There was nothing he could do to block out the the sound of that incessant nightly howling. The strangled mewling always seemed to find a way to penetrate the layer of pillows and blankets he wedged around his ears. That big old ginger tom seemed to know when he was trying to blot out the sound, as his feline caterwauling would reach all new decibel levels with every failed attempt.
It didn't help that the kid next door loved to poke his head out the window and join the cat in its midnight serenade. The pair would howl in unison, the sound like cat claws on a chalkboard placed perfectly in the center of his forehead. He had spoke to the kids parents, but they claimed that he was imagining shit. Their little Andy would never disrupt the neighborhood in such a way. He knew there was no way those parents could hear their little brat, anyway. They occupied the bedroom at the back of the condominium complex. He had tried moving back to his spare room, but the sounds of the neighbors rutting was almost as distracting as the cat. Between Andy's howls and his Mom's screams of "FUCK ME HARDER, DANNY," sleep just wouldn't find a way to arrive.
Plans to put an end to the nightly entertainment had all failed. He'd put out cat food laced with rat poison, but bi ginger had turned up his nose at the free offering. He had dropped his bowling ball out of his second story bedroom window, but the cat simply dodged the falling projectile, skipping daintily into the bushes under the living room window. Every failed attempt made the howling grow louder, to the point where he wondered why no-one else in the neighborhood was trying to off that awful cat.
He tried calling animal control, but they could never find the cat during the day. He spoke to neighbors, none of whom had saw a stray cat of any kind, never mind that distinctive big bugger. He began to believe that perhaps he was imagining everything, that perhaps it was a recurring dream, but Andy put paid to that idea. He'd see the parents take the kid out to the car each morning for school, and Andy would use that moment to turn around when the parents weren't looking, and greet him with a silent meow and a pretend lick of the paws. Breaking point was fast approaching, but he had a new plan that would put an end to it all.
He knew the cat was fast, but was sure it couldn't outrun a barrage of steel from his nail gun. He could lay roofing like nobody else, and his handiness with that nail gun was what made it happen. The next time he heard that howling would be the last. And that's when it stopped. He would lay in wait in the upstairs bedroom, but neither the cat nor Andy were making a sound. One day passed, then two, and before he knew it, the howling had stopped for a week. Just as sanity was about to settle back in, it happened.
He fell into a sound sleep, only to be woken by that god awful howling once again. He grabbed the nail gun from the bedside table, tore open the window, and unleashed a torrent of nail fire down to the ground. The howling intensified for a moment before silence descended once more. He tore downstairs and bolted out the front door, just as the mom from next door stepped outside. He looked at the parking space and saw the exhaust fumes plume into the cold morning air. The mother went to the car, looked inside, and then turned with a puzzled expression on her face.
he barely heard her asking if he had seen Andy. He pushed through the knee-high bushes and found the boy cradling the big ginger tom that had obviously been dead for a few days. The first rays of the rising sun appeared to make the boys skin sparkle, but closer inspection showed that it was nothing more than the light bouncing off the nails that penetrated his skull.
Walkabout (flash fiction)
4 days ago