The sun was setting when she finally arrived home. With a great sense of relief, Diesel climbed up into the old, rusted-out van and curled up in the front seat to lick her wounds. The fabric was old and frayed and smelled a little musty, but it was the most comfortable place she had ever slept. And today, she was so bone-tired she probably could have slept in a gutter quite happily. Trying to scrounge up food and evade the Servhounds was grueling work. As exhaustion took over, Diesel closed her eyes and went to sleep.
She was jarred awake by an unfamiliar sound. She opened her eyes and kept her body perfectly still. It came again, a deep, keening noise. Diesel cocked one ear in the direction of the sound. Maybe, she thought, maybe I know that sound. She held her breath and waited for it to come again. When it did, she was positive she recognized it. How long had it been since she’d heard another of her kind? She’d begun to believe the Servhounds had killed all but her.
Quietly, stealthily, Diesel stood up in the seat. She peeked out the window, green eyes searching the night. Finally she saw him, crouched in the bushes at the edge of the clearing. His eyes glinted in the darkness as he let out another deep yowl.
Decision made, Diesel leapt from the van and padded silently to where the other cat huddled in the dark. He didn’t hear her approach until the last minute. His ears perked up and he lifted his head, startled, as Diesel appeared before him.
“Lucky for you I’m not a Servhound,” she said as she looked him over. He was orange. What kind of cat was orange? And were those stripes? No wonder he’d been so easy to spot. She raised her gaze to his face. It was riddled with scars, but strength and determination shone in those eyes.
“Name’s Copper. I need shelter,” he said through gritted teeth, ignoring her dig and drawing her attention to his rear left leg. Diesel saw then that it was bleeding.
“Can you walk?” She asked and Copper nodded. “Follow me,” she said, then, as an afterthought, added, “I’m Diesel.”
Diesel led the strange orange cat back through the darkness and up into the abandoned van. Once Copper was settled and his wound was clean, Diesel sat back and stared at him through half-closed lids.
“Why are you here?” She finally asked.
Copper met her gaze steadily, “I saw you fight that Servhound,” he answered. “I was hoping you could teach me. Two of us could do a lot more damage.”
A distant howl broke the silence, reminding them both that their enemy was always on the hunt.
Diesel hopped into the front seat and curled up, then flicked her gaze back to Copper.
“We’ll get started at first light,” she said.
This is my submission for this week’s Speakeasy challenge #103.
This week, in honour of the Speakeasy’s continuing 100th Anniversary celebrations, submissions must be under 500 words and must begin with the following line:
The sun was setting when she finally arrived home.
In addition, submissions must reference the photo prompt, which is the following image:
And hey, what better time to join the Speakeasy than during the 100th Anniversary celebrations? Come on down and check us out — we’d love to have you!