I looked through the picture window. Far below, Flashing yellow lights sent waves of colored shadow over the mounded snows of the deep ravine, punctuated by red pin-points of bright, oscillating red. These glittered too, but didn't seem to spread across the ravine as did the yellow. Stuck in the snow, small black and broken strut affairs strewed across a ten yard spot, intermixed with brightly painted shards of wooden panel. The snow's surface there was disturbed, like lumpy scrambled eggs on a clean white plate. From my window high on the ravine's edge, The hook and ladder looked to be about ten inches long. I can't imagine why they sent it, the EMS truck would have been sufficient, there wasn't a fire. Two black-and-whites sat like toy cars off the the threading road's berm, like match box cars abandoned by some distracted child.


It was a typical day for Skat, our Short haired tabby. Coming downstairs Christmas evening, I had almost tripped over the Tom, as it lay on a tread in the staircase's middle. Then later, after dinner, We caught it batting bulbs off the tree, almost toppling it off the stand. It wasn't until he jumped on the table and knocked over the holiday candle arrangement that we temporarily put him out.


What with presents to lay out, and all the last minute bustle, we remanded the cat to the front yard. This is not a cruelty for the big tom. The front is fenced, and with his thick fur, he actually likes this for short periods. It wasn't his fault.


We finished up the presents and tacking up the stockings over the fireplace. Exhausted, we trudged up to bed, Scat forgotten. Terrible to say, but on the rare occasion we forget to call him in, he generally climbs the Elm in the front yard and leaps over to the window casing, shredding the screen until we let him in. It's usually only summers that he parks himself on the roof to sun. On such occasions I have to get the ladder out and get him down.

Anyway, we forgot and left Scat out.


About four AM, there was a clatter and scraping impact on the roof, some surprised exclamations, and a loud Tom-cat yowl. I rose from my bed to see what the matter was and ran down the stairs, just in time to see a large colorful mass, proceeded by some deer, pitch past the picture window in the dark. I wonderingly eyed the window for a second, stunned, then remembered Scat. I threw on my coat and ran to the garage, retrieving the ladder, and mounted to the rear roof from the side yard, so I could see the rear pitch.


I fumbled out the flash beam and clicked it on. There was a small cat shaped depression in the snow at the roof center, and a snow trail leading away in that clear and mess manner cats do when leaping away. But before this, clear in the snow, two rail straight tracks and deer hoof prints for twelve feet, then a messy skid just before the cat nest, skewing downward, ending with the roof on the ravine side.


Even from here, the ravine was just a black shadow stretching away from the yardless rear of the house. We have a small retaining wall there and four feet beyond that, a mandatory snow fence just before the drop off.


There was a second yowl from the base of the ladder, so with some relief, I climbed back down. Sure enough, Skat was winding around the latter's legs, looking agitated. I picked him up, and went back inside.


It was almost daylight when I called the police - Anonymously, I didn't want police knocking on my door Christmas day to make some droll report. I just mentioned that there might be some animal carcasses on the ravine road, and since I knew the mile marker by heart, they must have sent someone right out.


Just before turning away from the window, I saw Two EMS guys carrying a stretcher towards the Ambulance. I could just make out a bright red snowsuit on it.


About the author


Bio: So, I write largely science fiction and fantasy, and fantasy/humor. I do novels, short stories, Serial short stories, Novellas, all that. If all goes well, I expect to be posting a good deal of both here. What else can I say? I like walks in the rain and ice cream? I sketch, play blues harp, have been known to program for fun. Gamer? Yeah, I'm a slacker. Ran Plotters of Dreams for writers before it was virtually shut down save in title by Yahoo cuts in service, for ten years and counting. Ive moderated other groups, and obviously, writing is a passion. -Want to make peoples day, send them on vacation, make them chuckle occasionally.

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