Birdsongs began before any of the sun’s light touched the sky. The crisp, cheerful sounds danced around each other in the darkness, promising things to come. Beneath them, a house sat quietly, its inhabitants still locked in vivid dreams. A cat stirred, her ears pivoting toward the small chirps, plus another sound less easily deciphered.
The cat yawned and stretched, exercising each of her claws on the duvet. Sarah stirred at the small pains. Her legs moved away while she sighed into another dream. The cat blinked at her reassuringly before turning her attention toward the wall, where that sound had originated. It wasn’t a typical sound. Not one of the house’s making, nor of any identifiable creature. Still, there was something familiar about it. Maybe it would be easier to remember after a quick snack.
The wall shimmered the moment the cat’s tail disappeared down the steps. Light and color caressed the surfaces of the room moments before the sky outside began to lighten in earnest. The contents of the room began to shift. The walls faded from blue to cream. T-shirts bearing rude messages transformed to suits hanging neatly in the closet. The painfully outdated computer propped against a bin of paint was now a laptop resting on a stained wooden bureau. Blonde hair spilling over Sarah’s pillow darkened to a glossy mocha. Fingernails grew and adopted pale pink polish. Downstairs at the water bowl, the cat remembered.
She padded up the stairs and took stock of the differences. This was the third rewrite this week. The memories would catch up soon, making this feel like the only version of events. It seemed only at the time of change were the other lives within the reach of memory. While awake, that is.
The cat huffed a sigh and claimed her place at Sarah’s ankles. There was work to be done. She closed her eyes and caught a tether to the past, nodding at fellow felines on their way to the same mission. Someone was back there making changes, and they would be found. Every cat in history was searching during their subconscious hours. That was the duty of cats throughout time. Yes, this culprit would be caught and brought to justice, as all the others had been before them. Until then, it was our cat’s fervent prayer that she not awaken as a canine.
This short story was made possible by the generous, amazing patrons at https://www.patreon.com/wcmcclure.
A special Thank You to Dustin Martin, Nicole Tuma, Rainy City Ukulele School, Stephanie Tuma, plus extra adoration to my World Shapers, Ann, Jess and Natalie. Thank you for your support!