by Gabriella Balcom
A white Siamese cat sauntered along the beach. Stopping, it looked at the waves rolling in from the Pacific, the churning surf, and the people going to and from the water.
Seagulls standing near the shoreline glanced at the white animal before flying away.
“What did I tell you?” The blonde man pointed toward the feline. “Everyone in California loves the ocean and beach. Even cats do.”
His redheaded friend shrugged. “I figured fewer people would be out since it’s Halloween.”
“Nope. They come all the time.” Propping his surfboard against a nearby concession stand, the blonde said, “Give me a piece of your hot dog.”
“Hey, I only have one bite left.” His pal frowned. “I got this for myself, not some stray cat.”
“Don’t be selfish. You can get more later. Heck, you can get ten hot dogs if you want. The cat needs food more than you do. Look how skinny he is.”
“Oh, all right.” Making a face, the redhead stooped and held out his offering. “If you’re hungry, come get it.” The animal stared at him but made no move in his direction. “Come here, kitty, kitty, kitty. I’ve got something for you.”
The Siamese continued to study him but didn’t budge.
“Gimme that.” The blonde took the portion of food, slowly approaching the white animal. “Don’t be afraid, dude. I won’t hurt you.” Shoving back locks of his hair which had fallen across his forehead, he knelt beside the feline. “You hungry?” After the cat gently took the food from the proffered hand, devouring it in a flash, the man petted the furry head, then stood. “Well, we gotta go but you take care, little buddy. If you’re still here later, I’ll buy you your own hot dog.”
The animal watched them enter the water, then hissed as it nimbly avoided being smacked by a kayak two women drug across the sand. Other people dressed up as ghouls and zombies passed by, carrying jet skis. Ignoring them, the cat walked away. It continued until it reached a deserted area of beach, and moved toward a house on the right which had figures in the front yard.
As the feline padded across the lawn, a witch standing there cackled. The Frankenstein beside it growled ominously. The cat ignored both Halloween decorations, going around them and a coffin which began to open.
Short-fuse, the Chihuahua who lived here, napped in a chair on the porch. One of his ears twitched, then the other. Raising his head, he spied the newcomer, jumped out of the chair, and ran across the porch and down the steps, letting out piercing yaps all the way.
The Siamese stopped to watch the approaching dog.
When Short-fuse was close enough, he lunged at the cat. The feline deftly avoided his attack, extended its claws, and raked them across the canine’s nose. Short-fuse squealed. Rubbing his injured nose on the ground, he growled, and ran at the intruder. Evading the dog, the Siamese scratched him a second time. The Chihuahua yelped but still tried once more––unsuccessfully.
Without any warning, the cat dashed away toward a stand of sequoias and redwoods nearby. It leapt onto a trunk and climbed up high. Short-fuse ran frantically back and forth at the base of the tree, yapping even louder. The Siamese clung to the trunk, claws embedded firmly, and stared down at the noisemaker.
Breaking into one frenzied burst of barking after another, the dog vibrated all over, as though an electrical current flowed through him. He practically bounced up and down.
Turning its head first one direction, then the other, the white cat scanned its surroundings. No one was around––no person, at least––although sandpipers ran this way and that. Focusing on the excited animal emitting staccato yips below, the feline opened its mouth, and a green tongue––several feet long—shot out toward the ground.
The dog didn’t notice at first. However, seeing the long appendage split at the end, his eyes widened and he stopped moving.
Using its forked tongue to snatch up Short-fuse, the Siamese pulled him back toward its mouth. The dog barely had time to whine before the cat’s mouth expanded to gulp him down.
Off to the right, the front door to the house opened. A woman stepped outside, looked around, and called out, “Short-fuse! Here, boy. Come here, puppy, puppy!” He didn’t appear, so she yelled, “Short-fuse! Where are you?” She spoke over her shoulder, “Bud, I heard Short-fuse barking his head off at something but now he’s gone. Do you think he ran off again?” When she received no reply, she frowned. “Bud, did you hear me?”
“Yeah,” a man responded. “I’m sure he’s fine.”
“You’re probably right but remember how mad the neighbors got when he went after their guinea pig. You don’t think they’d … ”
“Stop fretting. That stupid yapper is always running after something. Birds, seals, crabs. He’ll return like he always does. Come back and watch this movie with me.”
“All right. I’m coming.”
The Siamese with a tummy full of now-silent Chihuahua released its claw-hold on the tree trunk, dropping to the earth. Stretching languidly, it gave a deep burp.
Glancing at the house, the cat noted a piece of lopsided siding moving beneath the porch. A tabby poked her head out, caught sight of the other animal, and uttered a mewl.
Padding that direction, the Siamese sat a few feet from the porch, extended one leg into the air, and groomed itself with a normal-looking tongue. The tabby made an inquisitive, questioning sound. Licking one toe after another, the white cat replied with a confident meow. The tabby took a hesitant step forward, stopping to scent the air in the stranger’s direction.
Opening its mouth, the Siamese spoke in a friendly human voice. “Come here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”
The tabby cocked her head to the side, and then moved closer.
Gabriella Balcom lives in Texas with her family. She loves reading and writing, and thinks she was born with a book in her hands. She works in the mental health field, and writes fantasy, horror, sci-fi, romance, literary fiction, children’s stories, and more. Over 200 of her works have been published or pend publication with several publishers. Her first book, On the Wings of Ideas, came out recently, and she has another novella pending publication by Black Hare Press.
She likes traveling, music, good shows, photography, history, genealogy, interesting tales, and animals. Gabriella says she’s a sucker for a great story and loves forests, mountains, and back roads which might lead who knows where. She has a weakness for lasagna, garlic bread, tacos, cheese, and chocolate but not necessarily in that order, and she loves Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food.