Bitten by t. ihira

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Relationship with people can be cruel, just because of the nature of human beings. A bond with a cat can be purer, especially both of you are young. Harshness of not knowing comes out in a child. Even worse if you are not an equal to that child. Intent in the relationship is good but real treatment can be brutal.

Submitted: October 30, 2009

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Submitted: October 30, 2009

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Following is a part of ebook, “Bitten” and this is a promotional read intended to intice you to read the rest of this ebook, $0.99 for Kindle, Windows PC and iPhone at www.Amazon.com or $1.10 at www.Smashwords.com where you can find more various formats.

Bitten

Copyright © 2009 toshiyuki ihira

ISBN 978-0-9816760-2-9

Life is slow when you are a child. Not much happens. Just your senses are very keen and you watch everything around, listen to conversations, try to see what you can get away with. Admonitions from your grandparents are stinging but soon forgotten. Your parents are always busy and you don't see them during the day. I was a child no one wanted so, I was left at my mother's parents house that happened to be two houses down. Too young to go to a grade school, all day is spent on milling around the house. And …, there was a cat, too small to hurt anyone. He hadn't molted his fur, yet.

There is a long walkway running along multiple rooms, about 4 feet wide, keeping summer sun out and let you move about the house without getting into any room. Rooms are separated by sliding wooden paper screened doors so when it is summer you can remove all the sliding doors and have a large open space with a nice breeze going through. Floor is raised 3 feet off the ground. You can dangle your legs out sitting on the walkway eating watermelon. Small pond with carps is 10 steps away. You can spit seeds into that pond if you are willing to hyperventilate. Just don't let grandparents see.

A small cat doesn't have anything to do, either.

Rope's fraying end is like a tail of a cat. Rope sitting still doesn't catch cat's eye. Pull on it a little, make it hop. Cat's head will snap with eyes, … eyes on first pull, you can see its slitted pupils undulate trying to focus on the fluffy frayed end. I don't want to let the cat catch it. So, I pull and pull every time the cat wants to pounce on the fluffy end. After awhile the cat doesn't want to play any more. I gather up and throw down the rope in front of the cat. It looks at it, try to pounce. I pull, again. I pull hard, laughing. He doesn't even touch the fluffy end. He turns and walks away. I gather up the rope and follow him, get in front of him and throw down the rope. He looks at me but doesn't look at the rope. He sits down and lies down with his head resting on front paws. I gather up the rope and throw it down a little closer to him. I wiggle it, trying to entice him to pounce. Wiggle, again, … and again. He leaps up and pounce on the puffy ball. I pull, pull hard, laughing. He doesn't get to touch and feel the fluffy ball. … He walks away. After a fit of laughing, I see him walking away from me. I gather up the rope and follow him. “You are staying with me,” I stand in front of him, looking down. He is too young to go far out of home. He never leaves the house more than you can spit watermelon seeds. He stays. I throw down the rope in front of him, even closer. I wiggle the rope, … again, … again. He doesn't pounce. I want to play with him and if that's what I want, I have to figure out why he doesn't want to any more. … I place the rope right next to him and wiggle, … again, … pull to make it hop, not too hard. I let the rope hop two cat's steps. I wiggle the rope, … again, … again, and pull to make it hop one cat's step. … No, he doesn't want to. … (“Ahhh, I over did it.”) … I sit next to him and pet him, as gentle as I can, saying “mee, … mee.” We sit there a long time. And after a while he looks up at me. I look back into his eyes. I let him touch the fluffy end of the rope. He plays with it a little. He bites it to get a feel of it. “Whoa, don't eat it.” He bites some more. He can taste it as much as he wants.

He is growing. He is getting heavier.

One night, I wake up. His cry wakes me up. It is like a moan, “ooooowwwww, … … ooooowwww.” I have seen his hair here and there around the house but it's normal, isn't it? When he notices me waking up, he stops crying. I go back to sleep.

Next morning, I don't see him. He is with me every day. I am worried and I remember him crying last night. I start looking for him. I first look outside. He is too small to fend for himself, still. Neighborhood cats can really hurt him or even a dog. It's quiet. All I see is pebble stones on the ground. I go over to look in the front of the house. I see few cars go by passing the end of front walk. I don't see him. I check under the house. He usually doesn't go in there because it's dirty and dusty. He isn't there. I go back into the house, starting to panic. Grandparents are getting breakfast ready. I ask them if they have seen the cat. Not this morning. I don't know where to look. He is still small. He doesn't spend a lot time away from the house. He hasn't been to the end of front walk. I go back into my room. I look around, all four corners are empty. There is no place to hide here. I look at the door of the closet. It's quiet. Slide the door and look inside. First, top shelf. He can't climb up this high but just in case. I move boxes and look behind them. He isn't there. I crouch down on my hands and start checking the bottom space. It's dark at the corners. I don't hear anything but I have to check so, I wait until I can see. All the way back in the corner, he is there. How he get here?! The door was closed. I crawl in to get him. “Mee, … mee.” I pick him up and carry him out into the brighter room. He is shivering. He can't be cold. It's middle of summer. … I see a patch of almost shaven skin on his side. I touch it. It is not a cut. There is no bleeding. It's just bare. I pull on his other fur. They come off in a bunch. He sees me holding his fur and starts to shake harder. I stare at fur in my hand. My eyes getting bigger. I run to grandparents. It takes forever. By the time I get to them I am huffing.

Cat is losing his hair, ... in a bunch. Look.” I hold out my hand with his fur in it.

Ah … , get them in the trash can. Don't drop it.” Grandma yells at me.

No, look. Something is wrong with him.” They have to get a closer look.

It happens to a first year cat. Put that in the trash can.” Grandpa isn't even interested.

But, he is sick.”

“ … … How do you know he is sick?”

Look.” I stick my hand up higher, in their direction.

Is he throwing up? Is he bleeding?”

No, he is not throwing up. My room is clean.”

Then, he is o.k. Put that in the trash can and get ready to eat your breakfast.”

As my grandfather explains it, every cat sheds its fur when it is growing up. It means he is becoming an adult cat.

I put his fur in the trash can and run back to my room ignoring grandparents' call to eat breakfast. It's a good news. He is not sick or dying. When I get back to my room and see him, he is still shaking, in a sporadic fits. I crouch down next to him and pet him. He calms down a little until he sees more fur stuck on my hand. He starts to cry louder now.

OOOWWW, … … OOOWWW.”

Ah, that wasn't good. If I can't pet him, …

I pick him up in my hands and hold him close next to my belly. I am sure he isn't shivering because he is cold but a little warmth, even in the middle of summer, might help him stop shaking. I say “mee, … mee” to him many times. He knows I am being friendly when I say that. I rock him gently like my mom.

Rocking motion took more of his fur out, clinging and sticking to my clothes. I hold him tight so he can't look around. Can't let him look down.

I put him back in the closet and close the door. It is dark in there. He has big eyes but he might not see. Change my shirt in a hurry and open the door to take him out into the light. No choice. I have to take as much fur as I can and do it fast so, he isn't going to keep crying. I think he is scared because his fur is coming out, not because he has bare skin. I grab the fur next to the bare patch and pull. It comes out in my hand.

(“Keep doing that in a straight line all the way.”)

I grab the next handful and pull. He yelps, “MEOOoowww.” Half of it come out but other half don't.

(“What?”)

Pinch fur in that area and pull on it. It doesn't come out. His skin is pulled up and making a tent. Not all of his fur is ready to come out. His face is scrunching. He is ready to cry out. He is feeling a pain on top of a simple panic now. He chokes and start coughing, a hacking cough. Ga-ouph, … ga-ouph. Slimy tangle of ping-pong ball sized hair come out and bounce on the floor, leaving a trail of his spit. He is breathing hard and looking at it. He dips his head down and smell it. Pulling his head back, his body straightening up with front paws stretching straight to the floor, looking at the fur ball then he looks at me. “Mee,” he says.

Wow, what is that?” I don't want to touch it. It is slimy.

I saw his bare skin but didn't see much of fur that would have been laying around.

Shock of coughing up a fur ball and making a bit of a mess, he is more worried about what to do to clean it up now. He likes things to be clean, not just himself but our room, too.

I grab the fur around the original bare patch and gently pull. It come out. I keep pulling out as much as I can around that patch until I can't pull out any more. I check other part of his body if they com out. His attention is fixed on the fur ball. He is not looking at me. More fur come out but not as much as the bare patch. It come out in a loose strand, not like a thick bunch. I pick up all the fur I can see on the floor and put it in a trash pail. Pull out a facial tissue and grab the fur ball. The spit soak through the tissue and wet my fingers. I shake it off into the pail. Pull out more tissues and wipe up the spit trail. He comes over to the trash pail and stretch up, putting his front paws on the edge of the trash pail, looking into it. I pull him away from there. I don't want him to look at his fur. It fluff up and look like a lot.

He starts to look at his bare patch again. I rub that bare skin gently, saying “mee, … mee.” When he says “oow” back to me, I pull his other fur that don't come out. He feels a bit of pinch and a pain. I rub his bare patch again gently. I can see he is not feeling a pain there. He is beginning to get it. He looks at me sheepishly. I pull on my hair on my head. (“My hair come out, too.”) I manage a short broken hair. He looks at it and cry a quiet “ooowww.” Bad example. I rub my cheek to him, on his bare patch, on his cheek, head, all over. He takes a deep sigh. His shaking is gone now. I wash up. We are having our breakfast.

Next few weeks he shed his baby fur out completely. He coughs up few more fur balls.

We don't want that fur ball in our house. Teach your cat to hack it up some place else.” Grandpa tells me.

Grandma isn't saying anything. She is just watching. O.k. I will teach him.

When he starts to hack, he doesn't have a time to go anywhere else. He is busy hacking. I teach him to roll the ball with his front paw. He doesn't like the wetness but he manages to roll one all the way to the walkway and push it over the edge and down on the ground outside. Wet fur ball leaves a spit trail. (“It will dry up soon enough. Little water is not going to hurt anybody.”)

What the …. What do you teach your cat? This trail is going all over the house.”

It will dry up.” I say.

It's a spit. When it dries up, you can't see it but it smells. Clean it up.”

I clean it up with a lot of water. Make it thin enough they can't smell it. It is a lot of work. I need to think of other way.

I cut a square piece of thick paper and teach him to put a fur ball on top of it and pull the paper. Use crumpled newspaper for a fur ball. When he pulls, the ball rolls right off the paper. I cut a larger rectangle, long on one side with a bent notch at its end. He can tell the difference. He knows where to pull. I tell him. Success.

He manages to put one out without leaving a trail. There is still a fur ball right outside the walkway but it's outside, on the stone step on the ground.

Grandpa wants to nitpick but says nothing. He has seen our toil. He let it go at that.

By this time the cat shed all his baby fur. He doesn't need to take any more fur ball out. He finished his molting. He is covered with adult fur now.

As he gets older, he doesn't jump around that much. He wants to sit and rest. He picks my lap for resting. When he does, I can't move. If I do, he complains. That's o.k. He is my friend. He can use my lap if he wants.

He starts to purr when he rests on my lap. It's so different. I don't know where that purr come from. It's not his talk. When I touch his neck softly to see if it's making that purr. He stops. I don't know where it's coming from.

He starts to draw his claws out when he rests on my lap and sink them into my thigh. He purrs at the same time. He does it through my pants so, it isn't that bad. I say “ow” to him when he does this, telling him I don't like it. He says “me” back to me, looking at my face. He stops for awhile but starts up again. Well, it's o.k. He is my friend. It's not that bad.

My uncle moves back into his parents' house that's where I am living. He brings his dog with him. I have to move in with my mother, two houses down.

This house also has a walkway very similar to my grandparents' house. I spend a lot of time sitting on that walkway, dangling my legs out. My cat, my grandparents' cat now, comes over and rest on my lap. It has become his daily routine. When he comes over, he walks up a gentle slope going up to a rectangle front yard. There is a stone wall along that slop with its top flat with the front yard ground and he peaks his head out around the end of stone wall at the top of the slop to look for me. If I am sitting on the walkway, I am looking at the end of the front yard and the slope behind it. I can see the left top part of the slope, going down. I can't see the wall from there. It's supporting the end of the front yard. He is tiny so I can't see him until he sticks his head out, from behind and down the wall. If he sees me, he comes right over and rest on my lap, start purring. And he claws.

He comes over to me. I put a matt on my lap. The matt is thick. He looks at the matt. I tell him to hop on, patting the matt and saying “me” to him. He hops on and rests. He keeps shifting. He curls one way then changes to other way. Doesn't like lying along my legs, he rests across. He steps off the matt and “ow” at me. He tries to pull the matt off my legs. I pull it back. He arches his back and hisses at me.

Why don't you like this matt? It's flatter and more even.” I pat the top of the matt and say “me” to him.

He stares at the matt. He hops on. He curls up again, for a while. Then he steps off and try to pull the matt off of me, again.

No. The matt stays.” I grab and hold on to the matt.

He shouts “MEOW” at me. We stare at each other. He tugs on the matt. I hold on to it. He lowers his head and stare up at me. He turns and step off the walkway and starts running back to his house, down the slope. I lost his sight as soon as he goes around the top of the slope and get behind the wall.

I try few more times to let him get used to the matt but he just doesn't. Well, there are other ways. I can take a clipper.

He hasn't come over for a few days. That's unusual. If he isn't here, I can't try out my plan on him.

He shows up. I see him sticking out his head from behind the wall. I call out to him, “mee.” He takes a time deciding. (What's now?”)

He comes over. He walks slowly. His head is low to the ground. He looks like he is stalking. But, as he comes closer to me, he is his usual self. He hops right on my lap.

I wait until he claws.

He does.

I lift him up and off to the side on the walkway. He tries to climb up on my lap but I hold him back, saying gentle “ow” to him. I take out a clipper I am hiding behind my back. I show it to him. It's not anything dangerous, see. I clip my own nails, letting him watch. I hold out my hand and do a gesture of drawing a claw out of my finger tip.

Take your claw out.” I tell him.

He understands. We have done this before. He wants to be human and he doesn't like things only he has. Fur, whiskers, moveable ears, claws, padding at the bottom of his paws that he can't grab things, he has to use his mouth, he has to eat off a plate on a floor, not at a table. I tell him they are great. I have them if I could. I can hear better. I don't bump into things even in the dark. A little sliver of his claw shears along its length but it doesn't break off. The sliver keeps hanging, making it irritating for him to move that claw in and out. I trim the sliver and sand the claw to make it smooth. He says “me” and rub his head on me.

He draws out one of his claws. I take the clipper to it. I don't clip yet. Just a gesture of it. I want him to agree to clipping. He pulls back his paw and try to climb up on my lap. I stop him with my hands and “ow.” I show him the clipper and then tap my lap. He tries to climb up. I stop him. I show him the clipper.

After few more of this, he gives in. He lets me clip his claws. Just a little at the point. I clip only the sharpest points on all of his claws and file them smooth and round and let him climb up on my lap, without the matt. He curls up and soon starts purring. And he claws. They don't hurt me. They don't sink into my flesh. He claws harder. They don't break my skin but they hurt. I pull him off and set him down next to me on the walkway. I demand that he let me clip him again. Staring him in his eyes. He gives in. He lets me. (“O.k. I don't think I can keep trying. I have to make it stubby now. If he gets crossed and become angry, it's all over.”)

His claws are long. Very sharp point an the end but closer to the paw it is thicker. I wonder if I can put the clipper around its thicker end.

I get the clipper on his claw and push the clipper as far as it can go toward his paw. Push on the lever of the clipper. I can't cut. It's too thick. I place the lever in my palm instead of holding it with my finger tips. I squeeze as hard as I can. It cuts about a third of the way in. I look at him. His eyes are larger but he hasn't pulled his paw back. Lever is little easier to hold in my hand. I get a good hold of it and squeeze hard. I clip it off.

He shouts “MEOW” and pulls his paw back and try to run but he can't. He can't put his paw down. I see blood spurting out from the tip of his paw. I felt cold sensation go down my cheeks. I dash to a medicine box in other room and grab cotton balls, gauze and iodine bottle and dash back to him. I open the bottle and place the cotton ball on the mouth of the bottle and tip it over to let the cotton ball soak up iodine. Put the bottle down on the walkway, I press the cotton ball on his mutilated claw. I press hard to stop the bleeding. After a few minuets I pull back the cotton ball to see if the bleeding has stopped. The blood guzzle out. Press the cotton ball back. I keep pressing the cotton ball as long as I have to. He stops crying. He is bearing his pain.

I stay like this for a long time. I don't know how long. Sense of time has vanished. He hasn't wriggled free of my hold. (“Is it too painful for him to move?”) … (“What he or I feel don't matter, … and I don't care. His bleeding has to stop.”)

The sun is starting to go down. Our houses are at the base of a small mountain. We come into shadows an hour early in the evening. It's still bright out away from the base of the mountain. Everyone is getting ready for dinner.

(“I have to take him back to his house. … I have to tell them what I did to him.”)

I wrap my right hand over his bleeding paw and pick him up with my left hand clutching him against my chest. He is limp. Strength went out of him. I walk as fast as I can. I don't want to shake him, not his bleeding paw. Right around the corner of the entrance to the front walk I see grandpa. He is smoking his pipe, standing outside the front door. Men don't bother with meal preparations. They just eat. He sees me and his face makes a chuckle and then frown. Stone pebbles under my feet makes a loud noise and that's all I hear.

Help me!” I dole out a wretched face. “I cut his claw and it's bleeding bad.”


I appreciate it if you read the rest of this. Thank you for your interest. The rest is at www.Amazon.com. It is $0.99 for Kindle, Windows PC and iPhone. You can get it at www.Smashwords.com that is for $1.10 but they provide wider formats.


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