How long does it take for a thought? While he looked around, Dave was contemplating that very question. The creek dragged at his legs and he could smell the dirty flood water, but it was pleasant too; there was an odor of soil from the fields underneath the scent of fresh rain. It felt gritty as it raged around his calves, pulling him with the flow. In his arms the cat he rescued from the automobile, which was washed downstream from the swollen river, rested peacefully. Only a light mist still fell here, but across the river, rain pounded. Lightning broke the clouds in two, brightening the earth below. A brilliant rainbow arced across the sky in an almost perfect half circle. Leaves were dancing to and fro, turning on their backs and flipping again. A bird of nondescript specie’s dared to test its skill in the air and took flight.
Ever since a movement caught his eye, David was stunned by his new perceptions. Time hadn’t stopped but slithered without haste, dawdling casually. He was amazed at the rapidity he could make decisions and calculate actions; forsaking a plan to jump from the water, he knew he was too deep and would never make it to shore, David thought of climbing up a pile of debris, but that would take too long, even though he felt like he had all the time in the world now. He glanced again, the bracing was still falling, but, it would land some twenty feet from where he stood and would never hit him. While his mind continued to race, he thought, if only I could have lived my whole life this way. “What successes I would have had,” he spoke aloud.
Dave thought about the car he had rescued the cat from, he looked over his shoulder, but knew it was too far away too even think about reaching it. He noticed a small toy hanging from the rear view mirror; he had missed that before, but now everything was in focus. All he saw was like new and he thought he could understand the purpose of what the world meant. Gazing up at the rigging, it had covered half the distance to the water now; still it fell so slowly, twisting in its agonizing spiral, pulled at by the wires that groaned and tried to stay its decent.
Tachypsychia, popped into Dave’s head; funny how the word had time to coalesce in his mind because of the very perception it was called, and he thought, that’s what I’m going through right now. He looked at the cat he held in his arms, then again at the falling rigging, half again closer to the end of its fall. The cat purred, the thrum like a rataplan to accompany the ending crescendo of the storm, each note a pop of a muffled drum.
Dave took a long look around to soak in all the information his senses could absorb. At some point he knew, the inevitable couldn’t be held at bay forever. He resigned himself to his fate, and watched the pole holding up the high voltage lines above the river finally reach the water.
He never had the time to finish saying, “Oh shucks.”
People twenty miles away said they could see the flash the short-circuit made. Witnesses closer described it as brighter than a hundred suns. Some folks closer said they could feel the current briefly through their shoes and the memory of the sound would be etched forever in their memories. One girl said there must have been two cats, one of them survived but then left.
Dave never felt it, he and the cat died instantly.
Sashaying away from the scene of the carnage, as only a cat can do, the feline Dave had attempted to save sauntered up the street. It had spent its life hunting whatever game it could. It lived to savor the thrill of the death it could inflict to whatever songbird or mouse that didn’t escape its terrible claws and teeth. This death however was just too delicious to ever forget; to at last kill a human was thrilling, empowering and satisfying. It knew it needed others. True, it lost a life to do it, but the sacrifice was worth a whole lifetime of mice and naps in the sun. Someday soon it would kill another two legs; only next time it would be a dry day, less frightening and unpleasant than luring its victim into a flood zone.
It was an evil cat. It had eight more lives to use in its quest to kill. Evil Cat number eight sniffed the air for its next game.
About The Author
Paul Block lives in a small town about an hour and a half west of Chicago. In 2010, he was a transport driver (gasoline hauler), but lost his job due to chronic glaucoma. By the end of 2011, he admitted he could no longer drive a car. In 2012 he even had to give up his bicycle.
Fortunately, he can still read and see a computer screen, but life became a living nightmare of home imprisonment. As his world shrank, he decided to try writing. Now his world is as vast as time and space itself in books and story telling.