The Last Flight of Bastet

> Notes: From prompt "Egypt." from lucid_lit_lines group

"Bastet has wings."

The vet tried to stay calm, act like every third cat she'd seen that
day had wings, but she wasn't fooling me. Cats just don't have wings.
Never did. Never would.

"She didn't have them last week" I told the vet, tugging on the leash
attached to my cat's harness, trying to pull her back down to the
ground. She was intently stalking a housefly that had gotten in.
Stalking in mid-air. The birds didn't stand a chance.

"I'm sorry." She said. "I don't know if I can do a wing removal on a
cat. It might be inhumane. I could clip the feathers though, keep
her from being able to fly."

"That would be nice" I agreed.

Together we managed to pull her down from the ceiling. She pouted
through the process, and pouted more when she tried to lift off and
coudln't. Finally she gave up and set upon grooming herself. She
spread out one wing and began preening its feathers.

"How did this happen, exactly." The vet asked.

"Mummy curse."

"Oh," the vet said, as if mummy curses were as common in her office as
winged cats.

"I have a cousin, works in Egypt, digging in the pyramids and stuff.
He found a gold collar on a kitty statue, said the statue looked like
Bast. He's not supposed to give away stuff, but he hid it in a bunch
of trinkets he bought, nobody knew."

"And now Bast has wings." she finished for me.

"Exactly," I agreed. "Now Bast has wings."

"Sooooo...." she said. "I won't charge you today, but come back when
she needs it."

I agreed, and tucking my newly grounded cat under my arm, started the
walk back home.


Martha was sitting at the table when I woke up. The newspaper was scattered all around the dining room. The comic lay on the floor by her feet, Garfield grinning his kitty grin up at her as she bent over the crossword.

Despite the early hour she was perfect. Make up applied just so, her auburn hair piled and pinned and teased into an updo worthy of an evening gala. The only flaw was the cigarette she held between the first two fingers of her left hand, while the tapped the pencil against her lips with her right hand.

Seeing me out of the corner of her honey colored eyes she asked, “What is a five letter word for Rose’s beauty?”

I made my way to the pot of coffee she had made and poured myself a healthy dose of it in my favorite coffee mug, as old and chipped as it was it was large. Large was important.

“What’s it start with?”


I sat down across from her and pushed the sports section of the paper aside so I’d have a place to sit my mug. “Bloom” I told her, reaching across to take a chocolate covered doughnut out of the box she had set in the center of the table.

I ate in silence, staring at her as she worked her way though the word puzzle. She sipped her coffee, nearly white with cream and sugar, from a pink mug that sat on a bright blue saucer. They were not mine.

“Nice coffee set”

“You like?” she beamed. “I found them at a tag sale. From two different sets, the last of their families. They’re perfect together really. Perfect.”

Giving up on the crossword she looked up at me, grinning her most perfect supermodel grin. “So,” she said. “How have you been?”

I couldn’t take it anymore and nearly shouted at her, “What are you doing here, Martha? You can’t just come in here any time you want to. I’m married now. What if Susan had come out here before me?”

“What if?” Martha said, and laughed. I didn’t like the sparkle in those beautiful eyes, then they darkened. “She’s pregnant isn’t she, you fertile little bastard. Well, I’m pregnant too. Twins. Twins, a boy and a girl. Blue and pink and unwanted.”

She set her pink cup down on her blue saucer, and milky tan coffee sloshed out and onto the crossword. Down the hall I heard Susan brushing her teeth.

“Martha, you need to leave. Now.”

“They’re yours,” she said. “You know they are.”

“Leave. Now.”

She stood up calmly, brushed out the wrinkles in her slacks, tugged at the hem of her jacket. She started to say something, then decided against it.

While I stood by the remains of my newspaper she let herself out the side door. I made a mental note to move the hideaway key.

“Who was here,” Susan said as she slumped into the kitchen still wearing her pajamas. Her short brown hair stood up in a million different directions and she had a smear of toothpaste in the corner of her mouth.

“Just somebody from work,” I lied.

“This early,” she asked, eyeing the pink and blue coffee set with a glazed doughnut untouched on the side of the plate.

“Have a doughnut,” I said, changing the subject. She chose one covered in bright sprinkle and tore into it while I poured her a cup of coffee then cleaned up the now soggy newspaper.