Thursday, November 03, 2005

Chapter 4

Ixy was dreaming. She did wonder whether she were simply conscious, rather than dreaming, but never having experienced either one before, she really couldn't say. There were vague pseudo memories of a self made of cloth and stuffed with cotton batting, which clashed noticeably with her current body of flesh, blood, fur and claws. But mostly, she had a hunch that it was a dream, and she also had a hunch that what she was, was a cat, and that cats should follow their instincts and intuitions. So a dream it was. Call it that for now, anyway.

Whatever it was, Ixy liked it. She felt powerful. She stood up, walked, then bounded and ran, just for the feel of it. She retracted her claws in and out, first all at once, then one at a time, which was more difficult. She lashed her tail.

She was in a forest, and she prowled around until she startled a vole from beneath a bush. She pounced on it, and trapped it between her feet. She toyed with it for a bit, batting it back and forth between her paws, before dispatching it with a careless bite.

Then a new scent came to her, strange and different. She dropped the vole and began following her nose. The scent grew stronger as she trotted through the undergrowth, stronger and more reptilian. She came to a fallen, rotting tree trunk and peered around its upturned roots, looking down its length.

A few yards down the trunk, a lizard was sunning itself in a patch of sunlight. With her quietest tread, Ixy crept up slowly, but the lizard's bulging eyes on the sides of its head gave it almost a full circle of peripheral vision, and it caught her movement. It skittered in place, made a false start, then tried to dash off just as Ixy pounced.

She pinned the lizard under a front paw, with her claws digging in as it struggled. Sun-warmed lizard blood oozed out around her claws, and then, strangely, up her paw and into her fur. Ixy was perplexed. Granted, she didn't have much experience in this area, but still she didn't think this was supposed to happen to lizards. She looked at the lizard, and saw a scared, confused expression on its face, at least inasmuch as lizards can have scared and confused expressions.

The blood burned, spread, burned more, and Ixy dissolved with the lizard. When it was over, a small stuffed animal sat tucked away in the corner of a closet, where it had spent most of its time for the last several years. It was a gray cat, with a white mark on its chest, shaped something like an "X."

A most peculiar night, Ixy thought. Or would have thought, if thinking were the sort of thing toy cats could do.


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