"The Night I Rode the Train with a Cat" Shiho Kozai
On my 29th birthday, I became able to speak with cats. That day, a younger girl at my company offended the president of a client company. After I scolded her about it, apparently, she was crying in the vault. I was then criticized by a senior male worker, "The poor thing! You said too much to her!" Somehow, I became the one to go apologize to the client company CEO. No sooner than when I had arrived at their company I was scolded by the president, “Why didn’t she come herself?! What about her boss?”
On the way back, I couldn’t stop the frustration. I called my boyfriend, who I had been dating since I was in college, and while crying I said, “I want to quit! Let’s get married!”
Then I immediately got dumped.
At any rate, that one day was shattering. Yes, even though it was my birthday. After that, still frustrated and miserable and crying, I continued walking along the road next to the railway. Trains whose windows were the only thing clearly lit up had passed me about 4 times, and I had come as far as Kasugagawa Station before I realized.
I opened the hot canned coffee that I bought from a vending machine and a black cat suddenly appeared from under a chair. It was looking at me as if it wanted to say something. It seemed like I heard, “I have a request.”
Astonished, I looked around my vicinity, but it was only me and the cat in the station.
“Put me on the next train.”
I’m certain the cat looked like it spoke. Speaking accurately, it seemed as though telepathy was being transmitted. The cat was getting closer to me as fast as the sound of the train tracks. And then it clearly spoke.
“Put me in your bag! Hurry!”
The cat scratched its way up into my bag.
The train opened its doors right in front of me, and I just jumped onto it.
In the train car, there was an old, sitting woman who had her shopping bags at her feet and an elementary school girl.
“Pass the bag just as it is over to that old woman.”
“But this is my bag.”
“Because there isn’t much time, I’m gonna be straight up with you. That woman is my wife. This life I wanted take care of her, so I became a cat. I want you to ask her to keep me as a pet.”
The cat stared at my face intently and said that, maybe.
“At the next stop, Katamoto, my wife is getting off. Also, the fact that I became a cat is a secret between us.”
“Hurry!” shouted the cat.
The little girl stood up and smiled my way.
“You got it! You can count on me.”
I did a big nod and as the door closed, I jumped off the train onto Katamoto Station.
I looked up at the sky and saw the big orange moon gleaming as if it were indicating anything could happen now.
The 3rd Nakazora Literary Award
"Kotoden Story Project"