Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: INSOUCIANT (06/02/16)
TITLE: Cat and Mouse
By Holly Westefeld
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"That's my girl! When do you start?"
"Next Monday, not counting the mini-lesson I conducted this evening. Oh, this is my bus. I'm going to celebrate with ice cream before heading home. See you in a while."
"Congrats, Katrina. Love you."
Katrina shoved her phone in her pocket, located the door with her white cane, mounted the steps, and dropped her token in the slot. Seated behind the driver, she daydreamed of renting her first apartment, keeping half an ear tuned to the stop announcements.
Harry, slouched in the last row, spotted the petite young woman with the cane. It was all he could do to keep a Cheshire grin from doing more than twitch the corner of his mouth. <i>"Now that's a soft target if I ever seen one! I won't even need my handy dandy ski mask. She looks like she don't got a care in the world."</i>
Katrina pulled the cord when Second Street was announced, exited the bus and turned left. Harry followed. As she listened for the traffic pattern at the corner, Harry ventured, "Help you cross, miss," taking her elbow.
Katrina sidestepped his touch. "I'm fine, thank you. I've done this many times."
"Okay. Just offerin'."
Katrina proceeded when the parallel traffic moved, whistling "On Top of the World." She worked her way through the cafe tables that dotted the sidewalk. <i>"If I weren't so much a cat person, these obstacles could almost make me want a dog."</i> She crossed the alley and angled toward the door of the ice cream shop.
Harry slid in to a chair with a clear view of the door, poised to pursue his prey when she emerged. <i>"What kinda family lets a girl like that out by herself? ... Maybe the same kinda family that would let a little boy..."</i> He pinched himself and stared at the ice cream shop door.
"Hey, Katrina, how ya doin'?"
"Great, Matt! I'm here to celebrate my new job. What's the flavor of the month?"
"You got it. Awesome! It's honeysuckle."
"Hmmm. I'd like a test spoon of that please."
Katrina licked the small spoon, savoring the bite like a sip of fine wine. "Amazing! It totally captures the essence, just like plucking a fresh flower from the vine when I was a kid."
"Would you like your usual two-scoop cup?"
"Not this evening, Matt. I'd like them on one of those wonderful homemade waffle cones. I'm gonna cut across the alley and head back up to catch the bus before it gets fully dark."
"Coming right up."
"Thanks, Matt." Katrina pocketed her change and took a big bite of ice cream. "Have a good evening."
"You, too, Katrina."
Harry's head turned when a metallic ping sounded down the alley. <i>"That was close! I didn't think about there being a second door. If that cane hadn't hit the furniture..."</i> Heart accelerating, he eased out of his seat and sauntered after Katrina.
Katrina strolled down the alley, twisting her cone, licking and nibbling its circumference.
Suddenly, an arm encircled her. "I'll just help you around this corner, miss," Harry purred in her ear.
Katrina smashed the cone over her shoulder in to Harry's eye, loosening his grip enough for her to spin to face him. Grabbing his shoulder, she drove the handle of her cane up under his chin, followed by thrusting the heel of her other hand upward in to his nose. "Kiai!"
He toppled like a bowling pin.
Katrina planted the tip of her cane just below Harry's's ribs, and pulled her phone out. "Call 911."
"What type of emergency?"
"Woman attacked. Perp may need a paramedic." She gave her location.
Harry groaned. "You'll stay still if you know what's good for you. I just got hired as a karate instructor, so unless you want me to give your ribs more of what your face got..."
Sirens approached. Doors slammed. "Ma'am, I'm Officer Clark. What happened here?"
"Apparently this guy thought I would be an easy target for his unwanted attentions."
"Nah, Officer. I was jus' lookin' down at my phone, and she slammed in to me. I tried to catch her and keep her from fallin' is all."
Officer Clark eyed Harry's face. "Uh huh. You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent..."
Kat lifted her cane, gesturing toward the corner. "When you're ready for my statement, I'll be up here, replacing my ice cream cone."
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