Petulip’s Deadline

Time stood still when the lights went out. Petulip wouldn’t be able to see what she was typing! Panic stuck in her throat. But now the torches were relit and the hall came alive again. The Enforcer was obviously trying to terrify her.

His clanging footfalls were closing in from behind.

Sitting at the table in the middle of the hall, she blanched with every clap of doom, but still kept her eyes riveted on the antiquated typewriter.

Lord Rod of Pen-Quadraginta-Octo had ordered that she write him a tale to entertain him. Giving her one hour.

And now the Lord’s Enforcer had come to take what was due. His booming treads were counterpointed with a thwack as he hit his stick against his palm.

Boom click, Boom click …

The last click was the stick landing on her left shoulder, cutting into her flesh, making her wince with pain.

Luckily she managed not to scream – as this was forbidden.

She had literally minutes left, and, so far, just a blank sheet and a blank mind.

Then, catching sight of one of the palace cats sauntering past the portico in the far distance, inspiration finally struck and she knew what to do.

She started typing. Not stopping till the last dot was on the page, at which point she tore the sheet out and handed it to the Enforcer with defiance.

Would it be enough to satisfy Lord Rod, Petulip thought? He was notoriously difficult to please.

Anything but perfection would result in her being thrown into the Pit of a Thousand Screams.

The Enforcer turned his back to her and started to leave, then glancing down at the script in his hand he found himself reading the story, his lips moving as he read out loud:-


“Once upon a time, in the days of the ancient pyramids, there took place the burial of the last of the reigning Pharaohs. All living creatures associated with the household of this God-on-Earth were privileged to accompany him on his journey to the Underworld.

Miraculously, two days later, one of these entombed creatures, the tiniest of kittens, was found in the palace water gardens looking round imperiously, waiting to be served.

How he got out, nobody knows. Some say he was lifted from the apex of the pyramid and transported by a disc of glowing golden dust.

The kitten had certainly transcended death, and so they named him Anubis, after the God of the Dead.

And now it is said that the health and prosperity of the ruling Lord will always be assured – for as long as Anubis and his progeny choose to stay in the palace. “


Happily, Ptulip was saved by the noble Lord Rod, and she became Head Cat Keeper - destined to live in comfort serving Anubis’ abundant family to the end of her days.

Nonita Thomas
Jul 19 2020

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I loved how you combined our writing challenge, Tony’s kitten and my tyranny. 😂

Rod Webb
Jul 28 2020