Clarence blinks and yawns, instantly awake at the sudden rattle of a latch. The door next to his own swings open, then closes, the metallic creak and slam echoing down the brightly lit hallway. His nap is over, thanks to the new arrival. Might as well face the day and deal with it!
While he does some quick stretches and washes his face, he steals sidelong glances at this latest stranger and wonders if he’s a loudmouth like so many of the others. Clarence’s head hurts from the constant din in this godforsaken purgatory. All the crying and complaining from the younger inmates last night had kept him awake, just as it did most nights since winter came and filled the place to near-capacity.
His stomach growls in protest. He wonders when breakfast will arrive, the high point of the morning. He knows he doesn’t belong in here, and he’s starting to forget exactly how long it has been since he’s known joy.
Is that food coming?
No, a woman, one he’s never seen before. She smiles in at him. The scent of her is delightful; it soothes him and makes him think of flowers.
His jailer is here now too. He’s opening the door! “Clarence here has been with us the longest. But he’s very quiet and well-behaved.”
“He’s beautiful,” the woman says, “and he reminds me of Leo, one I had as a child. He’s the one!” She reaches for him.
Nestled in a carrier on the passenger seat, Clarence purrs all the way to his new home.
Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.