Flash fiction: “Nine Lives to One”

In response to flashxer prompt:

THE OLD MAN WAS SENILE, BEDRIDDEN, AND LYING IN HIS OWN WASTE. HE
WAS WHEEZING HARD WHEN TWO PEOPLE, WEARING BALACLAVAS THAT COVERED
THEIR FACES COMPLETELY DROPPED A PILLOW OVER HIS FACE AND HELD IT
THERE…

—-

NINE LIVES TO ONE (222 words)

Sacha Chua

Ninety years old and he was still like a child around cats—a mean,
cruel, nasty boy who kicked them and pulled their tails and ‘forgot’
to feed them. His wife loved the cats, but she loved him too, so she
overlooked his cruelties and snuck her little kitties catnip every so
often.

But cats don’t forgive as easily, and they live for a long time.

Age took its toll on the man. He grew frailer and frailer. Bedridden,
he ranted and raved at his wife as she took care of him. She pretended
not to hear his insults.

The cats heard, though. They took to staring at him from the foot of
his bed, silent witnesses to the verbal abuse his wife endured. After
particularly bad nights, she’d find herself waking up to the purring
comfort of cats snuggling under her blanket or rubbing their tiny
faces against hers.

He sickened further, lungs heaving in the crisp night air, arms too
feeble to move.

The cats almost seemed to smile.

One day his wife found him staring straight up, rigid. Dead.

Suffocation, the doctors said. How he suffocated in that bare room, no
one could explain.

But the cats all purred, even the littlest ones as light as feathers
on the nose and mouth and chest of a weak old man…

—-

You can tell when I’m procrastinating something big. I write more
flash fiction.