“Morning, Lance. Sorry, I know it’s early, but it’s … no, not an emergency really, the cats are fine, promise. No, they are. Yes, I’m not just saying that. They’re lovely, and we’re getting on really well. They really like salmon. Um, oops, yes, I do remember now, but honestly, the kibble must be so boring. We’re really good friends now.

“Yes, well, bad luck, that’s what you get if you drag in family members to house-sit for you at the last minute and brief them in five minutes flat.

“No, well, it’s no trouble really, your house is very comfortable, although I have to say some of your art is really weird. Does Aunt June know you’re into this esoteric stuff? She’ll have kittens.

“Anyway, Lance, I’m calling because your cats are strange. Have you been training them or something? They won’t let me out of bed this morning, I’m just lucky my cell was in reach. All three of them are sitting here looking at me, and if I try to move they climb on me. Grimoire bit me when I tried to move her. Honestly, Lance, that’s not normal, she’s perfectly sweet usually.

“I meant to ask you if you have earthquakes here, I swear…  Holy shit, Lance, their eyes are glowing! You have vampire cats with glowing eyes! What the hell’s going on?

“You’re making no sense, of course this shouldn’t be happening, but what do astrological conjunctions have to do with anything? I don’t care if they’re not right. Your cats are doing something weird and … Lance! Shit! This bed is moving! How can the bed be moving?

“Oh, God, Lance, where’s the bedroom? I’m floating! Me and the cats on the bed like a boat, and we’re floating down a river. It’s a purple river and the bed is floating on it. The trees are singing. What the hell do you put in your water, LSD?

“Lance? Lance? Are you there?


3 thoughts on “Gatekeepers”

  1. Ah, dialogue (monologue, whatever) story, sweet! I am pleased to see this from you, it’s very different from what you usually do and it works.

    The freeing thing about dialogue is that you can borrow someone else’s voice, and you can leave out so much – very kind on the word limit (or on how much story you can tell, in this case ;). I like this protagonist (though I would not like her if I’d met her, she’s a pain) – she has character. I see her as an absolute chatterbox – even though seriously weird shit is happening, she still chats about everything and takes forever to get to the point. It’s cute. My suggestion would be to give her more run-on sentences and less pause – she sounds like the kind of person who hardly ever pauses.

    The trouble with mono- and dialogue is the temptation to exposition – there is a little in here that seems slightly unnatural as a result, a few too many instances of repeating what Lance has obviously just said. Some of it could be cut – the story may take a little more processing but should still read fine. Examples of what could go (imho):

    “no, not an emergency really”
    “Yes, I’m not just saying that.”
    “of course this shouldn’t be happening”

    I do love the weirdness of the story and how it progressively degenerates into strangeness – I sense some sort of cultist weirdness and it’s funny and interesting. I love the final word :)

  2. I enjoyed the idea; and the slow progression towards weirdness was fun. The form of the one-sided phone conversation is interesting and well expresses the generally fluffy mind of the speaker.

    Not sure the tone of the monologue works for me, difficult to say what seems unnatural but these things worried me: Repetition of Lance’s name; The LSD comment seemed out of place somehow; ‘She’ll have kittens’ doesn’t seem to be the same person who says ‘holy shit’ later.

    I liked the contradiction between how she imagines the cats are and their actual behaviour – creepy stuff. Also the open ending works well for me – leaving me picturing a bimbo floating off into the singing trees.

  3. Our Hero has been called in to house / cat sit at the last moment. The house itself is full of esoteric artwork, suggesting that the owner of said house is an occultist of some kind. Our Hero is worried that the cats are “odd” that they have constrained Our Hero to the bed. The piece ends with Our Hero magically transported to another world, and floating down a river.

    I enjoyed this piece a lot :) It was funny, and slightly creepy, and reminded me of the house sitting of cats that I’ve done. Grimoire is a great name for a cat, by the way.

    I think the dialogue worked. Parfles does have a point about repeating what Lance says, but I like the exposition in this, and think that it probably helps with the piece’s humorous tone. Bits of it had me smiling, like, “… of course this shouldn’t be happening, but …”

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