Blueskin The Cat: The Opening

Blueskin wasn’t bothered by thoughts of an after-life. He couldn’t spell reincarnation and hadn’t even heard of India where the people believed in such things.
What did bother him for a moment was the awful memory of being strangled to death in a hanging and the loss of his beautiful blue waistcoat with the pearl buttons that had been his pride and joy as a highwayman. He remembered the sound of the drum roll and a great cheer from the crowd as his body dropped and the rope tightened around his neck.
He looked down at his chest and was even more bothered to see fur had grown all over him.
Black fur with a definite blue sheen?
One, two, three, four paws?
His chin was touching the dirty floor. He must be lying on his stomach. He glanced around at the casks lining the walls, wooden boxes stacked on top of each other and coal in a large pile. This was a cellar. How had he got into a cellar from the scaffold? Had they carried him in here and dumped him on his stomach ready to be carted away to the lime grave as soon as they were ready? He had fooled them. He was still alive. He could still move. He stretched his neck. It didn’t hurt. He tried to smile and felt fur on his lips. Something was wrong. The military had hanged too many men to make a mistake.
There were smells in the air he didn’t recognize. Things he had never smelled before. He licked his nose which he had never been able to do before. He turned round very slowly and watched with fascination as a tail flicked. A cat’s tail. His tail.
His tail!
He was a cat!
A blue-black cat. He scratched his stomach where it itched with his back leg. He sat down and looked at his rump. He could turn his head almost right round. He could see quite well in the dark and heard a few mice scuttling across the stone floor of the cellar. Muscles all over him tensed at their every movement. His mouth filled with saliva when he smelled them and he felt his claws aching to come out and grab them.
He wanted to eat them!
What a ghastly, terrible, catastrophic twist of fate! He jumped onto a box and leapt in a single bound onto the ledge of the barred window. Now he was at street level and could see ladies’ petticoats and mens’ buckled shoes milling around in the square. Gaps appeared in their ranks and suddenly he saw his scaffold! The pads of his front paw lightly touched the bars in his shock.

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May 2011
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