lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (#59428217)
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This story was prompted and sponsored by Kittehserf, who also requested more of the Tree That Wasn't. Happy Spookathon, everyone, and enjoy your carnivorous foliage!

The Uneatable Plant

Blacksockswhite's life was generally one of warmth, full bellies, and deep contentment, but she still had excitement. The uneatable plant outside, for instance. Plants' place in the world was to be eaten and pooped on; this was a natural law. But this plant was wrong. It was the most solid thing she had ever seen, in both the spiritual and earthly planes, which wasn't supposed to happen. Even cats only slipped from one realm to the other; they couldn't stay solid in both.

Blacksockswhite had gone to investigate this peculiarity, only to discover another, more important thing about the uneatable plant: instead of being devoured, it preferred to do the devouring. She had escaped, of course—wrong or not, it was just a stupid plant—but the experience had deeply rattled her, especially since she knew that something that solid wouldn't be defeated by her usual tactic of fleeing into the spirit realm. Perhaps this was the plant world's revenge for being eaten and pooped on since time immemorial.

Since then, Blacksockswhite had made sure to glare at it through the window every day, just to ensure it knew its place in the world. But the plant had never seemed to notice or care. Stupid plant.

Speaking of the spirit realm, Spiritwoman's mate seemed to have vanished. At first, Blacksockswhite was happy at this new development, because she'd never liked sharing Spiritwoman with anyone, and surely now things could go back the way they were, the way they were supposed to be.

But they didn't. Spiritwoman didn't go back to the way she used to be before the man had apeared. She moped around, listless and obviously unhappy. She went off her food. Blacksockswhite tried to cheer her up with dead things and pets and nuzzles but it wasn't the same. Spiritwoman missed her mate.

Blacksockswhite didn't want to go search for him—anyone who'd leave someone like Spiritwoman obviously wasn't worth it—but she didn't want her patron to be miserable either. She was still pondering the matter, sitting on the sunny windowsill, putting in the usual stint of glaring at the uneatable plant, when she saw something flicker and snap.

Blacksockswhite blinked. That wasn't right; the uneatable plant never moved, not when anyone was looking at it. It had an uncanny ability of slipping around the edges of the eye, which only proved that it was a travesty of a plant.

She scooted closer to the window and focused. There it was again! A flicker, a surge, something straining. Something was caught inside the plant, a spirit!

Spiritwoman didn't like letting Blacksockswhite outside, especially after nearly getting eaten, but this was important. Blacksockswhite slid spirit-side, made herself as thin and unearthly as possible, made herself a wisp of air and fur, made herself a thing of spirit and soul, and she squeezed between the wall beams, where she rematerialized... unfortunately, in a bush.

But that wasn't important. Blacksockswhite hastily licked the leaves and twigs from her fur, then darted to the uneatable plant.

It didn't look well. Its leaves were wilting, a sickly shade of yellowish-orange, and its trunk bulged in unpleasant places. Now that she was closer, Blacksockswhite could see that the surging and flickering were internal, and she understood what had happened. The stupid, greedy plant had tried to eat a spirit. Served it right, being so miserable. Even the stupidest kitten alive knew better than that.

Keeping a safe distance, she circled around it, sniffing. The scent popped out at her, obvious and familiar. Of course. Naturally, of all the things in the world, of all the spirits in the world, it'd choose to try and eat Spiritwoman's mate.

She sat and curled her tail around her ankles, pondering the matter. In a way, it was very satisfying, seeing two entities she so disliked in misery together. But it wasn't just about her. She had a human patron, one that was very good at what she did, and so as a cat, it was Blacksockswhite's job to care for her. Even if that meant helping both stupid plant and spirit man.

Once she was sure that the uneatable plant had no interest in eating her—which it didn't; it was too busy sulking—she came forward and pawed at its trunk gently: “Let me in. I'll extract it from your greedy guts.”

When she blinked, the trunk had sloughed open, oozing foul-smelling fluids and bile. Disgusting.

It took a lot of effort, even for Blacksockswhite, to retrieve the spirit man. The uneatable plant had obviously wasted a lot of energy attempting to digest something indigestible, but it was still incredibly dense and solid. She had to slip between the realms, go as thin and light as possible, and even then, it was an awfully tight squeeze, requiring her to hold her breath. But she caught Spiritwoman's mate with her teeth and claws, twined him through her essence, and bit by bit, she dragged him out. The plant didn't like it much, but too bad for it.

Finally, she had the man out on the grass. He reeked of sap and ooze, and he was quite upset, but otherwise unharmed.

“The hell was that?” He demanded to know. “Jesus, I've never seen anything like that...”

Blacksockswhite just set herself to licking toxic goo out of her fur. She didn't know and she didn't care. Really, he should have known better than to get so close to something so spiritually solid.

“Oh, like you didn't do it too.”

Unimportant. She was a cat. It was her nature.

“Is Chavvy home? Is she okay? I know Halloween is tough for her.”

Blacksockswhite gave him a disparaging look. As though she couldn't take care of her patron!

They took a minute to clean themselves off. Then they went home, walked through a slip in the wall. The man waited for Spiritwoman, and Blacksockswhite curled up on her sunny windowsill. She looked smugly at the uneatable plant. It looked terribly forlorn, and she went to sleep happy, certain that it wouldn't try and eat her ever again.

Date: 2013-11-10 02:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rolodexaspirin.livejournal.com
such a good kitty, too.

bringing home a dead thing.

Blacksockswhite saves the day!

Date: 2013-11-10 03:36 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Great one, Rogan! Stoopud treething, serves it right. I love the term "being eaten and pooped on".

I wonder if Spiritman will ever do something that earns Blacksockswhite's approval? Probably not, lol.

- Kittehs :)

Date: 2013-11-16 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natalief.livejournal.com
Some typo-spotting in an otherwise amazing story:

just to insure it knew its place in the world
ensure

Speaking of the spirit realm, Spirtiwoman's mate seemed to have vanished.
Spiritwoman's

I really enjoyed this story!

Date: 2013-11-16 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lb-lee.livejournal.com
Fixed! ^_^ Thanks, that story got written on a broken computer without spellcheck, so it's good you caught them!

--Sneak
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