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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Curiosity Killed the Cat (10/10/13)

TITLE: Gracie
By Pauline Brakebill
10/11/13


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The Trials and Tail of Gracie (A True Account- with some liberties)

On this beautiful spring day, Gracie was birthed. She had to be a special kitty, because she was the only one in her litter. She grew in wisdom and stature. Her name fit her perfectly, as she was gray with orange spots mixed in.

Gracie thought she was better than the common cats we allowed to live at our home. You see there were 23 barn cats and 12 house cats. The house cats continually snubbed the barn cats, keeping their noses in the air as one dared to come too close. Gracie was the leader of the tribe of aristo – cats. They always did as they were directed. She learned to open the screen door with her paw, so naturally she came into the house whenever she wanted.

The barn cats on the other hand, were rough and tumble, using bad language and snarling at everyone. Of course, since they lived down at the barn,they got first pick at the milk which the Guernsey cow sprayed forth. With milk dripping down the whiskers of each one, the barn cats ran out of the milk shed laughing at the house cats who had to wait for the delightful warm milk to be brought to them in a silver (aluminum) platter.

With that background of kitty social structure , let’s continue the story. Gracie was determined to see the world from the eyes of a cat. So each year she would pack her kit bag and take off. We never knew when she was going to leave or when she would return.

We were always glad to see her return and she knew it, so she would take the liberty of resting and not doing her duty of catching mice for about a week.
One year, Gracie was gone an exceptionally long time. We were worried that perhaps she would not return. As fate would have it, one snowy winter day, we looked out the kitchen window and saw a dark figure dragging some thing behind it across the snow. We ran out to see what it was. Well, there came Gracie dragging an animal trap, snapped on her back leg. We saw how she had chewed off the rope in order to get loose.

Quickly , we picked her up and took her in the house, laying her on the bed. With much effort , we removed the trap. Her back paw was swollen quite badly, we were afraid she would lose it, even worse, die. Mother got out her trusty infa-red heat lamp shinning it on Gracie’s leg.

Day after day, Gracie just laid there letting us massage her foot and shinning the heat lamp on it. She didn’t move from that spot, but she would drink a few laps of warm, fresh milk each day. Finally, the swelling in her foot began to go down. Gradually, she became more active, using her back foot more and more.

As she recovered, Gracie would go outside and tell the house cats all about her adventures. The barn cats would taunt her saying ,“Ha, Ha you know ‘Curiosity can kill a cat’. Gracie then turned her nose in the air, reached out and slapped one of them with her paw and walked away.

One year, after I went away to college, Gracie came home without a tail. She never spoke of it . I assumed it was too embarrassing to talk about . She existed for several years with out that tail. Then one year during harvest, my dad was surveying his hay field , when he saw this rabbit jumping around trying to catch something. He quickly retrieved his gun and shot it. Going out to get the rabbit to have for supper, he only found Gracie, lying in a pool of blood.
Dad was so distraught that he threw his gun down and went to his room , holding his head in his hands.
He couldn’t bear to tell me when I came home the next time. So he prevailed upon my future husband to break the news to me that Gracie was gone. I truly believe Dad took it harder than I did.
I’m sure Gracie is in Kitty heaven now, telling all about her kitty tails. This time curiosity really did kill the cat.


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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/17/13
Oh I love this story. You pulled me in right away. I had Persians who knew they were special and strutted around the "regular" cats too.

The only red ink I would give is you didn't need the line about curiosity really killing the cat. You showed the reader that with your wonderful words and you nailed the topic in a fresh way.

The ending brought the story full circle. I can only imagine how horrible that must have been for your father. You have a knack for storytelling.
CD Swanson 10/21/13
This was so well written, and held my focus all the way through the "sad ending." I was mortified, and can only imagine the pain he must have felt seeing that lifeless image. My heart goes out to kitty kat and your grandfather.

Thank you for sharing.

God bless~
CD Swanson 10/21/13
Sorry, I meant to say,
"your father." God bless~