This month’s CatsCast is The Cat by Nicole Walsh. It’s available on the Escape Artists Premium Content feed on Patreon for patrons at the Premium Content level (that’s $5 a month) or above. We’ll be back here in the free feed next month. In the meantime, here’s a sample of what’s playing over on Patreon.
The cat followed him home.
Tomas Shine spent three and a half minutes in the stairwell hyperventilating. He heard Mrs Helen Acres, the widow from Unit Two, clatter and batter her way out her door, shopping bags in hand. She spotted the cat outside the stairway and reversed soundlessly into her unit.
Tomas sucked in a ragged breath, filling his lungs to the brim, and looked up. The cat waited on the far side of the glass door. Its tail lashed back and forth. Tomas used the rail to heave himself upright, then crept down the stairs. He opened the door. The cat stood, butt shooting into the air, tail upright like a comma. It mewed.
Tomas stepped aside.
The cat led the way up the stairs. Tomas walked slowly, careful not to step on it. His hand was shaking so badly he couldn’t get the key into the lock. His work bag slid awkwardly down his arm. Sweat pooled at his armpits, licking wet trails past his ribs.
The cat pressed into his leg. A small, frightened noise slipped from his throat.
“I’m sorry,” he gasped. “I’m trying.”
Nervous sweat coated his fingertips. The keys slipped free. They landed on the tiled floor with a loud clang, startling the cat. Tomas pressed into the wall, hand raised defensively.
The cat stared, tail low and flicking. Tomas crouched slowly, extending a shaking hand for the keys. For a sickening moment he was almost eye to eye with the creature. Tomas rose. He slowly and deliberately inserted the correct key into the lock and opened his door.
A small white shape flittered past his brown work shoes.
It was done.
Tomas Shine had a cat.
Read or listen to the rest on Patreon.
About the Author
Nicole Walsh is a cat enthusiast from the east coast of Australia who loves fern gardens and long dresses. She writes short stories and novel-length speculative fiction and urban fantasy that spans from a little bit dark, a little bit amusing through to a little bit steamy. Visit Nicole at: https://nicolewalshauthor.com/ and www.facebook.com/nicolewalshauthor.
About the Narrator
Matt Dovey is very tall, very British, and probably drinking a cup of tea right now. Although his surname rhymes with “Dopey”, any other similarities to the dwarf are sheer coincidence. He has a scar on his arm where he made the fatal mistake of going for the belly tickle with his youngest cat, Lizzie. He lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and cannot adequately express his delight in this wonderful arrangement; there used to be three cats in the mix too, but alas, recent bereavements have left just the one. As of 2022 he’s the host of PodCastle, and his own short fiction is out and forthcoming all over the place: you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or find him timewasting on Twitter as @mattdoveywriter.