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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: Magnificent Menagerie
By Marita Thelander


Colton planted himself on the curb, and reached into a box to pull out a fuzzy grey kitty. He watched the Parker boys as they worked the customers on their way into the corner store. Who could resist the innocent pleading eyes?

“Want a free kitten? We have to find them homes today, or Daddy’s takin’ them to the pound.” The older of the two boys would quickly plead their case and let his adorable little brother do the rest.

“He says they will be eu-than-ized. Jimmy says that means killed.” The tears would well up as Jimmy would reach to comfort poor little Joshie, and another fluff of fur would be carried away in sympathetic arms.

Colton grinned every time the Parker boys gave their sales pitch. The last kitten mewed and batted at his hand as he teased it mercilessly. Colton’s hand froze in mid air when a bedraggled, smelly old woman bent towards the critter to have a better look.

He held his breath to avoid smelling hers as she talked silly kitty talk to the fluff in his arms. “I think I’ll take you home, little sweetie,” Cora grinned wide with delight as Colton’s face began to turn red.

Just as the local town hermit scooped the kitten into her arms, Colton let his breath out. In a matter of seconds, Colton jumped on his bike and headed to Kevin’s house. Arriving in record time he threw his bike out from under him and jumped to the bottom step of his buddy’s porch. He took one leap from step to door and knocked frantically.

“Come on, Kevin, hurry.” Colton shouted out of breath.

Bewildered by Colton’s sense of urgency, Kevin rushed to get his bike, “What in the world is wrong with you?”

The look of pure orneriness spread across Colton’s face. “You will never guess what just happened at the store.”

“Well, since I will never guess, how ‘bout you just tell me what all the rush is about?” Kevin could hardly keep up. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“Crazy Cora came to town today.” Colton shouted back to Kevin who was lagging behind.


“Parker boys were giving away their latest batch of kittens.”

“Crazy Cora took one?” Kevin asked excitedly. He knew what was going on now, and peddled harder as the new information bolstered his energy.

Out of breath, the boys ditched their bikes among the briars and snuck along a border of trees, careful not to let Cora see them on her property. As the boys neared the house they could hear her talking to herself. They looked at each other wide-eyed and tried not to bust up laughing.

The mischievous pair snuck around Cora’s property many times; they were becoming quite capable at their reconnaissance missions. Crawling on their bellies like army men, the pair slid into their favorite hiding place. They could see everything from there.

“Ok, there’s old Brutus the St. Bernard on the front porch,” Colton’s eyes scanned the yard as he whispered. “And there’s Lulu and Lance, the love birds perched on the hanging flower pot.”

“Paulie Poodle is foraging in the flower garden,” Kevin interjected proudly. Colton had always been quicker at finding the magnificent menagerie of pets Cora took pleasure in.

“Parrot Pat is perched amidst the climbing vines.” Colton pointed for Kevin to see. The vines were taking over the covered porch and made it difficult to see poor Pat.

“Where is he?” Kevin’s eyes watered from strain. “I don’t see Cozy Cat.”

“Duck, she’s coming out.” Colton shoved his friend’s head down before he could make his own choice to hide. “There he is.”

“Oh, how funny, she put him just below the unsuspecting love birds.”

“Yep, looks like he is going to pounce on the poor pitiful things.”

They could hear Cora saying in a sing-song voice as she stroked her new pet, “Krissy Kitty, you will curl up next to me now.” Cora stooped to pet Cozy as he sat stiff as can be. “You will be missed, darlin’ dear. You have been a mighty fine companion for over a decade. The Lord giveth, and taketh away, but I can enjoy forever.”

Sneaking back out, the boys laughed openly as they retrieved their bikes. Colton wrestled his handle bars out of the overgrown briar-bushes that partially hid a signpost. Clearing the remaining briars, they gasped in shock as they revealed Cora’s former fascinating occupation: Cora Collins Touching Taxidermy.

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This article has been read 614 times
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Shirley McClay 05/22/08
EWWWWWW! LOL... I never saw THAT coming! Nice job... I think...LOL! Gotta say, taxidermy never entered into my mind to write about!
Helen Dowd05/22/08
This story is full of suspense, but I am afraid you have me confused. The lady is a taxidermist. She has stuffed many of her previous pets, but is she going to do the same to this little kitten? I sure hope not! I couldn't tell. Or is it a new pet for her to enjoy? I am puzzled. Sorry.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/22/08
Creative, spookie, confusing, and a Magnificent Menagerie of Mystery, eh? I'm not quite sure I'm understanding this thoroughly, either...but it's definitely different and entertaining. I liked it. I didn't understand it, but I liked it. Nice job of writing and it's well worth a second read...
Laury Hubrich 05/22/08
Crazy Cora is excited to be getting another kitten to replace her cat that died. To see that she is a taxidermist was a twist. She is able to enjoy all her pets she's had thru the ages:) Funny twist!
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/22/08
I was right there beside the boys to see what Cora would do. A great twist at the end.
Joshua Janoski05/23/08
Your ending was a shocker. LOL. I don't know how you thought of this idea, but it was very clever. You had me wondering what Crazy Cora was doing until the very end. Thank you for sharing. :)
Chely Roach05/26/08
What a creative story...loved the Parker boys, and then spying on Cora. Great twist at the end!
Holly Westefeld05/26/08
Engaging and creative.
I wasn't sure what to make of the relationship between the three boys at the beginning, as there was no interaction between them.
Jan Ackerson 05/27/08
Clever, and you've done a nice job with atmosphere in this story.
Debbie Wistrom05/27/08
Great twist at the end. Loved the boys on thier bellies and the fake tears.

Superb story telling!
Joanne Sher 05/28/08
Clever and WHAT a twist! I wanna live in that mind of yours - if only for a few hours! Super characterization especially.
LauraLee Shaw05/28/08
Excellent!! What an incredible imagination you have! Love it!
Sara Harricharan 05/28/08
Goodness, I sincerely hope she does not stuff that poor darling, or I will personally visit her house to snatch it away. lol. Great job with the atmosphere and narration. Nice.
Debi Derrick05/28/08
Wonderful story; great twist at the end. Laugh out loud funny when it came!
Lyn Churchyard05/29/08
Excellent story. I loved the way you led us on, the boys tears trying to find a home for the kittens, following Cora, thinking she is just a crazy lady who talked to stuffed animals. Wonderful twist at the end to find out her former occupation. Great job Marita, I loved it.