The Infamous Cat of Rome: Manx

Ally Levine—

The second entry in our Sunday Story series from our visit to Raleigh’s Meredith College and their young writers camp. Every summer for the past decade Meredith College has hosted rising 6th, 7th, and 8th grade young women on their campus for a week of imagination, creativity, and fun with director Ashley Hogan at the helm guiding writing exercises led by published faculty teaching fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction. We are excited to highlight the emerging talent of these young writers as they polish their craft.The Infamous Cat of Rome: Manx By Emily Dreifuss (age 12)A young cat scampered through the busy house, dancing through the legs of cooks, dodging the family members, and avoiding furniture. She had been mistreated all day, once even being thrown into another room by an annoyed master (he had a rather repulsive temper). Now she would do almost anything for attention, and maybe food.She, the cat, was light gray, with dark spots and bright yellow eyes.Around her, the house was bustling with activity. Mistress shouted orders to the cook for the elaborate feast to be held that night. The young lovers flirted. Outside could be heard the commotion of the chaotic marketplace.Steadily the afternoon wore on. The cat watched everything. Friends waved goodbye, promising to soon meet again. Many people spoke of wonderful things to come. Something rumbled.Inside, the table was being set with truly mouth-watering foods. She couldn’t resist. The cat jumped and tried to snatch a roasted bird for her own dinner. Sadly, before she could, mistress slapped her and tossed her from the table. It really had looked tasty.Another rumble, and another, louder. The house shook. Mistress shrieked, “Earthquake!” The cat hurried outside to see.It was no earthquake. On top of the previously peaceful hill they had always known it to be, Mount Vesuvius spewed black smoke. Chunks of rock pummeled the city. People ran and screamed in the streets. The cat ran for her life, but choked on the debris-filled air. She had to escape. Then came the lava — scorching hot, with a consistency like pudding but other than that completely different.She leaped up onto a stone pedestal, thinking it was safe. On the contrary, it soon toppled, flinging the poor, doomed pet into the liquid flames. It burned more than words, consuming her all at once. So was the tragic end of innocent, ignorant Manx.If it makes you feel any better, a lot of humans died, too.