by Fay Franklin
Marisa had a cat with wings. You couldn’t see them, of course, but she knew they were there. Small, iridescent things, sprouted from delicate feline shoulder blades, fluttering and shimmering and glowing with unknown colours, patterned with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
People might think that a cat could not possibly fly with such little wings. Well, look at a bee. How does that work? Bertrand Russell observed that, for an angel to fly, it would have to have a breastbone thirteen feet long. Maybe they do.
And anyway, Bertrand Russell had thought a lot about cats and wasn’t even sure that they existed. So Marisa expected that he would have found a cat with wings just as acceptable as any other.
Marisa had never seen an angel but was content to imagine that impossible breastbone, as well as the rest of the seraphic bone structure that accompanied it.
Marisa’s cat had a prominent breastbone, but by no means, even cat-sized, did it pro-rata to an angelic thirteen feet. Depending, that is, on the size of the angel. Still, she knew that her cat had wings, and that it flew.
She knew because, when she was down at the bottom of the pit, when she could not get out and everything was black, down would swoop her cherubic, impossible cat, and pull her out. He would catch his tiny, falcate-moon claws in the tangles of her hair and lift, lift, lift, and they would rise together, straight through the window bars and out into the light, she and her cat.
Once, he laid her gently into warm, silky water and hazy jasmine-scented steam, and never even got his paws wet. Another time, he settled her into a soft bed, tucked his wings against his bony flanks, and curled up beside her, purring quietly at a job well done. And there was the time that he rested her into an old wicker chair, in a green-shaded place, and then dashed off across the grass, unfurled his wings and floated off into the summer air in the mazy wake of a butterfly.
And when, at last, it was time for Marisa’s cat to start circling up towards the harvest moon, he took Marisa with him, and they ascended together, dizzy and delighted, into the star-strewn autumn sky.