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:06 PM

      Haha! I have three cats and I trust them to varying degrees. They are sneaky (and manipulative :)) Thanks for reading, Michael!

  9. L.M. Murphy May 27, 2013 / 2:20 PM

    Congrats on last week’s win! I enjoyed this. Cats she doesn’t actually have… hmmm… 😉

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:08 PM

      Thanks, L.M.! The cat situation is a little odd. Hope to sort that out next time 🙂

  10. k~ May 27, 2013 / 2:49 PM

    Congratulations on your achievement for last week.

    So does this woman have cats or not?

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:09 PM

      Thank, K~

      About the cats – yes and no. I think it will make more sense next time. Sorry to be vague 🙂

  11. diannegray May 27, 2013 / 3:01 PM

    Congratulations!! Well deserved.

    I’m loving this story and can totally associate with the line “Ever since then, Darlene hadn’t met a feline she trusted” – I feel her pain 😀

    I can’t wait to see what’s in that bag of Meow Mix ;).

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:11 PM

      I appreciate you following the story, Dianne! I adore cats, but I drew inspiration from this from someone I know who is absolutely terrified of house cats. (I don’t know the cause of her fear, but I know we had to lock the cats up if she came over- which wasn’t often!)

      • diannegray May 28, 2013 / 1:23 PM

        I’m allergic to cat fur and when I go anywhere near cats they just want to crawl all over me (I think they know) lol 😀

        • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 3:50 PM

          Oh, cats are like that! They gravitate to whoever doesn’t want them and will not leave them alone 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:13 PM

      Thanks, Ann. I’m surprised by these two “places” I’ve had recently…I hadn’t placed in anything since last year! I appreciate you reading and do hope you check back next week to see what happens next 🙂

  12. Debbie May 27, 2013 / 5:15 PM

    I empathize with Darlene — I’m not a cat-lover, either, and for a very similar reason: fear. You’ve got a good segment here, Janna. It’s easy to identify with Darlene, but what’s going on with the sudden appearance of Mrs. Anderson? Was she mentioned before (and I missed her)?

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:21 PM

      I love cats – they are my favorite animals, but I know some people are not so fond of them, Debbie 🙂

      I was afraid the reference may not have been obvious because it has been several weeks since the last mention of her. (I almost explained it after the piece, but was afraid that would be ‘cheating’.) Mrs. Anderson was first mentioned early on when Darlene noticed Myrtle on the phone when the FBI agents showed up at her house the first time. Dottie also came up in the segment that was written in Myrtle’s point of view. She was the only person daft enough to not stay away from her. In short, Dottie is the neighborhood busy body’s friend, so she’s probably not one to share any secrets with 🙂

  13. nrhatch May 27, 2013 / 6:08 PM

    FANTASTIC!!!
    But, seriously, who’s afraid of an itty bitty cat?

    On an unrelated note: Tonight’s the night! (Last night too):
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/two-upcoming-sky-events/

    BFF and I just enjoyed a peek at the Planetary Triple of Venus (bottom), Jupiter (left) and Mercury (right) in the night sky just past sunset. We’re going to head out again in a few minutes when the sky is a tad darker.

    You should be able to view it tonight and tomorrow at sunset (if clouds don’t get in the way).

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:24 PM

      I’m certainly not afraid of a little kitty, Nancy. (Well, Cybil scares me sometimes, but she’s the Psycho Cat!)

      I missed it tonight (we were at a Memorial Day gathering at a neighbor’s house) but I’ll see if weather cooperates tomorrow. There is a 50% chance of rain, so we’ll see 🙂

  14. Maggie Grace May 27, 2013 / 6:28 PM

    Don’t think I’d want a run in with Mrs. Anderson again. And what did she do with the cats? And why is she in Myrtle’s house? lol. I want more! Your description of cats is perfect and funny. I have known attack cats…

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:26 PM

      Mrs. Anderson is just protective of her friend (and the neighborhood gossip she passes on :)) The cats…yeah, I’ll have to clear those questions up next time (darned those 333-word limits!) I’m glad you liked the cat description, Maggie! I’ve been put in my place by a cat or two during my life.

  15. steph May 27, 2013 / 6:55 PM

    I had a feral cat attack my leg about 6 months ago. I didn’t need stitches, but it was quite a scratch. Enough about me. Congrats on your win.. very well deserved. And now this story adds yet another nosy neighbor. It grows more and more intriguing! Love your descriptions of these women. I look forward to the next episode!

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:31 PM

      Feral cats are definitely unpredictable, Steph. Glad you didn’t need stitches.

      Dottie Anderson has only been mentioned twice, but has not appeared in the story until now. Thank you for continuing to follow along with this story!

  16. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver) May 27, 2013 / 8:38 PM

    Sounds like Darlene going to have her hands full with Dottie, rather than the cats. Yikes! Nice scene, Janna :)))

    • jannatwrites May 27, 2013 / 9:32 PM

      You may be right, Jo-Anne. Two gossips are not better than one 🙂

  17. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 28, 2013 / 2:50 AM

    First FBI now Dottie… but the real cliff hanger is what the cat-food is. 🙂
    And congrats on the top-score. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 3:47 PM

      I’ll do my best to clear up the cat food questions next time, Bjorn!

  18. MOV May 28, 2013 / 8:23 AM

    wow– interesting! now I want to know the rest of the story…….

    best,
    MOV

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 3:48 PM

      Thanks for reading, MOV. If you’re interested, the entire story is under the “Darlene’s Story” page link below the header picture.

  19. Jennifer May 28, 2013 / 12:46 PM

    I almost wish I could live in this neighborhood.

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 3:49 PM

      There’s a lot more action here than in my neighborhood, that’s for sure! Thanks for reading, Jennifer 🙂

  20. agjorgenson May 28, 2013 / 4:06 PM

    Congrats and well done. You deserve it!

  21. Draug419 May 28, 2013 / 5:44 PM

    I wonder what could be in that kitty food? I’m guessing it’s not a Cracker Jack prize.

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 10:14 PM

      Probably not, Draug! I don’t think it will be a catnip mouse, either 🙂

  22. Gina May 28, 2013 / 6:16 PM

    I love a cliffhanger! This was fun to read!

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 10:14 PM

      Thanks for reading, Gina! I seem to encounter lots of cliffs in this story 🙂

  23. Renada Styles May 28, 2013 / 6:33 PM

    vicious kitties o.o
    and an old lady being questioned by the FBI? wha? do tell more…

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 10:15 PM

      Oh, there will be more. I’m beginning to think this story will never end, Renada!

  24. trifectawriting May 28, 2013 / 6:54 PM

    This is a great continuation. I really want to know what’s up with the cat food.

    Thank you for linking up!

    • jannatwrites May 28, 2013 / 10:16 PM

      I’m glad it has piqued your curiosity. More about cat food next time 🙂

  25. pattisj May 28, 2013 / 10:58 PM

    Congratulations, Janna! Another nosy neighbor…that must be some neighborhood!

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 12:32 AM

      Thanks, Patti! Well, Mrs. Anderson is just the other nosy half of Myrtle…so I don’t know if that counts or not 🙂

  26. Sean May 29, 2013 / 6:07 AM

    Hey Janna, nice job on the writing. I figure in 2 to 3 more months, we may find out everything lol. Did the FBI agents just leave the door unlocked or was there a key that some neighbors new about. And what about delightful Dottie, seems to be snooping also. The only problem with cat food is that it gets stuck between the teeth lol. Sorry, it’s been one of those weeks. Thanks for the continuation of Darlene.

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 12:36 AM

      Two to three months, huh? I think you’re being optimistic, Sean!

      The door was left unlocked when Myrtle left. Dottie is Myrtle’s best gossip friend, so she’s feeling a little lost right now. (Oh, there is one other problem with cat food: the smell!)

  27. Kelly Garriott Waite (@kgwaite) May 29, 2013 / 1:31 PM

    I KNEW she was sending some message other than feeding the cats – Got to know what’s in the Meow Mix. Let the cat out of the bag!

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 12:44 AM

      The cat will be out of the bag next time (prompt willing :)) Thanks for continuing to follow the story, Kelly!

  28. Eric Alagan May 29, 2013 / 9:43 PM

    Congratulations on the win 🙂

    So, where are the cats? Not in the meat grinder – Gulp! – I hope.

    Another nosey one – Mrs Dottie —- what a fun neighbourhood – living in a fishbowl.

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 12:50 AM

      Thanks, Eric! Oh, goodness…I love kitties, no way would I write harm to them 🙂 Thanks for checking in on Darlene’s Story. I see you have another part to Fallen Grace. Eyes are drooping, so I’ll catch it tomorrow when I have a fresher brain!

  29. barbara May 29, 2013 / 9:44 PM

    all that angst – all that sweat – no kitties? Hmmmmm – wonder what comes next. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 12:51 AM

      Well, she either finds a clue…or not 🙂 We’ll see next week, Barbara!

  30. KymmInBarcelona May 30, 2013 / 1:35 AM

    Another dimension with those piles of newspaper.
    Hmmm. You can hide many interesting things in a bag of Meow Mix…

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 10:15 PM

      Yes, you can, Kymm…no telling what is in that bag 🙂

  31. humanTriumphant May 30, 2013 / 1:14 PM

    another neighbor in the meow mix…how catty of you 😉

  32. Suzanne May 30, 2013 / 1:16 PM

    Ooh, very interesting! Love the mystery. And I love the endless nosy neighbors! Can’t wait for the next piece!

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 10:16 PM

      Yes, these neighbors don’t have enough of their own business to mind, so they are helping others out. Thanks for reading, Suzanne!

  33. Lane May 30, 2013 / 2:17 PM

    Congrats on taking making the podium, again! I really like the descriptiveness of your stories. Well done!

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 10:18 PM

      Thanks, Lane. Placing is an added bonus, but what I really enjoy is the dialogue via comments 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 30, 2013 / 10:18 PM

      I will have to reveal that next time, H.L. 🙂

  34. Sandra May 31, 2013 / 1:27 PM

    Clues in the cat food bag? Ready for the next installment! 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 2, 2013 / 9:48 PM

      Well, tomorrow might be the day, Sandra 🙂 (I’d like to know where this weekend went..I’m not at all ready for Monday yet!)

  35. Sarah Ann June 1, 2013 / 11:54 AM

    Oooh, I really want to know what’s in the bag. Really enjoying reading about Darlene and Myrtle.

    • jannatwrites June 2, 2013 / 9:49 PM

      Thanks so much for continuing to read this series, Sarah Ann. I’ll see if the prompt tomorrow works for the ‘reveal’ 🙂

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