As a co-host, I begin with A to Z Challenge reminders:
1. Turn off your word verification. It helps no one. You may moderate comments for a while if you’re unsure.
2. In your comment id, link only to your AZ blog, NOT your profile which may have 5 other blogs.
3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
4. Comment when you visit blogs. Start visiting with the blog below you on the linky list.
5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog and follow you on social media.
Today’s word prompt (the bolded beginning of the story) comes from Tom Olsen and the picture prompt from Rayna M Iyer. The prompts just clicked together, so I chose each for the other. Now for the flash fiction:
Cats do not make good pillows, but that was all the boy had– a cat he called Mau for a pillow, best friend, and family on the streets of Mumbai.
A cat has skills, and the boy had learned quite a few from Mau– how to move and when, where to scrape a meal from, and what to leave well alone. He knew to pad across the road when it was choked with traffic, to curl up on high walls when threatened, to steal a nap in someone else’s ramshackle tent on the footpath— close enough to people to earn a pat or morsel, but far enough away to bend into a run.
That evening when the earth shook with noise, window panes on the office buildings shattered, and the first sirens blared, the boy followed the other people of the street, to see what was up. But he came back to Mau, who licked him up, perhaps to warn him off the curiosity that killed cats.
That night, when people had run, holding each other, some bleeding, the others bent and wailing, when the sirens had dulled into a lulling song– the people in the tent behind which boy and cat shacked up for the night dwindled their chatter about bomb blasts, and fell asleep.
Sometime at dawn, the earth shook again, startling them awake, and all was sound and pain and darkness for a while, from which Mau emerged unhurt. But the boy did not. It did not matter how much he had learned from the cat, how hard he tried.
Mau had nine lives after all, the boy but one.
beautiful story! Short, but powerful (and sad).
beautiful story! Short, but powerful (and sad).
No cute fairytale here. No sweet jungle book. A cat can do things that a boy cannot. Eery. sad.
I think you need to rewrite this one. Not so much for the story line or content but for the flow in some parts of the text. This is just my opinion.
Thanks for sharing.
Poetic and beautiful.
Nice piece of flash fiction. Lots of emotion in only a few words.
Love the story, most interesting thing I've read all day :).
Another fantastic story. I am a big fan now…huge 🙂
Oh my! Didn't expect the sad end…
This post is beautifully written, you're amazing!
I was pulling for a happy ending… but the way you ended this story was perfect.
I hope we silly humans get to a point where we can stop trying to blow each other to bits all the time.
Thanks again for all the generous comments, everyone. As a writer undergoing a period of low self-esteem (don't ask) at the moment, your words make me work to try and deserve your praise.
Thank you for stopping by. Great A-Z posts! Glad you like my blog.
Wow, I was just thinking how lucky the boys was to have his companion, and then he died! Oh so sad and very compelling. You managed to draw me in immediately.
Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
on the A to Z challenge (#970)
I love the images of the boy and the cat and the people running. I also love the last line about the cat having nine lives.
Also, note: while cats do not make good pillows, most cats (aka my cat) believes that human faces make excellent pillows . . .
lovely writing–touching story–reminded me of my cat that was taken away when i was at school 🙁
A very sad piece… Well done. You've captured the senselessness of what children are going through in much of the world today. And the cat was an excellent way to bring the boy's story out. I adore cats. They're mysterious, independent survivors who nevertheless find their way so easily into human hearts. Mau surviving while the boy didn't definitely added a poignant touch to the tale. I was relieved at least the cat survived, but his young friend's death completed the picture you were trying to paint with just the right edge to it. Thanks, Damyanti.
C for Cinderella
What a starter sentence! And what a poignant, sad story! Another winner, D!
A to Z Blogger
What a beautiful piece of writing! I shed a tear at the end.
Looking forward to reading more posts.
Enjoy the rest of the challenge!
I would watch this movie.
Thanks for stopping by my blarg for the AtoZ challenge!
I love short stories, and am amazed at what a great story you were able to tell with just a few words.
Great story, but sad 🙁
Your flash fiction posts for the "Blogging from A to Z" challenge are amazing! My only wish? That they were longer! Aww! I get so caught up in your beautiful writing, I just don't want the stories to end!
Beautiful with resounding pain and loss
my a to z
I am so impressed by your writing that you left me speechless (wordless) LOL which is not easy for me. Great post!! Visiting for A to Z http://takingbackmylifemakingitmyown.blogspot.com/
That was so sad, but beautifully written.
One of the most moving and poignant pieces I've read. Beautifully written.
I loved this post! A friend of mine has a cat named Mau and this will surely resonate with her.
Katherine, this story is set in Mumbai, India, the location at which the picture was taken by Rayna M Iyer who kindly let me use it.
The name Mumbai appears in the very first line. The word Mau comes from a mixture of Ma and Miaow– Ma is the most common Indian word for mother 🙂
Thanks for your kind comments on the story.
Thanks to everyone else as well, I just feel humbled.
Some of your kindnesses make me want to hide under the table (I guess that's why I write, cos it lets me hide)—I can't take compliments very well!
Very sad. You couldn't have ended it any other way.
This is a beautiful peace—I wasn't expecting the sad ending, but it did make sense. The story could have gone either way.
I like the name you chose for the cat as well. For some reason I pictured a Southeast Asian setting for this story, maybe because I took a class centered on women and children in Asia and Africa in college, and this little homeless boy reminds me so much of some of their stories. Mau, the name, reminds me of Mao, the leader, and of the noise a cat makes.
I wasn't expecting such a sad ending.
Nicely done. I love the image of the cat trying to warn him away from curiosity with her 'kisses'.
Your writing is very delicately precise. LOVE
Every day your posts get better and better…I so love reading your writing. Thank you!!
Once again, thanks for your comments everyone.
I'm sorry if the sadness in the story filtered through into your day.
I tried my best to give it a happy ending, but some of my stories write themselves and insist on staying that way– and this was one of them.
Great work with this prompt. You took a prompt that was funny (because, really, cats make terrible pillows!) and turned into a sad and poignant story.
Best of luck with the rest of your prompts,
Poignant. cats are indeed very adept at surviving catastrophes – we humans are far more fragile.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am sure you have your hands full, I can't even imagine co-hosting.
That was an enjoyable read, even with the sad ending. You are very talented.
Just A Nice Girl
Beautiful timeless piece with much heart. And if one were to venture in believing that the boy may live again, I do think he would survive.
You have a true gift of evoking so much emotion and thought with such few words. 🙂
Very sad and beautifully written.
Laura A to Z of Immortals, Myths & Legends
awww you made my eyes all teary 🙁 Darn you, and your stories that pull me in.
Seriously, that was great – you made me tear up at the end there. Good work!
A to Z Challenge
What a powerful flash fiction! I love cats and teach children, this had a powerful message and was excellently written – thanks!
Great story, sad ending.
That was such a sad and poetic ending. It's amazing how much feeling you are able to pack into such a short span of paragraphs.
Sarah @ The Writer's Experiment
very melancholy, but lovely! Great post and PS…thank you for th tips on the side bar. Now we just need to get some to follow them!
I absolutly LOVE your writing. the ending was pretty sad. but thats ok, its still very good.
Wonderful FF! Great job. And thanks for the comment reminder. 🙂
Awesome! Great first line!
Some times we do learn things from animals, survival tricks, and some of them are worth it.
Like that thing about nine lives 🙂
Awesome…love reading these!
Fantastic flash, Damyanti, capturing the essence of such a life, and such a short one at that. But I must disagree with Tom's generalization: Most cats do not make good pillows. Some more docile felines work just fine… as do stuffed tigers named Hobbes.
I think someone needs to teach my cat that she is not my pillow. Never fails that she wants to sit behind my head while I'm on the couch.
That is sad.
So sad! But clever the way you worked in the number of lives…
Bittersweet – beautiful.
Aww, that was so sad! 🙁
Sobering but beautiful. Love how this led from the prompt!
Oh that's so sad. Good, but sad.
Oh no! I hadn't prepared myself for that ending so it took me to a sad place rather quickly. Though I'm glad that Mau is still about.
This was so well written, Damyanti.
What an ending! Wow. You are such a talented writer.
Awww, that had quite the sad ending. =(
Rayna, the honor is all mine, I assure you.
Like I said to Rosalind before, I tried my best to save that boy in my story, but could not, because in our India of today where Baby Falak died such a an agonizing death, I could not see that boy grown up.
I do pray that the boy in your photograph is not just alive, but thriving someplace, with not just a Mau but a large family to watch over him…
Amazing story in so few words. Poor boy. Hope Mau finds someone else to teach.
I am honoured, Damayanti, that you have written such a beautiful story to go with that photograph. In a "story", the boy would have survived, but in real life, things are likely to have happen exactly as you write it.
You paint such a beautiful picture with such economy of words.
Incidentally, in real life too, that boy just disappeared. I used to see him a couple of times a week, amusing himself with the things he could find on the roadside. And one day, I realized he was no longer there. Where he's gone, I do not know, but I do hope he's alive somewhere.
That was lovely! Great C post.
WOW on the writing and it actually gripped me as I was rooting for the boy to somehow be ok in all of the chaos. It does paint a true picture of the world around us. Loved it!!!
I love your voice here. It is so sad, but beautifully written.
Again, another great read and post for day 3 and the letter C!
Rosalind, I wanted them to survive too, but couldn't save the boy. I'm very fatalistic these days– and have begun to accept that some things are beyond our ken and control, and no matter how hard we try, we can't make it …depressing, right?
That caught me by surprise. I was so sure they would survive, or at least the boy would. Beautifully written, Damyanti.
Mine is here at http://seewilliams.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/cloaks-dont-make-a-monk-any-more-than-cloths-make-a-cop/
Wow! So much to learn about Cats in this short piece…Thanks for sharing, I love this
Thanks for the comments, everyone—gosh you guys are fast!
Paula, Mau is the cat– the boy purposely has no name. Mau comes from a mixture of Ma and Miaow– Ma is the Indian word for mother 🙂
So sad, but fascinating too to read what Mau learnt from the cat.
Loved the mood of this piece and also the manner in which the tale unfolded… the "curiosity killed the cat" expression was also weaved cleverly into the storyline, and the other cat expression packed a punch in the closing line!
Oh. That was so sad at the end. 🙂 You have a lovely writing style. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, wow! You have such beautiful writing! I thoroughly enjoyed the piece of fiction.