Ellen Rowan Taylor
"Oh no!" he exclaimed, with great dread and fear in his voice. "I missed them. They left, and I didn’t say anything."
She looked at him, with disgust written on her small face. "You were on duty today. How could you let yourself doze off like that."
"I couldn’t help it. Sometimes I get so tired, I just can’t stay awake."
"That’s irresponsible. I’m hungry, and there’s nothing there."
"It won’t hurt you to miss a meal now and then. You’ve certainly got some extra padding."
"How dare you insinuate that I’m overweight!"
"I’m not insinuating anything. You are fat!"
She looked at him, with hate in her eyes. "Just because I’m built differently than you, doesn’t mean that I’m fat. I work out just as much as you do!"
"Do you think it’s a little chilly in here?" She had always had a low tolerance for cold weather, and now that autumn was fast fading into winter, she was concerned. They had never been given instructions for operating the heating and cooling system in the house, and she was worried.
"I’m convinced that they turn the heat off when they leave." He was a little better equipped to deal with extremes of weather, but did hate the cold.
"I wonder when they’ll be back. I guess the expectation is that we will continue to do what needs to be done. They never think about how this affects us. I just don’t know why they don’t consult us when they leave." Her worries were escalating.
He knew that she would deteriorate into hysteria, if he couldn’t calm her soon.
"Come on. Why don’t we go into the East room? The sun is shining, and it’s always warmer in there. There’s some food left. If we ration it out, it could last for quite a while. Why don’t we rest here on the couch? Since we don’t know where they went this time, we don’t know how long they’ll be gone. Maybe it won’t be all that long."
She seemed to derive some comfort in that, and began to calm herself. She glanced at her reflection in the window, and began to show some concern about her grooming. He knew then that she would be all right for now.
They sat close for warmth, as the room cooled; eventually they both dozed fitfully. They had their chores to do. They made rounds, checking on the doors and the windows, as they always did during the day. Each returned to the other when his tour was completed, to huddle together against the cold. They ate some of the food that was left, sharing it, and conserving it against a long wait for more.
They continued alternating their rounds, ever alert for intruders, monitoring the weather, and resting between responsibilities. As the sun made it’s appearance in other rooms, they moved, taking advantage of the warmth. The light began to dim, the sky taking on a golden hue, which they knew would fade into black, as it did every day. It would become colder, as it grew dark.
"I’m so hungry." She said. "How can they do this to us? It’s so unfair."
"I just have a feeling they’ll be home soon. You know how I just know when they are coming. If they had bothered to explain the can opener, I’d be able to take care of things myself. "
"We do have a lot of responsibility," she began, just as they heard the garage door open. They hurried to the door to greet them, as they did every day, purring, and rubbing up against their legs, beginning their evening ritual, and the most important part of their day.
I am a semi-retired RN who has been married to the same man for 33 years and is owned by two cats, Pete and Maude. They are the third generation of cats to run my household. This story is a fantasy about what goes on in our house when the humans are gone.
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