Thanks for visiting, as always! Today I’m sharing another teaser from a new project I’m working on: a collection of very short, fable-like stories about the experiences artists face. As a short intro, Vera is an artist, in any discipline you’d like to imagine – whatever resonates most with you. Lia is one of her three feline-shaped muses.
If you like this excerpt, you can read another in my post here.
It’s raining today, a steady thin drizzle. Vera sits under a spreading tree, leaning back against its broad trunk. The leaves make a green cave to shelter her. Now and then, collected moisture drips off a branch here or there, splashing softly on the grass.
Vera would like to be walking again. Sometimes she welcomes the time to think and be quiet, but right now isn’t one of those times. She’s been thinking too much lately about her art. Sometimes nothing about it seems right. The quieter her mind is, the more she sees problems and mistakes, and the faster they grow.
It’s a little too wet to walk, though. Aurelia-who-is-called-Lia, sitting in the grass beside her, agrees.
“Wait for the sun to come out,” Lia says. She lifts a dainty front paw to her mouth and smooths a few hairs down with her tongue. “We should only walk when it’s nice. Much more comfortable.”
Lia is small and striking. Most of her fur is black, but with enough ginger and beige mixed in to give it a marbled look. One hind leg is orange with tabby striping. Her paws and chest are white. In sunlight, her fur has the sheen of velvet.
Vera fidgets. “When is it going to get nice again?”
Lia cocks her head. “Why are you in such a hurry?”
Vera doesn’t answer. She drums her fingers restlessly on her knee, not looking at Lia, but she can feel the grass-green eyes studying her.
Lia gets up and comes over. She climbs into Vera’s lap, pushing her uneasy fingers aside. Her claws come out, just enough to prick Vera’s leg and get her attention.
“Hey,” Lia says. “Don’t ignore me.”
Vera looks down into the small face. Lia’s ears are mostly black, mottled with a little bit of orange, but she has a mask of ginger around her eyes and a splash of white and beige on her nose. Vera can’t help smiling. “I can’t ignore you,” she says. “You won’t let me.”
Lia arches her back, purring. “That’s right. I get attention when I want.”
Vera runs her hand down Lia’s sleek side, feeling the texture of the glossy fur. The purr is a noisy rumble now as Lia presses against Vera’s hand. Then the purring stops and Lia sits back on her haunches.
“You know you’re just the way you need to be,” she says.
Vera shakes her head. She’s used to the way Lia thinks. “Maybe you are,” she says.
“Maybe?” Lia’s green eyes go wide. “There’s no maybe about it.” She lifts her chin proudly and swishes her tail, displaying the tiny white point on its tip. “Look at me,” she says. “How could anyone be prettier?”
She’s right, of course. Nobody else could look quite like her, with her mix of colors and the funny patches on her face that are somehow perfect. Vera rubs the top of the small round head. “It’s true,” she agrees. “Nobody can match you.”
Lia looks satisfied to the point of smug. “Same for you.”
Vera thinks of a lot of things she could say about that. The whole world can see Lia as lovely and delightful; Lia knows it’s her due, and anyone who doesn’t agree isn’t worth her worry. But Vera is different.
Lia rubs her face against Vera’s hand. “You’re mine,” she says. “That’s all you need to know.”
Because Lia doesn’t have time for anyone who isn’t worth it. Vera can hear that, loud and clear. She’s still not totally sure she believes it, but she smiles.
Lia curls up in her lap. The two of them sit quiet together, listening to the soft rain.