Monday, March 31, 2014

Cats, Bats, Rats

The one-eyed ogre was none too pleased when his witch wife brought home another cat. He thought the house was already overrun with cats. The ogre had to watch when he stepped. The other day he had trod on a cat and his legs still hurt from the scratches. The cats were especially fond of his chair and he was tired of shooing them away and the cat hair made him sneeze.
“Just what we need, another cat.” He thundered.
“But look my darling,” she attempted to coo. Her voice sounded more like old hinges on a heavy door, screeching. “This cat reminds me of you.”
She held the cat in front of the ogre’s face for him to see. He could see why she thought it resembled him. It had only one eye, patches of scaly skin where there was no hair, and had ears that looked like horns. This upset him even more. No one likes to have their flaws pointed out in such an indelicate manner; not even an ogre.
He sighed, “Keep the cat, you old witch, if it makes you happy.” The ogre really loved the witch.
The witch stroked the cat where there was still fur and put the cat on the floor. She went over to the fireplace and stirred the caldron that hung over the fire. Tasting the broth, she murmured, “It’s missing something. I think it needs rat tails.”
Ogre said, “With all of your cats, I don’t think there is a rat left in the house.”
“Would you be a darling and check for me?” she cooed again.
Ogre was not too thrilled and making a trek through the house with cat landmines at every footstep. It was not what he had planned when he sat down.
Pushing himself from his chair, he began a shuffling gait to avoid the landmines. Down the stairs to the dark, dank cellar he trudged; carefully, because there were cats on the steps. He searched every corner and could only find thick cobwebs, spiders, and old bones. None of those were rats.
When he came back upstairs, he said, “Nothing in the cellar.”
“Could you check in the attic?” she pleaded.
Ogre sighed. The attic was three stories above him. He was tired. He had been out plundering all day and only wanted his chair. He turned and began the climb to the attic.
It was a long trip, lengthened because of the cats playing, running, and lying everywhere. Finally he came to the attic door, only to find it locked and the key was hanging in the kitchen. He could have broken the door with a swift punch from his powerful arms, but that would have meant he would have to repair it in the morning. Reluctantly, he went back to the kitchen for the key. He could have lied and said there were not rats, but he loved the old witch.
He shuffled down and back, avoiding all of the landmines. The key grated in the lock and the door squeaked open. Dust hovered in the air as he maneuvered through the accumulated clutter, searching in the corners and behind old boxes and trunks.
“Nothing. No rats. Only spiders and cobwebs.”
Then he saw something. Dark and rodent-like on the floor. He picked it up and headed back to show it to his witch wife. Carefully he locked the attic door and made his way through the maze of cats.
The witch heard him coming and asked, “Did you find a rat?”
“”No, but I found something that reminds me of you.” He held up the rodent-like creature for her to see. It was an old bat.

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