The Starving Bulls**t Artist

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Short Story: Mrs. Hansby’s Cats February 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — madamebitters @ 4:18 am

This post is a bit different from the others, as it’s actually a short story.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, although I can’t for the life of me remember why I did. I was doing some “Spring cleaning” on my computer’s hard drive when I found it.

I read it, and it’s not bad.  I decided to post it because I’m tired and it was already written. It’s  a win/win solution.

This story is about an old woman and a very bad cat. Enjoy! 

Mrs. Hansby’s Cats

Mrs. Hansby wasn’t always the crazy cat lady of Rolling Glen Terrace.

She had friends and a family once but that was long ago in another life. Now she was a lonely old woman who had outlived most of her loved ones and had been forgotten by the rest.

One day about six years ago Mrs. Hansby was working in her yard, back when she cared about such things, when her first cat wandered up to her.

She immediately decided to adopt him and she named him Beethoven. Days later another cat came to Mrs. Hansby and she took in this cat too and named her Buttons. Not long after Buttons’s arrival a litter of six kittens was born.

More cats came to Mrs. Hansby and kittens were born almost daily. In no time at all the old woman had around fifty cats living in her house at any one time.

It was impossible for a frail elderly woman to clean up after so many cats and after a while she simply gave up.

 Every surface of her house was covered with a thick layer of cat hair and the carpet was crusted with coughed-up hair balls and vomit. Her furniture was clawed up and the stuffing spilled out onto the floor like abandoned cotton candy.

The worst thing was the smell. The stench of cat piss and shit was so strong it stank up the whole block. Although Mrs. Hansby had several litter boxes strewn around her house, they went unused; her entire house served as the cats’ litter box.

It was no surprise that the neighbors hated the old woman.

 They complained of the terrible smell and of the health dangers her cats posed. Many of her cats had crusty, open sores, none had their shots, and some of them swiped at anything that moved.

The neighbors threatened to call the SPCA. Deep down they felt guilty for bullying an old woman and Mrs. Hansby used this to her advantage. “These cats are like my children,” she would plead. “They’re a part of me. Please don’t take them away from me; they’re all I have.”

After hearing this the angry neighbor would slink off, defeated. The cats weren’t going anywhere.

One spring morning Mrs. Hansby awoke to the sounds of tiny mewing at her feet. After lying down for so long, her joints had stiffened and she struggled to get up. When she finally did, she saw that a litter of five kittens had been born at the foot of her bed. Their mother, a Himalayan named Sissy, was licking her offspring clean of the afterbirth. There was a large puddle of it soaked in the quilt.

“Oh, I have myself five new babies,” cooed the old woman to the slimy pile of kittens. “I’ll have to think up names for each of you.”

As she walked from her bedroom to the kitchen, dozens of cats swarmed around her legs. Some meowed plaintively, some hissed, but all of them were hungry.

When she got to the kitchen she drug out a twenty-pound bag of cat food and her weak muscles shook under the strain. She opened it and scooped some into a large pot. Then she began walking around the house tossing out nuggets like a farmer tossing feed to his chickens. “Here babies, come get your breakfast.” Some of the cats scurried to where the food was thrown. Others looked at their elderly caretaker with disinterest.

After the cats had been fed, Mrs. Hansby went to her recliner. Before sitting she saw a few dried up cat turds on the seat and she brushed them away nonchalantly.

It was almost time for Guiding Light to start and she hunted for the remote control. Her search didn’t turn up the remote, but a dead tabby instead.

“Oh, Tabitha,” wailed Mrs. Hansby. The cat was stiff with rigor mortis and she noticed it was partially eaten. She hugged the dead cat to her chest and went to the backyard to bury it.

The old woman had a large backyard that had been like an oasis at one time. She had taken pride in maintaining it once, but now, like the rest of her home, she abandoned its care for her cats.

Where there was once a thick, green carpet of grass was now sun-scorched stubble. The flower beds that had grown prize winning tulips and elephant ears were now weed-choked and filled with a variety of insects.

The only part of the yard that Mrs. Hansby went to with regularity was the far back corner where she buried her dead cats. This is where she took Tabitha now.

With a shovel that was leaning against a dilapidated fence, she dug a hole about eight inches deep and placed the cat reverently in the grave. She would like to have dug deeper but her old back wouldn’t allow it. She covered the cat with dirt and said a short prayer. When that was done, she went back into the house, crying as she went.

The next day when the old woman went out to the yard to pay her respects to her dead cats she saw an unfamiliar cat sitting by the makeshift cemetery.

“Ooooh, who are you now?” asked Mrs. Hansby and the cat stood and stretched, showing his full size. He was easily the size of a bobcat and his markings were unique. He was a tri-colored calico. Male calicos were rare, particularly a tri-colored one.

He was big and elegant, almost regal. She had the perfect name for him: King. Over the next few weeks she tried to domesticate King.

She invited him into the house to mingle with the other cats but he wasn’t interested. The large cat was content to lie in the yard and sunbathe like a lion on the Serenghettti plain. Her attempts to feed him Meow Mix and Fancy Feast also failed.

Since King wasn’t eating the food she gave him and he obviously wasn’t going hungry, Mrs. Hansby wondered where he was getting his nourishment.

The other cats seemed to hold the large cat in awe and one by one Mrs. Hansby’s cats began spending more time outside with King and less time inside with her. The smaller cats lay around King like a faithful harem.

Mrs. Hansby was worried her cats may prefer the large cat over her so she banished him from her home.

After King’s exile things seemed to get back to normal. Then Mrs. Hansby noticed some of her cats were missing.

Since she had so many cats, several disappeared before she noticed anything was amiss. She did notice that all of the cats that had disappeared were old, sick, or very young.

The old woman was mystified until she began finding their skeletal remains around her yard. The cats had been eaten. After her discovery Mrs. Hansby was afraid to go in her yard. She was a prisoner in her own home.

Early one winter morning Mrs. Hansby awoke with a start. She had heard something outside.

She listened hard and heard it again, an unearthly yowling coming from her backyard. She shivered under her thick quilt. She didn’t know what could make such a horrible noise. The yowling continued and she thought it sounded like lost souls crying from the depths of hell.

When she thought of her cats and she got up as fast as her aching joint allowed. Her bones were always sorer in cold weather but she hurried in spite of it. Her babies might be in trouble.

When Mrs. Hansby reached her backyard, she found her strong, healthy cats sitting in a straight line.

The light of the full moon reflected in their eyes, giving them a demonic glow. They were as still and cold looking as statues and suddenly the old woman was afraid of her cats, her babies.

The morning was icy and when she took a step back she slipped and fell. She felt her hip break and now she lay in a broken pile in her backyard, helpless.

Mrs. Hansby sensed King approaching before she saw him. Then he looked her in the face and their eyes locked. The old woman knew she never stood a chance against him, that the cats she loved and cared for were now his unholy army.

The other cats came up behind King. They stood there waiting for him to do something. They didn’t have to wait long.

King leaned his perfectly shaped head down to Mrs. Hansby’s face as if to sniff her. Instead he opened his mouth and tore a chunk of flesh from the old woman’s cheek. She screamed, more in terror than pain.

He took another bite and then another. The old woman tried to fend off the large cat but then the other cats joined in the feeding frenzy and it was no use. The army of cats ate until the old woman’s flesh froze.

Mrs. Hansby always said her cats were part of her. Now she was part of her cats.

The End.

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