The five words – gallows, tide, mat, section, staple
Tom stole away after dinner. It was pitch dark, with only the orange glow of the streetlights to shine on his path. He told himself he was only going for a stroll – a catwalk (you might say) – but his legs were carrying him in a definite direction. Like a convicted man moving toward the gallows, his steps were guided by a force beyond himself.
There was a time when Tom was happy at home with Julia. She was loving and kind. Tom was a faithful companion. They would lay together for hours each evening in the glow of the fireplace, listening to Dave Brubeck, reading French novels. But the tide had turned. Tom had grown restless of late. He went off looking for something more. Someone to feed his longing, his desires, his hunger.
He walked toward the Italian section of town and tried to think of better days, searching for a reason to turn back. But all he could picture was Luigi. Young. Dark haired. Strong hands. If Julia ever found out, she would be crushed. She worked so hard to feed him – body and soul. To think that there could be another would be just too much for her.
Tom knew it wasn’t right, but his legs kept moving him onward.
Tom entered the alleyway and moved steadily to door and stood on the mat just outside. He called out, softly at first, and then more insistently. More demanding.
The door opened. It was Luigi, with a plate full of spaghetti.
“Ah, my little Tom-cat,” Luigi said lovingly as he knelt down and stroked Tom’s cheeks, scratching behind his ear.
“You are the only cat I know that loves spaghetti,” he said, putting down the plate in front of Tom, “And I love you for it.”
Spaghetti had become a staple in Tom’s diet.
Tom rubbed his cheeks against Luigi’s strong hand, wishing it was an affectionate goodbye, but knowing instead he was marking his territory and that he would be back again. And again.
Word Count: 343