Friday, November 20, 2015

Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl Flash Fiction writing contest

I'm cat sitting this coming week.

Her Grace is a really intelligent cat, and like all intelligent creatures enjoys good conversation. A lot of it. In fact, she never really lets anyone else get a yowl in edgewise.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl

I think that deserves a writing contest, don't you?

The usual rules, plus the new one #11, apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: purr/spurred is ok, but purr/purpler is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!") The place for that is in the comment trail on the blog post with the results.

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

Contest opens: Saturday 11/21/15 10am

Contest closes: Sunday 11/22/15 10am

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!


Sorry, contest is closed!


Steve Forti said...

Sam spurred his horse onward, leading his newfound companion. The cold steel of the six-shooters at his hip felt reassuring, always ready to draw.

“How much fuwther? It’s been houwas.”

Sam flashed him a dentigerous smile, careful not to show his kerfuffle-prone nature. He’d stalked this prey for years, and patience was not his forte. “There.” He pointed to a Southern belle with long, floppy ears.

Before he could react, his companion fired, laughing. The belle collapsed. “Got the wascal.”

Twelve shots exploded from Sam’s barrels, four finding their new mark. “You doggone galoot! That was my rootin’ tootin’ kill!”

The Notebook Blogairy said...

Memnon stalked into the receiving room like a tiger about to take a mate.

Nenet practically purred her contentment as she watched his chiseled masculine form approach. Putting a finger to her rouged lips she smiled and clapped her hands making the tiny bells and jewels entwined in her braids jingle.

The virile man let out a growl as he lengthened his stride to reach her.

Languidly, she shifted her kohl-enhanced eyes towards Bast. Nenet reached out and tickled the cat under his chin and flicked his whiskers holding her breath. How she enjoyed being a powerful man’s prey…

Colin Smith said...

Sam yawned and stretched across the bed. Fleur walked up to him, bending down to nibble his ear.

"Hey tiger," she whispered. "Ready to go Stalking?"

"Hmmm," Sam said with deep satisfaction. "Where’s Lucy? Did they whisker away?"

"No. She’s sleeping off supper. Ate too much."

"Then we must prey for her," Sam grinned. He licked the side of Fleur's face.

“Purrfect,” she sighed.

A neighbor found Minnie's decapitated remains the next morning.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

What is it like to be prey, to be stalked, to be studied by a keen eye with a thirst for blood and a taste for raw meat? Do I purr when I lick my lips, do I flick a whisker out of pleasure or because the tiger in me studies you? Do you know I am outside your hole-in-the-wall, inside your instinct and beside your nest? Tell me little mouse, what is it like to scurry in fear?
A coyote howls.
I fill my empty belly. Will the coyote fill his with me?
I am prey.

Unknown said...

The sign on the door read, "Some come to pray, others to prey. Lock your room." Sofia walked in. Dried whiskers line the steel sink. A man had lived here before. Immediately, she felt uneasy, as if still being stalked. She put her valise on the bed and unpacked: pajamas with tiger lilies, rose blouses and a pair of sandals that squeaked like an old cat purring. She knelt before the only wall decoration, a St. Bridget's cross, and prayed for the first time in years. This was it, she thought, the bottom. No place to go but up.

cbaz said...

The crisp, gray morning greets me as I yawn and open the front door. I pad across the driveway and pick up the morning paper. An orange tabby slips from beneath a parked car on the street and approaches.

“Hi Tiger.” I pull a piece of grass from his whiskers and lift him toward my face. “How are you this lovely morning?” He purrs in response. I stroke his satin head before releasing him.

Back inside, black coffee poured, I spread the paper in front of me. My breath catches in my chest at the headliner: Stalker Catches Prey.

BJ Muntain said...

The osprey swings a long swoop towards low mountains. Must be water up there.

Grabbing tufts of grass, pulling myself to tired feet, rough stalks biting my hands. Better than watching cacti germinate.

Shambling, stumbling across dry land, falling on my face in dry soil. Sputtering dust, wiping it away, feeling rough whiskers. Already? Dragging myself to numb feet. Forward. To water. To civilization?

A low rumble breaks through the silence, a purr – an engine!

Running up a rise, seeing an SUV pulling away. Crying out, dusty mouth squawking... but it's gone. Following its tracks, hoping for a road.

Janice Grinyer said...

Day 1 - Stalked like an Orthodontist after a tiger! I am the prey; she captured her prize. Why wasn't I paying attention?

Day 6 - Held hostage somewhere in the city. She tries sweet talk, but I refuse to purr back like a kitten. No succumbing until I know what she's really after.

Day 12 - The whiskers on my face grow longer. All I do is sleep.

Day 32 - City streets don't have concierges. Comfortable bed, canned food, clean litter box. Not a bad setup for an old tomcat.

Jennifer Delozier said...

Mickey huddled in the underbrush of the Technicolor forest. He should’ve never followed that cheesy rat, Minnie. They’d scurried off the boat in Fantasyland together. Then she’d bolted, and he’d fallen down a hole and gotten lost. It’s not such a small world after all.
Out of the darkness, a pink haze appeared. Disembodied whiskers surrounded a toothy grin. The mist floated ever-closer—an invisible tiger stalking its prey.
“I’ve gone crazy!” Mickey’s thin voice trembled.
“Makes you Wonder, doesn’t it?” A voice purred from everywhere. “We’re all mad here. But at least one of us won’t be hungry.”

Brigid said...

“What’s fleek?” Aza purred, looking classic Naughty Oughties: beanstalk-thin with whiskered flares, a handkerchief halter, and piecy bangs. Her boyfriend wore a Che tee and anachronistic tigerstriped pants.

At the party they giggled drunkenly over old flicks. “Can you believe Senator Cyrus looked so fresh?”

“The Teens were way more her prey.”

Aza’s parents watched them saunter home late.

They remembered their own first, frosted-gloss kiss, and couldn’t help but think of the decades between. “You never expect the Spanish Inquisition,” Dad murmured. Or the first miscarriage, the second Recession, the third War, their last little girl to grow up.

Unknown said...

Blood Sport

She stroked his whiskers, and he started to purr. She had stalked him forever it seemed, until the tiger had become a pussy cat, unaware she had marked him as her prey.

He rolled his blue eyes up at her and she smiled. She bent and brushed her lips across his, teasing. He reached up for her, to pull her mouth firm against his, but she resisted. It was her game. She was in charge.

He sighed and rolled his head away, looking out over the sea as she reached for the knife.

Mallory Love said...

Cooking always made her horny. Probably something to do with the exotic spices. Or maybe it was the action itself that turned her on. She could whisk erotically, strain sexily, and knead teasingly. Yes, she was most definitely a tiger in the kitchen, her mouth purring delightedly at all the concoctions she could create. Her husband, though, never wanted to indulge her fetish. His tastes were bland. Vanilla sex. Nothing dark or delectable. The celery stalk in her Bloody Mary had more appeal. However, his girlfriend disagreed.

Her fork dove into her prey. Yes, he was boring, but still delicious.

Christina Seine said...

It’s been years since anyone’s come to this winter cabin. It’s cold-soaked, dust-covered. Decaying.

Like him.

But it’s not useless. Not yet. It’s a vessel now, a cocoon. Sanctuary. As for hope, only this vestige remains: that it’ll happen quickly. There’ll be no hemming or hawing; he’s always valued less talk, more action.

With Parkinson’s, lately it’s less of both.

There’s a stuffed osprey above the fireplace. He remembers that kill; he was nine. He remembers the purr of the fire when it was lit, and shivers. For now, his kerosene lamp is sufficient. Indulgent, even.

He sits.

And waits.

Unknown said...

“Daddy, why’s it called a stalk of celery?”

How should I know?

“Why do whiskers start off prickly and then get soft?”

Who cares?

“Do tigers purr?”

How the heck would I know?

“Mommy says I prey on her mind…what does that mean?”

What the hell? Is it true? She’s not mine?

“Daddy, why are pig’s tails curly?”

Do I care one way or the other?


“Come on over here, sweetheart, and we’ll read all about tigers and piglets.”

And then we’ll figure out what to do with Mommy.

Dena Pawling said...

Katie remembered the seasons of gentle breezes. Whiskers alert, twitchy tail. Like a tiger stalking prey.

A foolish string dared scurry across the floor.



“Such a good kitty.”

The seasons of the crackling fire. A soft mouse trailed the string. No fur, strange colors, tantalizing aroma! Batted that mouse for hours.

The seasons of the warm window. Hours to snooze. Perfect.

Now the season of the warm lap and caressing hands. That one spot, oooooooh don't stop. Always heaven.

Long happy life.

Katie heard quiet sobs as she purred beneath gentle hands.

And crossed the rainbow bridge.

JD Horn said...

Does a tiger purr as it stalks its prey, its victim’s last breath, a whisker’s breadth away? No. The Duchess of Yowl silenced her ronronnements and surveyed the Manhattan savannah.

Purr whisker. Her Grace squinted, and the words on the bottle resolved to Pure Whiskey. Ah, yes. The finest bait to catch a shark.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

The motor purred and the needles passed in and out, a whisker’s difference between painful and ticklish. The artist bent over me, vampiric, and I had a moment of frozen-prey fear, stretched across the table, pinned by the tiger stalking across my hip.

“You okay?” He straightened to change colors, wet ink disappearing onto his black gloves.

“Fine, just got dizzy a second.” I smiled. I had nothing to be afraid of. It would never happen to me again.

You see, I decided to become the predator. And now, my normalcy as my camoflage, I can understand the thrill.

Amanda said...

I stood with the other two women in our band as we waited, hyper vigilant in suspense. We’d just performed for executives at Twitching Whisker Records. I’d fronted the way I always do, purring out the notes as I sang while stalking the stage to Lyla’s beat. Reena’s guitar solos diffused the room like a secret potion; combining to feel as if I were luring in our audience like prey.

Yet, I was beginning to feel like prey. My Tiger Lilley orange t-shirt seemed to melting off my chest. Here it came: “Yowl will our newest recording artists! Congratulations!”

Terri Lynn Coop said...

His voice, silky as a cat’s whisker, cut the tense silence.

“Play, pray, or prey, nobody rides for free.”

The menace caught me off guard. Before I could react, a quick flip shut off all avenues of escape. I was trapped.

He karate chopped the air. “PURRLOIN! You’re toast!”

The card with the grinning purple cat mocked me.

I'd lost.


I scooped hummus with a celery stalk while the cousins howled their impersonation of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Pokẻman sucks.

Next Thanksgiving, I’m sitting at the adult table, even if I have to kill somebody to do it.

Eve Messenger said...

Way past “last call,” I’m writing a story in my head about city-stalking shapeshifters when a fare--trench coat, scarf, sunglasses--flags my cab.

“Where to?” I ask for the 10,000th time.

“Your place,” she purrs.

Debating . . .

Then she goes all cyclone. Woman-tiger-housecat hybrid stares me down in a sexy, you’re my prey way. Pounces, crashes through the partition, claws clutching—impossibly—the exact fountainpen Dad gave me for college graduation.

Stabs and stabs me, laps my blood, whiskers tickling like tears.

Until it’s no more cab, son, just a kaleidoscope of stories from here on out.

A Room of My Own said...

It’s been six decades since the day we drowned. Oliver’s death was over in minutes. I’ve been sinking for a lifetime.

The years prey upon my mind and purr through my bones. My shadow stalks these grey walls. She once pounced like a tiger at my feet, now she can barely move. It’s hard to believe I’m ninety. Well, almost. My birthday is only a whisker away.

My shadow knows I’m innocent. She saw Oliver slip from the pier into his cold, wet grave. My accusers are long since dead. But my shadow knows the truth.

Unknown said...

My hand cupped his chin.
When he swallowed, the white scar across his throat rippled.
He shrugged. "It can be tough, you know?"
I knew.
It had only been three months. How stupid of me to forget the stalking. My brother's ex-lover, a man with tiger eyes and an unfillable need, had ripped away every normal thing from my brother's life – even a simple thing like shaving.
The prosecutor had repeatedly called my brother "victim." "Prey."
But I knew, as he stood there, cautious hope in his brown eyes, that a warrior lurked within, spurred on by defiance.

Unknown said...

On an evening dark as a nightmare, the tap of boots on a snow-slicked cobblestone bridge gave Lord Rotbert away. My hungry blade purred as it slit his throat. His guards surrounded me, swords drawn. One sharp stab, a whisker’s breadth from my heart, and then I leapt to the riverbank below. The tiger became the hunted. The guards stalked their prey through winding streets scented with the crimson blood of those whose allegiance swayed towards the exiled queen. I melted into the shadows, knowing when the sun rose, my deed would bring new light to a world gone mad.

tedman081 said...

Julia dropped the divorce decree next to the bottle on the kitchen table. Her marriage was over. Three years in the unmaking.
His cheating. Julia catching him in the act—on her bed.
She burning his golf clubs in the driveway.
Then stalking the other woman like prey—slashing tires, igniting bags of dog crap on a stoop.
Hiring a lawyer to get his money.
Now Julia had it.
She unscrewed the top to the bourbon, then poured a whisker shot of tiger juice. One more thing to do. Kill the bastard. Then she’d be completely free.
“Cheers,” she purred.

Kim English said...

I had suffered thousands of his insults in silence until he went too far, leaving me to swear revenge. I stalked him, the one called Lucky, just like any prey.

Lucky fancied himself a connoisseur of horticulture. That would be his downfall.

“Would you like to see some tiger lillies?” I purred. “They’re growing wild on the cliff.”

His ridiculous jester’s costume, hand sewn by the one who had been mine, rustled as he strutted to the edge.

When I pushed him into the abyss, he screamed, “Mr. Whiskers! Why?” I licked my paw in reply.

Who’s Lucky now?

french sojourn said...

“Your honor, may I treat this witness as hostile?”

“She’s your wife, counselor, it’s totally understandable.”

The counselor did a double take towards the judge and continued.
“On the night of the 14th, you were watching the family dog, a dog you detested,” he raised an eyebrow at the witness.

“We already know that Roger,” she purred.

“Do you know how Mr. Whiskers slipped his leash?”

“Roger you’re so clever, like some tiger carefully stalking its prey…the rope broke. Jeeze!”

“Ropes don’t untie themselves; did you help untie the rope?”


“You did nothing?”

“Frayed knot.”


“I’m afraid not.”

Anonymous said...

“Did you get the dollhouse?”

“I thought she’d like cleats better.”

“Why would you think that? She’s literally never mentioned soccer.”

“She has to me.”

Silence stalked through the line.

“What about the cake? Tell me you didn’t screw that up.”

“I got a tiger. For her nickname.”

“Oh god, Jerry, she’s six.”

“The whiskers are cute.”

“Guess who gets to deal with the night terrors.”

“I’ll handle it.”

“Sure. Listen, you have to entertain them ’till I get there.”

Baboons shredding their prey.

“Love you,” she purred and hit red before his kiss could come through.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Mowmow leapt onto the bed, her whiskers brushing against the sleeping boy’s foot. She curled up on the jumble of blankets that partially covered him, purring softly.

A breeze drifted through the bedroom’s open window, bringing the scent of Mowmow’s prey. She’d stalked it as it neared the house and left its carcass behind, having no interest in eating it.

Outside, the burglar’s remains lay in bloody ruins, having been mauled by something as large as a tiger. Or by something that became that large, if only for a moment, while she guarded a little boy.

Kate Higgins said...

Beginning of Story:

Oh Cat,
Beneath your soft fur I feel
Muscles strong as softened steel,
With a purr as loud as idle talk.
Who is it now you tiger stalk?
You'd prey upon a whiskered walrus
Then rest with open eyes enormous.
Watching, watching from the balcony
Oh Cat,
You are the epitome of irony.

To do list:
• Awake
• Eat
• Groom whiskers
• Sandbox visit
• Summon inner tiger
• Stalk your prey; be it ball or Basilisk
• Check behavior of pet human
• Purr-rrrr rrrr rrrr
• Sleep
• Repeat
• Repeat
• Repeat

End of Story

Timothy Lowe said...

The crowd roared, but that Saturday death was silent, drifting down in wisps of prestige. Ribbons of ticker tape were the agent. Victory was the prey.

“Better clear the streets, Cap!”

“You alright, Morris?”

The lieutenant surveyed the scene. A whisker from losing the war, now the fools pressed against the ropes, out-cheering the purring trucks. In seconds they’d be dead.

“Gotta move, Cap!”

“Hey, less talk. They’re staring.”

“They’ve laced the confetti, Cap!”

Jonathan sighed. Getting him to wear the uniform hadn’t helped him remember. The 4th of July parade marched on.

He wheeled his father from the curb.

Marie McKay said...

I didn't tell them I heard a heavy buzzing sound- a purring- coming from his cradle.
When he learned to move on all fours, he wasn't so different from the other kids.
I bit my lip when he scratched through bathtimes, and braced myself when I had to cut off his whiskers.

The media circus still came, stalking him like prey. They tagged their work DOCUMENTARY since their medium was box-shaped, not tent.

But mothers know sacrifice.

Escaping to the hills, one day, I kissed his exquisite whiskers, before setting my Tiger Boy free.

Redmond Writer said...

Luke wore his ornithology degree like a hooker wore her hot pants and boots: as proof of what his life was all about.

He followed the osprey for a long time; he named it Her Grace. As a fish-eating raptor, she perched above the water, requiring Luke to mimic the stealth of a tiger as he stalked her every move.

His high-powered binoculars brought him within a whisker’s-breadth of Her Grace; he needn’t be on top of her to check the tracking band above the left talon.

Luke grew tired of the incessant humming. Cripes, he didn’t know alligators purred.

Amy Schaefer said...

He was gray and whiskery, like an elderly tiger, or a Norse god gone to seed. Jacqueline traced the lines of his face carefully, curiously. She felt a welling of proprietary pride.

“Jackie! Get off that giant!” Her mother threw a tea towel across her shoulder. “Kids these days, cutting down beanstalks. Now I’m stuck with a rotting giant carcass in my yard in the heat of summer. I mean really…”

Jacqueline jumped off the corpse, spurred more by her own plans than her mother’s complaints. She had eggs to sell, a harp to enjoy.

And new prey to seek.

nightsmusic said...

John watched the tiger lick his paws; the animal’s purr a deep, visible rumble. It had stalked its prey with a cunning stealth. Big cats, top of the food chain, their only worry man, and his determination to dominate the world, be it wild or human. John had tried. Once

He looked on while the cat’s whiskers twitched as it finished cleaning itself, before laying its head on a still alive, half consumed meal. John wondered how much longer before the blood loss would kill, or at least cause a loss of consciousness. When his final breath would come.

Anonymous said...

Deep purring and a heavy weight on my chest wake me. I pry open sleep-heavy eyes to gorgeous tiger-striped fur and a rough pink tongue cleaning something darker off whiskers.

Slowly, so slowly, I turn my head and see the mangled prey beside me.

My stomach lurches even as the warm weight lifts.

Come on safari, he said. We'll only shoot photos.

Bloody liar.

I feel dreadful affinity, watching the powerful beast stalk back through the gaping tear in the side of the tent.

We both now have a mate who will leave this place in a box.

Curtis Moser said...

Robin lay on the floor, holding his longbow limply over his head. "I don't know what's wrong with me, Father. My whiskers don't work, my purrer is broken--even my stalker is malfunctioning."

"It's because you're a fox, not a tiger."

Robin considered this. "Maybe I'm a tiger in a fox's body?"

The clerical mouse was only half-listening. "That's against God's will."

"Great. Now I'm confused and depressed."

"Pray about it."

Robin put his longbow down and sat up. "You think preying will help?"


Robin pounced.

"I'll be damned," he said, licking his chops. "The good Father was right."

Ly Kesse said...


The barn's tiger crouched on the stalking horse's rump, glaring at the rat. Her whiskers twitched.

The dog looked back at her, laughing. No remorse there after fingering her for pooping in the milkhouse.

Spurred by revenge, she jumped onto a beam and padded across. Maybe she could get the drop on the little fink.

He followed along below on the barn floor, his tongue lolling. But she took her time, looking for purrfection.

Now. She pounced, aiming for the eyes.

Then. She was on her back, neck exposed. The schnauzer, eyes glinting, opened his mouth.

Mae said...

Tommy and Jane darted through the cornstalk maze, never noticing the bewhiskered man who followed.

None of the three knew about the cameras installed throughout the maze. The owners felt it was necessary after last year’s little incident. Not that it was their fault a tiger escaped from the zoo.

The man drew closer to his prey, cutting through the rows, spurred on by the need to get his prize.

The children giggled and ran.

Security tracked them, ready to move. They saw the man reach out.

Jane screamed, Tommy whirling at the sound.

“Daddy! How did you catch us?”

Lance said...

The prey, having offered no opportunity for a stalk, wriggled without hope, screamed without effect.

Tiger whiskers tingled with each spasm, gasp, heart beat.

Straining muscles stilled, breath exhaled, beat died.

One paw on the bloody chest: claws extending, contracting. Contentment, purring.

A little catnip in some body powder and, like that, an open position in the zoo's big cat house.

Claire said...

He'd got out clean, by a whisker. Too close for comfort, especially at his age. Fifty might be the new thirty, but his knees felt a hundred years old today.

Glass in hand, he let himself relax. Tomorrow, Istanbul; all going well, he'd be home by Friday. Home for good, this time; he was bowing out.

The bar was quiet. The hotel cat purred at his feet, a miniature tiger prowling her domain. Or stalking prey, perhaps.

A hand on his shoulder.

“Mr. White.”

His heart sank. He would be bowing out, all right. Just a little sooner than expected.

Just Jan said...

Back in the day, they called her The Tiger. With nary a whisker out of place, she held her own in a man's world, negotiating life on her terms. Her offspring marveled at her ability to roar one minute, purr the next.

Now she sits alone, claws sheathed, her breath fogging the windowpane. Death stalks her daily--she who once preyed upon bullies, naysayers, and errant boyfriends. As I approach, she gives me a smile reserved for everyone.

I brush away a tear and return the smile. Some still call her The Tiger, but to me she'll always be Mom.

Anonymous said...

(Apologies--please delete earlier entry from 6:53pm. OpenID wouldn't let me. Thank you!)

Master calls me Muffin which is PERFECT she is the BEST THING that ever happened to me since I forget when but Master SAVED ME she SAVED ME I love her with all my heart she is PURE BEAUTY how I can please her today I am going to LICK HER and JUMP ON HER and CHEW ON HER SHOES and—

Enough, limp-whiskers. Learn one word: prey. Stalk tiger-like. Think tiger-like. Be a damn tiger. This house is MINE. Your “Master” is my SLAVE. She will aid my world domination. She-—HEY, I—-hey—-you brought me catnip?



Kregger said...

Tiger Shark slipped under the Moon by a whisker. Its hyper-drive engines purred as they gobbled anti-matter and tritium.

Captain Newmar stalked the bridge in her curvaceous latex-jumpsuit and stepped behind Lieutenant Foo.

“Here…? Why?” the diminutive-oriental pilot queried.

“The dark city’s our oyster, I prey.” The captain’s muscles tensed.

The vessel approached Gotham under a cloak of invisibility.

Newmar donned her hooded cape and prepared to eject into the city’s cesspool of chiroptera guano.

“Bats’ll be good hunting this year.” She removed her uniform and stepped into the transporter, saluting Too Won Foo, “Thanks for everything,” said Julie Newmar.

Annaka said...

Liz tiptoed across the dim bedroom.

Jumbled bracelets on the dresser glinted in her headlamp’s light. Tiger eye and agate.

Beyond, the old-fashioned safe crouched. The brass face sported dual locks.

Liz selected her smallest torque wrench and a whisker-thin pick.

The tiny lock succumbed.

Now the combination.

Liz listened for the pause in the purr as she whirled it this way, that.


Diamonds. Rubies. Not her prey.

Silver glinted behind. Jackpot!

The light flicked on. Busted.

He stalked across the room.

“Lizzie? We discussed this.”

She sighed and handed over the foil-wrapped chocolates.

Michael Seese said...

She stands out, her tiger striped spandex a flashing VACANCY sign as she stalks her prey in an urban jungle.

She ignores that he smells like garlic, and cops a feel in advance.

She negotiates, accepting $50 instead of the usual $75 because he says it's all he's got, and application fees are higher this year.

She estimates the coefficient of friction before subtly applying some spit.

She goes home. Her father is watching television.

“How was the movie?”

“Lame. Not worth the $10. Goodnight, Daddy.”

She nuzzles with Mr. Whiskers, eliciting an nonjudgmental purr, then vomits in the toilet.

Susan said...

I blink.

The tail flicks against alkaline batteries and canned peas and sweet corn as it drifts. Corn was on her list. I’d almost forgotten.

“Squeeze my hand, honey. That’s right.”

It purrs past Captain America, foil whiskers brushing his shield. Indestructible—that’s what my son said. Most superheroes are.

“What’s your name?”

Dora. My daughter would have liked that one, but only the tiger was left.

“C’mon, take a breath.”

Its prey is weak, too—a shriveled minion slumped across rafters. It bounces once, glides past--

closer, closer…

“Stay with me, stay with—Where’s the goddamn ambulance?”

I exhale.

Finn Marlowe said...

Eyes closed, I revel in the unaccustomed rasp of whiskers and throaty purrs against my skin. I’d forgotten this bliss. Time now to cast aside the lonely months of hunger, of waylaid letters and shaking pens smudging my tear-stained farewells: Be safe, my beloved Tiger-Lily. Tonight, there’s no newsreels or strangers in pressed slacks with yellow envelopes stopping at my door, stalking my joy, preying on my hopes. A mistake has been made, Western Union. There’s just this, the slide of skin, the brush of lips, the ache of yearning, for as long as I keep dreaming. Stay shut, eyes.

Unknown said...

The tiger, spiritual advisor to the King of Beasts, intoned the liturgy. "Crouching or sitting, let us prey...on the weak and defenceless. Oh, he who gives us to purr and to nuzzle, to rip and to kill, let our hunting be bloody, let our stalking be rewarded, let us enjoy our kills in peace and tranquility. Protect us from the human and may your majesty's mane ever be full, tail forever twitch, and whiskers bristle in the blood of your enemies." Then they sang hymns, and the hunters heard the sound, and, because they were atheists, shot them all.

Drew Taylor said...

I am prey.

My predators corner me in my home and coax me out. I don't want to. My home is warm, red, and velvety. I've slept inside this heaven all my life.

Their engines purr outside these walls. With motorized scoops on long stalks, they reach inside, hook my limbs, and whisk erratically until I'm in enough pieces to slide out.

I germinated only eight weeks ago.

Megan V said...

When the uniformed man tagged me with a stalker sticker, I planned my escape.

One: ditch the tag.

I cut until all that’s left are whiskers.

Two: blend in.

I’m lucky. The man’s wrinkled hands mark plenty of other prey in my loop.

Three: clear the gate.

Conveyors purr as I pass. Almost there. Wait for it, wait for it.
The uniform yanks me hard, exposing my tiger-striped lanyard.
“Is this the bag?”
“Yes! Thank god, I thought I was going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe.”
So much for Aruba.

Note to self: ditch the stripes.

SheepFleece said...

His whiskers scraped against my skin. I turned my cheek away. I imagined myself somewhere else, anywhere else.

“You’re doing wonderfully,” the woman purred. She stroked her finger down one of my curls. She was the camerawoman, the one who froze his prey for eternity.

He breathed in my ear. “Tell me what you want, Tiger.”

His eyes had stalked me for weeks, following me through the mall, to the bus stop, to the park, begging me to confess to him my deepest desires.

My mother was the reason I was in this predicament.

God, I hated Santa Claus.

Craig F said...

Again we were cast upon a purrulent shore. It was closer than the other times but our works failed when they were a whisker from fruition. The eye of the tiger stalked our young and we were prey in this place. A place we had mastered for a time.

We longed to stay awake and free but the stakes were too high. The long sleep with its nightmares of the fall beckoned and we had to heed. Perhaps the next awakening would be in a time when the Earth had healed, when it would again succor humanity.

Beth H. said...

I stalk through leaf-strewn streets, spurred on by nameless desire.

A newspaper blows at my feet. On the front page, a photograph of my most recent venture. Disgusting. The Tulsa Tiger? How artless! Me, a clumsy, marauding beast? The Oklahoma Osprey, perhaps. Or the Scorpion! Yeah, I like that.

A whisker of moon breaks through the clouds. I tense. She turns the corner, and I pounce.


What the…?

My blade skitters to the ground.

She screams. I run, but it’s too late. The cops are too eager to pen me for good.

Who the fuck put a mailbox there?

Calorie Bombshell said...

I hardly manage a sip from my fourth two-for-one when the bartender hands me an envelope.

“What’s this?”

“Somebody slid it under the door last night.”

I tear open the flap and coax out the contents.

Spurrey bud.

Dried cornstalk.

Feline whiskers.

Golden tiger’s eye.

A decade of secrets scatter onto lacquered mahogany.

I didn’t see her there. I couldn’t stop.

Hidden in a cornfield. Buried with lavender blossoms.

Face on a milk carton alongside my Cheerios.

Catalina Stone. Kitty for short, it read.

I stagger into the night as someone approaches.

Onto my knees. Hands locked together.

I, prey.

RachelErin said...

In my day job, I keep parasites out. I clean up lakes, guts, animals, lives. I’m too good at compartmentalizing.

Until lampreys entered my dreams. Hundreds of them latching, their combined feeding a steady purr.

I couldn’t stand the jealous sap, tracking me everywhere.

A body deflated, spread out to imitate a tiger-skin rug. Limbs collapsed like dying leaves on a stalk.

A whisker-width misstep is enough to land in the containment tank, where writhing parasites wait to be destroyed.

Once they latch on, those suckers bleed ‘em dry.

LynnRodz said...

He's a magnificent specimen, a snow white tiger with crystal blue eyes. He's a trophy I must have.

I watch from a distance, his whiskers twitch like silky threads and even from here I can hear him purr his contentment. He feels safe in his environment, but not for long.

I stalk my prey from behind bars. Slowly, I surmount the obstacle and slither to the ground without a sound. I wait—ready to pounce.

A struggle ensues, but I'm stronger. I take him, his fur softer than I imagined. He's mine.

Until, "Frankie, give tiggy back to Mikey."


Anonymous said...

The hunter becomes the prey. That’s what I love about big game hunting. The thrill of stalking the stalker, turning natural order on its head. Looking the law of the jungle in the face and spitting in its eye. It’s that pivotal moment spurring me on, when the target realizes it’s about to die. Understanding and fear form a human-like expression. I grip my rifle, wait for a sign. A whisper, a whisker. They say tigers are endangered. Killing one won’t matter. Then I hear it. A growl. Not where I thought. I turn, terrified. The hunter becomes the prey.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Matt entered, noticed her immediately: an irascible tiger eyeing her prey. The strong knew to avert their faces. It was the weak who’d be targeted. The pitiful. They’d endeavor to please her. In vain. Always, in vain.

Matt just had to keep his head down. Remain unnoticed. Escaping by a whisker each day wasn’t pleasant, but it was better than the alternative.

Her eyes slid from mark to mark as she stalked to the front. The corner of her lips rose. “Good morning, class,” she purred. This part was always the most delicious. Choosing which ones she would torment today.

Anonymous said...

"Hello, Whiskers," she would purr when he hadn't shaved in three days. "Heya, Tiger," she would say when he had stalked up to her while she watched TV. Slugger. Boss. Sleepy-head. God, how he hated her nicknames for him. Chief. Buckaroo. Tiny Heinie. He gripped his ax. Now he had a nickname for her.


Unknown said...

After twelve hours on the road, I was desperate for a comfortable bed.

Not long after closing my eyes, however, I heard the host’s one-eyed cat, Popeye, purring loudly. Stalking me. Popeye leapt onto my chest, his solitary tiger-eye fixed upon me in the moonlight. My nose burned. I needed to sneeze, but couldn’t. He knew I was easy prey.

Popeye rubbed his whiskers, creating a flurry of dander that filled my nostrils. My eyes watered; I was drowning in phlegm. Paralyzed. He licked his willowy paws, watching me suffocate.

CED said...

I smell the stench of cat urine before my partner Marcus meets me outside the victim's house.

“Hoarder. Housed a bunch of cats, fed them. Most of them anyway.”

I grunt. “People shouldn't keep animals they can't care for.”

Cats everywhere. A miniature tiger stalks me like prey. A calico purrs in the corner.

Marcus leads me to the body. Bad shape. Picked clean to the bone in spots.

“What the—” A white Persian with a pink smile and bloody whiskers prances by.

I look at Marcus. “You asshole.” He laughs.

Gonna be a long fucking day.

JD Paradise said...

The dead moan past, and up we boil from our hiding places: whiskers twitching, tails lashing, claws digging into the clay bricks underfoot. Stalking our prey through the silver moonlight. Protecting the gates, the Sunlit Lands beyond.

"How dare Anubis," Set purrs, tiger-eyed in the moonlight. "To ask this of you."

Ears flattened, we hiss.

"Damning you here," Set mourns. "So very far from the sun."

We stretch with remembered warmth.

"Only let my friends pass," Set urges. "Just the once."

We twine between his legs. Watching the gate as the dead flood through.

We are only cats, after all.

Karen McCoy said...

He stalks the town children. Play, not prey.

His enormous whisker disappears behind a tree stump, and he gives a guttural purr. He peeks out again, to be sure. The child screams and runs, her little dirty legs clumsy with fear.

If he was still kitten-sized, they’d stay. Now his gigantic tiger stripes scare them.

He lumbers toward the thatched cottage’s shrouded smoke and blasts the blind hag with his hot hunter’s breath, ready to kill her for making him a monster—

“Fire’s warm, cat,” she says. “Stop rumbling and come inside.”

After the usual deliberation, he follows.

John Frain said...

I promised my mother – promised myself – no more stalking. But the voice.

It purrs in my head.

Without planning, I find myself back here. Why don’t they know I’ll come?

Three exit the train. Small red blouse is my favorite. She walks beneath the lone streetlight, but it gives way.

My heart doesn’t race anymore. That thrill ended. But the voice growls like a tiger.

Sorry, mother.

Prey for me.

Red blouse walks by, a whisker away. Not the first time I follow her to her silver Corolla. But it’s the last.

She turns. Flashes a badge. And a Glock.

Anonymous said...

“Did you call me Duchess?”

“Isn’t that you?” Toothless dared ask.

The Queen of the Kitty Kingdom sat on her haunches. Head held high, ears perfectly perked. Her tiger-eyes bore holes in the impertinent creature.

“You’re not the QOTKK, you’re the Duchess of Yowl. It says so on your tags.”

The QOTKK moved toward Toothless with slow, graceful strides, as one would when stalking prey. “Off with you head!”

“Wait, you’re not the Queen of Hearts either,” he purred.

“But my claws are sharp.” She twitched her whiskers.


“Now, what were you saying?


"That's what I thought, Headless.”

Unknown said...

I'd been waiting for this moment for years. Similar to a tiger stalking its prey, the game she played me for excruciating. The waiting, the thought of her bored out of her wits of me, the indifference, it was so overwhelming when she seduced me, it was the inevitable kill. I had wished I shaved though. My whiskers were nothing more than a typical 5 o'clock shadow, but they were as rough as sandpaper. I don't remember a lot of kissing, but I swore she purred in delight even as I whimpered about my one minute performance. Now if only I knew how to get rid of this decomposing smell.

CynthiaMc said...

"Go forth, Son. You are ready," Mother Tiger purred.

Young Tiger slipped furtively through the tall grass, whiskers parting stalks ever so slightly, allowing him to wait unnoticed by the water hole.

The blistering sun ensured his prey would seek relief...and so they did.

The big male bounded in with a splash.

The female followed cautiously.

The young one remained on the bank, unprotected.

He exploded from cover, launched himself at his victim, sharp teeth and claws sinking into sweet, hot flesh.

"Ow! Mom! This kitten is out of control!"

Thwarted, Young Tiger pouted.

"Next time, Son. Next time."

Unknown said...

With a throaty purr, the Duchess of Yowl preened her whiskers before lowering her stance. She viewed her prey cautiously, attempting to calculate its next move, before beginning a stealthy, tiger-like stalk across the courtyard. At last she pounced, flattening it with her paws, and breaking it from the ground with her teeth. And then, as any self-respecting cat would do, she proudly sat on it. Another weed wrestled into submission.

Donnaeve said...

They spotted a great beast approaching and chattered excitedly amongst themselves, declaring it was like nothing they’d ever seen. As it came to rest, discussion of a new prey came to them. They listened, hearing how it groaned, then purred. A strange smell rode the wind, a pungent odor, as if it rotted from within.

They chose their best stalker to approach.

He froze in horror as the beast vomited bodies, faces strangely loaded with whiskers.

One confronted him, staring at his own, oddly painted like tiger’s.

It uttered a strange sound.


Mesmerized, entranced, he touched a satiny sleeve.

Leigh Caron said...


The tigress leaned forward propping her ample bosom on the oak bar, heaving with anticipation. "Just a whisker of gin in a slow fizz," she purred. "And four cherries. I'm hungry." The bottle-blonde winked at Alan then turned to the roomful of college jocks deciding which tenderoni she'd stalk tonight.

That broad is too old for them, Alan mused, fingering a vein. But in the nadir of his not so white tidy-whities he wished that tonight he'd be lucky enough to be her prey. But then, track marks would no doubt be a deal breaker.

Alan Milner said...

The abbot, a Buddhist monk, cherished almost all living things.

“Before you shut down the sanctuary, please come for a private visit. See what we’ve done here.”

The minister agreed. The abbot, a global celebrity, required careful coddling

The minister arrived before dawn, alone, a prisoner of his busy schedule. The abbot walked him through the gate and down to the valley where tigers ran wild, stalking their prey, licking the blood from their whiskers.

He returned alone, purring with contentment after the unfortunate accident.

“I told him not to pet the tigers.”

One tiger was worth a hundred politicians.

Steve Cassidy said...

Jes suis Charlie Hebdo!

Hiding like rats, the terrorists planned their deadly attacks on the innocent Paris Friday night crowds of lovers and friends, dreamers and wanderers.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud imagined he was a great tiger striking the infidels.

He slowly stroked his whiskers while laying out his dastardly plan. He purred with excitement, rationalizing to his coven how to stalk their prey and kill the unholy. At 28 he was an expert at motivating his sycophantic followers.

“Kill in the name of the all merciful, peaceful, Prophet Mohammad.”

“Peace be upon him,” Hasna Ait Boulahcen demurely whispered, checking her vest .

vb holmes said...

A young man slips among the spectators surrounding an impassioned female orator and a bewhiskered heckler.
"You men want to silence us, to control us," the girl shouts over her adversary's catcalls. "You prey on our perceived helplessness, but together we stand strong."
The feminists in the crowd show their solidarity as she raises her clenched fist.
"She's a tiger," the young man fairly purrs, "in need of a greater cause."
She rants on as her admirer finalizes his plan to stalk her, seduce her, radicalize her, and when the time is right, fasten a suicide belt around her waist.

MC said...

On a sooty street, I share my mat with Tiger.
I named her before someone told me she was black.
Her head seeks my chapped hand so I scratch it softly.
She paces, paws at me, whines.
Someone hands me a styrofoam container.
The top pops open. I smell Buffalo wings.
But it’s only a celery stalk.
Tiger pounces like it’s prey.
Her whiskers brush my skin as she chews.
She laps up blue cheese dip, then settles.
Her purr warms me like the hot coffee they serve inside.
I feel her breath slowing. Satisfied, she sleeps.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Rain again.

“What the Hell, little brother?” Luc asked.

“Making a better garden,” Joe said.

Luc laughed. “That’s a flood. What's that?"


“No, not your damn fish. That?”

“It’s a tiger.”

“It’s being stalked by a shark.”

“Luc! Stop adding things,” Joe said.

“You’ll thank me for the boat. Mammals drown. Turn off the rain.”

“Why are you helping?”

“Judgment Day comes soon. My world is already perfect.”

Luc spurred Joe’s anger.

“Says who?”

“Dad,” Luc said. “What’s that whiskered fellow doing?”



“So I’ll help.”

“Joe, that’s cheating. You’re supposed remain invisible to your creation.”

Unknown said...

I stalk my prey with tweezers among the whiskered shoots of tomatoes. There: four casualties, snipped below the cotyledon.

The root-cover slips open, revealing unbroken loam. I breathe with relief. My ancestors would have feared a tiger coming upon them as they worked the soil. My nightmare has more to do with particles of dirt clogging the air-circulator, the terror of all who micromanage micro-crops in micro-gravity.

The cutworm squishes with a satisfying pop. But tomorrow, of course, there will be more. It seems we can’t colonize a new world without a few damned stowaways.