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by Alena Fée 2 years ago in fantasy
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Part 1 - Claris | PART 2 - The Old Man

In the rear-view mirror, the taxi driver noticed a dog running, yelling, “Help! Help!”

He slammed the brakes so hard that his plump client, sporting a blue dress cut above the knee, with a huge yellow bow on the shoulder, roared in an almost masculine voice, “are you trying to kill me idiot!”

At this moment the small dog jumped onto the lap of the chubby passenger and tearing her tights, joyfully began licking the red blush off her glossy cheek.

“Rosalie, go home, you nasty creature” the passenger hollered.

“No!” Retorted the dog stubbornly and the taxi driver in shock appeared to drop dead!

“Now, see what you’ve done” The lady grumbled and reproachfully, shaking the yellow bow, moved up to the front seat. She started slapping the driver’s cheeks furiously. He responded and opened his eyes, but then hearing the lapdog whispering something nearby, drifted back into unconsciousness.

Failing to wake the poor guy, the woman in the blue dress with torn tights and a dog under her arm walked home in the rain. A veritable circus awaited her there: a parrot, with his wing broken, was swinging back and forth on a chandelier while a huge Himalayan cat was jumping up trying to reach him, but each time he kept losing balance and fell with a ruckus, saying, “give it back, I tell you, or you’ll be left with no wings at all”

“Oh!” wailed the woman, “I’m such a numbskull” she thought to herself, I keep forgetting to hide this portion in the fridge, and now I’ll have to waste half a day removing their ability to talk.

Glancing over at the cat, she added, “and what did this scoundrel eat that has made him so huge?”

“I didn’t eat anything. You’re starving me to death, lady. What could I eat? I have just grown a little...”

With his tail between his legs and grumbling hurtfully under his breath, the cat headed to another room. Meanwhile the woman clambered onto a stool and attempted to take the petrified parrot, ‘Oscar’ off the chandelier.

“You just try and say another word, tomorrow I’ll prepare a brew and all of you will forget how to snap at people,” she threatened the departing Ludovic.

Three days ago Ludovic had stolen a ring from Claris’s sister, and had guarded it ever since. Waking up in the morning and finding his loot gone, he assumed that Oscar had made off with it. Had Claris not returned when she did yesterday, he would have surely caught the bird. He was sad.

Dejectedly sticking his head under the bed, Ludovic was surprised to discover that the ring was there. His fat belly got in the way, but the desire to reunite with the booty was so great that he stretched out as far as he could and plucked up the ring with the tip of his claw. He awkwardly backed out from under the bed and catching his breath, sat down squinting in delight. The sound of a shattered cup and Claris’s howls burst from the kitchen.

“Yeah, that’s not the first cup this week. She’s such a wreck…” The cat, on high alert, covered his treasure with his gut and mused.

PART 2 - - The Old Man.

Who created those disgusting creatures? - Pondered Ludovic watching at the fly crawling erratically on his tail. He hated flies much preferring butterflies. He wanted to join in with their intrinsic, yet mechanical cycling movements performed so gracefully while flittering on the lilac bush and he wished he could spend some time swinging on one of the petals.

A mournful melody sounded from the radio station ‘Nostalgia’ in the kitchen. Clarice as usual was late, rushing through the apartment in search of a hat and stumbling over chairs and randomly scattered stuff all about the floor. From a long sprawling old robe faded from countless washings, came a shriek, almost an angry cry.

“Oh you…. loafers, parasites” shouted the witch.

Ludovic knew that the ‘idlers’ referred to were himself and Oscar the parrot. He was secretly jealous of Rosalie and the attention Clarice gave to this dog which often barked without reason and could never seem to do anything wrong. Ludovic could not understand why this ‘creature’ could walk freely anywhere and always be fed the most delicious pieces from the table and more annoyingly, she had her own bed!

Ludovic remembered how a few years ago the witch had saved him from starvation, dragging him through the cellars. Her delicate hands (so unusual and out of place compared to her muscular body) had warmed the frightened kitten she had found hiding under the pipes of the old partially destroyed house. Falling asleep, Ludovic had happily put his head on her stomach as she gently scratched behind his ear. There was no Oscar or Rosalie then - only he and her. Then one day, Clarice’s older sister, Emma, ​​brought a puppy into the house and from that moment Ludovics life became steadily unbearable.

Ludovic did not like it when Clarice left the house. He was always bored. Of course for the first half hour he could spend time teasing Oscar to run awkwardly in the apartment, then for another hour he could wait to see if a mouse would appear out of the hole under the kitchen table. Sometimes he wandered around the empty apartment and in desperation had stolen food from Rosalie. But after these minor distractions he had no idea what to do next.

The cat lazily watched Oscar and how he jumped on the shoulder of missis and began pulling at her silver earring.

“Yeah, that's just what I need” yelled Clarice irritated.

With an angry gesture she flicked off the annoying bird and disappeared into the bathroom and from there a minute later a baritone echoed:

“Tombe la neige. Tu ne viendras pas ce soir…”

“Yeah, falling, falling, but not snow, just rain...” mimicked Oscar.

She came out of the bathroom and sat down in front of the mirror and began to wail again:

“Well. I’ve cast so many spells for the return of youth yet I cannot stop myself aging and all because of my useless tenants. I have taught them so much and given them an insight into my magic spells and yet all they are capable of is stealing from the table. Uhhhg! I should convert you all to frogs”.

She looked at Ludovic and suddenly added “Oh, I would not stay here...”

Her gaze froze on the lilac bushes. She watched as the rain started and delicate drops fell on the dusty leaves. Clarice looked intently as if she had seen something and continued to stare out of the window.

“And where would you want to stay?” said Ludovic.

“Where? Hmm Erewhonland”, then feeling sweaty, she sighed and quietly shuffled into the kitchen.

“Where is this place, Erewhonland?” questioned the cat as the door closed.

“Do not stick your nose in someone else's aspirations”, Oscar said, intervening in his often irksome way.

“You are such an illiterate caveman. Who has been teaching you all these hackneyed and banal platitudes?” snapped the cat back at Oscar.

“By the way, look - - there is a fish for you to eat, its swimming straight into the pan,” quipped the cynical parrot as he mocked the vision of Erewhonland.

“How do you know?”

“I recently spoke with a very respectable lady. She told me a lot of secrets. I also mentioned this place too”.

“Really”, Ludovic said his eyes glistening with curiosity “what did she say?”

“Huh, sure, I am going to tell you everything right away. I am not as stupid as you. Have you forgotten how you broke my wing?”

“Well I thought you stole the ring. But okay, don’t get angry. Clarice can cure you with her magic”.

Oscar gave Ludovic an incredulous look and started to walk away.

“Come on tell me what the lady told you” asked Ludovic following the parrot.

“She said something about the ring and…. I forget…. a word ... goddammit…I don’t remember. Something about a… thing”.

“Ring, what thing? My ring, please try to remember, please”.

“Calm down, stop yelling fatty-lazy-one” said Oscar. “Perhaps, maybe yours. How do I know”.

Ludovic jumped up rather too enthusiastically and landed next to the parrot, he began to lick him, saying:

“You are my best friend, please think, try to refresh your memories, pleaseeee! ….What thing?”

Oscar bounced away on his slight unsteady feet, straightened his feathers and snapped like a typewriter:


“Why? What do you mean why? Do you not realize Clarice is dying of boredom? Do you care? I think not. Because you do not know her. She's so...” Ludovic was struggling to choose an appropriate word ... diso-lisioned

“Ha-ha, Disillusioned! I-will say-no-thing! but I can give you a lecture in English for just a small amount of money” …taunted the parrot.

“Are you trying to imitate someone again? well, just wait till Clarice leaves. I will strangle the truth from you”, threatened the highly charged cat.

“I am never scared, right”.

Unexpectedly someone called at the door and Oscar flopped down clumsily to the floor, Ludovic sat up momentarily startled. Rosalie started barking at the door handle which was being tried. The hostess, her face smeared with a strawberry face pack appeared out of the kitchen and shouted:

“Enough now! calm down”.

“Pull yourself together”, said Ludovic sarcastically.

Clarice sternly looked at the cat. Her face lotion was drying and starting to crack as she wiped it with a napkin and moved to open the….

On the threshold stood a hunched and gloom ridden man. When she saw him she tried to slam the door, but he quickly placed a wooden walking stick in to jam the opening and clear the way, pushing his shoulder to force and break into the room. A minute later the kitchen was alive with conversation which ascended to a spirited debate. The guest in a flat tone explained something to the hostess, and she just repeated: "I don’t have it. I know nothing. But only you dare…”

Then the older man, limping on one leg, hastily retired, Ludovic decided to see where he had gone and jumped up on the windowsill. With his head hanging down he suddenly found under the window the uninvited visitor.

“Gooood afternoon” drawled the cat; he was very intrigued by the old man.

“So you are Ludovic, a Persian brat?” he half croaked.

The cat wasn’t expecting this and looking offended moved to the opposite edge of the windowsill:

“Actually Clarice told me that I came from the Himalayas” - and added after a pause, “do we know each other?”

The old man didn’t seem at all marveled by the fact that the cat was talking and continued:

“Whatever, do not be afraid. I want to share with you a secret. Come closer to me”.

Ludovic trying not to show his interest walked cautiously toward the guest. The elderly man started whispering in his ear, and then with unbelievable speed and agility for his age he jumped to the side of the road and disappeared around the corner of the building.

The cat effortlessly slid off the window almost stepping on the peacefully snoring Rosalie. She waved her paw and mumbled something then rolled over and went back to sleep. Ludovic passed Clarice wearing an enigmatic smile, as if he had discovered the great secret.

“You're my only hope. My heart says that something will happen soon” - unusually softly she said and stroked his glossy dark hair.

"And your heart does not lie, my dear Clarice" thought Ludovic to himself.


About the author

Alena Fée

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