Picture by Waxwing Poetic ©Vera Curnow
His eyes were glassy and staring. His expression was blank, lips a perfectly straight line, breathing evenly, and eyes that gazed into the space before him, lost. Halle, an enthusiastic poet tore pages after pages from his diary and threw them in the fire. The papers caught fire and crinkled up before turning to ashes, labored artistic words gone for good.
As more and more pages got burnt, the fire grew. It became so furious the flames shined in Halle’s eyes. Maybe it’s the heat a slight headache drummed its way around his head. Suddenly the fire siren went out and a deafening ring echoed in the house, ringing so consistently it pierced right into Halle’s brain.
He dropped the book, fell on his knees and stayed there, crouched down and head in his hands, until his wife came inside.
“Goodness, Halle!” she said, and rushed into the kitchen. She came back with a bucket of water which she poured over the fire.
Outside, a black cat arched its back and yowled. It slyly walked around an egg, a snake’s egg. The snake, just a few yards away, silent and vigilant, watched.
Halle got up on his feet when his wife came with a broomstick. As she began to sweep ashes off the blackened floor, he retreated inside the kitchen. There, he put the kettle on stove and dropped five potatoes in it, each making a soft plop sound as it hit the boiling water.
Then he took out the kitchen knife and began peeling off a radish. His fingers slipped and the blade sliced right through his thumb at the same time the cat cried. Blood gushed out of Halle’s wound and dribbled on the table. The cat wreathed, scratched and lunged but the snake coiled harder around it, striking out a few times, biting the black cat with its venomous fangs. The cat twitched a little before it moved no more.
Halle held out his hand for his wife to see. She fetched the First-aid kit and bandaged his thumb. “The cat is dead,” she said. “Start writing again.”