Writing in Key

A Writing Portfolio by AJ Key


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Black Cat

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‘I haven’t seen her in over a month,’ Kyle said into the phone. He was talking to his mother as he did most weeks. As he spoke he absently stroked the fur of the black cat languishing across his lap. After each stroke, it nuzzled his hand and purring loudly, its eyes closed in ecstasy.

‘I liked her but she was a bit strange.’ He paused as he listened. ‘No, I wouldn’t say bipolar, more hot and cold.’ He slid the cat from his lap, ignoring its vocal complaint, and rose from the couch, the leather squelching as he did.

‘When she was here, she’d be really affectionate, always wanting to touch me. Like she couldn’t get enough or something.’ As he crossed the living room towards the kitchen and the little black cat followed him, its eyes shining with expectation. As he stopped to turn on the kettle, it rubbed back and forth on his leg, still purring loudly.

‘Then, she’d just disappear, sometimes for a week or longer.’ He scratched at his neck absently as he listened. ‘Yeah, but she’d never answer. She said her housemates didn’t like guests, so we never hung-out at her place.’ He took a mug from a hook and slung a tea bag into it.

‘Then, one day, I’d come home from work to find her sitting on my doorstep.”  Opening the sugar container, he scooped some into the mug. ‘No, I don’t think she was stalking me.  I would have seen her in the last month if she was…’ He peered out the window into the darkening yard as steam began to shoot up like a geyser from the kettle’s spout.

He poured the water and with the tea bag’s yellow tag hanging from the steaming mug, he headed back towards the living room. As he came through the door the little cat darted past him and across to the front door where it turned and glared at him.

‘Go out the window, girl,’ he replied to the unspoken demand.

The green-eyed glare continued and it added an indignant meow.

With a sigh, he walked to the door and opened it.  The cat stared at him for a moment before slipping out through the gap.

***’The cat wanted to go out,’ he said as he closed the door again. “No, it’s not mine.  Someone along the street, I guess.  It comes to visit me sometimes.”  He crossed the room to the open window. “No.  I don’t think it has fleas.”  He pulled the window closed but left a small gap.  “Rabies, Mum, really?”  As he reached for the curtain, he saw the little cat slinking across the lawn.

“It’s a lot like Carole, actually,” he said as it reached the hedge at the edge of his yard.  It turned to look at him its round eyes glowing in the night.  “It waits for me on the doorstep, lays all over me when I’m watching TV and then disappears for days.”  Pulling one of the curtains closed, he watched it begin preening itself.  “No, I quite enjoy its visits.”  He pulled the second curtain in place, blocking out the darkness from outside.

“What’s been happening with you, anyway?” he asked as he returned to the couch and his mug of tea.

******

Outside, the slender black cat slunk across the lawn to sit beside the hedge.  She peered at the living room window and saw her man standing there.  With an inner smile, she began licking her fur with long strokes. As she worked, she heard the faint squelching of the couch and looked up to see the curtains had been closed.

In the darkness of the yard she began to transform.  As her form grew, her forelimbs extended, slowly reshaping into arms and lifting from the ground.  The fur on her body began to thin then disappear, while a long black mane grew from her head to cascade around her naked shoulders.

“You belong to me,” she whispered as she shivered in the cool breeze.  Standing, she drew her clothes from their hiding place and began to dress in silence.  When she was done, she peered at the window one last time before stalking quietly through the hedge and off along the street.

 

© AJ Key 2013

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Can’t Let Go

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Mel ducked low in her seat. She chanced a look through the front windscreen at the car that had gone past. It wasn’t Darren’s. She exhaled sharply and screwed up her nose in annoyance. Running a hand through her hair, she looked across at his apartment block a few houses down on the other side of the road.

I shouldn’t be here.

She knew he’d be angry if he saw her here and he might even accuse her of stalking him. But by sitting here outside his apartment wasn’t that exactly what she was doing? Stalking him? If only he hadn’t insisted on no contact after the break up.

Mel heard another car approaching. She was about to duck again when she saw it wasn’t his silver sedan. Once it had passed she dropped her head into her hands, her blonde hair cascading over her fingers and through the gaps in the steering wheel.

Why am I so jumpy? What am I even doing here?

This wasn’t like her at all. She worried about men stalking her, not the other way around! Yet here she was stalking a man she’d dated for less than a year. The thing was, she still couldn’t understand why they’d stopped seeing each other in the first place.

Where is he? He’s usually home by now.

The connection between them had been something crazy. His touch was like electricity and his kiss… She closed her eyes and breathed deeply as she pondered his lips; their soft moistness when they touched hers, the prickle of his stubble and that fuzzy feeling it gave her.

A car went by and her eyes flicked open to see the colour silver. A wave of apprehension rolled over her, but cleared when she realised it wasn’t his.

This is stupid. I shouldn’t be here.

He’d be home any time now and he’d see the car with her inside. He’d come right over and demand a reason why she was here with an annoyed look on his face – a look she’d always found so damn cute. But she had no idea what she would say.

She swung the sun flap down and peered into the mirror. She looked pale, with bags heavy beneath her eyes. Her brow furrowed as she cast her eyes slowly down.

Why am I doing this?

Her phone rang.

The sudden, sharp tone caused her to jump and she caught her head on the rounded edge of the sun flap. Picking up the phone, she rubbed her forehead and looked at the screen. It was her roommate.

“Jeannie?” she asked, trying to keep an even tone. “What’s up?”

“Hey, Mel. Where are you?” Jeannie’s voice sounded a little concerned.

“I’m…ah…in the car. On the way home.”

“You alright? You don’t sound your cheerful self.”

“No, no I’m fine.” Another car went past and she watched it stop at the end of the street and turn left. “The phone startled me, that’s all. What’s up?”

“Are you and Darren back together?”

Mel almost choked. “What?” She tried to compose herself again. “Um, no, not that I’m aware of. What makes you think that?”

“Well, he’s sitting in his car across the road. He’s been there for like an hour.”

Deep furrows again appeared in Mel’s brow as she pondered what she’d just heard. But as the moments passed, her face smoothed and the slightest of smiles began to grow.

“Mel?”

“Sorry, yeah, I’m here,” she said quickly. “He’s outside our house? For an hour?”

“Yeah, it’s like he’s stalking you or something. Want me to call the cops?”

“No, don’t do that!” Mel shook her head and chuckled. “I’m on my way and I’ll talk to him when I get there.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, won’t be long.” She put the phone down, took a brush from her bag and ran it through her hair. Then, with an increasingly excited smile, she started the car and pulled out into the street.

 

© AJ Key 2013