Friday, 1 July 2011

Nine Lives: A Short Story From "Sweet Tooth"

A cat and a dog sit on opposite sides of the road, regarding each other silently. The cat is sleek and black, with impossibly knowing jade eyes. The dog is a giant, kindly-looking thing. Recognition fills the silent midday air.
“This is quite a surprise,” says the cat.
“You don't say,” the dog replies. After a moment he adds; “You look... good.”
“Thank you.” Neither of them say anything for a moment. That's the thing about reincarnation, it's unpredictable; the cat had honestly not expected to see him for a few more lifetimes. If she weren't so impassive and catlike, she might be breathless.
Dog wishes he could be as nonchalant, but the truth is he can't look at her, even now, without a slight twitch in his tail. She was always beautiful, and she always knew it. This new form suits her. Which is more than can be said for him; a great baggy lummox, always wearing his own body like an oversized coat.
Cat knows that she has this effect on him, but she can't help it. She would never in a million years admit how far she has fallen; how her name is now a ludicrous moniker bestowed on her by children, how she eats from any home that will have her when once she could sit alone in a restaurant and never have to raise her hand for the bill. That was before she met him, of course – the Man who would become Dog.
Now, years after they've both forgotten how many years it's been since they first met, Cat and Dog sit and stare at each other. This is typical of them, they've both come to realise. Not so much star-crossed, just a doomed mismatch. After a while, the cat turns tail, and begins to walk away.
“You're still...” Dog blurts out, but he can't finish the sentence. Still what? The love of his life? Of all his lives?
Cat looks back, and for a moment Dog thinks he sees something in her eyes, something old and familiar, but it could be his imagination.
“When will I see you again?” He finally asks.
“Don't worry,” she says, and he knows she understands. “We've got time.”

"Nine Lives" is a story from my anthology 
available on Amazon Kindle for just $2.99


  1. Not fighting like cats and dogs! Sure is a sweet tale

    marc nash

  2. Very simple, very plain.
    And I mean that in the most complimentary manner.
    This could have been over-worked or over-fussy.
    But the tone, the pace and the story are controlled well.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this!

  3. Ah, that was a soothing tale, just what I needed this morning. I like the description of Dog feeling like he wears his body like an overcoat. You've captured that certain feeling of some people being comfortable and fluid in their bodies, and others appearing downright uncomfortable. :)

  4. Nice. Whimsical, emotional but not over-dramatized. The ending is perfect. Well done! :)

  5. This was a layered story, potent for all of the sweetness.

  6. Very cute. I agree with Sulci..nice to see a cat and dog with so much love and appreciation.

  7. Really sweet. Nice descriptions.

    I hope next life around she is the dog and he is the cat.

  8. This is so beautiful. I was reminded of 'Oh Heavenly Dog,' a film I loved when I was a kid. But you add depth that (comedy) movie didn't quite reach. So lovely, Philip.

  9. This is my idea of what a short story should be.