Notice to Vacate

Flash Fiction Challenge

Max Words: 300

Gabby is an adventurous young tabby of orange and black. Knowing full well that Gabby loves all things jingly, her owner decides to make her a new toy. This should keep Gabby entertained, her owner thinks as she threads a bandana through a hole in a box, securing it inside with a knot and a bell. As it sits upright, it looks like a tissue box, only it jingles as the “tissue” is toyed with. In putting it together, the owner realizes she needs something weighty for the bottom so that it doesn’t tip over.

The owner leaves, then Gabby sits to eyeball her roommate, a fat gold fish named Sebastian. Gabby hops up to Sebastian’s sofa table. Gabby frequently plops down behind his aquarium and paws at the glass while Sebastian finds something interesting on the opposite side, but not today. A strange box is sitting next to Sebastian causing Gabby to investigate. Subtle probing suggests magic exists here, somewhere. Gabby pets it, claws hooking and pulling the box over. There’s a cave and a sparkle! Further investigation and spelunking leads Gabby to conclude she has discovered the source of all the jingling. On departure, the cave moves with her. She cannot seem to back out and the bell taunts her every attempt. Suddenly, there is falling and a crash. Gabby leaps as her feet touch water. Gabby goes one way and the belled box goes another.

Her owner walks in the front door, mouth agape, seeing the soaked floor and tank components. Gabby sits in a nearby, high backed chair, blinking lazily and waving her tail. She really wanted to tell her owner about all that transpired but settled on willing her the message. “Oh, while you were gone, some shit went down. Sebastian didn’t make it.”