Monday, January 4, 2016

The Tale Of Mortimer Fagan Part II

When the young woman returned, she found her husband sitting in his chair with a smile on his face.  She was taken by the mad self-satisfied grin that seemed to grow and consume all the light in the room.  After a moment, she wondered why Mortimer Fagan did not come to greet her.  She looked around, called after him and shook his favorite bell toy.  All the while, the angry young man sat in his chair smiling.

The young woman knew from the cold look in his eyes that her husband had done something terrible.  Her heart beat fast and hard in her chest and  tears began to well in her eyes.  That was the cue he was looking for; the moment when he knew that once again he conquered her and defeated her spirit. 

The angry young man offered a smug confession that while she was out he took Pest for a ride down by Plum Beach which was some miles away.  He assured her the cat would not be coming home.  The young woman lost her composure and launched herself in a rage at her bullying husband with a force that surprised him.  He grabbed her, slapped her once across the face and threw her body on the couch where she folded up like a rag doll and sobbed for hours. 

The next morning, after the angry young man left for work, the lonely young woman  went out to the beach and called after her friend.  There was no response.   There was no warm fur ball, no soft purr to reassure her and she feared she'd never see her beloved Mortimer Fagan again.  

Some months passed and the lonely young woman gave birth to a smiling baby boy.  The angry young man, annoyed by the cries of an infant, disappeared for hours after work with his exciting younger girlfriend, leaving the young woman to care for their son all alone.  She knew he was nothing more than a bully and a scoundrel who intended to keep her trapped forever.  He'd taken so much from her, everything she loved.  She'd seen it build and knew she should have left long ago. 

Despite a new life in her hands, sadness hung over her like the clouds of a dull gray sky.  The guilt of failing her little kitten weighed upon her. The sight of his little worn toy mouse and bright little bell reduced her to tears once again.

In the evening, the house dark and lifeless except for her baby, the lonely young woman was tossing in bed alone. The man came home and stumbled around the dark fumbling for the light switch.  He smelled of alcohol and perfume.  He flipped the switch and the light came on and blew out as if a breath had extinguished a candle.  Cursing he stumbled along toward the bedroom where the woman was cowering under the covers.  He came closer, knocking things over and yelling for her.  She knew he was intent on taking out his frustrations on her again.  She crept off the bed, gathered her sleeping baby and crept toward the closet. The squeak in the floor boards gave her away. "Where are you?"  he growled. "Think you can hide from me?  I'll find you, just you wait".    He was closer now, almost within reach.  He was never more angry and she was never more afraid. If he grabbed her now she knew this would be it for her. 

He stumbled closer in the dark like a predator aware it's prey could not escape. He reached out his hand and grabbed at her hair when something soft and quick sped by the woman. There was a yelp and the sound of a struggle followed by a stumble and a crash as the angry young man fell down the hall stairs.  She sat in the sudden silence waiting.  She reached out along the wall and switched on the light. At the bottom of the stairs she saw the body of the angry young man splayed. Broken and still.  Three little claw scratches on his foot and a toy mouse at the foot of the stairs but no sign of anything else.  Only the cries of her baby pulled her out of her trance. 

The woman received a substantial sum from her husband's insurance, enough to get into some classes and start her new life.  Her real life.   She loved nature and woods and sand and got herself a place by the beach where the waves crashed and the boardwalk bristled with life. 

As she packed the last of her things she heard a shuffling sound from under a cabinet.  Grabbing a pan for defense she opened the door and out sprang the skinny undernourished body of Mortimer Fagan who jumped into her arms.  Somehow the little cat had found his way home and hid away from the bully who tormented them both.  She rolled on the floor with the little black cat who purred and licked at her face. She brought her little smiling boy over to meet her old friend.  The boy reached out and Mortimer Fagan rubbed his head on the boy's hand, happy to meet his brother. 

One last bit of business before leaving the old town was to bring Mortimer Fagan to the vet to make sure he was alright.  She saw the old man sitting quietly on the bench as before, smiled and went over to say hello.  "You look well", he said, "As if everything is going your way".  He asked about Mortimer, now back with the doc.  "He's fine", she said, "He's really just wonderful". The old man laughed and said,  "'Course he is. Animals recognize familiar souls.  He will always find his way home, always watch over you because a friend is a friend, from beginning to end".