Monday, September 25, 2006

Killing things

When she was just a tiny kitten she was locked in a cooler with her five siblings. A wild 2 year old did it. By the time they were found it was too late, they were all dead, suffocated, except for one. The runt of the litter. destined to be ours.

The damage wasn't immediately apparent, she was very sweet, not too timid. She just didn't grow. She looked like a kitten all her life. She was incredibly good natured in my four year old world of endless groping, playing dress up and being lugged here and there. Her name changed as often as my mind did. She was everything from Rainbow to Veronica. We were worried when she became pregnant, being so small, but she didn't seem too troubled by it, leaving us one lone kitten in a sticky bloody mess on a favourite sweater at the bottom of my mother's wardrobe. I watched it through the crack where the doors met.

I remember having the same feeling I did in the bunny dream, when I was around kittens as a small child. I was scared of myself. Holding one, an intense love would grip me, a feeling that I struggled to express. Simply, I just wanted to squeeze them as tightly as possible. No matter how hard I squuezed, I always wanted to do it harder. They were just so cute. This is so hard to explain.

I took that kitten with me everywhere, playing in the garden, building houses out of boxes. My runt, its mother, watching warily, not far away. My little arms and fingers found it hard holding onto that kitten. it wriggled and squirmed, wanting to run in the grass. I heaved up the rabbit cage, no rabbit had lived in it for years, it was a large, heavy rectangular frame covered in wire fencing and cobwebs, with a wooden shelter at one end. No way in or out except via the bottom, which was completely open to the ground. That had been the problem, the rabbits would dig under and out within a day. To put the kitten in the cage I had to try to hold it with one little arm and shoo it in with the other. The funny little ball of fur looked at me with big blue eyes, it didn't want to go in the cage. It must have been so tired of four year old me and all my love, desperate and squeezing. The kitten ran part way out. The weight of the cage on my hands became unbearable, escalating in a flash. I screamed as my arms gave way. That moment of terror seemed to last forever. The solid metal frame was going to land on my kitten's neck. And it did. I remember that run, from the rabbit cage, sobbing across the long dewy grass of our lawn to the back door, as if it were yesterday. The first thing my parents couldn't fix. It was the first time I met that feeling of a final ending. Deep shame. And watching the mother nuzzle at her only baby's lifeless body, life darkened.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're writing ist amazing. Have you thought about publishing your stuff somehow?

7:59 AM  
Anonymous Bethany said...

Shit! Why did you want to put it in the hutch?!

I had 5 chinchillas not all that long ago, because they were so active and loved to run round I let them loose in a room that was empty except for a large wardrobe. I went up a few hours later and screamed when I saw the wardrobe had fallen over. I could only see 3 of them cowering in a corner and there was only one place the other two could be...

They were as flat as pancakes and my friends actually buried them in pizza boxes - they were completely flattened. I was so distraught but at least it wouldve been an instant death and they didn't suffer. I couldn't understand how it happened, I think a couple may have crawled up behind the wardrobe and somehow levered it and then it toppled - splat...

I was gutted and cried and cried for ages at their little funeral we held at the veg patch.

1:39 PM  
Blogger The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

that sucks. :(

2:05 PM  
Blogger tui said...

Oh god Bethany, what a story! It's so traumatising when that sort of thing happens. I had a mouse house that was a vertical thing with about four stories and a big sliding glass front. To get the mice out to play with you had to raise the front. It was so heavy for a kid to lift. I broke several small necks and bodies with that. It was a like a giant mouse guillotine. For some reason those deaths hardly affected me. Finally mum just stopped buying more.

2:06 PM  
Blogger flic said...

You tried, and it didn't work out. Now you must be hesitant sometimes. Don't be.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous eric said...

Check in on Petite, if you haven't lately, Tui.

I agree: you should think about writing a book. Your style is enormously compelling. The talent is there - if you wish it, it will no doubt appear.

10:24 PM  
Blogger oscah said...

Check this out:

Her writing reminds me a bit of yours.

I can't find the templates tab by the way, but thankyou for your help anyhow.


3:52 AM  
Blogger I.:.S.:. said...

Ah, we do like your stories over at realgem, read them all right off. And now we are not coming back, as red red roses blossoming in syringe barrels take our thoughts to dangerous places.

Live lucky. And maybe we'll be back.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you were just as horrible as the little 2 year old who killed the first litter of kittens. think about that for the rest of your life, killing a harmless, innocent little kitten.

7:41 AM  

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