What A Cataclysmic Catastrophe! Pyramid Image.

Ying Ying

© Copyright 2000 by Ying Ying

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This is an entertaining story which was an assignment given to me by my English teacher. I enjoyed writing it. May you enjoy reading it too.

The Lees were entertaining some colleagues at home, indulging in an intimate little tete-a-tete over tea when their sable cat sashayed over regally and announced its arrival by vaulting onto Mr. Lee's lap and purring loudly before settling down comfortable on his lap.

"Ooh, that must be Aclysm!" cooed Mrs De Siilva, looking admiringly at the cat's flawless, lustrous jet-black coat.

"Indeed." Mr Lee nodded and raised his teacup to his lips.

"No wonder he's won so many competitions," Mrs De Silva gushed, glancing over at a trophy cabinet marked "Aclysm". "He's such a magnificent little feline!"

Mrs. Lee took a delicate sip of her tea and cast a speculative look at the cats' baskets. A pair of meek emerald eyes peeked back shyly from beneath a fleecy pink blanket. She pursed her lips and blew out a gentle puff of air. A downy white head appeared. It gave a soft "mew" -- the kind baby cats make when they cry for mommy cat -- and stood up awkwardly, only to lose its balance and fall promptly in a snowy heap on the marble floor.

It extricated itself with comical ineptness from the tangle and made its way clumsily over to Mrs. Lee, looking at her in trust and giving another of its soft "mews". She held out her hands and scooped it up, tickling it under its chin and stroking it lovingly as it purred in content.

At this, Aclysm purred so loud it sounded like a revving car engine, and sprang from Mr. Lee's lap, leaping towards Astrope who responded with a dopey sneeze. There was an amused burst of laughter from their owners and from the guests, The mirth, however, did not last long.

In their exaggerated show of affection, the cats had managed quite effortlessly and unintentionally to break two of the teacups on the coffee table. Mr. Lee winced as the porcelain shattered with an ear-splitting crash.

The kitchen's collection of exquisite porcelain teacups had been steadily dwindling. From a set of eight beautifully hand-painted teacups, the only ones that remained just before this point had been the two that the De Silvas had held in their hands. The rest had all been ruined at one go when the cats were playing "catch" in the kitchen not too long ago.

Had the Lees not loved their two pets as much as they did, they would have found exasperating the way the two cats always managed to break one thing or another. In fact, the pair seemed to possess a certain knack of breaking anything that could be broken, and it could be said that they fully exploited this questionable talent of theirs.

Due to the numerous disastrous incidents that the two cats were prone to, the Lees had grown use to the tedious chore of cleaning up the mess that Aclysm and Astrope always created, and now, Mrs. Lee efficiently swept up the broken fragments before disposing of them wistfully in the rubbish chute.

When she returned, the guests resumed the idle chat with their hosts.

"I've never known any other cats with the names Aclysm and Astrope. They're such original names! However in the world did you come up with those names?" marvelled Mrs. De Silva.

"It's nothing special, really. Aclysm and Astrope are actually their last names. They're both named Cat," replied Mrs. Lee with a gracious smile.

Enlightenment dawned on Mrs. De Silva and she burst into peals of laughter. "Cataclysm and Catastrope!"

Lifting his eyebrows, Mr. De Silva asked, "But why Cataclysm and Catastrophe, such inauspicious names? Because they always break teacups like they did just now?"

"Well, yes, partly. Teacups aren't the only things they break. They're not very particular about such things: they just break anything that's in sight," replied Mr. Lee drolly.

Indeed, it was the cat's aptness at disaster that gave them their unique names. At the pet shop, Mrs. Lee had fallen in love with Astrophe's soulful green eyes and "love me" expression while Mr. Lee had taken to Aclysm's sleek contours and regal bearing. Their names were at first just "Cat", but when their destructive nature began to surface days after the Lees had brought them home, it was mutually agreed that instead of being called "Cat One" and "Cat Two", they would be instead referred to as "Aclysm" and "Astrophe".

"Goodness gracious, what's happening?" an alarmed Mrs De Silva shrieked, as a painting swung precariously back and forth several times from its hook on the wall before crashing to the floor. This time, the damage couldn't possibly be attributed to Aclysm and Astrophe.

Everyone stood up in trepidation, only to find that they were all standing rather unsteadily. Nothing around them seemed to be still. To their horror, they realised that they were in the midst of an earthquake. Thankfully, the ordeal was short and over in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, a tree in the garden had been uprooted in the process. It now lay right outside the door. When the traumatised De Silvas decided to call it a day and return to the comfort of their home, they found that they were quite unable to do so. Try as they might, the door just would not budge. The fallen tree was too heavy to push against. There was absolutely no way out. They were trapped.

Spotting an open window, Mrs. De Silva squealed in relief and made a mad scramble for it. Tragically, she made a grave underestimation of the size of her generous girth, and in doing so, had got herself stuck. She flailed her arms about wildly. And fainted.

At the dismal sight of the limp body of his wife suspended on the window ledge, Mr. De Silva rushed gallantly to her aid carrying her to the sofa and administering to her with his handkerchief. Meanwhile, the Lees looked skyward for inspiration. An uninspiring crystal chandelier stared back at them. Just as they were wallowing in despair, Mr. Lee had a brilliant thought. He looked at the two gorgeous cats that he was so proud of, and scrambled for two pieces of paper and a black marker. He scribbled the following message on each:

Door obstructed by fallen tree! Woman stuck at window!! Help needed ASAP!!!

When he was done with his handiwork, he inspected it with satisfaction. Tucking the slips into the cats' collars, he opened a window and gently scooped up the cats. He patted them affectionately before letting them through the window. Under the curious eyes of Mr. De Silva, the cats landed safely on the ground outside.

"Go Aclysm, go Astrope," murmured Mrs. Lee, as he watched the cats totter away uncertainly. "You think that would help?" Mr. De Silva questioned hopefully.

The Lees smiled and said in unison, "Our cats wouldn't let us down."

The trio sat in the living room in apprehensive silence for what seemed like eternity before they heard a scratching at the door, followed by a "mew" and a purr.

Aclysm and Astrophe! Mr. Lee leapt up and strode briskly to the door. He peered through the peephole and saw a crane. There was a collective sigh of relief as a man called out, "We're getting the tree away now!"

Minutes later, the De Silvas were able to leave, and the Lees thanked their neighbour profusely for coming to their aid.

"Don't thank me, thank your cats. By golly! If they never came to me, purring insistently with that note in their collars -- well, I don't know what might have happened," the man replied.

"Oh cats, oh dear, dear cats," gushed Mrs. Lee, as she caressed the two felines lovingly.

Mr. Lee grinned proudly at his pets. "Good job, you two"

He was interrupted by a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to see a card shoved under his nose.

"That's my doctor's name card. He'll be contacting you regarding my medical fees for these scratches." The neighbour held up his arms, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly in a suppressed, good-natured smirk. "The kitties got their claws in me in their bid to get me to read your message."

"Argh!" Mr. Lee scowled and turned back to confront the guilty pair. But of course, they had already disappeared from the scene of crime in pursuit of their next escapade.

The author is a fifteen-year-old closet writer, looking forward to her sixteenth birthday and recognition as a writer.

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