No stories for November. I’ve been working on my novel Brewed Awakenings and haven’t had time to bust out a short story, so instead, you get an excerpt from the novel I’m working on.
The novel is about Eric and Naomi, two best friends and recent college grads trying to figure out why people keep literally disappearing after drinking Eric’s coffee. It wears its Nightvale and A Series of Unfortunate Events inspirations on its sleeves. Without further ado, here is the beginning of chapter 2.
It is rather commonly thought that every house cat is born with a bachelor’s degree in art history and criticism and just simply is unwilling to use it. While this is close to the truth, reality is a little more nuanced. Every house cat is born with the knowledge that can be gained from a bachelor’s degree in art history and criticism, they do not actually have that degree. Luckily, in 1907, the University of Toledo began to offer, through the back door, a program for any cat willing to pay for enrollment, an honorary bachelor’s degree in art history and criticism. It was rarely taken up on.
Naomi’s cat, Mothman, was not one of those enterprising house cats that wanted to make something more of their lives, and instead was simply content in criticizing the home of his owner. Mothman appreciated Naomi’s unironic indulgence in kitsch memorabilia that she collected on family trips, including novelty license plates stolen from cars, and nonsensical t-shirts that hinted at some sort of forbidden knowledge of the world. Mothman’s favorite was a t-shirt hung above Naomi’s mattress, that laid directly on the floor, that simply said in gold font on a dark blue background, “Please Don’t.” He always wondered what he wasn’t supposed to do. He enjoyed looking at this shirt much more than the endless number of shirts and pants and underwear and bras strewn across the floor of her apartment in a haphazard mess akin to a Pollock painting.
Mothman spent that morning combing around the room lazily and without direction, until he recognized that at that exact moment it was 6 am. This would normally be alright, but there was one piece of the tableau that he absolutely reviled at that moment. It was an empty food bowl tucked into the corner of the “kitchen” of her studio. Mothman decided to do the only sensible thing available to him. He started to scream. This did nothing to wake up Naomi. Mothman then climbed on top of Naomi and continued to scream, directly into her face. She responded valiantly with loud snoring.
Mothman then thought to do the unthinkable. He hoped it would never come to this, but it was almost 6:05, and this was unspeakable. He lifted his paw high into the air, screaming the entire time. He was ready to strike, and then, the phone rang.
Naomi’s eyes darted open, and then half closed again as she almost choked on her drool. She saw Mothman sitting on her chest saying hi in his cute little voice, and even waving at her! She pulled up her arms from underneath her comforter and grabbed him before he could scurry away. “There’s my favorite cryptid! I missed you so much! But we can catch up later.”
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