By Like tears in rain [CC-BY-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

Simon arched his back, and almost hissed. But something about the men (besides their sudden appearance) was strange… catastrophic.

Instead of making a sound that might draw attention to himself, Simon slunk back into the splintered crate where he’d found shelter from the recent downpour. His nose and tail twitched, his glowing eyes gave his position away, but the men seemed not to care.

…they also seemed completely unaware of each other…

Simon looked more closely. All humans looked pretty much alike to him, but these two were not only dressed identically, they were identical in every way.

One man noticed the other, and froze. One foot was behind the other, arms out for balance, as if he was set to run at any instant.

The other man turned around and seemed startled for a moment.

“Oh… I’d forgotten. I must have already looked here.”

“Yes… now. But I’ve just started. Should I give up and move on?” said number one.

Man number two scratched his head. “I’m not sure… it might not be here yet. You go on… I remember now, I did go on when I saw myself.”

Simon curled into himself as tightly as he could. The first man didn’t move, yet he seemed to get farther and farther away until he was gone.

“Damn… where could I have left it? And when?”

Simon accidentally bumped his latest treasure, hidden in the crate with him. It was a key chain, attached to a miniature koosh-ball. Koosh balls were his favorite toy; he had fond memories of playing with them until his owners decided he was more trouble than he was worth.

Suddenly the man’s face was upside-down, directly in front of him.

“Well, what do we have here? A time-travelling pussycat?”

Simon tried to scratch, but he had no claws. He tried to bite, but he’d recently lost a tooth, and his mouth was very sore. He hissed and growled and generally made himself as threatening as possible, but the man casually picked him up anyway. Once in the man’s arms, Simon froze. He couldn’t tell if he was paralyzed by fear, or weather the man was working some magic on him, but he no longer felt like running.

The man’s gloved hands cradled him, holding him securely as the man dipped down again, this time to retrieve the kooshy key chain.

“Aha! You like this, don’t you? Well, I suppose having a mini-monster who collects keys can be a useful thing to have. And by the looks of you, you need someone to take care of you, don’t you?” Simon laid his ears back. The stranger simply smiled. “Come with me then. I’ll teach you to walk through walls, and you can warn me when I drop my keys.”

This story was written for the Write on Edge prompt:

For this week, I’m offering you this opening line:

“Two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.”

The story is unrelated to anything else I’ve done. I treated it like flash fiction, out of the blue.

I hope you like it!

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