By. Justin Zipprich
Stuart was on his way home from work when he first saw the black cat sitting in a nearby driveway.
He was in a traditional community with almost identical one and two story homes lining the streets. In most cases, seeing a cat out in the wild wasn’t too strange of an occurrence, but It was when he realized that something odd hung from the cat’s mouth that he found himself struck. He took a step forward in an effort to bring the scene into focus.
It was then that he realized that it was a bird’s body that hung from the cat’s mouth. The baby bird’s head was completely hidden inside the cat’s hungry jaws while its wings, soft body and tail feathers hung freely. The scene was equal parts troubling and intriguing.
A shiver went down Stuart’s spine every time the helpless foul twitched, suffered. Perhaps most disturbing was that Stuart could still hear the bird desperately tweeting from inside the cat’s hungry mouth.
Stuart felt a tiny moment of hope when suddenly the cat’s mouth opened just a little, allowing the bird to jimmy its way to safety. Clearly too injured to take flight, the bird tried its best to hop away, gaining only a foot or two before being scooped up again by the hungry cat. It was the beginning of the end as the bird tried one last time to struggle before the cat gave the bird a final jerk, breaking the delicate bones in its neck. The little bird body went limp.
Not needing to witness what would happen next, Stuart moved on as the cat continued to devour its meal, the predator consuming its prey.
The scene actually seemed to sadden Stuart. He seemed to feel a fraction of sympathy for another living creature, and he didn’t understand it, he had never felt this way before. Perhaps it was because this was the first time that he had seen the cycle of life coming to an end with his own two eyes. Who was to say that one creature had the right to take the life of another? He didn’t like the idea that an adorable house cat could take the life of an innocent and bubbly sparrow but he also realized that it was just the way things were sometimes. But they didn’t always have to be.
He replayed the scene over and over in his mind during the duration of his walk. The sadness, the finality of the whole thing, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. The scene also made him think about his own life. Had he made the best decisions in his adult years? Was there anything that he should try to change in an attempt to become a better person? Perhaps he should change the way he thought about the world; maybe this change of heart would make the world a better place. He had a lot to think about.
When he arrived home he officially decided that it was time to turn over a new leaf. Things would be different from now on. Ready to fully commit to his new way of thinking he began the process of unlocking the fortified door to the basement. It was time to let Margaret go, she had been chained down there for long enough.
Justin Zipprich is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He is proud to have his previous work published by Necrology Shorts, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Fiction and Verse and Whisperings Magazine as well as an honorable mention in Allegory.
Go Cozy is a band from Washington, DC.