A Writer's Journey

April 28, 2013

Marching Through the Night

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: ,

The continuing adventures of Kate and her cat Stormy in a strange world.

Sorry for the delay. I meant for this to get published on March 25th but other projects got in the way. So here it is before April’s installment. Enjoy!

Matt’s presence was both comforting and unnerving. Questions danced about Kate’s mind but she lacked the courage to ask him. So she just walked beside him, Stormy’s basket swinging between them.

“Can I carry that for a bit? Give you a rest?” Matt motioned to the basket.

Kate shrugged. “Stormy doesn’t really care for strangers. I’m fine, thank you anyway.”

“Well, if you get tired, let me know. We can always stop and rest.”

“Thank you, but where? It’s barren.”

“I think I see something on the horizon.” Matt pointed to a black fleck up ahead.

Kate squinted and strained but was unable to make it out. “I hope it’s some place to rest.”

“Me too.”

They lapsed into silence again, continuing to walk toward the black speck. It grew with each step, sending a feeling of deja-vu through Kate. She wondered if it was to become a fourth member of their traveling party, another person to share in their silence. All of them could traipse on an on, with no end in sight. Kate sighed; she was making herself depressed.

But after a few more steps, she ruled out the possibility the black speck was a person. It was too boxy. And getting bigger and wider. Smoke began curling up from it and Kate gasped. “It’s a house!”

Matt stopped, tilting his head. “You’re right. What a sight for sore eyes.”

“I hope there’s a tub in there. A bath sounds so good.”

“Food does as well.”

“Why? Are you hungry?”

He shook his head. “But we still need food to survive, right?”

Kate nodded. “And water as well, but I haven’t be thirsty either.”

“I wonder what this place is.”

“Maybe that’s what we have to figure out.”

“We’ll be here forever then.”

“That’s very pessimistic.”

“Do you have any ideas, Miss Glass-Half-Full?”

Kate glared at him as they approached the house. Matt held out his arm, stopping her. “Wait. It could be dangerous.”

“How? We’re the only people here.”

“That we know of. Let me go in first.”

“Do you enjoy being an alpha male?”

He glared at her. “I’m trying to be cautious.”

“Fine, if it makes you feel better.” Kate waved him away. “Go ahead.”

Matt nodded, approaching the door to the house. He crouched low, trying to peer in the window by the door. Pressing against the wall, Matt tiptoed up to the door and turned the knob. The door swung open with a creak. He glanced at Kate before disappearing inside.

She remained outside, holding Stormy’s basket. “What do you think, girl? Think it’s dangerous?” The cat meowed. “Yeah, didn’t think so.”

Kate walked up the stairs into the house. It wasn’t a big place. She stood in the living room, furnished with a couch and a fireplace. A little hallway separated it from the kitchen and led to the bedrooms in the back.

Matt exited from one, stopping when he saw Kate in the house. “Didn’t I tell you to wait?”

“No, not really.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Well, you’re lucky it was safe.”

“Whatever you say. Is there food in the kitchens?”

“I don’t know. I was looking for a threat, not sustenance.”

Kate placed her basket down and Stormy hopped out to explore her new surroundings while her mistress went into the kitchen. Stormy wound herself around Matt’s legs, purring. “Hey, I think your cat likes me.”

“Well, that’s good news. Other good news—we have food!”

Matt sat down at the table. “Good. What are we having?”


His mouth fell open as he stood up, scouring the refrigerator. “You’re not kidding! That’s all the food this place can magic up?”

“Why do you care? We’re not eating because we’re hungry, right?”

“True, but still, I thought we’d get something a bit tastier.”

“Stop complaining and eat.”

“Yes, mother.”

Kate glared at him as they made their sandwiches side by side. He didn’t notice. The two sat at the table, eating in silence. And they cleaned in silence. Well, we’re two chatty people, Kate thought.

“I’m gonna go to bed. See you in the morning?” Matt placed his plate in the sink as he awaited her response.

“Sounds good. I’ll definitely be trying out that tub for a bit.”

“Okay, so I should head in there now. Good night, Kate.”

She wished him a good night and went to feed Stormy, finding cat food in a cabinet. It was alongside two bowls which she set out, filling one with the food and the other with milk. The cat heard the can opener and waited at her feet. Kate rubbed behind her ear. “Goodnight, girl. See you in the morning.”

Kate stood, walking toward the bathroom. Soft snores emanated from the bedroom on the right, signaling Matt was asleep. It was also the only other sound in the house and she suddenly wished she had music to listen to. Anything to break the silence.

The pounding water did it for a bit but she had to turn it off or flood the entire house. She slipped into the warm water and realized how sore she was. Closing her eyes, she let everything soak.

Later, she was curled up under her blankets, nice and warm. She had been asleep. What had awoken her, though? Had it been a noise? No, silence still reigned supreme in the structure. Was it Stormy? A cursory glance revealed nothing of the cat. So what was it?

Mind racing, she pushed the covers back and slid out of bed. Hairs stood up as her skin came in contact with the cold air. She wanted to jump back into the bed but her curiosity was piqued and sleep would never come until it was satisfied.

Creeping out of the room, she collided with Matt. Gasping, she placed her hand on her chest over her racing heart. “What are you doing?”

He was panting as well. “Something woke me up. I was coming to check on you.”

“I was coming to see what woke me up.”

The two fell silent again, this time listening for something—anything—moving in the dark. All she heard was their breathing. “Maybe we should check out in the living room,” she suggested in a whisper.

“I’ll go. You stay here.”

“Watch out for my cat.”

“I will, I promise.” He smiled before disappearing into the darkness.

Kate pressed against the wall, eyes darting about in an attempt to discern anything. It was odd, her eyes were not adjusting as they should. Everything still looked like she had just turned out the lights—black. No shapes. No sense of movement. Nothing. This was what terrified her the most. It reminded her of when she was younger and hiding under the covers from the terrifying things which went bump in the night.

At last, something moved. Kate pressed against the wall, holding her breath. Perhaps she could blend into the darkness. Hide from whatever it was.

Stormy darted toward her, claws sinking into Kate’s pajama pants. Kate frowned. “What’s wrong, girl?”

But of course, the cat couldn’t answer. Kate tried to pry her off but Stormy had a good grip on her. Something had really scared the cat.

She straightened up, looking for Matt. Kate prayed nothing had happened to him in the darkness. And that nothing happened to her in the meantime. “Why? Why is this happening?”

The voice didn’t answer which scared her the most. It usually had something to say but not this time. They were alone, relying on each other. If Matt was safe.

“Matt? Are you out there?”

She stepped forward, dragging the leg Stormy refused to release. The darkness did not recede as she grew closer, causing the knot in her stomach to tighten.

A hand clamped over her mouth, muffling her scream. “Hush,” Matt hissed. “We don’t know what’s out here. Let’s go back to our rooms. It’s safe in there.”

“Can we stay together? I don’t think it’s safe to be alone.”

He nodded. “Back up slowly. I think it can detect motion.”

Kate obeyed, letting Matt set their pace. Inch by painful inch, they made their way back to the bedrooms. Matt led her to her bedroom, locking the door.

She plopped down on her bed, trying to pry Stormy off her leg. “What is it out there?”

He shook his head. “Couldn’t really see. Has sharp teeth, though.”

Matt lifted his pajama pant leg to reveal bloodied teeth marks in his calf. Kate gasped. “We should clean that off. You don’t want it to become infected. Who knows if they have medicine here?”

She took his arm and dragged him to the bathroom, plopping him down on the toilet cover. Kate opened the medicine cabinet and  smiled. Bandages, antiseptic swabs and more filled it. Pulling some of it out, she set about tending to his wound. “At least this place is well-stocked.”

“Except in weapons.”

“Could you use them if we did have any? I know I couldn’t.”

Matt was silent and Kate took it as his response. She finished bandaging his leg. “There. We’ll change it in the morning.”

“If we make it.”

Kate grabbed his head, forcing him to look her in the eye. “We are going to make it. I do not think the voice would bring us here just to have us die during the first night.”

“Whatever helps you sleep tonight.”

She put everything away, lips pressed together, before turning back to Matt. “Shall we try to get some sleep?”

Nodding, he followed her back into her room.


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