This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the letters” -cat-” used anywhere in a word, or as a word.
In addition to being Stream of Consciousness Saturday, today is also #DoubleUpDay over at NaNoWriMo….
I’ve added just over twelve thousand words to my “official” word count so far today, with another scene started (I update at the end of each scene, to avoid confusing myself). Doubling would require another five thousand words or so – and I’ll run out of day before I can get there…
What I can do is top my best-ever-recorded writing day, which was just over 13K. So I’ve decided that when I reach 14K, I’ll tap that little ‘donate now’ button…
It’s exciting, despite the cold trying to drag me down.
Anyway, today’s prompt gave me the key to unlocking an unanswered plot question. I’m not prepared to say just what that was, but I’m very thankful to Linda, who seems to have a wonderful knack for picking prompts that stir the simmering pot of my current projects, and add just the right seasonings.
For context; The Kifo Island series is set on a no-cost hospice resort with a ‘Fantasy Island’ element. Ava is twelve, and dying of leukemia; she’s opted out of therapy and treatment, and wants to die somewhere beautiful. Donovan is her companion and concierge, helping her as she needs. He also happens to be albino. Karina is a young woman who has spent over a decade tending to her mother, who has recently died of a long-term, debilitating illness.
OK, I think that’s enough to go on, so…
“Do You Like Cats?”
“It must feel strange, not having someone you need to take care of.” How was it that he seemed to know her so well, when they’d barely had an hour together? “Do you know what you’ll do next?”
“I have two younger siblings still at home. It will be to me to raise them, now. And there’s the family business, and the house…”
He nodded. For a few minutes, there was quiet – they sipped, and Karina watched Ava, the girl who would never be a woman, and thought of Natalia, who would be twenty now. What would she look like, grown? Would she be as selfish as Svetlana, or as into fashion as Olga? Would she have kept painting her watercolors, and telling herself stories while she did? Would she be an accomplished painter?
“Please tell me if there’s some way I can make up to you for the urn.” The child’s face was serious; she wasn’t going to let the idea go.
“I’d like to spend some time with you.”
“Just that? Nothing else?”
Karina shook her head. She hadn’t planned to say it, but, once she had, she felt some of the weight lifting. “You remind me of my sister Natalia. She died so suddenly, in an accident. Of all my siblings, she was the one I most liked – we enjoyed painting and cooking and talking and telling jokes to each other in the night, when everyone else was asleep.” A tear fell, then another. “I didn’t let myself miss her, until I met you, Ava.”
“I never had a big sister – or any sister, at all. You can come to my cottage, anytime, Karina – as long as you’re not allergic to cats, that is.”
“I’m taking Ava to pick out a cat,” Donovan, who had been sitting quietly at the far end of Ava’s couch, listening as he sipped his water, explained.
“Do you like cats?” Karina asked the girl.
“I love them, but my mother said they were too much of a bother to have. I thought, since I’m here on Kifo, and I don’t have a lot of chances left – well, Donovan said he’d take care of things I can’t, and be the cat’s family when I – “ She cut herself off, and stared at the dragon’s head as she caressed it.
“I understand,” she said, softly. “And I, too, love cats. I’ve never had one, either, but I’ve always thought I might like to, someday.”
“You should come with us,” Ava said, with something that approached excitement. “Maybe you’ll find one – “
“Ava, I can’t adopt a cat here – eventually, I must return home.”
“Oh.” The child’s face fell. “I forgot – ”
“If you don’t want to leave right away,” Donovan said, and his voice was soft and oddly shy. “I know of a job you could take. Working here means you get to stay as long as you’d like, and the job’s not especially hard or demanding. You’d have time to decide what to do next, and to rest and adjust.”
“You mean – not go back home? Leave the others to tend to things?”
“You wouldn’t have to stay long – just give yourself a little vacation. I’m guessing you haven’t had one of those in too long- “
“I’ve never had one.” How was it that having him here, having Ava here, had given her energy and purpose again? That, in so short a time, they would be giving her possible answers to problems she hadn’t even known that she had? “But maybe,” she said, slowly, looking from the girl to the bearded man. “Maybe it’s time I did.”