She darted out the other side of the porch, though she usually avoided that side of the yard—the neighborhood terrorist lived in the next yard. No one wanted to chance being the focus of his attention. And Fluffy least of all, being very much a timid indoor cat.
But she’d had enough. Last month she had set things in motion; this month—
She sat down right at the edge of the yard, where a bush hid her from her human, but not the terrorist next door, and started to clean her paws. The itch grew, and the terrorist noticed her, and started barking from his humans’ porch.
As usual, his humans weren’t home; no one arrived to tell him quiet down. As he leapt the rail to get to her, the moon crested the horizon, and the itch changed to a burn. Fluffy grew and grew, her form twisting and shifting. Her fur changed, the white patches swallowed up in the black, and her claws and teeth lengthened proportionately.
Red-eyed, she lifted a wolf’s paw and swatted the neighbor’s dog to the ground.
Whining, he rolled belly up, baring his throat.
She leaned over, stretching her new jaws over it, and paused.
He breathed in, shallowly, submissive. His eyes grew even wider. “Fluffy?”
“But, but—Big? Wolf? Cat?” He dribbled on the grass and thumped his tail. “I—I—you’re Alpha. Yes, yes, you’re Alpha.
“You want to live? No more chasing cats.”
“But—But—dogs always chase cats. You’re a dog—now. You know. You know. Right?”
Fluffy did know. It was built in to the form. “I catch you chasing a cat again, and you’re dead.” In the distance, she heard her human calling for her.
More submissive dribbling and groveling from the terrorist. “Yes, yes. You’re Alpha.”
She let him up and left, walking boldly down the street. It didn’t matter if her human was looking for her, now. She wouldn’t be recognized. Then Fluffy doubled back through the alley, and used every bit of her native feline stealth to creep back to a point where she could watch the terrorist.
He was already up on his feet, strutting around, showing off for Daisy, a pampered poodle whose human walked her past their homes every evening. “I’m Alpha!” he declared. “Yes, Yes, I’m Alpha. Come, come. Play with me!” As usual, Daisy ignored him, which just made him strut all the more. “I’m Alpha. I’m powerful. Come! Come!”
Beside her, a rustle. Mooncat’s voice came through the hedge. “Look at that idiot, Fluffy. He just called this strange wolf Alpha, but the moment a lady-dog comes by, he claims Alpha status agai—who are you?”
Softly, though it was hard to be so quiet in this form, she answered. “I’m Fluffy. Had a run-in with the werewolf last full moon, that’s all.”
He walked over and sniffed her. “I can’t say I approve of you being larger than me.”
“It’s just once a month. But in the meantime, I’m getting hungry.”
Mooncat backed into the bushes. “I don’t want to eat you, silly! I want to see if he’s going to break his promise to me not to chase cats.”
“You mean—you want me to—“
“Tease the terrorist.”
“You’re out of your mind! He killed Intrepidcat last week!”
“If he breaks his promise, I get to eat him.” Daisy was starting to walk away, her human having completed his conversation with another neighbor, and the terrorist was getting frantic to get her attention.
"For Intrepid, then." Mooncat streaked across the terrorist’s yard.
“I’m Alpha! I’m Alpha! Look! Look! Watch me get this cat!”
The terrorist launched into chase mode. Mooncat stretched out his stride, leaping up onto the top of the toolshed.
Fluffy bounded into the terrorist’s yard, taking gleeful joy in his yelp of fear. Dinner was very good.
Copyright 2009 Deirdre M. Murphy