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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 22: 6 Feb. 2024
Microfiction: 463 words
By Ethan Geiger

Along Cat


The dust from the trail matted his fur as he got a little air with each step of the horse. His eyes closed as his body was draped over the back of his human’s mount, a bedroll to nuzzle up against to protect him from the hard edge of the saddle. He spent every day like that, a long cat, 28 pounds, always ready for a ride, and with it a nap. This country was good for him. Strangers on the trail were a rare occurrence, all day was spent following his human, riding from one place to another, and when they finally stopped for the day, he would stretch, yawn, and silently leap off the horse to find dinner.

While his human trudged off, laboring in search of berries and rabbit, the cat eagerly stalked mice, birds, and squirrels. Sometimes he let them get away, just for a moment, before he locked down his jaw and brought their squirming to a close. The scent of smoke, meat, and tobacco filled his nose as he proudly padded back to camp where rabbit was sizzling over the flames. The cat’s teeth, piercing the skin of his feast, delivered part of his mouse as an offering, an offering that was never eaten as intended, but was rewarded with a pat on the head and a scratch between the eyes.

At night the human would lie down beside the fire, three feet beyond the ring of rock he had built. The cat would lie against his human, protecting him from the warmest of the fire’s waves. His head on his human’s chest, his tail reaching down between the man’s ankles. The cat would lie awake, taking in the sounds of insects, owls, and rustling in the woods. A twitch of his pointed ears with each foreign sound, his sharp slitted eyes grown wide and round in the dark, locking on to something only he could see. Sometimes the cat would slowly get up, the moonlight flashing the deep green of his eyes, and stalk the perimeter of their campsite, checking the woods for creatures to chase away from the warmth of his fire. The leaves hardly rustled as he journeyed through the forest, leaping over rocks, walking across logs, and wetting his whiskers in a nearby stream. When the cat got bored of roaming or was certain that there was nothing about, he would curl back up in his human’s arms for a well-deserved nap.

When the coals were cold, and night gave way to dawn, they started their journey again. With a run and a leap, the cat took his position behind his human’s bedroll, following him to their next campsite as he drifted off to sleep with the rocking of the horse.



Publisher’s Note:

Special thanks to MacQ Contributing Editor Kika Dorsey for encouraging her students to submit their writings to MacQ. I’m so pleased and honored to present this story by Ethan Geiger, which is his first publication in a literary journal. And I hope to publish more of his work in the future.

Ethan Geiger
Issue 22 (February 2024)

is a filmmaker and writer from Vermont, originally from New Jersey, and now living in Colorado. He spends his time creating stories, typically through film, and skiing to come up with more stories to tell. He is the Audio-Visual Director of Hindsight Creative Nonfiction Journal, and a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. This story was written while Ethan was convincing his girlfriend to allow him to adopt a Maine Coon cat—he was successful.

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