Story :: Stroke

Well, I’ve missed about six months’ worth of write-ins but here I am, back in force. Or, at least, in furs? 😀

Stroke (313 words)


The discovery was made late last night during a police raid on a local house. The building had lain empty since the closure of a laundrette six months ago, and it is believed that the ‘coven’ as they have called themselves moved in there recently and were using the space during the night for unknown rituals. We were able to speak to one of the group’s initiates, who claims to have been only once, several weeks earlier.

-No I’m not surprised they’ve been arrested, it was only a matter of time. A friend took me along one night, I’ve never done this sort of thing before. The whole time, you knew it wasn’t right, but it felt right. It was moreish, you always felt like you needed more.

It’s believed that the gang used the building because of its proximity to the local RSPCA rescue centre. The RSPCA and the Police are both refusing to comment on whether the gang had someone on the inside at the centre, though we were able to speak to the gang member who revealed the group’s meeting place. Janine works as a cat and kitten fosterer for the RSPCA in the local area. Janine, tell us how you got involved in this, and what made you blow the whistle.

-It didn’t start out like this, it wasn’t meant to hurt anyone. I’ve worked with cats a long time, I know how good it makes you feel to settle down with a cat on your knee and give it a stroke. Really, we just wanted to help people, make them feel better. But some of them took it too far.

Other members of the group, you mean?

-They lost track of what we were about, started holding meetings all the time, wanted more cats. The centre was getting suspicious.

Thank you, Janine. And now, back to the studio.


Written for the CAKE.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-in

Read my other free stories here.


About sarahgracelogan

Sarah Grace is an itinerant scribbler and general layabout. She runs a writing group called CAKE.shortandsweet, because any form of procrastination from actual writing is always attractive to the serious author of refined taste. When not distracted by laser pens, Sarah Grace writes novels, short stories and flash fiction, poetry, stage scripts and screenplays. She has performed her work at Stirred Poetry, Bad Language and Tongue in Cheek Manchester. Her first publication, Humping the Boonies is a self-published chapbook available directly from the author, or from Travelling Man, Manchester. You can find more details about her ongoing projects, not to mention a selection of free stories up for grabs right here on her blog. She also likes to talk about theatre, film, books, photography, and especially games and other things that involve collaborative storytelling. Sarah Grace likes feedback, in whatever form it comes.


  1. Tessa Sheppard

    I enjoyed the layout of the story. It moved quickly. I really liked the second last line. Great job! 🙂

  2. Ah I really love the pace of this, the kind of contrast between how something can go so wrong for somebody, even when they think they are doing something that’s okay and the kind of faceless, probing voice of the rest of the world. Brilliant! Welcome back! (says she, the semi-absentee daughter)…

  3. I’m envious at your flash fiction, you’re becoming quite the master 🙂

    I’m still trying to figure out though what your intention was here. Was it to show the superficiality of news reporting the “we don’t have time to go into that and just as you were getting to the meat of it” or was it to demonstrate something else – perhaps to put a human face on the perpetrators rather than simply labelling them “thugs” or “scum” as certain newspapers tend to do?

    Either way, good work

    • Thank you! I wouldn’t call this particular piece ‘masterful’ but I’m very flattered that you said so.

      A little of the latter I suppose, and perhaps just something about how pointless and inane most TV and news reporting seems to be. I guess I went for a quintessentially ‘British’ feel here, this tendency to present things in a very down to earth, slightly condescending way. Augh. I don’t really know, I was just tickled by the idea of a cult of cat-strokers, but it’s really cool that everyone’s seeing so much in it and making me think about why I wrote it 😀

  4. Elaine Peters

    I love the image of a group of addicted cat-strokers in a squat, the need to feed their habit escalating. I wonder where they would go next – eating them perhaps? Also like the reporting style.

    • Haha perhaps, who knows what they might do. I guess one of the funny things about flash fiction is I often put characters or even groups of characters in really weird or awkward positions, and when you try and think about comes next, sometimes it all falls apart. I can’t see these guys eating the cats … because then there’d be no strokes. But killing and stuffing them so the cats can’t escape? Maybe. Thanks!

  5. Welcome back! Love the news report style of this- can picture poor Janine with a microphone in front of her being cut off by the reporter. The ambiguity of whether she was about to reveal more & what it might have been is very intriguing. Very effective flash fiction. Well done & happy writing!

  6. I love the style you’ve used to tell this story. It suits it purrrrfectly (I COULD NOT RESIST) and as everyone else has said above, it paces well. What it also does is sensationalise the story. As I was reading, I was getting a bit worried about what was going on but the ending cracked the wit right open. You’ve used a journalistic device with great skill, there 😉

    So, does this coven exist? Because I want to join and stroke kittens all night. As dodgy as that sounds.

    Welcome back to the arena – a fantastic and funny return.

    • Haha! Thanks, I’m always glad to have inspired a pun.

      I’m glad the reveal (such as it was) worked. Also, I would be totally up for founding a cat-stroking club. Hopefully less cult-like than this one.


  7. Elaine McKay

    Hi, there! Great idea that is both amusing and disturbing! We humans can take anything to excess (including the number of things we MAKE news as a result of 24hr rolling news programmes.) An original piece that I really liked. Glad to see you back.

    • This is just it. I’ve stopped reading/watching the news almost entirely over the past three or four months, as I found it was a) mostly making me miserable and stressed, and b) filling my head with a lot of useless, inane crap.

      Thanks 🙂 Good to be back.

  8. Furs? I thought – she’s won the lottery and ought a new coat; or she’s referring to our cold weather; or …. Then I read the story.
    Great brain food. So much unsaid.
    And your abstinence has done your writing no harm. Welcome back.

    • I like your alternate theories though, they made this post much more exciting.

      Maybe abstinence makes the … brain … write … stronger? Nope, clearly not. But glad to hear I haven’t completely lost my touch, thank you 🙂

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