The Cub

A Sci Fi Short Story by Yvon S Hintz

The Cub

by Yvon S Hintz

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Jax was relaxing with his friends one evening when the subject of chaos was raised. One of the young males, newly wedded, remarked to the company that his home had been in chaos ever since a female moved in. This remark drew laughter from his companions- all except one. Jax made a low growl.

Don’t talk to me about chaos,” he said. “You know nothing about chaos till you get a pet like ours.” He shook his head and stroked his short, stiff whiskers. “Nothing at all.”

Pet?” asked the young male who was new to the group and did not know much about the home life of the members. There was some laughter at Jax’s expense.

Sadie talked him into getting it,” one of the friends said, naming Jax’s wife. “She met a traveller come back from Africa with a young one for sale. They’re very rare. They were found in the Great Rift Valley only a few years ago. Sadie loves anything rare so of course she just had to have it.”

Everyone chuckled again and Jax made a rueful grin. “I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for when I said she could bring it home.” He paused to take a drink then went on: “I suppose it wasn’t too bad at first. It was cute and cuddly and it slept long hours like a good kitten should. We only had to keep it clean, feed it and cuddle it a lot and it was content. We didn’t even mind it so much when it got older and started crawling round the floor picking up everything and trying to eat it. That was funny. And we thought it was really cute when she started to stand upright.”

That’s right,” said, Tom, the know it all of the group, “We and humans are the only creatures on earth who can walk upright.” He grinned. “Makes you feel a certain kinship with them.”

Sadie and I loved it when she started walking, but then we started to realise that we hadn’t been told all that we should have been told about these creatures.” He glanced round at the group, all grinning at his plight. He could hardly blame them, it was funny- from an outside point of view.

We were told they were highly intelligent and very easy to train. The first is true- they are the most devious things you have ever encountered. As young as our cub is, she can unlock doors and cupboards and find her way into boxes and drawers. From the moment she stood up there was nothing safe in our house. She can not only walk she can climb well. They’re related to monkeys you know. Not only that but she’s active all day.” There was no great reaction from the group at that. All creatures were active on and off all day.

You don’t get it,” Jax said. “I mean ALL DAY… without stopping for a sleep. Humans have a different sleep pattern to us. They sleep for long hours in the dark and stay awake while it’s light. During the night is the only time Sadie and I get some peace and quiet. As soon as it starts to get light, even before it gets light on some mornings, she’s up and active and she keeps going all day without so much as closing her eyes for a moment.”

There were sounds of amazement and disbelief from the group.

Where you able to toilet train it?” Tom asked. “I’ve heard that they don’t take to clean practices with body wastes as readily as our kittens do.”

Jax nodded unhappily. “It was the messiest business you’ve ever seen. We tried to treat her like one of our own, starting her off in a simple litter tray but she never took to it and we had to keep her in napkins till she learned how to sit on a pot. As for washing…” Jax gave his head a toss. “That was something they definitely should have warned us about. These creatures not only need water to wash their bodies, they actively love the stuff. The first time we put her into the tub she cried. We understood that… no-one likes to get wet. But the second time she made the gurgling sounds that meant she was happy- and then she splashed!”

There were cries of horror from the group.

She splashed water over everything. Any time she can get her little paws… her hands… into water she plays with it. She picks it up in cups, she pours in onto the floor, she plays in the puddles. She’d even stay out in the rain if we let her. There isn’t an item of furniture or a rug in our place that doesn’t have water stains on it. And I won’t even try to tell you what she did to some of my books when she decided that she had to have them in the tub with her. As I said, you have no idea what chaos is till you give a human free rein in your home.”

Why don’t you get rid of it then? Get some peace back into your life?”

A slow smile spread across Jax’s broad, striped face. “I have thought about it,” he said. “I imagine what it would be like coming home and not having that little creature rushing up to meet me, all squeals and excitement, not to see her shining brown eyes or to pat that long, soft hair on her head or to feel her little fingers digging into my fur and her tiny arms going around my neck as she snuggles against me…. I imagine all that and know that without her, life would be dull.

No, I wouldn’t part with our little human. She’s a real pet, so full of love and affection for us that it well and truly outweighs the fact that she is chaos personified. One day, I predict, everyone will have a domestic human because without them a house is just a house, with them it becomes a home.”

Everyone heard a rumbling purr start in his chest.

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