Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Tale Of Mortimer Fagan (told in two parts)

This is a story about love, lonlieness and friendship.  But aren't they all?

There once was a lonely young woman who married a very angry young man.  She was kept home tucked away doing chores and housework while he earned his wage and lorded over the manor.  She wasn't allowed to keep her own friends or give voice to her thoughts. The angry young man was quick with his temper and loose with his hands and kept the lonely young woman on very tight leash.

One morning after the angry young man had gone off to work, where he kept his exciting younger girlfriend, the lonely young woman went on a short walk not far from the house.  While enjoying the sun on her face and the precious moment of quiet peace, the lonely young woman heard a small desperate cry.  It was a tiny high pitched sound that would have gone unheard if even the slightest breeze passed through. She wrinkled her brow and craned her neck in the direction of the almost imperceptible sound.  There it was again, a pained cry for help. 

The lonely young woman got down on her knees and searched under the bushes that lined the sidewalk.  Two more cries and she honed in on the source.  There, under the dried brown leaves of autumn, coated in dirt and caked with fleas, was a tiny black kitten.   His fur was matted with bloody red spots like rusty dried soil.  The kitten was trembling and alone. 

Here in the hands of the lonely young woman was the most helpless tiny heartbeat.  As helpless as the life that was growing in her belly.  The kitten purred at her touch despite the pain he was in.  She smiled at the little thing and they comforted each other under the bushes that lined the sidewalk.  

The lonely young woman took the kitten home and gave him a saucer of milk and a can of tuna.  She took him to the doctor who gave him a bath and medication and a fine prognosis.  When asked for a name to create a medical record the lonely young woman paused, looked up the ceiling and said the first name that came to  her mind.  "His name is Mortimer, she said. Mortimer Fagan" with a smile.

"Ah, this one loves you. You can tell."  An older man, tall and bald with a charming smile standing behind her had spoken.  "He's really attached. Had him long?"  "No, I just found him.". The man laughed and smiled.  " You didn't find him, he found you. They have a way like that. They know when a soul is crying out and in need. This little one, he's your familiar, he is.  He'll help you, whatever you need, have no fear.  Whatever it is you're hurting from, he'll help you."

The lonely young woman politely nodded and listened without really believing and took her friend home despite the trouble she knew would await.

Mortimer Fagan regained his health day by day.  The young woman, now not so lonely, fed and cared for the little kitten, kept him warm and provided him with a constant playmate.  Her little friend made her very happy. 

The young woman's new happiness did not go unnoticed by the angry young man whose small mind churned with a slow-boiling jealousy.  Though his dinner was always on the table, the clothes were cleaned and the house was tidy he could not tolerate an emotion over which he had no dominion. He did not address the kitten by name calling him only Cat or Pest.  He watched with cold contempt as Mortimer Fagan sat curled on the young woman's lap, purring with content as she stroked his healing skin.  At night he slept on her head or, to her delight leaned up against her expanding belly like an extra tiny blanket. 

During the day Mortimer Fagan followed the young woman around the house as she performed her dull chores.  When the angry young man's temper flared and he lashed out at the young woman, Mortimer Fagan would come between them as if such a small springy body would make a suitable defense against such a large and heartless bully. When she sat on the porch dreaming of a different life, Mortimer Fagan sat there beside her, purring with content. When she took her short walks Mortimer Fagan was a few cautious paces behind her. When she cried in a corner from abuses mental and physical, Mortimer Fagan purred in her lap, assuring her that all would one day be okay.

One dark, ugly winter morning the angry young man sent the young woman on an errand that would take her several hours.  Alone with his adversary he studied him from his chair.  The small black cat hid in the shadows and eyed the angry young man with suspicion. They stared at each other at a room's distance each not understanding what the young woman saw in the other. The angry young man got up from his chair and looked for his keys...

Part II tomorrow.