birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Net

In the backyard where I grew up we had an apricot tree. This sounds exotic, and I guess it was. It bore tiny, perfect apricots and everything. We also had two indifferent kittens, Summer and Gata, who grew up to be so cool cat impassive that I spent most days trying to get a rise out of them any way I could.

One overcast morning my parents asked me to pick a couple of apricots for breakfast. I approached the tree’s net where I was horrified to discover Summer, growling like an animal far more wild and ferocious, squeezing a bird’s head in her mouth and trying to yank the rest of the bird’s little body through the square it was still stuck in, feebly flapping its wings. It took me a minute to realize what had happened: the bird had gotten trapped under the net; Summer spied her and seized her moment to pounce; couldn’t drag the bird through the holes. I tried to shake the net and dying bird free from Summer’s jaws but she just glowered and growled more angrily, refusing to release her prey. I was helpless against this version of our cat that I had never seen before, helpless watching something alive die before my eyes.

Taking a hike

Did I ever see it?