The first draft of a story I’m working on.
Blodwin started life as a very normal child. Her childhood would not have been in any way peculiar. Things only started to change on her thirteenth birthday, but even then it was hard to pin down when the change occurred. After all, peculiar behaviour is commonplace amongst hormone riddled teenage girls.
It all started on Blodwin’s birthday, which as sod’s law would have it, was a school day. Blodwin was walking home after another horrible day in school when she heard a piteous whining coming from within an alley. She tried to ignore it, nearly walked on by, but when it came again it struck at Blodwin’s heart strings and she had to investigate.
The alley was filled with threatening shadows as if the sun had been banished from existing in the semi-darkness, despite it being a lovely spring day on the main street. Her mother had always warned her to avoid such places, but when the mewling came again, she braced herself and stepped into the shadows.
The chill washed over her like a cold shower, making her gasp with surprise. She shivered and pulled her coat tight around her scrawny frame, considering retreat. As if on cue the piteous wailing came again, more desperate this time. It was coming from further down the alley.
As Blodwin crept closer, she became aware of an powerful stench of rotting meat. Each step increased the power of the smell until Blodwin had to cover her face with the sleeve of her coat to stem the rank odour. The mewling was coming from a dilapidated cardboard box, discarded at the end of the lane.
By now, Blodwin’s heart was in her throat, beating like a hummingbird. Tentatively, she raised the cardboard away.
Flies burst free, buzzing angrily around Blodwin’s head like a swarm of hornets, and she shrieked in fright, staggering away. The stench of purification was so strong here that Blodwin gagged back her lunch as she tried to swat the swarm of flies away from her.
The piteous whining became more urgent as again Blodwin considered flight. It was as if the creator of the noise sensed the girl’s hesitation. Hypnotised by the sound, Blodwin found her courage again and drew closer. She saw movement, in the deeper shadows within the shadows, and again carefully lifted the lid. The last few flies flew out, hurrying to catch up with their comrades, seeking out their next meal. Peering into the dark interior of the box, Blodwin could vaguely make out the form of a cat lying still in the bottom of the box. It appeared to be dead, only its swollen belly showed any movement. The black and white cat was being consumed from the inside out by a bellyful of maggots. Blodwin had found the source of the stench.
Choking on bile, she turned to leave, before spotting something else in the corner of the box. A small black blob of fur with eyes like saucers. The blob mewed again. On shaky legs, the blob tottered nearer, wailing like a banshee now.
Reaching in, Blodwin lifted the kitten up and cradled it against her cheek. The thing was skin and bone, but it purred loudly in response to her touch.
“Ach! You poor wee mite,” cooed Blodwin, tucking the flea-riddled kitten under her coat against the cold. “You’d better come home with me.”
Arriving home, Blodwin pleaded with her mother to keep the kitten.
“We can’t afford it,” protested her mother. “We can hardly put food on the table as it is.”
“Please!” begged Blodwin, playing her trump card. “It is my birthday, after all.”
With a sigh, her mother relented. “Very well then, but don’t get attached to that thing. I doubt it will survive. The critter is too young to be away from its mother.”
Grinning from ear to ear, Blodwin agreed, but it was far too late for that. A strong bond had already been established between the girl and the little tomcat.
Despite the odds, the kitten survived, growing stronger each day. Within six months it was able to feed itself on mice and small birds. Within a year, it had grown so bit that it was bringing home rabbits for its adopted family.
Blodwin named him Dagda, after the Celtic god.