The hush of Autumn’s leaves.

I have another piece of fiction for you all today! I don’t think I’ve really appreciated the value of short stories until the last year or so, and only now have I realised the value of writing them. They are very motivational to the writer, as you can finish them in a relatively short period of time and feel very content with the result.

I’ve also been working a little on my blog – I have a Twitter account and a Facebook page, details of which will be going up on the ‘What Say You?‘ page shortly. I’ve done this on the advice of the amazing Timethief and her recommendation to read these tips on blog promotion.

Click the ‘More?’ tab for the new short story.

In the footsteps of Autumn.

Every day, that constant grinding down of life, of my soul. Waking up to the sarcastic laughter of the alarm clock. Sad songs telling you just how pointless you are out of tinny electric mouths. Stale bread becomes cold toast, with only a dollop of sickly sweet jam to help dull the constant brainache. I straighten my tie, lock the door. Walk to the dingy station through cold sunshine. Squeeze on, then squeeze off the stinking Tube train. Then finally, to work. New Scotland Yard. Watching idly as death and callousness pile up on my desk, a fungus of bleak paper.

This is my life. Like a robot, stumbling from the hospital’s factory floors until I reach the inevitable human scrapheap in the sky. Blinkered, always. Hating the way this world ticks on with ever-rusting cogs.

Today, however, was different.

It started out pretty much the same. Another claustrophobic Tube journey, another lonely trudge to work. But today I saw a flash of tortoiseshell. A cat, in central London. It looked like a pampered domestic feline from its smooth, clean fur. The poor thing probably had hours to live now that it had escaped into the chaotic streets.

Animals aren’t like humans. They don’t share our cruelty. That is probably what compelled me to cross the road after it, to rescue it from the urban deathtrap it unknowingly meandered through. It slinked around a corner, out of sight. I followed it, with fond memories of my childhood pet Mogget flickering behind my eyes. I followed it across the cracked paving slabs, bumping through the rush hour hordes of faceless humanity. It turned and proudly stalked into a building, its tail standing to attention.

I followed it into the dusky library, looking around the oasis of soothing quiet that enveloped me. My furry guide had curled up into a chair and was watching me with wide, curious eyes.

“Excuse me, can I help you?” A young man was sitting, smiling behind a modern enquiries desk.

“Well…” in all honesty I didn’t quite know what I was doing there. I felt a little like an intruder. “I was worried about that cat, it was wandering around the streets and I thought it might get injured.”

“Oh, thank you, but there was no need. Autumn is my cat. She’s very streetwise.” He nodded towards her and she purred gently. “Would you like to stay awhile? We have some new fiction you might be interested in.”

“Well actually, I should probably go, I’m already late.”

“Then surely five more minutes couldn’t hurt” he said with a roguish grin. “Really, just have a quick look around and borrow something. People in this city often forget the joy of reading.”

I held my hands up in mock defeat. “You win.” I smiled despite myself and peered through some of the shelves. I walked away with three books in my briefcase that day, but I was soon back. The nearby coffee shop soon came to recognise me, a lunchtime regular, always with a pot of Earl Grey and another interesting book to read. Soon the waitress began to join me on my trips, too, but that’s another story.

That library, I think, may have saved my life. Life is no longer the dark cesspit I once thought it was. The librarian was right, reading is an often forgotten joy of these modern times. It makes me laugh when I think back to that day. I was naïve enough to think that I was rescuing his cat.

Perhaps it was the cat who rescued me.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brinda Tuholski
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 03:04:56

    I simply want to mention I’m all new to blogging and site-building and actually loved this blog site. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You surely come with fantastic well written articles. Appreciate it for sharing your web site.

    Reply

    • quintconsequential
      Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:18:10

      I’m really glad that you enjoyed it, and I’m very sorry for the long delay. Soon after posting this article I fell ill, and the course catch-up that ensued meant I’ve neglected my blog for a while. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things now, though!

      Reply

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'Quintconsequential' is a word of my own invention, despite the definition in the style of the Oxford English Dictionary featured on the site. By all means, use it, whisper it, shout it from the rooftops. But please, remember that you heard it here first!
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