Written as part of a prompt challenge exercise about six months ago where I wrote one short story a day. I consider this to be one of the better ones. WARNING: Contains mentions (but no actual descriptions) of domestic abuse.

12: A time travelling cat (only travels a max of 30 mins in either direction) and has absolutely no control over it.

A few years ago, there was a cat. Female. Tabby. Mongrel. The general consensus seemed to be that her name was Molly.

Molly. Yes, a few years ago, there was Molly.

Molly was a troubled cat. Sometimes things didn't quite work for her.


Molly had a place where she liked to sit. In the centre of the big sofa in the lounge, a big, red sofa with cat hairs in the middle, was where she sat. The people would sit around her, and stroke her while they talked, sometimes. Sometimes they shouted, and blink, Molly was gone.

Blink.

No people. Empty sofa. More cat. She didn't like it very much.

Blink.

Molly couldn't make it stop.

Blink.

Exactly thirty minutes.


It had started happening when she was a kitten. When she'd first been taken to the big house with the red sofa, and handed to the little girl with the wide, bright eyes and the small hands that kept stroking her. She was fine when she was content, mostly. She could sit for hours and nothing would happen, but when things were disturbed...

Blink.

They tried to put her in the water, blink, the cat was gone, back when there was nothing wet. A passing dog barked violently at the window, blink, the cat jumped forwards to when the dog was gone. The people did not understand it. Sometimes they shouted for her, and she ran towards the voices, ecstatic, and blink.

Sometimes it happened several times in a row. An iteration of fearful things. Blink, blink, blink. For Molly there were a lot of fearful things. She didn't like it, but, of course, when she didn't- blink.

She fluttered back and forth between the now and the then and the coming with no hold on it. Sometimes she didn't know which of the times she walked in was the now. Sometimes she didn't know if there was a now, or just a collection of thens for her to hop between. Jump between. Blink.


It became more than just bathwater. The big woman with the hands that didn't stroke her at all would begin to shout, and then the man would shout back, and the girl would cry. Shouting, stamping, blink. Nobody bothered to look for Molly. Nobody wanted to look for Molly. Nobody cared about Molly.

Blink.

The girl was crying; Molly rubbed her head against her hands. The girl liked Molly, but not when she was jumping about all over the place. Sometimes the girl came to find Molly, when there was shouting in the house, but there would be no Molly there. Blink.

The big woman tried to kick at Molly, blink.

She was hungry, and there was no food in the bowl, blink.

The shouting man knocked at her as he gesticulated wildly with his big hands, blink.

Molly wanted to be with the crying girl, to make her stop crying so her hands would stroke her fur, but she couldn't, because...

Blink.


There were too many angry words in the big house. Even when she blinked, she ended up amidst more shouting, more words, more violence.

Blink...

Blink...

Blink.

Molly the cat was lost. Lost. She wanted the girl with her hands that stroked her to come back. She saw her and her face was covered with bruises; the big man was covered in bruises too, cowering and no longer so big. The angry woman took away her bowl. Molly was lost in a sea of flickering backwards and forwards.

No rest for Molly.

No peace for the house.

Blink.


Molly stumbled in a sea of long, tangled grass. She was hungry. She did not know where... when she was. There was no shouting, though. That was good.

Molly went into the house. The big house. Outside the door was a bowl, full of cat biscuits. Hungry, Molly ate. Nobody else was eating them. She was not scared.

Molly went through the cat flap.

There was a big woman there, with a little boy, who squealed with delight and ran a pudgy hand down Molly's fur. She purred. The big woman said something, but her voice wasn't angry like the other big woman. Molly didn't understand the human sounds, but there was no violence in the way she bent to pick her up. Molly saw big, blue eyes with a brightness in them, albeit dulled. The big woman smiled and, putting her on the table, began to stroke her.

Molly felt ok.

A big man walked into the room; he smiled faintly at Molly. A different big man to before, this one not cowed or angry. Just ordinary. Something ordinary. Peaceful for Molly.

The big woman fiddled with her tags until she could see them properly, then went pale. Molly mewled, annoyed that she had stopped stroking her, and with a weak laugh, the big woman carried on.

"I used to have a cat called Molly. My mother said she killed her."

There is Molly.

Blink.