24 February 2013

Gargantuan Flash Fiction

Crystal's challenge: a flash fiction, 500 words or less, including "gargantuan" and optionally "sociopath" by Saturday. Set out for myself, Terias McKlay, and the Drunk Runner.

Just a note: I didn't get a chance to edit as much as I would have, so the word count ended up being 596.

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Beardsley’s ears flicked nervously as he and his partner in crime, Walker, sat with their backs against the step leading up to the hallway of their exit. So far, no one had come up the stairs they were waiting at, but they both knew their relative safety wouldn’t last. Beardsley, the soft grey cat, kept his head ducked and inadvertently jumped at any vibration or breeze that graced his whiskers. He kept looking at Walker, the bright orange cat with white paws and ears, to be so calm. 

No, Beardsley decided, calm is the wrong word. Walker is excited to be on this mission.

Walker flicked his tail happily before he whispered, “I say, Beardsley, if the fate of our colony didn’t depend on our returning alive, we could really enjoy ourselves here.”

Beardsley’s jaw dropped and eyes widened, I have been dispatched with a sociopath.

Patting a paw on Beardsley shoulder, Walker said with a wink, “Just a thought chap, retract your claws.”

The grey cat didn’t feel reassured in the slightest, but did pull his claws back inside his paws. He tried to calm himself in order to sense danger more acutely. Beardsley was determined not to be desensitized by danger and end up the village lunatic like Walker. He was about to turn and peer over the step to check for guards but Walker interjected with a tangential thought of his own.

“I say, how do you think the rats became so gargantuan. Legend has it we cats used to hunt and kill them for our livelihood.” Walker continued to whisper, peering over the step, tail still flicking. 

Nodding slowly Beardsley asked, “Do you sense any of them nearby? Any danger?”

“Not at all, not at all. In fact, now would be a good time to make our escape, just across this hall and into that vent.” Walker replied, lowering himself again to press his back against the step.

“How do you figure?” Beardsley asked.

“The rat down the hall has his back turned and hasn’t moved at all. By his breathing I’d say he’s asleep. Perfect for our escape.” Walker explained, but curiously took off the satchel off from his shoulder, “Now then, you need to carry the documents.” 

“What? No. Why?” Beardsley asked.

“Dear chap, it’s easier to answer one question at a time. Now then. You will make it back to the colony no problem while I distract the rat at the other end of the hall.” 

Beardsley stared at his companion, mouth moving but no sound coming him. The orange cat gave him a reproachful look and said, “Don’t look at me like that, everybody knew this mission was either going to be a complete failure or a suicide mission, no reason to make it both. Now, ready on your haunches.”

Walker crouched on his haunches, ready to spring himself. Beardsley barely shook himself out of astonishment himself to crouch low and ready himself for action. In a moment of desperation he said, “Wait!”

One last wink came from Walker before he called out, “CHARGE!” and sprang from their hiding spot. Beardsley clutched the satchel and jumped as high as Walker in the opposite direction. As much as Walker’s verbal command was to distract the monstrous rats, it was also a call to arms for the grey cat to gather the last shreds of his courage and proceed onwards. 

Beardsley’s last thought before he slide down the vent was that the world would never be the same without cats like Walker, cats who were absurd but honourable and brave.  

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Just a reminder! If anybody would like to set out a challenge with me either a small, one off one or one spanning the next 4-5 weeks, feel free to leave a comment or message me privately.

If this was my cat, I'd totally name it Beardsley.


  1. Great story! Unfortunately, it has not inspired me to name my cat yet :/ (No Name is a brand, therefore it could also be a name, right??)

  2. I love it. What an honourable cat Walker was.