The Casks of Heaven

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avatar Punkamoar
Retired Moderator
Level 53 : Grandmaster Gent
540
A group of my writing peers and myself have been writing stories every month this year. The stipulation? We take the zodiac animal from each month of the year, and write a story around that animal's interactions with a cat. This was what I wrote for February.






It was blisteringly hot. The sun caked the sand into the ground, for the rushing winds to throw it right back across the dunes. Being a cat, she never had a proclivity towards water, but she’d kill for a drop. Her only companions were the carrion circling above her, actively scouting their next meal. Occasionally she’d watch a snake burrow itself into the sand, to lay in wait for a mouse or scorpion. Normally, she would’ve been on the same errand, but her appetite was curbed significantly by her severe dehydration. The cat was near death.


She stumbled on, her dying eyes giving her treats of watering hole after watering hole. These apparitions kept her attention, to the point she didn’t realise the land dropping out from under her. The plateau had ended, throwing her down its embankment. Her disappearance confused her carrion pursuers, who couldn’t be bothered to track her down. They flew off, in search of more noticeable prey.


The cat arose, and shook the sand from her face and fur. The fall had snapped her back into a rational state of mind. When she dislodged most of the granules, she looked around, to take account of her new surrounding. The mesa she had just fell from was much too high to climb, and she fully-well knew there was nothing for her back that way. She went forward, to try and drag her way out of this hell-hole.


A shade arose in the distance, looming large and hopeful. The cat, needing any hope at all, stumbled towards it. Every muscle in her body was on fire, with the wind catapulting sand into her eyes and nose. She needed reprieve, and whatever that shadow was, it was hope.


As she drew near, she saw it turn from a shadow to a fortress. It had four conical towers in the corners, with walls bridging each of them, with a compound in the middle. It looked old, but sturdy, but most importantly, it would give her shelter from the sun and scalding winds. She crawled towards it, her entire body raw from the searing wind.


The doors stood slightly ajar, shifting slightly in the wind. The cat threw her weight against one, and managed to squeeze through. She began to hear noises coming from inside the compound; laughter, shouting, and music. She moved ahead, fully believing she would be saved.


So she went inside.


---------------------


The compound was essentially empty. The one thing that caught her eye were about eight casks, each tapped. Perhaps a smuggler’s den, or an old tavern. Looking to see where the sounds she heard outside were coming from, she saw a large chair, with a massive bull carcass sitting in it, all traces of flesh long gone. The skeleton sat at the end of the massive room, with a massive tankard in his hand. The cat was put on edge by the skeleton, but she needed to drink. She tested one of the casks, and out flowed a dark alcohol. She cupped her paws, and drank some. Even though it could have been decades old, it still tasted like liquid gold. It was cold, sweet, and wet, three things she hadn’t tasted in a long time.


“Drink, my sister, and slake your thirst.” The cat whipped around, to see where the voice had come from. She saw nothing, until her eyes fell on the bull skeleton. It stood up from where it sat, walked down the steps, and filled his tankard. Bringing it to his mouth, he drank deeply, the alcohol staining his bones and pooling at his feet. The cat shrieked, and ran for the door. The skeleton called out, shaking his horns. “You won’t last another hour out there. Stay and drink. You’ve tasted it, you know it tastes like the brews of Heaven. Take my cup, and drink.”


The cat, knowing his words were true, but nonetheless deeply disturbed by the animated skeleton, slowly walked back towards the bull. She took his cup, filled it with the alcohol, and drank. With each quaff, she felt her body come back to life. It gave her energy, vigor, and peace. After the first cup, she filled it again. And again. And again. She began to felt drowsy, and after pushing back a fifth tankard, she soon fell asleep.


The alcohol had an effect on her. Her sleep was deep, as deep as death itself. But she awoke, to the sounds of jubilation. She saw dozens of denizens, all having the times of their lives. She saw the bull, now fully covered in flesh, smiling and tapping his foot to the music. This was a good place, and the cat knew it. She stood up, shocked that she could sleep through such raucous merriment. Had she looked behind her, she would’ve seen her body being torn apart by buzzards, leaving a pile of slimy bones on the compound’s floor.


The cat filled a tankard, drank deeply, and joined the revelry.
CreditCubeHero for the image
Tags

1
03/01/2018 6:53 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Batman
taterman88
Tldr lolololol
1
03/01/2018 6:58 pm
Level 53 : Grandmaster Gent
Punkamoar
cats, bulls, deserts, alcohols
1
03/01/2018 9:05 pm
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Batman
taterman88
Okay I can dig it. you did a really good job on the thumbnail
1
03/01/2018 11:28 pm
Level 53 : Grandmaster Gent
Punkamoar
I wish I could be the one that you said, but it would be erroneous and false to compare myself to the esteemed individual whomst'd drew the thumbnail
1
03/02/2018 12:05 am
Level 64 : High Grandmaster Batman
taterman88
Oh....
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