Home > Truth About Cats & Spinsters

Truth About Cats & Spinsters
Author: Andrea Simonne

Chapter One






Motorcycles in the night. That was how it started.

I’d barely fallen asleep and thought I was dreaming the hum of those engines. In my mind, I imagined a pride of lions thundering toward me under the cover of a night sky. Their thick paws pounded the earth. One male lion moved ahead of the others, and when he spotted me in the distance, he roared. It wasn’t long before the others joined him.


“Fuck yeah!”

My eyes flew open.

Those aren’t lions.

More yelling ensued as I lay in bed listening to the noise speeding by on the main road near my farm. Who are these assholes? Irritated, I grabbed my phone off the nightstand to check the time. It was after midnight.

They better not disturb my animals.

My cats meowed sleepily as I pushed the covers aside—three sets of golden eyes reflected the full moon outside.

“I’d better go check,” I said to them. “Just in case.”

By that point the motorcycles had turned into a distant buzz. I made my way downstairs to the living room and slid open the door for the back deck. The sound grew louder for an instant before fading off.

It was a warm August night, the air heavy with the scent of hay and livestock. My tall black rubber boots were nearby, and I slipped my feet into them and walked across the deck. I only wore panties and a short white camisole but figured it didn’t matter. I wouldn’t be outside long. The nearest neighbor was a good distance away, and my younger brother Shane, whose motorhome was parked on the other side of the barn, was tending bar at Walk the Plank tonight.

The ground was dusty as I clomped over to check on my girls.

When I reached the red-and-white barn, I found my dozen alpacas inside were happily cushed—sitting together in a cozy group. The barn doors were open on all three sides so they’d feel at ease.

I stepped back out, and my two guard llamas trotted over to greet me.

“Hello, ladies,” I said, putting my hand over the wooden fence.

Phyllis, the friendlier of the two, sniffed and kissed my cheek. I laughed at her stinky breath before reaching out to pet her coat, rough beneath my hands. Her sister, Alicia, came close, and I petted her too.

Both animals were finally getting used to me. It had taken a while. When I’d bought this small farm a year ago, they could tell I was a dumbass who didn’t know what I was doing.

I’d shocked my family. I’d even shocked myself. Within one month I’d quit my job in Seattle, moved back to Truth Harbor, and was living out here in the country.

Me. The girl who grew up in middle-class suburbia. Who dressed in high heels every day and had weekly manicures. The closest I’d ever been to an actual farm was a petting zoo. So what the hell was I thinking? Sure, I was a knitter who spun my own yarn and had daydreams of owning a farm.

But to actually do it?

I glanced over at the chicken coop. Soft clucks were coming from inside. In a few hours, my rooster, Cary Grant, would be crowing. I’d bought this place from a middle-aged couple who decided they were done farming and set off to travel the world.

It was an impulse. A crazy impulse, and, to be honest, I was barely making it. Every week there was a fresh crisis. My family still thought I’d lost my mind. They thought I should sell the place and go back to my normal life, back to my job in finance.

“It’s been a year,” my mom said. “Haven’t you gotten it out of your system yet?”

Even my twin brother, Lars, thought it was a mistake. “A farm? Seriously, Leah, what were you thinking?”

Some days I worried they were right. That I’d bitten off more than I could chew, that I should give up and go back to my secure job and my weekly manicures.

Except then there were other days. The ones where I stood on my porch in the early morning, drinking coffee, quietly gazing out at my land, and a wave of exhilaration came over me.

I felt alive.

More alive than I ever had in my life.

It was a feeling I’d never gotten working in my cubicle analyzing stock valuations.

That feeling had kept me here.

“And, of course, you guys have too,” I said to Phyllis, who made a soft huffing noise as I stroked her neck.

After a few minutes of petting them, both llamas trotted off to the barn. I leaned against the wooden fence rail enjoying the peaceful night, the way the full moon blanketed everything in a soft glow. Moments like these had been scarce in my former life, so I never took them for granted.

I wasn’t going to think about how depleted my savings were, or how I needed money to buy more hay for winter. More firewood too. I'd been selling my fleece and handspun yarn, but it wasn’t enough.

I looked up at the pale round orb in the sky. Some people liked to sunbathe, but I’d always liked to moonbathe.

It was what inspired the name I’d chosen for my farm and yarn business—Clarity Moon.

I tilted my face upward and took a deep breath, letting those moonbeams sink in. “We need rain,” I said in a quiet voice. “It’s costing more to take care of my animals and my land.”

As I rested my forearms on the wooden fence rail, a silky breeze blew past, warm and inviting on my skin. My panties and camisole were just scraps of fabric. I might as well be wearing nothing.

The moon shone full and luminous. Close enough to touch. “I know you’re listening,” I whispered.

A peculiar energy hung in the air. Maybe I was crazy, but I swear I felt the moon’s presence.

“One more thing.” I gazed up at the night sky. “How about sending me a good man? I think I’m ready.”

There was silence.

Another breeze blew past.

I shook my head and smiled to myself, embarrassed. I sounded like a weirdo out here talking to the moon. It was time to get back inside and get some sleep. I needed to be up at daybreak.

I strolled back toward the house, going over the list of chores in my head for the following morning. The sound of motorcycles broke the night’s silence again, but I kept walking, figuring they’d pass on the main road like last time. But the engine noise grew louder.

With a jolt I realized they’d taken the turn onto the small road that led to my property.

What the hell?

The sound was moving directly toward me.

“Aaah!” I yelped in panic. I ran toward the house and barely had time to leap behind the arborvitaes near my front porch before two motorcycles came roaring into view. Their bright headlights shone on the exact spot where I’d been standing.

I pushed between the trees, surrounded by the aroma of pine, while bristly leaves poked my stomach and back. I tried my hardest not to think about spiders.

I peeked through the branches. Two motorcycles had stopped in my dirt driveway. A couple of guys looked around and then began yelling at each over the engines.

“Where is everybody? Is this the place?”

“How the hell should I know? I was following you.”

They both turned their bikes off, and the night was quiet again with only the ping of metal cooling. One guy removed his helmet and stood while the other remained seated. They were each dressed in a combination of jeans and leather and had long bushy beards. The seated guy wore a bandana.

My heart hammered with fear as the guy standing swung a leg over his bike and lumbered up to my front door. He pounded on it with his fist. “Open up!”

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