A short story featuring Stevie Mouse and Treacle, two gray cats, a black dog called Spud and a feather.
Stevie Mouse And The Feather
Watching The Birds
A strange ‘cack-cack-cack’ sound could be heard from the cat terrace and Spud went out to investigate. Stevie Mouse was sitting on the table, staring out through the wire at the birds eating mulberries in the tree close by. Her whiskers were twitching and it was Stevie that was making that strange noise of excitement.
Dog And Cat Companions
Spud lay companionably in the sunshine next to the table. He listened to the noise his feline sister was making and gradually started to doze off. He was woken from his reverie by Stevie asking a question.
“Whatcha say?” said Spud, half asleep.
“What do birds look like Spuddy?” repeated Stevie Mouse, not taking her eyes off the movement of the birds in the tree.
Stevie Mouse Can’t See Properly
Stevie Mouse is half blind. She sees many things, particularly if they are close to her, but things further away are hard to see. She can’t go out and play with the other cats but Mummy and Daddy built a ‘catio’ on the terrace so she and her sister Emmy could enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
“Well,” said Spud, stumped by the question. “They are up in the sky and in the trees and…” he finished lamely.
Stevie Misses Her Sister Emmy
Stamping her foot with frustration, Stevie Mouse realized how much she missed her sister Emmy. Emmy used to describe what she could see in the distance and Stevie could follow it in her mind. Since Emmy died she had no-one to describe things to her. For a moment she felt a wave of sadness as she thought of her sister and how much she missed her. Just for a second she could feel her warm body next to hers and the nuzzle of Emmy’s nose, almost as if she was next to her on the table.
The Bird And The Feather
Then a big bird landed on a branch, not strong enough for its weight, and flew off close to the wire and Stevie just caught a glimpse of black and white movement. Stevie didn’t see a feather fall down from the bird onto the ground below.
The mosquito net behind the two companions made a slight sound and suddenly another cat appeared on the chair next to Spud. The three of them now watched the tree and the birds. There was a constant buzzing as bees and wasps and even the occasional hornet arrived to sample the mulberries on the tree.
Treacle Gets Involved
“What we talking about then,” said Treacle, always up for some fun.
“What do birds look like Treacle?” asked Stevie Mouse.
The little monster in Treacle was going to say, “They have six eyes, eat kittens and are tall enough to walk over trees,” but he restrained himself.
Treacle Remembers Past Lessons
Treacle looked at his big sister and thought about when she had told him off for laughing about Emmy when she had a seizure with epilepsy. At the time, as the realization had sunk into his young brain that Emmy might die, he had asked Stevie if Emmy would be all right. And Stevie had said, “We don’t know. And we don’t how long we will have her with us, one day she might not wake up, so we need to love her and look after her while she is with us.”
That made a big impression on Treacle and it was the first time he had learned to take care of others. An now Emmy had gone to live in the cat spirit world with no pain and no longer with the constraints of her poorly body. But he still had Stevie Mouse and the two elder cats Malteser and Lucy – and the two dogs of course.
A Prompt From An Old Friend
Treacle felt a slight nudge, almost as if another cat poked him with a paw. And a memory came into his mind. One of the last things Emmy ever said to Treacle was to take care of Stevie Mouse if anything ever happened to her.
Treacle Tells Stevie About Birds
Treacle concentrated really hard and started to tell Stevie Mouse all about birds. He told her about the blue and yellow ones that move fast backwards and forwards to the bird feeder where Mummy puts food out for them. He told her about the one with the red head that bangs its beak against the side of trees making a loud knocking sound and Stevie giggled.
The big owl that lives on the roof of the house made Stevie’s eyes widen as Treacle told how it hissed and grumbled as it moved around. And he told her about the big black and white birds that make a lot of noise, chattering as they sat in the branches of trees, and how they come down and steal the cat food from the feeding bowls outside.
Treacle talked about how the birds don’t have fur, they are covered in something called feathers. That the feathers are how they fly as the breeze lifts them up in the air.
Finally, Treacle told Stevie Mouse about the funny orange and black bird that has feathers that stand up on its head like a crown. He told her how it walked around on the ground and would stop still and bob up and down. And how it had a cry, “hoop, hoop, hoop”. Stevie closed her eyes and tried to imagine the silly bird bobbing up and down.
Mummy Calls For Stevie Mouse
Treacle was starting to run out of things to say. He was relieved when he heard Mummy called, “Stevie Mouse where are you?”
Stevie turned round, jumped off the table and ran towards the sound of Mummy’s voice. Treacle settled down for a snooze with Spud who by now was gently snoring.
Mummy and Daddy were sitting on the sofa. Daddy tried to give Stevie something but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. Mummy held it close to her face and said, “Look Darling, a feather! Daddy found it outside and brought it in for you”.
Stevie Mouse Gets a Feather
Stevie Mouse sniffed at the feather and then patted it with her paw. She played with it for ages before picking it up between both her paws and grabbing it between her teeth. She ran out of the room and took it to another room to hide her special toy from everyone.
And the spirit of Emmy, sitting in her usual place on the sofa though nobody could see her, smiled.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.