The Cat Lady and the Petitioner
by Jennifer Hudak
Laurie stands in front of a door. It’s old but solid, as many old things are. Whatever paint once covered it has long since worn away, and the wood beneath is striped, and furred with splinters. It is her very first door, of her very first day, of her very first job.
Her ankles wobble over brand-new high heels, and her smart jacket is slightly itchy and entirely unsuited for the warm weather. She lifts one aching foot and then the other out of her stiff, uncompromising shoes. Her life stretches out before her, a long walk down an endless road hemmed in on either side by door after closed, splintery door.
Reaching out two pink-lacquered fingers and one pink-lacquered thumb, she delicately lifts up the knocker—brass, cat-shaped, with a tail curled in a circle. When Laurie raps the knocker three times against the base, the tail twitches underneath her fingers.
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About the Author
Jennifer Hudak is a speculative fiction writer fueled mostly by tea. Her work has appeared on both the Locus Magazine and the SFWA recommended reading lists, and has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Originally from Boston, she now lives with her family in Upstate New York where she teaches yoga, knits pocket-sized animals, and misses the ocean.
About the Narrator
New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a storm chaser, and a geek. Alethea narrates stories for Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders and contributes regular book reviews to NPR. Her award-winning writing has been published for multiple age groups across all genres. She is host of “Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Rants” and Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow every year at Dragon Con. Born in Vermont, Alethea currently resides on the Space Coast of Florida with her teddy bear, Charlie. Find out more at aletheakontis.com