lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
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This prompt is for the Kittehs' Unpaid Help, who wanted "a cat's eye of a romance between Earth and Spirit." Happy Xenothon to you, Kittehs! EDIT: this prompt has won free art for Xenothon making over its fundraising goal! You can see it under the cut.





The cats were a twilight people. Dawn and dusk were their times, two feet in the light, two in the dark. Similarly they lived in the liminal space between the earthly and spirit planes. They’d slip in and out between the two, and their human patrons would remark on their tendency to stare at and chase the invisible, never realizing the truth.

Each cat had different preferences for each plane. Ghostwalker had escaped three abusive would-be patrons through the spirit plane, and stayed there as much as possible. Mouser preferred the hunting the corporeal world promised.

Blacksockswhite didn’t have to be a hunter. She had a patron.

And oh, Spiritwoman was a lovely patron! Besides the usual wages of good food, cold water, and warm shelter, Blacksockswhite had her own sunny spot on the couch and all the pets and cuddles she could ever ask for. On top of it, Blacksockswhite felt appreciated, because her patron also had a foot in the spirit realm.

Only one, of course. She was only human, after all, blind to all but the loudest, most blatant of spirits. Unfortunately, those also tended to be the most upset, shouting, flailing, knocking things over, and constantly badgering Spiritwoman for favors. It was a good thing indeed that she had gone seeking a cat!

Blacksockswhite had been half-grown then, a street stray like Mouser and Ghostwalker. She had found Spiritwoman and taken a shine to her, and the human had agreed to a contract and taken Blacksockswhite home.

What an awful place it had been then! Blacksockswhite’s work had been cut out for her, and she immediately set to chasing out the poltergeists, scratching out the ghosts, and bullying away the cold spots that drained the energy of everything around them. All the while, Spiritwoman had stared, presumably in awe of Blacksockswhite’s work ethic, and then fetched her fish in gratitude.

Cleaning the house had taken a while. The house was infested with spirits, none of whom wanted to go. But Blacksockswhite brooked no nonsense, and after a couple of months, she won the battle. The house was safe.

Spiritwoman was immensely relieved, and for a long time, their evenings were warm and peaceful, full of pets, cuddles, and luxurious food. Even Ghostwalker envied her.

But then he had shown up.

Blacksockswhite still wasn’t sure how he got past her. But one day, she’d gotten off her couch, stretched, and found him in the food room, talking with Spiritwoman!

Blacksockswhite immediately jumped down to drive the interloper away, but Spiritwoman grabbed her first and picked her up for petting. Blacksockswhite yowled at the spirit, but he just reached over to pet her. (Being of both worlds, a cat could be petted by a spirit, if they wanted.)

Blacksockswhite was having none of it. She let the spirit man’s hand fall through her body and looked at her patron incredulously. Surely she didn’t want him here?

But Spiritwoman just petted Blacksockswhite some more and kept talking to the spirit man. To his credit, he wasn’t yelling or flailing his limbs around or breaking anything, but Blacksockswhite didn’t like the way he was looking at her patron, or how her patron was looking at him. So while they talked in their human yammering, she glared, and was petted, and waited for her patron to give her a sign.

It didn’t come. For better or for worse, Spiritwoman had taken a liking to the spirit man, and over the upcoming week, he showed up more and more. They’d talk, they’d leave, and then Spiritwoman wouldn’t come back until late.

Blacksockswhite was not pleased. This wasn’t how patronage worked! Their pleasant routine was completely thrown off! Worse, the spirit man started spending the nights in her living quarters! Sleeping on her couch! For years, she had done her duty as a cat, and this was how her patron repaid her!

Her friends had no sympathy for her.

“Serves you right,” Mouser said, licking her paw. “That patron’s spoiled you.”

“Soft,” Ghostwalker agreed.

Blacksockswhite disagreed, but there wasn’t much she could do about it but sulk. Out of spite, she held herself as earthly as she could so she could sleep not just on, but in the spirit man’s face. After all, he was on her couch. But holding herself so earthly was exhausting, and one day, she woke up to find him petting her.

“Hello there,” he said. As a spirit, he could speak the universal tongue. “What a pretty cat you are.”

Blacksockswhite simply sniffed, raised her tail, and prepared to leap off the couch and stalk off, pretending he didn’t exist.

“Here, wait. C’mon. I’m not hurting your owner any, am I?”

Blacksockswhite started giving herself a bath. He wasn’t worth a stink-eye. Owner! Really!

The spirit sighed. “Look, Chavvy really likes you. You’ve gotten her through some hard years. I appreciate all you’ve done for her.”

Blacksockswhite deigned to look at him, but that was it.

“I don’t have any bad intentions on her, okay? Promise.” He scratched his neck. “I just want to make her happy.”

Blacksockswhite looked him over disdainfully. Much as she disliked him, she only saw earnestness. Inside his essence was a soft glow; indeed, he only meant her patron well.

Blacksockswhite was a proud cat. She still didn’t like the spirit man at all, even if he did have a nice touch. He slept on her couch and wandered her living space and distracted her patron.

But until she’d met Spiritwoman, Blacksockswhite had been a cat on the street. Spiritwoman had given her a job to do, food to eat, and love. Spiritwoman had been a patron worthy of pride and boast.

Didn’t Blacksockswhite want her to be happy?

Blacksockswhite sniffed. Then she butted the spirit’s hand. He began to pet her again.

“Thanks,” he said.

Blacksockswhite pretended not to purr.

Date: 2013-04-03 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] collectively.livejournal.com
:DDD I LOVE THIS SO MUCH I DON'T EVEN HAVE WORDS

JUST LOVE

LOOOOOOVE

Date: 2013-04-04 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Thank you! Your prompt might be a little late; I'm getting a bunch of last-minute stuff in, so there's a couple in the queue before yours.

--Rogan

Date: 2013-04-04 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] collectively.livejournal.com
Oh, take your time. And tell me if you want me to try and do something to make it less...you know. Bad.

Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-03 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
OMG IT'S PERFECT!!

I love, love, love it! You've got the Catitude perfect. There are so many great lines I'd end up copying half the story if I pasted 'em here, but HAVE to mention her sitting in Spirit Man's face (Frib sits Mr K's lap a lot) and Blacksockswhite pretending not to purr. Yup, kitties, kitties, kitties!

I love the idea of cats not just being able to see spirits, but being able to affect them. Blacksockswhite driving the poltergeists etc out of the house is a wonderful take, totally unexpected - yay you!

Thank you so much for writing this, Rogan, it's brilliant.

Kittehs, smiling a big smile. :)

Re: Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-04 01:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Okay, this is the draft for my blog. Please let me know if this wording is okay or there's anything squiffy or out of line or just something you'd like changed/added!

=====

I recently had the pleasure of sponsoring and suggesting a theme for a flash-fiction challenge: write a story about an Earth-Spirit romance from a cat's point of view. This is the result, and I heartily recommend you read it - I just loved the whole thing. It's not about Louis and me. What I really love is how LBT has caught Catitude so well. Plus the cats' names, plus, plus ... oh, just read it!

Xenothon: A Cat's Eye View


The writeathon has finished, but LBT has other stories done for it, and they could do with sponsors ($10 to $20 if possible). Sponsoring ensures the stories get published.


I also seriously recommend the main blog, Loony Brain. If you ever thought multiplicity was something like Sybil - think again.

Re: Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-04 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
That would be lovely! Thanks, Kittehs!

--Miranda

Re: Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-04 06:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
My pleasure, Miranda!

Say, I've been talking to Rogan all along - have I mixed up who wrote the story? Apologies if so! I'm so used to talking to him on the (mumblemumble) blog and haven't really spoken to any other system members.

My sister loved the story too. :)

- Kittehs

Re: Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-04 08:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
No, you haven't been mixed up; Rogan does most of the writing, so you got that correct. ^_^ The rest of us are more active in other places like here, since we're not troll fans.

--Miranda

Re: Just love it!!!

Date: 2013-04-05 07:42 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Aha, thanks, Miranda!

Kittehs :)

Date: 2013-04-17 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maryvsmith.livejournal.com
Aw! I just love this!!! Then again, I have a husband who is physical, and one who is a spirit. My guardian. Once way bach you asked for story suggestions.... but after the sugestion, you waned some details and I never got back to you on it. It was a Long time ago. I am happily owned by a batch of cats, They spoil me a lot!


Mary S.
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