A Cat Cannot Cry [Vi] Oct 12, 2014 0:42:51 GMT -5
Post by SORCHA on Oct 12, 2014 0:42:51 GMT -5
There was not much left of the muskrat the black cat’s jaws sawed through. She had taken her time watching the juicy prize fuss through the groundcover, and with patience and experience Sorcha had caught her dinner. On the border between her home Ring - the Fulsi, and their comfortably conquered territory – No Man’s Land, Sorcha had taken to hunting here quite often. Few trespassed here, and she liked the solitude.
Her stomach rumbled as it took in and began to digest the fresh meat, bone, and fur of the little rodent. It had been longer than usual since she had been able to steal away and hunt for fresh meat. These days, her obligations in the Fulsi were more taxing than she cared to be responsible for. However, irritated with having a member of their Ring that did little for the group as a whole, while existing in the sheltered protection their strong group afforded, the Ring leaders had made it quite clear that she would no longer be tolerated without paid dues … and so she paid. In blood.
Not her blood, but the blood of those returning from missions, scouting trips, and hunts; Fulsi who got in fights, had accidents, the moron who thought he could shift fast enough and ate concrete, and a myriad of injuries and illnesses that she tended and cared for in the building she privately called, ‘Flodden’.
The Battle of Flodden was a largely unremembered Scotch invasion that had taken place in northern England in 1513. As far as soldiers, it was the largest battle ever fought between Scotland and England and considered by many to be an exceptionally bloody and savage mêlée. She had written one of her college pieces on the subject for history, and had quite forgotten it until she’d stood in the doorway of the Flodden the first time and surveyed the damage. Half of their Ring was broken and bloodied from defending their border to the south. She’d not yet seen the Kraken, but witnessing its damage was just as traumatizing in its own way.
Where once the Fulsi was one of the strongest and greatest in number, it had dwindled in members recently and they were feeling the hurt. Sorcha certainly did. More came back injured than in one piece, and though there were many that could bind a wound there was always work to do. Bandages, sutures, stitches, gathering herbs for infections and illness, wood for fire, boiling laundry, sterilizing utensils and tools, soothing those who were sick or dying. It was exhausting. There was no medical school in the world, not even Oxford that could prepare someone for the Medic Field Work in The Menagerie.
Now, it was peaceful – quiet. The sun was setting, and the small black cat blinked large sea blue-green eyes at the world in sated contentment. The sky was a light blue that melded into a sweet, creamy orange on the horizon. Sorcha had settled on the raised end of a teeter-totter in the schoolyard not far from the overgrown football field she had been hunting in earlier. She breathed in the fresh scents of twilight, and …
she was airborne.
Teeth clamped hard and would not let go, forcing a high pitched squall from Sorcha that echoed across the playground and resounded off the walls of the school. Her spine screamed and her world careened as she was shaken back and forth, back and forth. A snarl reverberated in the beast’s body that she could feel in her bones, and pain shot through every part of her as she was suddenly slung to the ground with jarring force. A large paw pressed against her ribs to pin her down as hot and rotten breath fell from between the jaws of the dog that immediately grabbed the fur at her middle and pulled as if to wrench her insides out. Her own sharp claws wrapped around muzzle, legs, eyes, and nose in desperate defense as she hissed and spat. At last when her needle-sharp teeth sank into the canine’s ear, he cried out in pain and released her.
There was no thought, no plan; once free she darted across the playground, under the knocked over slide and through a hole in the fence. The dog followed in hot pursuit, almost catching her tail as he dove after her through the fence and raced behind Sorcha across the field.
Her small pads hit the craggy blacktop of the street that led toward the Freeway and she sprinted as fast as she could. She wasn’t thinking. There was no shelter this way, nowhere to go and nothing to do but run. She experienced the superlative moment when the body pushed the agony away, when trauma and high adrenaline caused blood flow to change, and pushed past ripped ligaments or torn flesh, broken bones, or collapsed lungs. Shock: the body’s defense against certain death. The dog might as well have been named Reaper, for if he caught her … he was indeed her death bringer.
She was halfway across the bridge and, sighting an abandoned vehicle dashed beneath it. There she curled in the very center beneath the car, and it was not but a moment before the dog’s head appeared, trying to force his way under the car. God be thanked, his shoulders were too broad. Now that she was not trapped in his teeth or running away from him, she could see his shift form was of a German Shepherd mixed with the Lord knew what. His shining brown eyes were wide with excitement, his black and tan face pinched in an excitable expression as he whined and dug and clawed as if the black top would give way beneath his paws. Fortunately, it did not. Sorcha was trapped beneath the car for a long, long time until finally the dog lay down by a tire to wait her out.
Crickets chirped, and the wind was cold and strong. Midnight had come and gone, and aside from the few abandoned cars, there was nothing to keep the frigid gusts from slipping beneath the car to steal the heat away from Sorcha’s battered body. She hurt. Hurt more badly than she could remember. She remained curled in a tight ball, so small she would have fit in a shoe box. Her back hurt fiercely, and she was positive she had some considerable wounds. One eye was not focusing, and there was a deep ache in her hind leg. A cat cannot cry. Sorcha was grateful. Otherwise, she would have been sobbing for the agony. She’d been hurt before, but this was a new level of pain she had only heard described to her by patients, or read about. It was going to be a long night.
Sunlight crept into her eyes, and she could see the dog had gone. Perhaps he had grown tired of waiting for her, or being exposed in the cold had been too hard on him. She had to move, she had to go somewhere else that she could shift and assess her injuries. She was a med student, not a vet student – and while some things were translatable, she would always be more certain assessing humans than animals. Herself included.
It took a long time between foggy-eyed checks and weary pauses, but eventually Sorcha got herself out from under the hunk of metal and began the painful walk. She was exhausted and disoriented, every step her body cried out for her to stop but she didn’t. It had only taken a few strides for her to realize her hind leg could not tolerate even her lithe weight, and she hitched it up as high as her spine would allow and tried not to use it. The sun was high by the time she had gotten off the bridge. Had she really run so far? She wished she were home and safe, or hungry and had stayed at home. Even dead might have been better.
Loosely her mind formed the memory when last winter the cold and exhaustion had taken her, and a strange man had demanded supplies in trade for the warm fire she had slept by for no more than an hour. The fact that he had been squatting on Fulsi territory seemed to matter little to him. Even then, cold and sick as she was she had at the very least not experienced this sort of pain?
She could not have said where she was when her body quite unexpectedly and irrefutably quit on her. Her legs would no longer work, and it was too hard to breathe. Deciding to take a break, Sorcha crawled inside a milk crate against a chain link fence that bordered a park field. Where was she going, anyway? Why was she going there? Maybe I should have gone the other way, was her final thought before she fell into darkness.