Cassie the Rat

Cassie the Rat

A Story by Paulette Sharron Stewart

A story of jealously and covetness.



Cassie’s’ nickname was ‘Rat’ it was snickered behind her back among her family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances, most times it  was never  said  directly to her face of course though  a few exceptions of brave siblings in jest and an odd time a brave person would do so with a verbal mix of anger, hatred and humour. Oblivious to the nickname and like most things in her life  unless it had something to do with her and if she’d become aware it would have mystified, hurt and left her with a question running in her mind,
“Why anyone would want to call her this?”
In fact Cassie was unaware about many things about herself that others knew about her, the old saying
‘Ignorance is bliss’ was true for Cassie she was like the person who looked at themselves in their mirror in the morning then they walked away forgetting the person they saw in the mirror. Life was idyllic she was the star in her own universe, everything she did was good, her life, work, friends were perfect and Cassie did not understand or see why other’s’ lives couldn’t be the same, her motto about life was simple,
‘If she could do it so could they”
After all ‘Life was what you made it, wasn’t it?”
On Saturday morning lying on silk sheets on a king size bed in a town apartment, a life far from her beginnings in a small rural town, born into a large family of six siblings too working class parents;
Thank-goodness it was a distant memory, sniffing her pillow made of silk smelling the success, luxury it was divine she stretched back into the silk pillows purring inside a cat with the nick name of ‘Rat’.
There was no need to rush or rise early the whining Judy and the helpless Raelene weren’t due to this afternoon, it was habitual now them coming round in the afternoon and staying until late evening.
Cassie was fortunate to have this incredible family she’d reaped the reward of them deciding and choosing her to be the one to go to the city and attend university ten long years ago after the death of her parents in a car accident. Now here she was living in an apartment furnished with beautiful things, a job she dreamt, imagined having as a child a journalist for a leading magazine who said hard work and cunning didn’t pay of.
The first days here in the city of gardens overwhelmed it was like being on a supersonic jet train she had suffered massive migraines after experiencing the speed city life went after the slow, sauntering, tortoise speed of country life along with frequent hunger pangs in the beginning months existing on scraps in rubbish bins, soup from the salvation army also an enormous amount of tears shed and sleepless nights scared. The smell of those rubbish bins came back flooding her mind,   and the damp musty, pungent scent from them lunged at her nostrils her stomach reviling also the stench of urine after the drunk used the bins for toilets they all remembered the smell well it clung for days permeating her clothes, body. Early mornings were the worse as hunger pangs punched you in the stomach as well as tantalizing you with the smell of bread freshly baked from bakeries around you and windows open from homes heralding the morning aroma of hot coffee brewing these smells were smells angels in heaven lived with whilst mere mortals like Cassie scavenged for scraps, tidbits, leftovers and moments like the above, it seemed to her an apt picture of how life was, some people inherited it all while others scraped by on the crumbs; idiots thought life was about equality for all and justice, right from the beginning of life it was non –existent, life was about survival and dominance always would be. It had been tough the first year many times the hunger nearly drove her back home if her brothers and sisters hadn’t sacrificed themselves and the dream of her parents, clan to have someone to better themselves she would have given up and gone home. Her family was survivors she was a survivor the skills she processed also genes passed down from her breed made them masters of survival. The money from her mother, father, aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters bought enormous emotional strength plus it made it possible for her tuition, books, flute lessons leaving her to find food and accommodation. Finding accommodation was easy a box someone’s shed or inside a shop on one of the furniture places on one of their sofas was a wonderful luxury soft and warm she was an expert in getting inside un detected she was a rat.
Thinking about all this made her think on Judy and Raelene her close girl friends who were visiting this afternoon, secretly she called Judy the ‘Whiner’ and Raelene the ‘Helpless’ both of their lives had and were easy in comparison to hers yet both women were negative, pathetic people.
Judy was a stay at home wife and mother; married to a successful lawyer with two children, while Raelene was a barrister in a prestigious firm, single, beautiful and highly sought after by men, although both women merely existed and complained about their lives constantly. It frustrated, maddened her when Judy whined about how lonely she was due to her husband being busy all the time and how he never had time to spend with her or their kids and listening to Raelene share about her numerous relationships and how she could never find one who would commit himself to her and what could she do about this, they drove her nuts. Secretly inside when she heard them it enraged, they were ungrateful, shallow, spoilt brats, they played the role of victims well but they were in for a huge shock for this morning Cassie decided she was going to take over one of these women lives, they didn’t like their lives why shouldn’t she have it. Of course she liked the good looking husband of Judy and their sweet children and   she envied, hungered for the rich boyfriends and romances Raelene enjoyed, it was simply a case of deciding what one was the best the obvious choice was Judy’s husband though the hunt was heady stuff mmmmmmmmm! The thought of either option set off a purr inside, Oh! Yes her nickname wasn’t ‘Rat’ for nothing she was sick of these women who possessed the cream of life however were satisfied and weren’t capable of making the most of what they were given, they had everything and fools they were didn’t realise, stupid woman dressed in white linen designer clothing, well a taker over was going to happen there was no such thing as a merge on her agenda she sniggered to herself.
Stretched out on her king sized silk sheeted bed it felt like a dim memory those days where she existed lived in poverty gone, now she was an established journalist she enjoyed every comfort and with joy and means she had the ability to send money to support her family plus soon one of her sisters was coming out to be with her soon. The early days at university were a mixture of emotions from exhilaration to dismay to feeling like she’d arrived on another planet, the speed of life and isolation she experienced first time ever in her life, alone with people she didn’t know, people who didn’t want to connect on any level. Those who had and those who didn’t was sharply defined, it shocked, hurt, angered her for a long time. The smell from those with wealthy backgrounds at university was intense, permeating every person in the class, clinging to their clothes, seeped into their pores and you took it home with you. It smelt like exotic spices, essential oils, perfumes from a far mystical land making you
feel foreign nevertheless it drew like a charismatic personality of a great leader, leaving you aching for more. Those struggling financially, who were scraping by wrapped, clung, ivy growing on a house the smell leached itself into every fibre of one’s being, tainting any pure smell, it was damp, musty, the stench reeked everything around, making all dark, light became shadows and you dwelt in them eventually becoming one. There were days you thought the sun would never shine again; it was on those days gradually as she became familiar with the city you yearned, sought healing in playgrounds of schools, or the city, botanical gardens for there for awhile your soul was cleansed, your spirit revived and you lived in the light, she learn’t one could endure anything if one wanted something badly.
Today life was transformed, joy, radiance expelled those smells she at the beginning of her pilgrimage she dreaded, loathed now were her memorial stones for her to remember where she had been, where she had come from, remembering to embrace them as friends they lead her to success, prosperity, happiness.
Cassie thought to herself as she lay there I will tell Joanie and Rachel her darling husband Roberts daughters when they are grown up these truths that the city has two smells, first smell is the smell of
struggle, pain, survival, second is glory, golden sun beams radiating on your life, peace running it was healing waters rippling into your essence, total fulfillment as you basked in the smell of freshly baked bread, truly it was like the story of Dick Whittington where the street were paved with gold, through each pilgrim building stones a legacy of suffering helping make their lives rich and their own.
Life was perfect like Cassie herself the takeover successful, they had been married for four years now.
Poor Judy was bulldozed down, silly lady just stood there. Last she heard of her was she was in a psychiatric ward recovering from a nervous break down and as for Raelene she heard she lost her job, something about disclosing confidential information about the firm to other firms and now she worked at a supermarket as a check-out girl. It was sad and unbelievable that Raelene did this it seemed so out of character but who ever really knows a person, all this does is show that you can’t trust people.
A contented sight! Came from her, she smirked and leaned against velvet, white soft leather and sipped from crystal glass her pinot noir while in the background classical music played softly she turned and smiled dotingly on her beautiful daughters then spoke in a smooth, cultured tone,
“Daddy will be home soon sweeties”

© 2009 Paulette Sharron Stewart

Author's Note

Paulette Sharron Stewart
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Added on July 6, 2009


Paulette Sharron Stewart
Paulette Sharron Stewart

Waimate, New Zealand

Biography Of Paulette Stewart Poet/Writer Hi! my name is Paulette Stewart aged 50 I live in the South Island of New Zealand in a small town called Waimate am married to Melvyn a farmer and have two d.. more..