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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Jeb's Lucky Day
By Chris Janzen


Jed picked through the garbage can, looking for a scrap of bread or anything to eat. He was accustomed to getting his meals this way. He'd done it for a long time. His search was fruitless so he hunkered under the cardboard box that was home, trying to get warm in the bitter October wind. Lying on his concrete bed, he watched the brown leaves swirl and dance on the sidewalk. His mind drifted back to happier times.

He saw his beautiful Jet Black mother and the rest of his large family. He had many siblings and they had such fun together playing games and sharing adventures. They were always warm, safe, and fed; well cared for by their capable mother.

A siren blared and Jed was startled back to his harsh reality. None of those things were true any longer. His mother had died and he and his siblings had all gone their separate ways. He had no idea where any of his brothers or sisters were.

He knew it was difficult to be Black, but he never understood it. His ancestors had been royalty. From the first time he realized he was being treated differently because of his color, he was outraged. It was so unfair. He was as strong and smart and good as anyone else. What right did anyone have to make assumptions about him because of his color?

He thought how unjust it was that black was always associated with evil, death, and bad tidings. He wondered why it was the chosen color for mourning. Why did the villain always wear a black hat and the hero white? Who assigned these arbitrary meanings to his proud and beautiful color, and what right did they have?

Jed repositioned himself under his box, trying to get comfortable. He thought of earlier in the day when he had been out walking. The disgusted stares of people were hard to ignore. Some even went so far as to cross the street when they saw him coming.

He may not have been the most handsome, but he was hardly hideous. He'd certainly had his share of companions. There were plenty who liked his “kind.”

There were plenty of others who did not.

Jed was startled by the sound of footsteps. A beautiful young white woman was walking towards him.

“Ugh,” he thought, “just what I need...some snooty white girl and her attitude.” He was more than a little surprised when she walked right over to him and said hello. He remained silent. He had learned not to like her “kind.”

“I'm Abby,” the young woman said, “and I'd like to help you. No one should have to sleep out here on the street on a night like this. I want you to come with me. I can help.”

Jed didn't understand. No one had ever spoken to him with such kindness. This was most unusual.

Abby reached down and picked him up very gently. He immediately started to purr. “This one is nice,” he couldn't help thinking. She wrapped Jed up in her coat and started to sing one of her favorite hymns...

“All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful,The Lord God made them all.”

She continued singing all the way to her house.

“He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.”

She brought him in and fed him a can of tuna, which he eagerly dug into. “Goodness, you were hungry, weren't you boy?” He purred his response and gratefully devoured the bounty she had provided.

Abby gave Jed a warm bath, washing off the grime and smell of his life on the street. She very gently and lovingly scrubbed and rinsed his fur, then dried him off with a big, fluffy towel. He couldn't believe his good fortune. He had never felt so wonderful.

All his life he'd heard he was unlucky, undesirable, a bad omen...even accused of witchcraft. Now here was this beautiful creature treating him like the royalty he always knew he was. Finally someone had recognized him!

“I'm gonna name you Jinx,” Abby said with a smile, looking into his brilliant green eyes. Jed didn't know what the name meant, but concurred with a purr, thinking “this is my lucky day.”

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This article has been read 445 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke10/22/09
I have my own black kitty that i rescued from a life of poverty and cold so of course the ending tickled me.
There are some great hidden messages in your parable like story once the true identity of your MC is revealed.
Well written!
Jan Ackerson 10/26/09
Awwwww, I love kitty stories!
Debra Elliott10/27/09
I like the way you entrance the reader... I love the "not knowing" at the beginning of the story and then the "hook".

Very well written.
Allen Stark10/28/09
Another great story with a surprise turn.
c clemons10/30/09
Is anyone going to comment about the name Jeb in the title and in the story the cat's name is Jed? Oh well I guess I state the obvious.
Chris Janzen10/30/09
Ha! Yeah I noticed that after I already pushed send. The reason I wrote this story was I read somewhere that black cats are only half as likely to be adopted as cats of other colors. Isn't that crazy? Apparently it is true for dogs as well. Thanks for all the great feedback everyone!