An Unusual Pet

Mum had gone to the animal rescue centre. We were to have a new family pet. Both me, and my brother, Simon, had pleaded with her for ages to get one. All our school friends had one, after all. We had finally worn her down.

She had been gone a long time, or so it felt. Simon and I were taking it in turns to run to the front door every time we heard a car pass outside. Our Gran, who was visiting, was getting annoyed with us.

“Will you two please calm down, it’s like a zoo in here, even before your new pet arrives. Your poor Mum, how’s she going to cope?”

“What do you think she’s going to get us?” Simon said. “I do hope it’s a puppy. I’d love one of those cute ones, like they have on the ads for toilet paper.”

“The problem with puppies, my dear, is that they grow up,” said my Gran. “They don’t remain cute for long. I don’t think you’ll be so keen when you take it for a walk, and it’s dragging you along the pavement.”

“Oh no, I’d love a dog,” Simon insisted. “It would be the best. I could go to the park with it, with my mates, and we’d play a game of fetch. It would be ace.”

“I’m sure Mum is getting us a kitten,” I said. “She says they’re far cleaner. They wash themselves and they don’t smell, like dogs do. I don’t want a dog. I hate the way they leap up and lick your face.”

“Oh, but I want a dog, cats are boring,” said Simon. He sat down at the dining table, in a sulk, and started kicking one of the table legs.

“Pull yourself together, young man,” my Gran said “You’ll have whatever you Mum chooses to bring home to you, and be grateful that you’ve got a pet. I was never allowed to have a pet when I was little. My childhood was blighted by the War.”

My Gran speaking up silenced both of us. Truth was, at eight and nine years of age, it was hard for us to imagine she had ever been young. Surely she had been born old? I was still mulling this over, when I heard the rattle of the key in the lock, and the front door squeaking open.

“Hi, I’m home, come and see what I’ve found.”

Simon and I rushed to the front door. Our Gran followed behind us, clucking her disapproval.

Mum had brought something home with her in a plastic animal carrier. The box was bigger than the ones you’d normally expect to find a cat in. A strange nickering sound was emerging from it.

“Hi my poppeties, you’ll never guess what I’ve brought home with me. I could hardly believe it myself.” Mum put the cage down, and gave my Gran a peck on the cheek. “Thanks for looking after these two monkeys for me. I trust they haven’t been any trouble.” Mum looked from me to my brother, with a warning light flashing in her eyes.

“Oh, no, they’ve been no trouble. They’re always such a pleasure to look after. Now, show us what’s in that box. Don’t keep us in suspense.”

“Very well, then.” Mum opened the catch to the front of the box, and the strangest little creature leapt out. I looked at my brother. We were both equally startled. It wasn’t a dog, and it most certainly wasn’t a cat, rabbit, hamster, or gerbil. What Mum had brought home with her looked like a My Little Pony, only this one wasn’t a plastic toy, but a living, breathing creature, with a mane and horsehair.  What marked it as being different was that it had purple eyes, and a rainbow stamped onto its rear flank.

To my great astonishment, it started talking. “Hi, I’m Violet,” it said. “My previous owners moved away, and couldn’t look after me anymore. Your Mum agreed to take me home with her. I do hope you’re going to like me.”

It looked at all of us in turn, with the biggest, most doleful eyes. We were all enchanted by it. I reached out and stroked its mane. My brother patted its back. It made funny little whinnying noises, apparently enjoying all the attention we bestowed on in it.

That afternoon, Simon and I played outside with Violet. We both loved her, but just wished she were bigger, so that we could ride on her, like a proper pony. As it was, she was no bigger than your average family dog.

We chased each other round the garden. “Come on, kids,” Violet kept saying, between whinnying. We couldn’t play fetch, as my brother had been dreaming of doing with his pet dog. We did the next best thing, playing with a Frisbee, throwing it backwards and forwards between the three of us, with Violet catching it in her mouth.

The afternoon went quick, and in no time at all, the evening shadows began to fall. Mum called us in for our tea. Simon and I had fish, chips and beans. Violet had a bag of animal feed. She stood by the table, with her snout in her food bag, listening to us chatting, and occasionally joining in. Strange as it may seem, this little addition to our family acted as a buffer between me, and my brother, and we quarrelled a lot less that evening than we usually did.

After tea, Violet went out into the garden for a little canter by herself. I washed the dishes, and Simon did the drying up.

“Where do you think we should put Violet’s basket?” Asked Mum. “Would either of you like to have her in your room?”

“Yeah!” both of us said at once.

“Well, perhaps you could share her. Have her stay in your room on alternate nights. That’s decided. Emma, you can have her in your room tonight, my sweet.”

“Woo-hoo,” I said. Having Violet in my room felt like having the best birthday treat ever, even though my birthday was still an eternity away.

Violet came back in, to see what all the fuss was about.

“You’re going to sleep in my room, tonight, Violet.” Violet made a joyful nickering sound, and reared up on her hind hooves, as I stroked her fur. She was indeed the softest, sweetest creature I could ever imagine.

——————————————————————————————————–

Over the days and weeks that followed, I became deeply attached to Violet. We all did. She’d see me, and Simon off in the morning, on our way to school, and she’d be waiting for us again in the evening. She’d help us with our homework, and had a surprising knowledge of algebra.

She helped my Mum too. If she saw my Mum struggling with heavy shopping bags during the day, she’d take them from her, and place them in her mouth. She was amazingly strong, as strong as any packhorse. Amazingly, she continued to keep the peace between Simon and I.

Then, one day, Violet came to the back door with a limp. There were tears in her eyes, and her breathing was loud and raspy.

I could feel tears forming in my eyes too, when I said to her, “What’s the matter, Violet, what happened to you?”

“I was out playing in the back garden. A dog owner had let his pet of its leash. It came into the garden, and started to chase me. The faster I cantered, the more determined it became. In the end, it caught up with me, and bit my leg.”

I leant forward, and she placed one of her front hooves in my hand. There was a gash in her leg, where the skin was torn and bleeding. I did the only thing I knew to do at that age, which was to wrap a tea towel tightly around it, to stop it from bleeding further.

“Mum, come and have a look at Violet” I called into the living room. Mum looked at her wound in horror. “We’ll need to take her to the vet’s right away. We can’t take any risks. Her wound looks angry, and it could turn nasty.”

The vet didn’t like the look of Violet’s leg either. We had to leave her there overnight. It was horrible to leave her there, our constant companion and friend.

Thankfully, we could collect her the next day. When Violet came home, she turned to my Mum, and said “Can I stay with Emma tonight. After all, she was the one that came to my aid the quickest. It would be a great comfort to be with her tonight.”

“Of course you can,” Mum said. It had been Simon’s night to have her in his room. I was bracing myself for a fight.

Thankfully, it didn’t happen. It turned out that Simon was just glad to have Violet home, and that she was going to be all right. He came into my room, and stroked her before bedtime.

“Na Night Violet, Na night Emma,” he said, between yawns, before returning to his own bedroom. 

“Na Night Emma,” I heard Violet whisper, as I turned out the light, and settled into my duvet. I heard the sound of her rhythmic breathing even before I fell asleep. I also heard a deep growling, but thought I must have dreamt it.

————————————————————————————————–

I woke during the night to hear the same growling. My window was open, and the cord to the blind was crashing against the windowpane. Rain had soaked the inside of my blind, which was moving about in the wind.

I got up to close the window, and noticed Violet wasn’t in her basket. She must have been disturbed by the wind as well. I was sure she hadn’t gone far. 

I had to open the blind to close the window. Outside, it was raining heavily. The rain was driven sideways. A tree had fallen on the power lines, and they were making an eerie humming sound.

As I lowered the blind, I heard the familiar sound of hooves from behind me. I turned to see Violet. As I did so, I felt a shudder, like a lightning bolt jolt up my spine. Her eyes glowed pink, and she was growling. I pinned myself up against the window. Paralysis took over. I screamed, but no sound came out. My pet had turned on me. 

I saw her launch herself at me. It happened in a flash, but felt a lot longer. She buried her teeth deep into my neck. As I my conscious mind slip away, I heard a voice say: “My Little Pony, Monsters in Disguise!”

———————————————————————————————————-

Thanks for reading my story. I wasn’t sure how well the ending worked. I’d love to know what you think. If you have a strong opinion either way, please let me know in the comments below. Thanking you kindly.

About Katie Hamer

I am a writer, an artist, a photographer, philosopher, interior designer, listener, and explorer.
This entry was posted in Short Story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to An Unusual Pet

  1. Claire says:

    Katie, I loved this story! Absolutely eerie! The ending is perfect with a very unexpected twist. I also liked the way in which the characters talked; you knew the story took place in another part of the world. Good job!

  2. Katie Hamer says:

    Claire, I’m glad you liked it. It was fun to write 🙂

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