Saturday, May 28, 2011

Topaz, Chapter 1

I learned today that a short story I submitted to an anthology was not chosen... No big deal. I liked it so I'm splitting it up into a few chapters and including it on this blog. I hope you enjoy it.
Interesting…thinks the old man as he watches his cat stir in the morning sun as rays filter through a century-old window. The cat--its genealogy from any specific breed long ago filtered by generations of births--lies at the end of the bed, the soft down comforter warming the animal from beneath while it waits for the celestial orb to provide heat from above. The cat stretches his paws, the claws extend and become translucent as the nails touch the rays of sunlight. The cat yawns then retracts his claws and paws, arranging them while lowering his chin to rest his sleepy head atop the newly formed pillow of legs and fur. The old man continues to watch as the cat wraps his tail around his body, the tail’s raccoon stripes coming to rest just under the cat’s pink and black-spotted nose. The old man knows the cat will remain as the sun rises and warms his body. He also knows he cannot linger, but must rise and meet the responsibilities of the new day.
With shaky hands the old man reaches for his thick eyeglasses and gently places them on his face. He rises from his bed, the creaks and sounds from the wooden bed frame mix with those from the old man’s bones, their sounds filling the air like the flecks of dust lightly wafting throughout the small bedroom. The man’s small feet shuffle across the wooden floor toward the bathroom. The door closes and the cat twitches as the infinitesimal weight of a dust particle lands silently on a long white whisker.
The door opens and the old man returns, his pajamas replaced by dark slacks, a cotton shirt and light jacket, his slippers exchanged for white sneakers. A slight squeak comes from the sneakers as they cross the floor. The cat does not move as the old man leaves the room.
The old man eats his breakfast in silence, his diet consisting of corn flakes and a myriad of medications. As he eats he checks his watch, the passage of time triggers no reaction from the man’s wrinkled face. Random sounds of life existing outside his house pass between cracks in the door and window frames. The man finishes his meal, rinses the dishes, checks his watch one more time, then prepares to leave the house.
The old man stops before the oak door that protects the man’s scant earthly possessions from outsiders and takes a faded Panama hat from a hook on the wall, the blue band surrounding the hat matching the color of the his jacket. He places the hat over hair—hair once jet black and full, but now gray and thinning. Before he opens the door, the man reaches for his cane, his weathered hands embrace the carved ivory cap and the bamboo shaft dutifully supports his weight as the man exits the house and locks the door behind him.

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