Flash: Honey’s Adoption

Image by Nika Benedictova on Unsplash

“Aw, isn’t she the cutest.” I hunch down beside the black cat. “Look someone has put her in a costume.”

“Jessie, it has orange eyes.”

“I know.” I sit beside the cat, not directly in front of it so she (or he, I wouldn’t want to misgender the black beauty, but in my mind all cats are girls like my calico pair at home) could decide if we might be friends. “And believe me, if it’s owner is around we would be having a talk. But I don’t think they are contacts, they look natural.”

“Its nails are blood colored.”

“They did not!”

The cat hissed at my sudden outburst.

“So sorry honey,” I say looking down at the cat, “but did your owners paint your needles of death? If they did, that is so rude. Could I see, please?” I hold out my hand carefully, waiting.

Turning towards me, the cat holds out a paw, her claws extended.

They are indeed red, but it appears the keratin is naturally that color. I take the foot and press the toe beans to extend the claws further. “All good.” I whisper, assuring her and myself, letting go of her foot. “Gill, they are fine, she just has some unusual coloring.” The cat stands up and saunters over to me, standing on her back legs and raising her small body so her front claws prick at my jeans.

I hold my breath, and Gill, bless his overcautious body, takes a step back. She pushes off and lands in my lap, the wings opening and closing with the movement. Turning around in a circle in my crossed legs, she presents me with her long black tail with a swish across my face, an extra smack against my nose, and an unmistakable view confirming she is female, before settling down. I start scritching her behind the neck and she arches into it.

“Where…” Gill coughs. “How are those wings attached?”

I dig into the fur, looking for strings or some sort of wire frame, maybe a leash support. The wings look leather with very short fur over them, almost a felt, thick along the lead edges mimicking bones; whoever made the costume did an amazing job. “Not sure,” I answer, “I can’t find anything.” I frown. “Not even a collar.” I run a hand down the body. “Oh, honey, do you need a place to live?”

“No, absolutely not.”

“No?” I raise my eyebrow at my live-in fiancée.

“No, we do not need another cat.”

“We can’t take her to a shelter, not this close to Halloween. All kinds of kooks grab up black cats this time of year.”

“No. She is a demon cat, look at her.”

“Darling, they are all demon cats.” I lean closer as I continue to pet her. “Isn’t that right honey? Do you have a name? Would you mind if I call you Honey for those beautiful eyes of yours until we figure it out?”

Gill sits on a discarded can in the alleyway. “No, please do not name the demon cat.” He covered his face with his hands. “We will have to take it home, then keep it separated from the others for two weeks, then all the new vet bills, explaining why the fuck Honey has wings.”

“So you think Honey is a good name?” I ask happily. Honey’s body is doing a deep, nearly silent purr against my hand. “She likes it.”

“Right,” Gill sits up straight. “Honey,” he says to the cat and she lifts her head to look at him. “Oh, this is going to be a fucking disaster,” he mutters, before continuing in his I’m-in-control voice I enjoy so much in the bedroom. “Do you want to be adopted?” he pauses and her head tilts sideways. “By us. We have two cats, normal ones … well they are both whack jobs and Patches ain’t too smart.”

“An understatement,” I whisper to Honey, “but I love her for it.”

“Queen Bee is gonna to do the territory thing. But she is lazy about it and will wear down. But,” Gill held up a finger and I felt Honey tense under my hands, “Jessie and I are engaged. We plan on getting married next June after I finish college and we will be having two children.”

“Four,” I whisper really soft to the potential adoptee, Gill was an only child didn’t know just how big his heart could grow. I felt Honey relax back into the pets. A full house doesn’t seem to be a problem.

“You must treat these kids well. No harm to our children, to our present fur babies, any future fur babies because Jessie collects them as you can see, or to us.” Gill dropped his hand to his knee. “If you came to live with us, you are welcome, and we will protect you as one of our own, but we expect the same courtesy.”

Honey looks back and forth between us, takes a gentle swipe at my hand, and then leaps out of my lap. Those gorgeous wings do a quick spread for the perfect landing then pulling against her body. Whoever made them did an incredible job. She walks away, her tail swishing.

“Oh, oh well,” I say, disappointed. “I guess, as clean and neat as she is, she already has an owner.”

At the entry of the alleyway she meows in annoyance, turning her orange eyes at us. The sunlight streaming in from the street made them look like they were glowing.

“Oh, wait, she wants us to follow!” I jump up and go to where Honey is sitting, waiting for us, her wings completely blending into her fur.

Gill reluctantly follows. “No, I think she is waiting for us. God help us.”

Honey hisses at Gill.

“Sorry, no G word. Got it.” He shrugs. “We don’t use it much.” My patient, forgiving boyfriend pauses in the twilight between the noon sun on the street and the midnight dark of the alleyway. “Blessed be better?”

Honey stands, flicking her tail high before walking over and rubbing his legs.

(words 1022; first published 11/20/2023)

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