FIRST PLACE, NYCM Microfiction Challenge, November 2019. Genre: Horror; Prompts: “washing dishes” and “talent.” 250 words.
“Ginger, Samson, Felix,” you sing softly, unpinning a dishrag from the clothesline on the patio. Their names, I assume.
It’s been years since you said mine.
The screen door bangs as you return to the kitchen. I count the bowls as you wash them. Three.
A breeze ruffles the leaves of the azaleas that hide me as I watch through your window. Your long hair is gray now. I remember how I used to nestle in it, tucked under your chin.
That was before.
Everyone called you the greatest geneticist of your generation. Talent beyond compare. You wanted me to live forever, and now I do, but the experiments changed more than that. So you got rid of me. I was too different.
You didn’t love me anymore.
Through the screen door, I hear one of the replacements meow. Envy slithers through me, hackling my back. It was no small effort to get home from where you dumped me. Good thing I have infinite lives. Nine wouldn’t have been enough.
You step back out to rehang the dishrag. My whiskers twitch as I cross the patio.
“Pepper?” Your eyes widen, you drop the dishrag. “Could it be?” You’re trembling but smiling.
You crouch and extend a hand. “Here, kitty-kitty.”
No. I’m not your kitty-kitty anymore.
When I leap to your neck, you topple. You let out a gurgling wail as I rip through your throat, your blood thick, somehow sweet. From inside, one of the replacements yowls, alarmed. Too bad.
Your head lolls as you whisper my name.