joseph young arts
I wrote Autobiography of Cat in 2010 and the story was published that year in Dark Sky Magazine in serialized form.
Now, I present a newly edited and designed pdf chapbook of this sad but ultimately sweet story of a cat and her last days, as told in the cat's own words. You can read Part One of this six-part story (~4000 words in all) below.
With purchase, I will send the pdf copy of the story to your email (so be sure to include your address with your purchase information). Just $5!
There is something under the stove. It is smaller than me and it is not me. That makes the thing exciting. I wait for it. I stare at the dark spot under the stove for many hours. I will wait for the thing all night and then when it shows itself I will catch it. I will play with it and rend it with my teeth and claws. It is not me and it is smaller than me.
You are bigger than me. You make the place where I live. You make the food to be in the glass bowl. You are bigger than me and you are not me and you are exciting because of the food in the glass bowl. You rub my fur, and that is something I know. My mother rubbed my fur with her tongue. That was before I could see or hear or smell. My mother was a heartbeat that I felt, an echo in my body, and her tongue was on my fur. I couldn’t see or hear or smell. I had no way to be in the world, no nose or eyes or ears. All of them were covered in a gray film. It was just my mother and me. The world was gray.
I have this problem with the things under the stove. I need to kill them. I have the trouble that is the glass bowl too, how I need you to make that happen, once every few hours. But there is a bigger trouble that I have, a new one, one that you do not yet know about. You look at me and you see that there is something that is not the same. I know because your noises at me are different, your growls are different. But you don’t yet know what my trouble is. It is this bump that is growing in my stomach. It is getting bigger. It is growing fast, faster than the things under the stove can run. My eyes and nose and ears are getting covered again with gray. The world I came into, the one next to my mother, is going. I will be dead soon. The world will be gray.
There is a thing I need to do before I am dead. It has to do with you. I have to tell you something. I have to crawl in your lap, lie there feeling the heat from your middle, and I have to make you know something. I don’t know what it is. I see it when I am asleep but when I wake up it is gone. I can’t remember when I wake up from a nap what it was that was in my head just a moment before.
There is some white colored thing. I don’t know what it is but maybe I can feel what it is. It has the shape of a button, like the one I bat around the floor, or did before the bump came. It is round and small, the thing like the button, smaller than me, and it is exciting. It is white and smooth, with four little holes. There is something about the holes. They let through a light, a warm white light, a beautiful white light. It is the same somehow as you, the same as the button. The button and you are the same. You and the white light are somehow the same.
I will stare at the stove while you sleep. In an hour or two the small thing will peek out its head. It will see me. I will be there waiting, but it will not care. It has been under the stove too long. It will know that I have claws and teeth, but it won’t care. It longs to run, to scurry across the floor. It will come out from under the stove and it will run and I will catch it. When I catch it, I will rend it and make it squeal. I will kill it.
You will wake when the light comes to the place where I live. I will rub your legs. I will follow you to the glass bowl. Next to it you will find the small thing from under the stove, broke-necked and bent. You will make a noise at me, angry, and then you will make the food happen in the bowl. I will eat it and purr, but I will want something else. I will feel the gray of the bump in my stomach. The food in the bowl will not taste good, and it will not be the thing that I want. I will want to crawl in your lap. I will want to tell you about the button. It is round and smooth and it has a white light. It is exciting. I have only a few days to tell you. I don’t know how. It is small and not me. It is big, very big, and not me.