Word Count: 1226 (1256 if you count the “disclaimer” lol)
Prompt: The Walking Dead ‘Say the Word’ – “Rick struggles to cope.” @ Brigit’s Flame
Rick could feel the predator staring at him in the darkness. He wasn’t sure where the monster was, but he knew it was stalking him. He had been trying to fall asleep when he felt its presence, and now he was worried about moving in fear of provoking the beast into sinking its teeth in his vulnerable flesh.
What was he going to do?
He looked at his girlfriend sleeping beside him. He envied her ignorance to the lurking danger. He was so exhausted – if only the monster would kill him instead of toying with him like this night after night. How long had it been since he had a full night’s sleep?
He shifted his leg to get more comfortable and instantly regretted it. The sharp pain from teeth piercing his leg made him jump up from the bed.
“Chester, no!” he snapped as he tried to pry his girlfriend’s annoying cat from his calf. As if in spite, the tabby gripped his leg with his claws and bit down harder.
He managed to pry the cat loose as quietly as he could and hoped he wasn’t bleeding as he got back into bed. Chester had been attacking him constantly every night since he had moved in with Maria. He looked at the clock. Eleven pm. Tomorrow he’d be going to work with no sleep again, joining the walking dead who fed on caffeine.
This was ridiculous. He needed to tell Maria her cat had to go or he would!
What was he thinking? He couldn’t say that! She’d pick her stupid cat and kick him out faster than he could say Chester. He wasn’t about to tell her that he couldn’t handle a fluffy tabby cat either. He was a man. He could figure this out.
Maybe Chester was just trying to be the alpha male and was fighting to defend his territory. Did cats even work that way? He wasn’t sure, but he knew Google would know. He reached for his phone on the end table, but Chester grabbed hold of his arm and began biting. Rick jerked his arm away, and Chester seized it again, holding on with his teeth and kicking at it with his back legs.
“Damn it, you stupid cat!”
He tried shaking him free, but Chester tightened his grip. Rick grabbed one of Chester’s toys with his free hand and tossed it. Just like that, the cat vanished. Rick sat down on the bed and sighed. Why did she have to have a cat?
“Rick?” a groggy voice said.
“Hey.” He glanced over his shoulder to his girlfriend and felt the mattress shift.
“What are you doing up?”
“Had to go to the bathroom. Go back to sleep.”
The mattress moved again, and Rick felt Maria put an arm around him. He lied down, and she snuggled up to him before kissing him.
Now would be a good time to tell her. “Maria-”
No there had to be a better way. He was a man. Chester was a cat. He could outsmart the stupid thing. He just needed a plan.
“What’s wrong, Rick?” She gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek.
That’s it! The plan was so simple! Why hadn’t he thought of it before?
He kissed her back, letting the intensity grow until neither was thinking of sleep. She began to remove her shirt. Time to begin phase two.
“Your cat is staring at us,” he said.
“What?” She started to laugh.
“The lights are out. How can you tell?”
“I feel him staring. Can’t you kick him out?”
She laughed. “I never kick him out of my room.”
“I can’t focus with him staring.”
“Focus? I’ve never known you to get distracted when it comes to this.” She laughed again.
“Just kick him out so I can completely focus on you.” He gave her a long, passionate kiss. It must have persuaded her because she quickly put the cat in the hallway and shut the door afterward.
Rick couldn’t help but grin. He managed to get rid of the annoying furball and he was getting laid.
It was the best sex he’d had in a long time. When they were finished, he lied down on his back and closed his eyes. Finally, he could sleep. And after all that exercise, he had certainly earned it.
The door! He quickly sat upright. “You let him back in?”
“Of course I did. Chester always sleeps in here with me.”
The tabby meowed and rubbed up against Maria’s leg before glaring at Rick. Stupid cat knew exactly how to push his buttons. He was surprised it hadn’t stuck its tongue out at him. He continued to stare at those golden eyes until Maria turned off the light and lied back down.
“What’s wrong sweetie,” she asked.
“Nothing,” he muttered before lying down. She snuggled up to him again and quickly fell asleep.
Rick strained to listen for Chester in the night. That monster always managed to stay so quiet and caught him off guard every time he attacked. Maybe this time it’d be different; maybe he would leave him alone. Maybe Chester had already had his fill of blood for one night.
Maria rolled over and away from him. He felt the cat jump onto the bed. The moonlight shining in through the window provided just enough light to make out the dark form climbing over her.
The predator was stalking its prey. Again. Rick knew then that his wish for sleep was pointless once more.
No! He couldn’t take it anymore. He was exhausted. He wanted – no craved – sleep. His boss and some of his coworkers had started to notice him dozing in the office. He was determined to win this round; no cat was going to control him. He was a human; surely he was more superior. He contemplated his next attack, but he was too late.
Chester pounced on his foot. Rick pulled away quickly, but the cat was even more determined now. They wrestled. and at one point, he stood holding the tabby in his arms.
Enough was enough!
He somehow freed himself from the beast’s jaws and claws and hurried to the door, shutting it forcefully behind him. Maria could deal with Chester’s fury for once.
He collapsed onto the couch exhausted and perhaps bloodied and scarred. He didn’t care though. He was finally going to sleep in peace. Not even the light shining in from the moon and the street could keep him awake. He closed his eyes, already half dreaming of sleep.
Rick rolled over and tried to cover his ears.
How could something so little be so damn loud? “Shut up, Chester!” he yelled through the door.
There was a thump against the door. Rick opened his eyes as his heart skipped a beat. Was Chester trying to open the door? No cat could do that, could they?
No. It was impossible. Cats didn’t have thumbs. Maria would get him to shut up eventually; even she couldn’t sleep through that sound. He was safe. He shut his eyes again.
“MEOOOOOOOOOW!” Thump. Thump.
The cat was scratching her nice wooden door. Rick didn’t care. Sleep was coming. Everything was getting darker, his thoughts were fading. He had finally won!
Rick opened his eyes. He picked up his head and looked over at the door.
It was open.
No cats or humans were harmed in the making of this story.
All characters are fictional and any similarities to real people, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I hope you enjoyed this short story. I love feedback on my writing, so please don’t hesitate to point out anything you like or think needs improving. I don’t watch the Walking Dead so I took the plot elsewhere.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries and vote for your favorite by Thursday at 11:45 pm.
What are your thoughts on this story? In particular, how did you feel about the ending and pacing? Are the pictures distracting or do they add to the story?
Do your animals bug you when they sleep?