.Flash Fiction Week #9
I was absent from last week's flash fiction effort
because of the emotional issues I was experiencing that had me do nothing other than what was absolutely required of me. I am still feeling VERY rough emotionally, but I am trying to rejoin the world, so-to-speak, and am forcing myself to at least try to do the things I enjoy. Today's effort will be a bit of a break from my continuing saga (my previous Flash Fiction Efforts were a sort of serial). I may be a bit late, so I may not be counted on the actual Flash Fiction effort. But if not, it is my own damn fault, of course.
* * * * *Conundrum Passage
Is this all there is? Live and then die? One moment you are flesh and blood, but the next you are rotting tissue? Is it really a bunch of lies
we have been fed our entire lives, that makes us think and believe there is a purpose, a meaning to anything that we do?
All the above thoughts, and many, more putrid ideas have been percolating in my brain as I sit shriveled up on the couch that is in my office, in the turreted, third floor room of the old Victorian house I and my wife live in.
"Life is fleeting. All I do is empty and useless." I whisper hoarsely to Hippo, the orange tabby cat, my voice rough from hours of sobbing.
Hippo is the cat's nickname, for his formal name is Hippocampus. My wife and I found him in a box along the railroad tracks where the two of us often walked together to view the Fall leaves. We noticed the box on the tracks and thought it odd. Getting closer, we heard a puny, and weak "mew" sound from the box. We quickly opened the box and found a nearly starved kitten roughly about 6 weeks of age. The kitten was so frail and thin, its bones along its tail and back were sharp and prominent, feeling the body of the kitten, its muscles had no form or definition, for they had been consumed by the kitten for energy. The little kitten could barely stand from weakness.
I did not think the kitten would survive, but we brought it home and put it in a warm, covered box with some food, water, and a blanket. The next morning, I took the box to the veterinarian, presuming he would end up euthanizing the little kitten. Much to my surprise, when I opened box, the kitten, though still frail and exceedingly malnourished, was alert, and attentive. The vet looked him over, stem to stern, and took a blood sample as well. He gave me a slightly jaundiced eye and asked, "Are you going to keep it?"
The thought had not really crossed my mind the evening before, as I thought there was no hope. I looked at the kitten and asked, "Do you feel he has a chance to survive and be reasonably healthy?"
"I'll know more in a few minutes." he said, as he went to the back to look at the sample.
I could not believe people treating this small kitten so badly. I picked it up while I was waiting and the little "motor" in the back of his throat started to vibrate as he purred.
The veterinarian returned a few minutes later with a furrowed brow, and a bit of a scowl across his furry, grey face. "Well, I'm not exactly sure what to tell you. This cat has virtually no flesh on it, and it has been horribly mistreated. However, it also does not have worms or feline leukemia, or any life threatening disease I can uncover. That said, my advice is really a compromise
of sorts. Right now the little beast is healthy, albeit starved, but the degree of emaciation this cat shows is bound to affect how it grows and develops, and also its long-term survival."
I looked at the kitten, and also looked at the vet. "I guess I will have to give it a chance." I said with a lackluster tone to my voice, mostly to match his own tone and mannerisms. Truth be told, however, I was glad to try saving the kitten, as I saw how happy and content it seemed, even with all the harshness and abuse it had experienced. It somehow could still be content and happy. On the way home in my truck, I decided to name the little kitten Hippocampus, because it was a region of the brain I had been working on writing a research grant about for the last several weeks. The hippocampus is the region of the brain where memories are believed to he stored, and the grant I was woarking on was to examine in a rat model, the role of exogenous cortisols on memory.
That was 7 years ago, and while both my wife and I know that Hippo could still have a shortened life span, we do know he has been a valued and true member of our family. He filled out very quickly and by the time we had him for a year, he weighed in at 26 pounds, and was long and rangy. Yet, he never lost his happiness, and he always wants to be near one of us or one of the kids when home.
I so needed his companionship today. I do not know what it is, but something is just not right. I feel like a man who is in disguise
. On the outside, I look like I have a wonderful life.... actually I DO have a wonderful life, but inside, deep in my very soul, all I feel is sadness and loneliness that I cannot even put it into words. I love my wife, I love my kids, I love my family and friends. My job is *usually* very nice (it has glitches of course), but for the most part life is good. Yet, at different times and without understanding why, I fall into a pit of despair, a vast crevasse though which I fear I may not be able to climb out of. The best I can describe is that it is akin to feeling so utterly isolated, isolated from time, from people, from any sensation. It feels as if I am in a void, a void that I fear will last for infinity. No one will hear me, no one will see me, no one will touch me, no one will know me. A complete and utter void.
I need some sort of redemption
* * * * *
It is different from my earlier efforts. I hope it is at least somewhat interesting.