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Short Story Contest > [2016, Aug] Torgo and the Cat

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message 1: by Maira (new)

Maira | 5852 comments Mod
Long ago, in a faraway land, there lived a cheerful mechanic name Torgo Khan. His home was a medium sized cave deep within the caverns of the Morlia mines. The network of caverns and tunnels was part of the Dwarvish kingdom of Maradoria. Torgo’s cave wasn’t a cave dwelling typical of the people of that area. Being one of the few humans among the thousands of dwarves living within the Morlia mines, Torgo had to make do with whatever was easily available to try to make his cave home as comfortable and hospitable as possible. Most dwarves were a spartan people and they didn’t mind if their homes and workplaces were dull and drab, filled only with dim and flickering torchlight. Torgo found the barren standards of the dwarves uncomfortable and gloomy. He had tried to add a cheerful vibe to his cave by putting up pictures of his distant homeland on the walls. The pictures showed green fields and huge towers which almost touched the clouds. His homeland, the nation of Suhala, was a stark contrast to the dwarven nations, which were mostly underground and one could go for weeks without seeing even a bit of sunlight.

Torgo had moved here over ten years ago because he had become a fugitive in Suhala after he had slept with one of the daughters of the king. He had tried to keep the affair discreet, but one of the castle guards had caught him sneaking away from the princess’s room at three in the morning and had raised the alarm. Rather than stick around for his trial and eventual execution, Torgo had fled the kingdom, taking only the clothes on his back. He had worked various jobs on his journey away from Suhala and had eventually wound up in Maradoria. The dwarven citizens of Maradoria were big fans of piano music and pianos could be found in almost every cave home in the country. Back home, Torgo had been a royal mechanic, maintaining and repairing the various machines around the castle. He used his mechanical skills to get a job as a piano repairman. Piano mechanics were in high demand in the province of Morlia and he had been able to work enough to afford his own cave dwelling.

Torgo led a lonely life. Humans were few and far in Maradoria. In the Morlia mines, there were only fifty other humans apart from himself. Only ten of those were women, and all of them were already married. Torgo was not interested in dwarf women in a romantic manner. In order to ameliorate his loneliness, he took to spending his evenings drinking at the nearby taverns. A typical day for Torgo was as follows; he would wake up in the morning, visit the cave homes and offices on his schedule and fix their pianos. He would get free at five in the evening and then go to a tavern and begin drinking. There were five or six other human men in his area and they would generally show up there too and he would sit with them and share drinks and stories of their homelands. After a few pints of ale, he would have dinner, usually roast grablers (grablers were a type of chicken that were native to Maradorian mines) and after a few more ales, he would stagger home and fall asleep, only to repeat the same process all over again the next day.


message 2: by Maira (new)

Maira | 5852 comments Mod
In the ten years that he had lived in the Morlia mines, he had lead a dull and uninteresting life. Nothing exciting ever happened to him and he didn’t go out in search of excitement. He wasn’t happy with his life, but he wasn’t depressed either. He was stuck in a rut of mild contentment and wasn’t interested in changing that. That was all about to change however.

He woke up at seven o clock, as he usually did, and took a quick bath and ate a meager breakfast of grabler stew. He checked his schedule for that day and saw that his first appointment was at the home of the district governor, Mr. Simuel. It seemed that Mr. Simuel’s piano had been giving him problems since the day before last and a few keys weren’t producing the desired sounds. It seemed like a typical job and Torgo didn’t give it a second thought as he slung his tool bag over his shoulders and walked over to the governors house. He knocked on the cave door. A chubby dwarf helper opened the door and led him to the piano room. Although dwarfs weren’t keen on decorating their homes, they paid special care to anything related to pianos. The piano room of the governors house was lavish (compared to the rest of the house). There were posters of musical notes pinned all over the walls. The piano bench appeared expensive and comfortable and there were sofas all around the room intended for listeners to relax in as they enjoyed the pianist playing the piano.

The helper explained that four of the keys on the piano were making strange sounds instead of the normal sounds they used to make before the problem started the two days ago. Torgo noticed that these four keys were all side by side, so they were probably being blocked by something that had gotten stuck within the piano. He then left Torgo alone in the room, telling him to give him a shout if he needed any assistance. Torgo unslung his tool bag and began unscrewing the top of the piano. Once he had the internal mechanism of the piano uncovered, he set about investigating the cause of the problem. He traced the chord connected to the troublesome keys and saw that they were indeed being blocked by something. It was a dead cat.

Let us pause the story here to explain something about the kingdom of Maradoria. The dwarves of Maradoria were generally boring and dull people. However, they were obsessed with two things to the point of craziness. One was pianos, and the other was cats. Cats were extremely rare in the entire country and they were highly prized possessions as pets and symbols of high status. Thus, anyone who had a pet cat was considered to be extremely lucky and of high social status. Even a lowly street sweeper could elevate his social status if he became an owner of a cat. For this reason, cats were highly prized animals and they cost an arm and a leg to buy. A person could make a small fortune by selling a cat to the right buyer. If it was a rare cat, that was even better. It was rumored that the King of Maradoria kept a ‘harem’ of cats in his private quarters. Now back to the story.

Torgo was shocked at seeing the dead cat inside the piano. It was a black Siamese cat. Siamese cats were the rarest type of cats in the entire country and cost as much as a mansion. He was stunned to see that such a valuable animal had managed to somehow get inside the piano and then die there. There were no apparent openings through which the cat could have crawled through to get inside the piano. Torgo had lived in Maradoria long enough to feel extremely distressed at seeing a dead cat. The loss of life of such a noble and esteemed animal was enough to make a grown man cry. He reached out to lift the cat out of the piano. As he put his fingers on the stomach of the cat, he was startled to notice that the belly of the cat was moving! He leaned down and saw that yes, the cat was breathing!

With trembling hands, he gently picked up the cat and held it up in front of him. He could see no signs of any injury or permanent damage. The reason the cat had seemed dead to him was because it was starving and almost dead of thirst. Torgo held his water canteen to the lips of the cat and it stirred as it felt water touch its whiskers. Slowly, but with increasing vigor, the Siamese cat began lapping up the water. It blearily opened its eyes and eyed Torgo as it drank. After a few minutes of increasingly intense water drinking, the cat stopped and eyed Torgo. He bought the cat close to his face, trying to detect if the cat was going to be alright. The cat licked his face. At that point, Torgo was struck with an idea. He could turn his life around if he could sell this extremely rare cat to one of the prestigious cat showrooms. It must be worth at least a full chest of gold! He would have to go to the farthest corner of the country to sell it so that it could not be traced back to Mr. Simuels.

He thought about taping up the mouth of the cat to prevent it from making any noise. Just as he was about to do that, he heard footsteps approaching the room. He hurriedly shoved the cat inside his tool bag and zipped it up just as the helper entered the room. “Mr. Torgo, did you find the problem?” the helper asked. Torgo smiled and said, “Indeed I have. It was just a piece of metal that had gotten bent inside the piano and was blocking the keys. I have straightened it out and it’s all fixed now. Look”. Torgo pressed the keys that had been giving problems and now they sounded as they were supposed to sound. The helper beamed in happiness. “Thank you Mr. Torgo! If you will just sit in the lounge, the governor will be home in a few minutes and he will give you your payment. I am sure that he will give you a generous bonus for fixing the problem so quickly.” Torgo blanched at the thought of sitting inside the house to wait for the governor while the cat was inside his bag of tools.

“That will not be necessary”, he blurted out. “I am afraid that I have to run. I have an appointment that I absolutely cannot be late for! I will come by tomorrow at the same time to collect the money” The helper seemed to understand this. “That would be best Mr. Torgo. Do not take this personally, but it would be just as well if you do not meet the master today. He has been quite upset over the disappearance of his pet cat. Mr. Snuggles vanished two days ago. We have turned the whole house upside down but haven’t been able to find him. We are afraid that he might have run off and been picked up by some poor ruffian in the street who has probably sold it by now. We have informed the authorities to be on the lookout for any sales of Siamese cats in the area. We will catch the cat thief and hang him upside down before executing him!” Torgo struggled to keep a straight face. “That is indeed very upsetting. I wish you all the best in finding Mr. Snuggles! I will see you tomorrow when I come for the payment. Goodbye!” With that, Torgo went to the door, barely managing to keep from running.

He opened the door and stepped outside. He almost bumped into the governor, who was reaching out to open the door. The governor of Morlia mines arched his eyebrows at Torgo. The helper hurriedly came up behind Torgo and said to the governor, “Hello Master. This is Mr. Torgo, the piano repairman. He has fixed the piano and was just leaving. He has urgent business to attend to and will come by tomorrow for his payment.” The governor smiled at Torgo and held out his hand. “Thank you Mr. Torgo. I am afraid that I cannot stop and chat with you. I have to go meet the police commissioner to discuss a missing cat. However, thank you very much for fixing my piano. You can get your payment tomorrow. Good day.” Torgo stammered out, “It was a pleasure governor. I hope you find your cat. I cannot imagine the loss you must be feeling right now.” They shook hands and Torgo started to hurry away.


message 3: by Maira (new)

Maira | 5852 comments Mod
Suddenly, a loud ‘mew’ came from his tool bag. Torgo almost tripped in shock and the governor and the helper froze and turned towards Torgo. The three of them stood there for a few seconds, just staring at each other. Finally, the governor made a sound, “aaahhhhhhhhhh!” and began running towards Torgo. “My cat! You have Mr. Snuggles!” Torgo did what he had done ten years ago back in Suhala when he had been caught sneaking out of the princess’s room. He ran.

He ran and ran and ran. He was lucky and managed to get away from the governor and his helper. He was even more lucky and managed to stay out of sight of all the police officers that were actively searching for him. Finally, he was outside the caves and tunnels of the Maradorian kingdom. Before he left the border, managed to sell the cat to an unscrupulous dwarf smugglerand got enough money to buy a passage on a ship heading to the Elysoom nation, the Elven nation. and was left over with a hefty amount of money. Just enough to rent a small apartment in the expensive Elven nation.

This time he promised to himself to not break the law or become a fugitive. It wasn’t all that bad he reasoned. Elven women were extremely attractive, as compared to dwarven women. He lived happily ever after, for a few years anyway. But that is another story.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol. This was a fun story. Poor Torgo, he had to leave his home twice because of bad decisions :p

My rating: 6 out of 10.


message 5: by Sadaf (new)

Sadaf | 22 comments I loved the world building and Torgo's opportunism that always got him into trouble.

8/10


message 6: by Maira (new)

Maira | 5852 comments Mod
LOL...Targo has one optimistic guy. :P

7/10


message 7: by Sara (new)

Sara Saif | 630 comments 8/10


message 8: by Saqib (new)

Saqib Ali | 11 comments lolx, poor guy Targo. curious if the cat was dwarvish as well :-)
6/10


message 9: by Zarshal (new)

Zarshal Saeed (zarshalsaeed) | 735 comments Haha, fun reading. 6.5/10


message 10: by Tribal (new)

Tribal Demagogue | 77 comments Haha! A very cheerful story, with a lighthearted narrative. Very Tolkien-ish in its setting. Looks like it's written by Merry or Pippin from the Shire, because Tolkien is a bit more serious. Loved it!!! It made me smile.


message 11: by Q.M. (new)

Q.M. Sidd (qmsidd) | 36 comments A good fun light-headed read. Interesting... 7/10


message 12: by Nadeem (new)

Nadeem Muhammad | 7 comments funny 7/10


message 13: by Sameea (new)

Sameea | 292 comments Haha, that was a fun read.

6/10


message 14: by Abdullah (new)

Abdullah Khalid | 807 comments wow. That one was a swift ending. But it was fun to read ;)
6/10


message 15: by Rao (new)

Rao Javed | 713 comments 6\10


message 16: by Nigham (new)

Nigham | 4018 comments 7.5/10


message 17: by Amna (new)

Amna  (devilishpisho) | 3288 comments 8/10


message 18: by Faheem (last edited Aug 15, 2016 08:15AM) (new)

Faheem  (faheeem) | 1596 comments Mod
9/10


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