On The Vine

16 September 2012 in 20 Minute Stories

* Note – Although I’ve listed this as a 20 Minute Story, this was actually closer to ten.  Sorry for anyone who was expecting more story after such a long break.  I promise to everyone, but especially myself, that more is coming.
He wasn’t quite sure where things went wrong.  Life started out in sunshine and bliss.  Surrounded by family and friends, he grew quickly and became plump with sweetness and joy.
But then things shifted.  The days grew hot and long.  People started to come to his home and stare, almost as if they were inspecting him and his family.  Judging them silently.  On occasion, they would grab him or one of his siblings and give a little squeeze.
It was an uncomfortable summer.  The humidity teamed up with torturous heat, and it seemed as though the hotter the weather got, the more people would come by to stare, squeeze, observe.
Then there was terror.
Early that fateful morning they could hear the machines.  He’d lost many of his family and friends that summer and wasn’t sure he could take whatever horror these noises would bring.
The roaring of the machines grew louder, closer, louder, closer. He was torn from his vine, sucked into a tube and dumped into a massive pile.  Thousands of his kind lie there motionless, silent.  Were they dead?  Maybe they were playing possum in the hopes that this monstrosity would release them.  He could take the chaos of sorting through the bodies of his departed brothers if it meant at least some of them would survive.
But things didn’t go as he dreamed.  When the machine finally stopped, it wasn’t to release him, his friends and his family.  En masse, they were dumped onto a conveyor belt and passed under artificial lights, each a dozen times hotter than the hottest summer day he’d ever experienced.  He could feel his skin cooking and shrinking on him.  He gasped.  No amount of rain could save him now.  He looked at himself, and around at his family.  Their flesh browned and wrinkled in front of him.
The conveyor belt continued, then suddenly stopped, and he dropped through the floor.  He and and a hundred of his friends dumped instantly into a box, squished down tight.  Everything went dark.
“Pierre, the only thing I love more than my kitty is a good box of raisins eh!” exclaimed Jean-Jacques.
Jean-Jacques was an ox of a man.  Nearly seven feet tall and closer to three hundred pounds than he cared to admit, he could fall more trees than most of the other lumberjacks he worked with, but he had two weaknesses:  kittens, and raisins.
Jean-Jacques ripped the red boxtop off the box of sunmaid raisins and dumped them all into his mouth at once, then turned to Pierre and grinned.
Pierre, an unusually small grey tabby with one normal ear and one slightly folded ear, looked off to one side as if to say “je mange les souris, pas les raisins secs…”
16 September 2012 20 Minute Stories