Heuristic Rotating Header Image

Morning Cat Face

Back in the days of Twitter, Morning Cat Face was a meme. You probably don’t remember those, do you? Memes were kind of like viruses. No, don’t make that face. They were ideas, not really viruses at all. But they were ideas that spread from person to person. When there was an internet, everyone could share their ideas immediately, and twitter was the fastest way of all. I had a couple thousand followers, could tell them all something any time I wanted. But only 140 characters.

But what was I saying? Oh, right. Cats. If we still had twitter, and memes, and all that, I’d take a picture of this beast and add it to the list. I still don’t know how the damned thing gets into the bunker, but every morning it’s standing on my chest. I don’t think cats carry the virus though. Do they?

Yes, the damned thing is cute, and you like to make it chase bits of string. But I still wish I knew how it got in here.

And yes, we had electricity and computers and internet connections, and we used it for Morning Cat Face. I know, I know, you’d do it differently if you had all those resources. If we weren’t so busy trying to grow food and not get bitten and simply stay alive. We wasted it all. But how were we to know?

You’re right. I get it. We knew about global warming and peak oil and water shortages and all that other stuff, and we should have been more careful. But it was hard, and we were distracted. I still say there’s no way we could have known about the virus.

I’m working. Do you have to keep bothering me like that? Go play with the kitten. No, I don’t want to go weed the vegetable bed. It’s raining. This is important too. It is not either stupid. We need computers to help us figure things out, so I’m building one. It’s a mechanical representation of logic gates. I’m sure Charles Babbage would have used Tinkertoys and Legos if he’d had them. You might be smarter than I am, though I doubt it, but you’re not nearly as well educated. So what do you know?

It’s getting dark out. You’d better come inside. I’m sorry I said that. It’s not your fault that you couldn’t go to grad school like I did, or even to high school. I know you’re trying really hard, reading books and asking questions. And it’s okay that you lost it there for a bit, though I wish you hadn’t smashed those bottles against the brick wall. We’re getting low on storage containers, and I don’t know a damned thing about blowing glass. The screaming bothered the horses, and me too really.

Come in, let’s have dinner. Maybe we could even have a drink. No, I know the fermented cider I tried to make turned to vinegar, but there’s a little bit of vodka left. I think now might be a good time to have a drop. Yes, we should save it for a disinfectant. You’re right. We won’t drink it.

I had a dream last night, one that I’ve had for a long, long time. I was going somewhere, driving. No, not the horses. I didn’t know anything about horse-drawn wagons until after. In a car, the old kind with an internal combustion engine.

Yes, gasoline. No, I’m not going to apologize again. I know we fucked up.

So I have this recurring dream, about driving somewhere in a car. But the car has a mind of its own, and it goes in the wrong direction, and it takes me somewhere I never intended to go and don’t want to be.

No, I don’t know what it means. Why does it have to mean anything?

Hey. Are you awake?

The kitten is in here again. It bit me on the nose. I think I know whether cats carry the virus.

No, I don’t think I’m going to get back to sleep. Maybe I’ll get up and make breakfast. I’ve got a few hours. What would you say to a scrambled egg sandwich? There’s bread leftover, and I found a few eggs yesterday. One of the hens pecked me, but I don’t suppose my sore finger matters any more.

You have some bullets left, right?

Friday night, home alone. I’m wrapped up in trying to write well, which is important, but is making it not-fun. I have enough other things in my life; if writing isn’t fun I won’t do it. That would be sad.

So I polled Twitter for writing prompts, with the idea of writing a quick story using all of them as a fun way to spend the evening. I got some good suggestions:
@marjorie73 zombies and kittens
@qitou things are not what they seem
@thejayfaulkner someone’s last meal and the things that led to it being their last meal
@quasigeo Charles Babbage’s difference engine.
@notanyani more food & booze
@ariandalen A screaming fuss fit, scrambled egg sandwiches, a brick wall
@ticia42 A possessed car should be in your story… Or a haunted spaceship.

The story owes a small bit to @kylecassidy too, for the Morning Cat Face meme.

It’s a rough draft, entirely unedited. I gave myself an hour, and no more, to turn the disparate ideas into a working story, or as close as I could come. It’s rough, but it was FUN, and that was the point.

Thanks, Twitter!


  1. Marjorie says:

    Excellent! Nice understated horror.

  2. Most excellent. Good thing my cats never bit me. Now, mosquitoes are another thing altogether. Even if they don’t really “bite” as such.
    Zombie mosquitoes?

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks Marjorie! Your zombies lurk just off-screen. 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    Do you suppose your cats would bite if they were infected with zombie virus? I think they would!

  5. Carter says:

    Sorry in advance for putting this in comments, but I couldn’t find an email:

    I just read an article of yours on Clarkesworld about terraforming, and I found it really interesting. I’m working on this book that includes a bit of terraforming and I’d love to throw some ideas past someone who knows more than I do. If you’ve either the time or interest to give me your 0.02, I’d love to hear from you.