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Jingle-Jangle Dance

The food chain from the middle of the ladder is dismal

By Eloise Robertson Published about a month ago 2 min read
4

The afternoon sun spotlights the lime-green grass beneath the shrub where Jingles hides. Golden beams poke through the foliage but don’t reveal him in his vantage point to his prey. In the present moment, his muscles are spring-loaded and on the very brink of catapulting him forward toward the unknowing bird.

It’s been a long day of adventure:

  • Grooming himself on the kitchen bench, before being shooed away. He holds a grudge over that.
  • Meowing at the backdoor obnoxiously until he was given freedom. Never to return again!... until he is hungry.
  • Climbing the neighbours’ rooftops where he first saw the bird perched on a crooked antenna. It eluded him. The conditions weren’t right.
  • Catching a butterfly by the front door, which left a horrible powdery bitterness on his tongue. It was a poor replacement for the bird.
  • Drinking from cool puddles in the back gardens, where the reflections of the winged creatures flying above taunted him mercilessly.
  • Fending off another cat from his domain (the bird was his, nobody else could steal this moment from him, you see).

Jingles has the lay of the land and the advantage of being unseen while he hides beneath the bush. He waits with utter stillness while the bird snaps its head this way and that, looking for threats and finding none. It hops forward, picks through the grass and steals another insect into its beak. The hungry look in Jingles’ eyes says he will soon steal the bird’s neck between his sharp needle-like teeth.

Both animals rely purely on instinct. Half a minute has passed while Jingles bides his time carefully, and now the dance begins. His haunches lift, and he raises his padded back paws repeatedly, as if testing the purchase he will have on the soil when he finally springs. It passes the test, and he jolts forward an inch before freezing again, large eyes locked on to the unaware target.

The bird pops its head out of the grass, surveying the sky once more, fearing larger birds will take its feeding ground. It doesn't realise it is actually on the feeding ground of another. Head cocked to the side, it keeps its eye on the prize and continues scavenging. Much like Jingles, it is hungry.

The winds shift, the stars align, the whiskers twitch, the sun brightens upon the target and the cosmos says now!

Jingles launches from his hiding place, racing at the bird with terrifying speed. With a body built for agility and speed, nothing can escape him in his perfection.

Ting-ting-jingle-jingle-jangle-ting-ting

The bird hears the warning bell and takes flight just in the nick of time. Jingles gives a lazy spring into the air, barely rising above the grass line, knowing the bird is out of his reach already. His ears peel back into some expression of seething frustration at his namesake. The blue collar and silver bell will forever be his downfall.

I suppress a smile at his disappointment and dip my biscuit into my coffee hungrily. He sees me through the window, then walks off while whipping his tail around. Clearly, he is still holding that grudge against me. I, of course, am the apex predator with a pantry full of food so it won't be long until he returns.

Short Story
4

About the Creator

Eloise Robertson

I pull my ideas randomly out of thin air and they materialise on a page. Some may call me a magician.

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Comments (3)

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  • Joe O’Connorabout a month ago

    You really captured the life of a cat! Well done!

  • Mark Grahamabout a month ago

    I love animal stories of real and imaginary.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    Excellent story amazing welldone superb keep it up

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