Apparently Cats Aren't Flame Retardant?
I was about seven or eight when I started to become a handful for my parents. They were always talking about how there’s a fine line between silly and dangerous, and how I am a frequent crosser. Personally, I never saw the difference. I guess they were expecting the perfect child, but I arrived instead.
Hey, don’t give me that look! Leave a girl by herself with no siblings and things can happen. Bad things.
Anyway, I mostly did harmless little stunts just to test my bravery. I never did something too dangerous, but then again, my parents and I probably have different views on dangerous.
For as long as I can remember, we lived in this large, baby blue house in a quaint and quiet neighborhood. Well, it was mostly quiet. Okay, so it was only quiet when I wasn’t on the street, but who’s keeping tabs? My parents and I live next to this mean old lady, Mrs. Peters, and her husband. Mr. Peters wasn’t too bad. He gave me cookies and told me stories about when he was a kid growing up. But Mrs. Peters was a nightmare. She had a pointed nose, and her features were always crammed into a scowl. Her attire consisted of some weird nightgown, curlers in her hair, and a broom in hand. She sort of reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West. Even her voice made your spine tingle.
Stay out of my Goddamn petunias!
When she scolded you, she always used your entire name. Never the nickname. That’s how you knew she was definitely going to kill you if you didn’t stay away from her garden.
Mrs. Peters also had a devious gray cat named Sylvester. He was just as mean as his owner, and always made it a habit to scratch me if I ever got too close. His beady little eyes were always watching, and taking in everything around him. Oh! That reminds me of an experience I had with that cat that definitely shaped me into the person I am today.
A girl who’s afraid of her mother.
Did someone say storytime? Okay!
So obviously, that cat really kept pushing its luck with me and each time, I’d become just a little more maniacal. One day, I had had enough. Just the day before, that cat gave me a mark above my eye, almost completely cutting it out! It was time for Sylvester to meet his devious equal. (That’s me. I’m his devious equal.) My plan was simple: I was going to grab him in a bag and throw him into the ocean hoping his stone-cold heart made him sink to the bottom.
Of course, since there was neither an ocean nor did I have the means of getting there, I decided upon setting his tail on fire. How I came to this genius idea, I have no idea, but trust the process because it definitely took a long time to come to this conclusion. Anyway, back to the story. The fire wouldn’t be that bad. It would be small and could be easily put out.
The day started off like any other with my dad dropping me off at school. I went about my daily routine as if it was a normal day and I totally wasn’t plotting the demise of a certain grey furball back home. I did all of my assignments, behaved like an angel, and played nicely with the other kids.
However, my demeanor changed once my dad picked me up from school and we headed home. As soon as we pulled into our driveway, I zoomed into the house to ask my mom if I could play outside. I had already done all of my homework, so this was a definite yes. She told me not to cause any trouble, but who actually listens to that kind of stuff? I was a kid! Getting into trouble was kind of in my job description.
As soon as she gave the okay, I bolted out of the front door. Looking around, my eyes narrow on a fuzzball sitting on the Peters’ porch. I crept up on him where he usually had his afternoon nap. It was a hot day during the summer, so hot you could practically see the air sizzle. Sylvester sat on the front step of the Peters’ house dozing peacefully. If I didn’t know him, I’d describe the way his nose twitched or the slight swish of his tail as adorable. But the thing is, I did know him and that cat was evil. He could ruin lives if he really wanted to.
I took the match in my hand and began to strike it against the box. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How did a seven/eight-year-old learn how to strike a match? Where did that little girl even get a match from? The details aren’t important as they don’t help the story progress along. All you need to know is that you don’t need to know and that I’m withholding this information for your safety and for mine. But mostly for mine.
The first time I struck the match, nothing happened. I tried again and again, but the stupid thing wouldn’t light! The box said this was supposed to be easy! Well, guess what Mr. Bright’s Matches? It isn’t freaking easy to light your dumb matches! (Note to self: file a complaint and ruin the business of a perfectly defective product.) Frustrated beyond reason, I was about to throw the match on the ground when it finally lit. I was so proud of myself, I didn’t realize it began to get bigger. I yelped, dropping it onto Sylvester’s tail.
The cat seemed unfazed until the smell of smoke filled the air. He lazily stretched and looked back only to see his tail completely engulfed in flames. Mrs. Peters came running out not long after, hearing the sound of the cat’s frantic mewing from the open kitchen window. She tossed the pitcher of water that had been resting on the porch onto the cat, and my vision clouded. Coughing, I wave a hand in front of my face to try and dispel the smoke, only to come face to face with a fuming Mrs. Peters.
“Now you’ve done it, Andromeda! Look at what you did to poor Sylvester! I’m heading over to your house this instant, and giving your parents a piece of my mind!”
Grabbing her broomstick, Mrs.Peters smacked me on the butt before hiking up her skirt and stomping over towards my house.
My life has ended right before it even began! I was so screwed. I didn’t know what to do, so I did the only thing that seemed remotely better than being obliterated: I ran.
I took the trails through the back trees, and down to the pond that rested behind our yards. (Huh, I guess there was a body of water close by after all. Way to go, genius! Although, maybe it’s a good thing I forgot.) I crouched into the bushes to avoid being seen. Right at that very second, Mrs. Peters had reached my door to tell my parents the horrid display their daughter had done this time.
I could feel my father’s temper rising. I mean, not literally, but I could definitely sense it. I could picture his blood-red face as he screamed my name. I could imagine my mom using some pretty colorful language. My dad was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, and I did my best to stay on his good side, but something told me that right then I had just suicidally jumped that ship.
I held my breath as if he could hear me wherever he was. Honestly, at this point, my dad probably did have some kind of heightened hearing that let him hear my labored breathing. I heard loud stomping and the crushing of grass before I was yanked by the arm, and pulled out of the bush. A scream escaped my lips as my dad glared down at me, his grip on my arm merciless.
“Andromeda Macaria Ross, you are in BIG trouble! Out of all the crazy stunts you’ve pulled, your mother and I have tried to be lenient. But this—-you—- I can’t even look at you right now.” He sighs exasperatedly.
My dad continued to drag me by the arm back towards our house without once glancing down at my face. It hurt really bad that he was so disappointed in me, he couldn’t even stand the sight of me. Why had I been so stupid? Why did I always have to test my luck and push past the boundaries? Why couldn’t I, just for once, listen? I wanted to cry, but I knew that wouldn’t help my case. If anything, it would’ve worsened my already predicted punishment. Nothing could save me from my fate.
I was still in trouble.
A lot of it.
We reached the last steps of the porch, and before opening the door, my dad turned to me. “Do you have anything to say before we face your mother?”
It was the first words he’d said to me after returning from the woods. The sting of them brought forth tears to my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. In normal situations, any little girl would’ve cried her eyes out and pleaded her case, begging for the punishment to be taken away. But, as you’ve probably gathered by now, I am no normal girl and this was definitely one of my non-normal moments.
His glare made me squirm and caused me to say the first thing that came to mind. “How was I supposed to know cats aren’t flame retardants? I may be smart, but I’m just as entitled to stupid decisions as to the next kid.”
I was waiting for the sarcastic remark that would soon be thrown in my face, but it was silent. Then my dad did the unexplainable.
He laughed. Like, really laughed. Gasping for air, he pulled me in and crushed me to him. “Oh, my gods, Andi.”
So, we’re back on good terms! Thank God!
I put on my best and sweetest angelic face and looked up at him. “So... does this mean I’m off the hook?”
“Oh no, you’re definitely still in trouble.”
“But, I will talk to your mother.”
Alright! Not complete total death!
Achievement unlocked: You’ve avoided the dragon’s lair and emerged unscathed!
My dad tugged my arm towards the steps, and we sat down. “Andi, you did something really dangerous today.”
I didn’t really understand how lighting a cat’s tail on fire was considered dangerous, but hey, maybe that’s just me. Schooling my expression, I tried to see his reasoning and looked up at him.
“I’m sorry, dad. I didn’t mean to—”
“Yeah, I know. But you really ought to be more careful. Something could happen to you, and I might not always be there to catch you when you fall.”
Call me crazy, but I had a feeling he wasn’t just talking about setting cats’ tails on fire.
“Just promise me you won’t do anything without thinking. Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.”
That’s most likely to be broken soon. Definitely in the near future.
No, I should take his advice and listen to what he has to say. I should really take this seriously because I know he means well and knows what’s best for me.
But I also can’t ignore temptation! Darn you, troublesome mentality!
I crossed my fingers behind my back, so he wouldn’t see. “I promise.”
That concludes the first chapter of the spin-off of Hades, “The Heiress”! What did you guys think?
Any ideas on how long her promise to her dad is actually going to last?
What could Rose have meant when she said that they were keeping something from Andi?
Only good things could come from keeping it though, right? **nervously chuckles**
Did you like the character of Andi?
Can’t wait for more?