Day 41: The Catland Files

People always made fun of Janet Mom–mostly for her last name. They joked that she treated all those she was hired to find as her own son or daughter. Detective Mom. How could you not want her on your side? She even incorporated the whole motherly shtick into her private detective ad. Everybody trusts Mom. Everybody fears Mom. Mom always finds out the truth. Etc., etc.

Hilarious. Except this time, the case was her own. She was looking for her daughter. Judith “Jude” Mom. Writer. Photographer. Troublemaker.

Her friend told her about an abandoned amusement park. Even though Mom hadn’t spoken with her daughter in months, she knew Jude. She knew her daughter wouldn’t be able to resist the call to adventure. Too much like her mother, that one.

So Detective Mom followed Jude’s footsteps–or car tracks, as the case was. She stopped at roadside diners and flashed pictures of her daughter around. A couple waiters at greasy spoons nodded and said she’d come by. Mom was on the right track. An easy case, but disturbing. Who knew who could be living in that park?

Eventually she could see the unmoving ferris wheel silhouetted in the sky. And soon, Jude’s car. She pulled up next to it and took a look around. No sign of anyone else. The car was empty, parked right in front of a climbable gate.

Mom hopped it as deftly as her daughter did. Landed in the same crunchy collection of leaves.

Cats. Cats were everywhere. Mewling, rutting, dashing, perching. How they all found this place, Mom couldn’t begin to guess.

She spotted the haunted house and figured that must have been where Jude stopped first.

Dozens of blinking pupils gleamed in the dark interior of the haunted house. Some of them for effect, but most of them cats. Mom removed her change purse from her bag and started rattling it furiously, stepping inside. Left and right, cats of all colours and sizes zoomed past and against and through her legs on the way out the door.

“Who goes there?” came a voice. A familiar voice.

And the power came on. Spooky, grotesque puppets and mannequins cackled and sprung from their various hiding places. A splash of fake blood shot across the room. And amidst a makeshift throne cobbled together from horror-themed set pieces and dummies, sat Jude, surrounded by cats. Garbed in cats. A cat on her shoulders, a cat in her lap, cats at each arm, a kitten nestled in her shirt pocket. Everywhere, cats.

Mom was allergic to cats.

“Mother. You found me,” said Jude, stroking two cats at once. “Welcome to Catland.”



Today’s three random prompts were, “Detective Mom,” “Jude’s Adventures in Catland,” and, “In the wild West.”

As much as I like this one, I have to apologize for completely forgetting about my third prompt category and running out of time before even considering incorporating it.

I loved Detective Mom from day 30 of the 365-day challenge: “The Cave Files.” So I added her as a prompt category. And “Catland” from day 18 was my most popular prompt, so I figured I’d include Jude as a category too. I guess all that excitement made me miss any other categories. Oh well. I’ll save the old West for another day.

– H.

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