Angel Gifts - I'm planning to submit this on Monday

General fiction short stories not related to Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror.

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Mikira
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Angel Gifts - I'm planning to submit this on Monday

Post by Mikira »

<This is a true story I want to give a bit more editing and revising this weekend before submiting it to a magazine called "Angels on Earth". I realize it might not be your kind of story. But I wanted to give you all a sampling of what I have written. I also have other reviews from the other critique site I'm a member of that I still plan on implimenting. But don't worry if you repeat the same changes. It will show me that it's definitely a change I need to do.

I also want to admit I'm nervous. But this is the only way to really improve as a writer.>

Angel Gifts


It was a cold Thursday in late January 1990, when I went to pick up my Persian cat, Misteny, from the Hopkins Pet Hospital. She had been there since Saturday to treat her progressive kidney disease. However, I didn’t get to take her home. Instead, a somber vet tech took me to one of the exam rooms and told me, Misteny took a turn for the worst. Gwen, the lead vet tech, brought Misteny to me to hold one last time where she died in my arms. I cried for two hours in that little exam room before Gwen felt I was calm enough to drive home.


I was still distraught over Misteny's death on Saturday morning, so Luke, my fiancé Alec Albrecht’s younger brother, said, “You need to replace her no matter how hard it will be for you.” In which Alec and our roommate, Paul Hage, concurred.


I sadly agreed. Then picked up the Yellow Pages and called pet stores hoping to find a Persian kitten. One pet store had a Persian, but the price was more than I could afford. The pet store clerk understood my pain and told me about the Saintly City Cat Show that was being held that weekend; he sounded confident I could find a new kitten at the show.


Knowing this was something my mother would love to do also, I called her and invited her along.


My mother and I found our way to the basement of the Xcel Energy Center, where the Saintly City Cat Show was being held. As we descended the escalator, I was amazed to see how vast the space was. It was a sea of small cages decorated with fancy curtains of all fabric types and colors. I felt confident I would find a new kitten to love.


After the first hour I started to get discouraged since there didn’t appear to be any kittens for sale. Then, my mother and I met Denise Gerard she said, “I have a female kitten for sale.” We looked in her show cage, and at first all I saw was the handsome flame point Himalayan that she was showing. I looked again and saw a small patch of blue-cream fur. Denise took the blue-cream kitten out of the cage and handed her to me, I fell in love. We negotiated a price of $300 dollars.


My mother and I hurried to a cash machine and my car to get my cat carrier. When we got back to the cat show; Denise tried to convince me to let her keep the kitten one more night and pick her up Sunday morning, because she was having a hard time letting this lovable kitten go. However, I insisted on taking her home with a promise to come back the next day to let Denise know how the kitten was adjusting to her new home.


When I got my new kitten home, she hid under my bed, so I sat on the floor at the foot of the bed and talked to her. As I sat there talking to her I looked through the dictionary portion of “The Simarillion” to find a name for her. I decided on Tari-Lai, because it meant mother of life, and since I was planning on breeding her, it was a good prophetic name.


Tari-Lai was a wonderful mother cat. She adored all kittens, thinking they were hers even when they weren’t. I chuckle when I remember the day Tari Lai gave birth to her first litter. I was sitting in the living room watching TV when I heard her first yelps of pain. I jumped off the couch and rushed to the big 4’x 4’ x 8’ maple pen we built for her and her kittens. There she was in the litter box delivering her first kitten, which was in the breech position. I quickly scooped her out and put her on the linoleum floor of the pen, where she finished delivering her first baby. Which, I picked up and removed the sac from its face then showed the kitten to Tari Lai. I had been worried until this moment that her natural instincts weren’t going to kick in, but when I placed the kitten in front of her face, she immediately knew what it was and started licking the rest of the sac off. I sat and watched in relief. After she finished administering to her first born I tied off and removed the umbilical cord then placed the kitten in the cozy cardboard box I had placed in the pen as a nest. Tari Lai had four kittens in this first litter and I stayed up that first night to admire how she lovingly cared for them.


Tari Lai didn’t want to be confined to the pen, so we built an escape hatch in the roof so she could come and go as she pleased. Although, when she started taking her kittens with her, it was always her first born she moved first, to join us in the living room. When this happened we realized we had to move the box with the kittens in it ourselves to keep an accident from occurring. She was also at her babies beck and call. Each mew would call Tari Lai a way from anything else she was doing to take care of her kitten’s needs.


I wasn’t around when Tari Lai started giving birth to her second litter, because I was at one of the homes I sold a kitten to, to show them how to groom a Persian. When I got home I went to the pen to check on her and I swear she smiled at me. The look on her face said, “Look mom, I have two new babies, aren’t they precious?” I couldn’t argue with that look at all. I was also extremely proud of her, because the kittens were clean, there was no placenta in sight (which told me Tari Lai ate them. That also thrilled me to the core, because placentas are good for mother cats to eat) and the kittens were happily nursing. I sat down to watch, knowing she had more babies to deliver. She was beaming with pride after delivering her final two kittens, as she reopened the milk bar for her precious babies.


I was sad when I retired my cattery and spayed her, since I knew how much she loved kittens. One, of my toughest decisions, was in regards to my female cats. I wanted to keep them all, but knew I couldn’t. Although, there was never a question in my mind about Tari-Lai, because the matter was already decided when I bought her. I was going to keep her forever.


When 2003 rolled around, and Tari-Lai’s health started to fade, I felt a wrenching sadness. Her eyesight went first, with the development of cataracts. Then, she had one ailment after another until early February 2004, when she became very ill with kidney failure. I was sick that first week of February also, which I’ll always be thankful for, because I was able to spend those last few precious days with her before I put her to sleep forever.


The next few months went by in a fog of sadness over having to say good-bye to another special cat. Then on June 17, 2004 when I went to a small local mall to buy a Father’s Day card, something special happened.


I had been extremely thirsty, and I was looking for a vending machine that would take dollar bills, when I kicked something on the ground that appeared to be a five-dollar bill. I picked it up and discovered it was two five-dollar bills. I glanced around to see who might have dropped them. Seeing no one was around, I kept the bills and headed to the Hallmark store to buy a Father’s Day card. After selecting a card, I went to the counter to pay for it. That’s when I noticed a display of carved wooden angels with bent-metal wings. One, in particular, caught my eye -- an angel with wavy-brown hair, holding a small gray cat. I almost cried when I saw it, and with trembling hands, I picked it up to check the price. I knew it would be less then ten dollars, and I was right. It was only $9.50.


The lady at the counter asked, “Are you ok?”


I turned to her, and quickly told her about putting my cat down in February, then about finding the ten dollars on the ground in the mall and knowing my angels gave me the money so I could buy this little statue.


The lady nodded her head in agreement and said, “You can never pass up gifts given to you by your angels.”


To this day, I look at that little wooden angel and smile, knowing my cats Misteny and Tari-Lai are in the arms of angels.
God doesn't make mistakes.

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thegreentick
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Post by thegreentick »

I can understand how you might be nervous about sharing some of your writing, especially when it's a personal story of this kind.

You don't often see narrative story anymore. It took me a little while to get used to it but once I did, I foud that I enjoyed it. I really did like the story.

One suggestion I would make is to make it a bit shorter by cutting out bits here and there. Other than that, it's good.
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Bmat
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Post by Bmat »

I liked the story, too.

I felt that there should have been more transition between saying you wanted to breed the cat and describing the birth. When I assisted at a feline birth, by the way, there was no necessity to cut and tie umbilical cords, and you don't mention this being necessary later on, so perhaps this part should be omitted.

It isn't necessary to give the names of your fiance's brother, and probably even the fiance's name. Probably it isn't needed to give any of the people names.

You may not need to say "vet tech." If it is at a vet's it follows that it would be vet tech, so "tech" may be enough. Although veterinarian may be better.

Probably you don't need to mention Yellow Pages- it doesn't enhance the story.

The one-sentence paragraph about knowing this was something your mother would enjoy should probably be incorporated into another paragraph. It may not even add to the story to have your mother mentioned at all.

The statement about her adoring all kittens seems out of place. It is nice, but she hasn't even had kittens yet when this is mentioned. It isn't substantiated at all, either- it should be mentioned why this is said- when did she encounter kittens that were not hers and loved them?

It is a sweet story and brought tears to my eyes. I'd recommend tightening it up. Right now it reads like diary entries or a personal log for your family. For a published story, it may go over better to remove some personal bits that are of interest only to you and your family.

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Mikira
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Post by Mikira »

Thank you both for your helpful crits.

I did wait to submit this. I really appreciate the feed back on this story to help tighten it up more.
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Poisonbabyfood
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Post by Poisonbabyfood »

This is a very heartleft story, written from a stron emotional core, and it shows. My only suggestion is this, and it might just be my weirdness that's making me say this.

You described your cat as "reopeing the milk bar." That made me think of "A Clockwork Orange," which made me think of Malcom McDowell doing bad things to that woman while singing "Singing in the Rain." That kind of thing interrupts the continual emotional impact of a story.

Just a thought.
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Mikira
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Post by Mikira »

Poisonbabyfood wrote:This is a very heartleft story, written from a stron emotional core, and it shows. My only suggestion is this, and it might just be my weirdness that's making me say this.

You described your cat as "reopeing the milk bar." That made me think of "A Clockwork Orange," which made me think of Malcom McDowell doing bad things to that woman while singing "Singing in the Rain." That kind of thing interrupts the continual emotional impact of a story.

Just a thought.


I never considered that. I just remembered that's what I thought when she would plop down on her side to allow her babies to nurse.

But I also chose never to remember actually seeing that disturbing movie.
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Post by DannoE »

That's a nice story. Sad in many ways, but nice. I'm glad you posted it.

My only crit is quite simple. In paragraph 3, instead of saying, "I sadly agreed." I'd say, "Sadly, I agreed." because no one likes adverbs, and saying it the second way gives it more possible interpretations IMHO.

Nice job with this.
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Mikira
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Post by Mikira »

Thank you DannoE :D
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