The Intruder

For Halloween, I wanted to go back to my creative writing roots and share a “frightful” short story I wrote recently.

“I’m going to throw Lorde into the car to get it!

What I didn’t admit to my husband was that I always viewed Lorde to be the most expendable of the two cats. Lorde was sweet, but he wasn’t “mine” and he was always a little…off. My cat, Morgan, embodied all the famous cliches pertaining to cats: fat cat, lazy cat, curiosity “killed” the cat, and in a case such as this, a scaredy cat.

I knew that if I put Morgan in the car to chase off our intruder, I would come back the next morning with him curled up in the footwell of the front seat having not moved since the night before. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rodent popped out of its hiding place to flip me off as I cradled my non-hunter and brought him back to the house to feast on a breakfast of wet food and treats.

I wanted to send in our known killer cat. Lorde was a ratter. He never gave us the bugs he killed as presents, but if I found a dead bug body, I knew Lorde was the last one to see it alive. He cornered a tiny Brown Snake in our laundry room one summer afternoon and meowed in disappointment when I scooped it up with a cup and cardboard to bring it outside.

If he could handle a snake, surely he could hand a rodent?

My husband laughed at my outburst. He thought I was joking, and I was for the most part, but there was an edge of seriousness in my declaration. I wanted to get rid of this rodent that found its way into my vehicle and causing unseen amounts of damage. I had reached the point of crazed desperation.

We discovered the intruder on Saturday.

I was locking up the house while my husband had our child in his arms, preparing to put him in the car seat.

“Oh wow, look what Bodhi did!” I looked over to where my husband was pointing at the car seat after I opened the driver’s door.

“Bodhi?” I was a bit incredulous at what my husband was suggesting, “I don’t think Bodhi would be capable of destroying his car seat like…” I realized I couldn’t rationalize my child being strong enough to fray and completely destroy his car seat straps while sitting in the back.

What could have done this? We rarely come in contact with wildlife, so how could something have gotten into our car and make such a mess?

The only thought going through my mind as I picked the fluff and insulation away from the crotch strap to find that the clipping mechanism was able to slide completely away, was that someone did this. Not something, but someone.

Why would someone break into our locked car, destroy the car seat like an animal did it, lock the car back up again and walk away? That made no sense.

Then I took a moment for a rational thought. Okay. Not human. But animal. What type of animal? Raccoon? Could a raccoon open the door in such a fashion? A bear? Here in the middle of suburbia? We had just vacationed in a rural area, did it happen then?

Digging through the car seat damage a little more, I discovered the poop.

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