by super sleuth
Katrina found people unprepared, the 4 legged animals also suffered. This is their story.
| word count 2971
Asleep on a cushioned rocking chair in the attic playroom, Simon was startled awake by a loud clap of thunder. The sudden noise nearly caused him to slide off of his comfortable cushion. The black and white, seven year old Tabby, thought there was nothing worse then being rudely awakened from a sound sleep, but once awake he focused keenly on his surroundings. Lightening briefly illuminated the almost pitch, black room. Simon thought he saw a shadow move across the floor. He stared, watching patiently for the shadow to show itself, the tip of his striped tail tapped silently on the wooden chair. Suddenly, he saw it again.
Too curious to be cautious, he slowly slid off of the rocking chair, his feet lightly touched the wooden floor without making a sound. The chair rocked gently behind him, the dull creaking muffled by the thunderous noise outside. The wind roared loudly like a wounded lion, its vicious claws raking against the sides of the old wooden building, rattling the windows, shaking the house to its core. Tears of agony seemed to fall in a deluge from its overflowing eyes. Although the lion raged outside, Simon's only concern was his intended target...inside. Simon crept along the floor, head down peering under chairs, and around the huge, wooden dollhouse. His long slender body slinked stealthily around the room, he realized at once who the intruder was...it was Jake...his mortal enemy.
Jake, a six month old Golden Lab, was scared of his own shadow. He was all legs and tail, with a large head, and floppy ears. His movements were most often awkward and comical. Simon thought Jake had no redeeming qualities at all, and his behavior was reprehensible. The puddles he left on the floor, and on the carpet were proof of that. Simon wondered why Jake didn't learn to use the litter box like any other civilized animal? Simon hated Jake ever since his introduction into the family two months ago. He blamed Jake for turning his calm, peaceful life, into a living Hell.
Curled up on on the rug in front of the large window, had always been Simon's favorite pastime. Sunbathing in the sun's warm glow, seemed to Simon a restful way to spend the evening after a fulfilling meal. Now, Simon had to sleep upstairs. Jake was a pest.
On numerous occasions, Simon would find himself under attack by this unwanted interloper. Pounced upon, and pummeled by those huge paws, Simon would find himself flattened, legs akimbo, and spread out in all directions unable to move. Jake would clamp his mouth around Simon's neck in what Simon thought of as...a death grip. When Simon would finally escape Jake's clutches, he would leap up to a higher elevation where Jake couldn't possibly reach him. He would spend his next hour trying to wash away the residual evidence, of that filthy dog's mouth. Sometimes, Jake would attack Simon's swishing tail, as Simon attempted to flee, Jake would hold on to the tip with his teeth, and not let go. Simon would hiss and scratch, meowing in terror as Jake dragged him by his tail from room, to room.
Revenge was always Simon's ultimate goal. He would wait patiently, sometimes for days or weeks. When the right moment finally presented itself, he would launch his own offensive. From a high vantage point, Simon would pounce on Jake's back, dig in his claws, and clamp his sharp teeth into Jake's ear. It was Simon's version, of bull-dog riding. The startled Jake would take off running trying to dislodge his rider. When Simon thought Jake had learned his lesson, he would let go and flee to another part of the house, as far away from Jake as possible. Simon would then sit back, lick himself clean, smooth down all of his ruffled fur, content in the knowledge of his successful revenge.
Simon didn't understand why Jake was upstairs; it was off limits to him until he learned to control his bodily functions. Simon slowly approached Jake, was about to perform a sneak attack, when he noticed something strange. As Simon got closer to Jake, he noticed something was wrong with him. Jake was huddled in a corner, whimpering, shivering, and very wet. Simon could tell Jake was afraid...but of what?
Simon tensed as he heard a bumping noise coming from downstairs.
Finally, he thought. It's about time they got home. I'm hungry.
Simon started to turn away from Jake, but Jake whimpered louder causing Simon to turn back. Tilting his head to the side Simon stared at Jake, and tried to understand what was wrong.
Why doesn't Jake try to ambush me, and why is he all wet? Was he outside? There it is again. What is that bumping noise?
Simon quickly turned to investigate, and leaped down the stairs.
When Simon realized in mid-leap, that the couch, his intended target was no longer near the base of the stairs, it was too late.
As Simon hit the cold water, it knocked the breath out of him. Simon had an aversion to water, especially water that was over his head. Simon struggled desperately to keep afloat, his goal was to climb upon anything within his reach. Unfortunately, all the furniture had been swept to the far side of the room by the current, and there was nothing for him to dig his claws into to pull himself out of the water. Simon began to panic, his paws flailed in all directions. He tried to swim back toward the stairs, but the current kept sweeping him farther away. The salt water stung his eyes, he found his vision blurring, causing him to lose his sense of direction. Simon started to meow, pleading for help, but he knew there was no one there to help him. He soon found himself caught in an eddy, and was being swirled around, and around in a circular motion. Simon soon became light-headed, each time he opened his mouth, he felt like he was swallowing the whole ocean. Water entered through his mouth, and nostrils as he tried to breathe. His heart rate increased, and breathing became more painful with each intake of water. Simon grew physically weaker, and as the water replaced the oxygen in his lungs, he started to sink.
Closing his eyes for the last time, Simon dreamed he was a kitten playing with a ball of string, then laying on Sophie's lap as she massaged behind his ears. Finally, he dreamed of Jake crushing his body, and slobbering all over his head. He could feel Jake pulling him around the house...pulling and pulling him. Jake's heavy paws smashing heavily on his aching chest.
Go away Jake ! Leave me alone! I'm too tired to play now, let me sleep!
These thoughts kept echoing in his mind, until darkness consumed Simon's world.
Shivering and in pain, Simon slowly opened his eyes. He found he was unable to see clearly. His fur was soaking wet, yet all he could think about was that rotten dog, and his long wet tongue.
I'll get even, he thought as he tried to raise his head. I've had enough of that damned dog and his slobbering mouth.
Simon tried to stand-up, but nothing seemed to go as he had planned. In his weakened state, his feet slipped out from under him, he felt as if the ground beneath him was moving. Every part of his body, especially his chest, was in great pain. He gasped for air, and was relieved when his lungs began to inflate. With each precious gasp of air, Simon's head began to clear, and his eyes started to focus. Achingly, he raised his head and tried to look around. The room seemed to be spinning slowly, and Simon felt nauseous. He coughed violently, and expelled an ocean of liquid from his mouth, and nose. As the water was expelled, it was replaced by precious oxygen. Once his head cleared, he started to focus his eyes on where he was.
Simon couldn't believe what he saw, the room was filled with water. He was laying on top of a small, round, wooden table, that was floating along with everything else in the room. The table seemed to be caught in a tiny vortex, and kept the table spinning constantly, which made Simon feel sick, sicker than he had ever felt before. Each time he tried to stand up, the table wobbled under him, and threatened to tip him back into the water. As it bobbed up and down, the water would splash on its slick surface, soaking him thoroughly. Simon meowed weakly, hoping someone would hear him. The hours seemed to drag on slowly as Simon lay there too weak to move. Simon's mind wandered, and he thought of how much he wanted to see his family, and get even with that dreadful dog cowering safely upstairs in the playroom, but all he could do was close his eyes, and sleep.
The next morning Simon's strength began to return, he made several attempts to stand up, but the floating table kept wanting to tip him off when he did. Simon wanted to leap onto the near-by couch, but he was afraid he might slip off the table and fall into the water again. Taking another swim was not an option he would seriously consider.
Where was Jake? he thought. He's never around when you need him.
Suddenly, Simon's table seemed to have bumped into something, causing him to almost slide off. He extended his claws and dug them deeply into the edge of the table top. After a few moments, he realized the table was no longer spinning and bobbing. His motion sickness was slowly ebbing with the tide. Now he could finally stand, and pace on top of the table without it tipping. The water level seemed to be receding, but not fast enough for Simon. He wanted to see Jake, he was tired of being alone. He needed company and would even tolerate Jake's incessant barking. Simon meowed for Jake until his throat hurt, but Jake never appeared at the top of the stairs. Simon's loneliness made him sad. He began to think more and more about Jake, and food. Hunger and thirst, soon occupied his every thought. During the day Simon would peer into the water hoping to catch a fish, but he never saw any. He needed food, and fish was one of his favorite meals. Simon's boredom, and lack of food kept, him feeling very tired and weak, so he would close his eyes and sleep for long periods of time. As the evening's darkness slowly consumed the room, the eerie quiet was occasionally broken by the sound of splashing in the water outside. The strange unusual sounds in the still of night, unnerved him.
Into the land of dreams Simon passed once again. As he dreamed, his body twitched, his tail echoing his mood tapping out a frantic rhythm on the table top, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. In his fuzzy dream, he saw Jake standing at the top of the steps barking. He could see Jake's mouth opening and closing, his body vibrating with each bark, and that long tail swinging anxiously behind him. Simon wondered why he could see Jake barking, but not hear him? There was no sound in his dream, except for a large splash. The splash echoed over, and over in his mind. Simon gasped, and coughed in his sleep. He could feel his body being sucked under the water. His body twitched, and thrashed around on the tiny table as if he were having convulsions. Suddenly, Simon's struggles ended, as he felt a death grip clamp around his throat. He could feel himself being pulled, and lifted up onto something hard. He awoke suddenly, and jumped to his feet. His eyes were wide and alert, he paced back and forth in the dark on the table top.
Jake, where is Jake? I need to find Jake.
Simon began to meow in earnest, he called non stop for Jake. He knew now that Jake had saved his life. Simon could see the water had receded quite a bit more, but the thought of entering the water to reach the stairs terrified him. Even his hunger and loneliness couldn't tempt Simon to enter the water again, his fear was too great. Simon continued to pace in a tight circle, calling for Jake well into the early morning hours. Finally, exhausted from pacing, and weak from hunger, Simon collapsed again into a fitful slumber.
It's been four days now since the storm subsided, and the house flooded. Most of the water was gone, but Simon was still afraid, and refused to leave his perch. He was hungry, very hungry, he felt so alone and desperate. His eyes scanned the room constantly searching for his friend, calling to his friend. He was getting weaker, and weaker. He needed a drink. There was still several inches of water all around him, but the thought of leaving his safe haven, caused his fur to stand on end.
Simon thought of Jake often. Jake was impossible. Jake with that long snout, floppy ears and big brown eyes. Oh, how he missed those big brown eyes.
Where is Jake? Where, where is my friend? YES, he thought, Jake IS my friend. Why did it take me so long to realize it? Jake you stupid dog, get down here!
Simon's ears perked up as he heard a familiar sound...human voices. He stared anxiously at the door, hoping it was his family. Instead, he saw two strange men push open the front door, and shove aside the rubble to gain entrance.
"Over there," shouted one of the men pointing toward Simon. As they approached him, Simon stood slowly, weak and trembling. He raised his tail in salute, so glad not to be alone anymore.
"I hope you brought food, I'm hungry."meowed Simon, as one of the men reached to pick him up.
The man scratched Simon behind his ears, he purred in contentment. Once the man had Simon safely in a cage, he placed it back on top of Simon's previous perch. He then left Simon and climbed the flight of stairs.
"Good!" meowed Simon. "Go find Jake, I want to see Jake. Find Jake."
"Nothing up here," yelled the stranger.
"Look again!" Simon meowed. "He has to be there, look again!" Simon meowed louder.
"Too bad," he heard the other man say. "What a shame."
Simon turned his head, looked at the other man, and was upset by what he saw. His eyes widened in horror.
"He was a good looking dog, quite young by the looks of him. Seems like he got pinned between two pieces of furniture, and drowned."
Simon could see Jake's lifeless body being carried by the stranger. Jake's head, tail, and paws hung down like limp spaghetti. Dirty water dripped freely from his once long, shiny, golden fur. Gone was the flashing brown eyes, and lively wagging tail. It tore at Simon's heart to see his friend and companion, not moving in the strange man's arms.
Simon meowed desperately, "Wake up Jake! Wake up!"
As the other man reached the bottom of the stairs, he walked toward his partner, and shook his head. "He was just a pup by the looks of him."
"Well, we can't bring him back with us, there's no room for dead animals in the truck, and we can't just leave him here to be torn apart, and eaten by wild animals. Mark, I think we should bury him."
"Yeah, I think so too. I'll go get the shovel from the back of the truck. We'll bury him and mark the grave. When his owners come to collect the cat, we'll tell them where we buried him."
"Sounds good to me."
From his cage in the back of the truck, Simon watched anxiously as the men found a raised dry piece of ground, dug a grave, and lowered Jake's body into the hole. After filling it in they placed a large piece of driftwood over the loose mound, and tied a long red strip of cloth to the driftwood as a marker. The image of that strip of cloth fluttering in the breeze, was the last Simon ever saw of Jake. Simon stared at it for a long, long time. As the truck drove away, he fixed the image of that thin piece of cloth deep into his memory.
After three week at the shelter, Simon's family finally came to claim him. They relocated temporarily in another state. Six months later, they all returned home. Water and electricity had been restored to the area, and the house had been made temporarily livable. A new structure was in the planning stage, to be erected next year.
The first thing Simon did when they returned home, was to search for that long strip of cloth. When Simon finally found what he was looking for, he walked over to it and sniffed at the ground. Satisfied that this was the right spot, he sprayed the entire area around Jake's grave leaving his scent for all intruders to know that this area was off limits. Simon then climbed upon the tiny mound, scratched out a small indentation, and settled himself down in the slight depression he made under the driftwood with the torn rag flapping in the breeze. Finally, he closed his eyes and went to sleep. It was the first time since the terrible storm, that Simon was actually able to sleep peacefully. He was content to be back home, back home again with his best friend...Jake.