There was a conversation with cats, that’s what he’s sure of. The salt-and-pepper ringleader with one blue eye and the rest of her crew prowled up and down the stone wall. They always seemed to be there.
“Please let us past,” Ebru begged. “We need mulberries to put into the batter before the pies burn!”
The mud-pies they had slapped into patties, drying in the July sun on green beds of grape leaves, had a perilous lack of fruit flavor. Behind the stone wall that was so heavily armed with cat claws, there was a lonely gravel road and a patch of mulberry trees across it.
Ender tried meowing at One-Eye. Ebru laughed, and then meowed, too. Then Ender decided to throw pebbles he found, scattered on the dirt path they were on. The cats hissed and retreated. One-Eye’s tail swung reproachfully from her perch, but she allowed the children to make their choice. Ebru and Ender climbed the short wall and tumbled to the ground on the other side.
“They’re not going to forget that,” Ebru cried, then brushed the dirt off of her bright orange shorts and forged ahead. The cats watched on.
Where did they go from the wall?
Across the road and into the grove. Except when Ender plucked a mulberry to give to Ebru, she wasn’t there. A breeze blew through the trees and leaves chittered together like applause.
Did he see her on the road?
Yes, she crossed first. He looked both ways and followed.
Was anyone else there?
I don’t know. He doesn’t. He can’t remember if there were people on the road, or in the mulberry grove.
There had been people close by. Two neighborhood aunties swore they saw her strolling alongside a strange woman with shiny black hair and a red floral dress. Maybe a car was there. Then no one was there.
The cats were there. One-Eye stalked the top of the wall. Ender wished he had listened to the cat. The day delved into dusk and Ender knew he would have to go home to chaos, the pies untouched, Ebru disappeared.
Behind the writing: This is an attempt at flash fiction, which I love to read but I hate to write because it’s so easy to get caught up in the million choices that have to be made in regards to what to include and what to cut to keep it “flash” fiction. This is definitely not a final draft; I have an idea of what I’m going for but I’m not certain that I’ve hit it so far, and I think I need to keep tinkering. Really cannot emphasize enough how inexperienced I am with this genre!