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January 4
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Our neighborhood stray is dead. I know this
because there is a black cat here I've never seen.
This cat is not the black splotch covered canvas stray
that clawed up and down my arm last winter
when I mistakenly tried to wrap it in a blanket
for warmth. This cat does not have the matted
fur that the stray did, does not deliberately stretch
out in front of my car tires the way the stray did
right before I had to leave for work, does not
chase lizards in the grass like the stray. This is not
the stray that aggressively meowed at me
when he wanted affection, nor is it the stray
that climbed our fence to try catching birds.
I'm certain this new cat must be lost, or else
looking for that same blotched canvas stray
that had become part of his family, too.
Week 1 for #A-Year-of-Writing

I love that stray. We'd take the cat in if not for my sister's allergies, he's a sweetheart.
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:iconayeaye12:
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Student Writer
Really nice in its simplistic.
I've got a big vibe of slice-of-life from this :nod:
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:iconnonten4:
nonten4 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2014
O my Cody Hackins.
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:iconnotensmsk:
NotenSMSK Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I like the tone that you have while talking about the stray cat. It is... well different to put it in the simplest of words. And it is honest. I like the feeling and perspective for a stray and I myself like the one outside. It sees me and is continuously after me then :XD: I was anticipating what purpose the other cat might serve and I liked how you worded the last line.
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:icontheladyyuki:
TheLadyYuki Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2014
This reminds me of a pretty black-and-white longhair my family found outside our apartment complex years ago. We thought she may have been abandoned when one of our neighbors moved away...she was very affectionate and was happy to come inside on cold days and be lavished with affection. I specifically remember one incident where I was outside and she saw me and RAN up to me, wanting to be pet, and I remember being so thrilled that she wanted me.

She disappeared eventually, and we were told she'd been brought to a shelter. I really hope someone took her home with them.
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:iconericthelucario:
ErictheLucario Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
How saddening...
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:iconnormalideal:
NormalIdeal Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014
Aww, I also had a stray that I loved. It was called "Scratch". She had so much dignity, didn't purr to humans, and only lay like a dog at the entrence of the terrace when she wanted food because I simply said no to her once or twice when she wanted to come inside. And then she was gone...I'm still sad because she's probably dead. I've fed 5 sets of kittens of her. She was apparently VERY preferred by males, haha. She was beautiful.
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:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Professional Writer
Hokay.

I would cut mistakenly. I think the fact that it was a mistake is clear from the fact that you got cut up. Actually, I'd cut deliberately too. And aggressively. I've never in my life thought that adverbs harmed a piece when done right, but they're not working for me here.

The repetition of stray from "This cat" to"like the stray", that whole sentence there, I wanted a little more variation. We're just hearing that word a little too often. Also, shouldn't it be "matted fur that the stray had"? Of course, since it's a colloquial voice, who really gives a damn.

I love the last three lines. I do again think the second last would be more powerful if we hadn't heard the word stray so often before it. I'm also not sure about some of the examples of the stray's behaviour we're hearing. Some of them are very personal things that could only be between you and the stray--the tires, the clawing up and down the arm--but some, like catching birds, seem at the moment like anything the new cat could do, too. The same emotional connection isn't there. Actually, I think it might just be the birds that are giving me that feeling. The lizards are okay to me, maybe because I've never seen a cat doing that before.

He might not be gone, you know. The stray we fed in Beijing disappeared every winter three years running and popped up again in spring happy as a clam. With cats, there is always hope.

:heart:

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:iconwreckling:
wreckling Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014   Writer
All fair points. I agree on the first two adverbs, on the fence about aggressively right now, though, since it's contrast to affection, although I'll see if I can come up with a better way to depict that. And yeah, I need to find better ways to distinguish the two cats. I was using stray for consistency, but it does bog down after a while. Will see what I can think of for that.

And it turns out the stray is actually alive and well! I saw him rolling around in the dirt on Sunday afternoon, hahaha.

Thankoo :heart: :love:
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:iconzebrazebrazebra:
zebrazebrazebra Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Professional Writer
Absolutely, the idea of aggressively has to be there, I just think there might be a better way to get it across.

Haha! I told you!
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:iconrlkirkland:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, I had 'Pinny Britches' for a time... he's not showed up for three months; I fear the worst.
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