Super Moon

Super Moon

A middle-aged mother and her son find a stray cat in an alley. A strange friendship develops between them.


Literary fiction

Author Image

Csilla Béresi (Hungary)

Super Moon

They stood under the giant moon. It still looked at them smirking. There was a whole little grove at the end of the bleak housing estate, and the moon rose high above the top of the trees, that’s why it could be seen.
They walked down the alley that ran along the nursing home. They waited until a couple went through it with their dog. Lots of people had dogs on this housing estate.
The nursing home had a cat too – a large, not too young one. He seemed well-fed – the old men and women might have given him enough to eat, and perhaps the nurses as well. Of his black and white fur, only the black showed. The wide whiteness on his throat could be seen at those rare times when he showed its belly. However, this is the sign of the utmost confidence – explained the boy at the end of his twentieth to his mother. He loved cats. All of them felt it, and befriended him at once.
It began by chance. In summer, the cat had set up his home under the bellies of the cars having parked opposite the alley, at the edge of the grove. He might have known which was going to start because he never had an accident.
Then when mother and son went along the alley each night – they got used to it very soon in their new place, after they had lost their flat, and had to move here as tenants –, the cat abruptly sensed the boy’s cat-worship. Whenever he saw one of them – in a window, or sunbathing –, he told it to his mother. She had brought him up on her own, without a husband, and they lived by the two of them. When the time comes, and there will be a girl, she will leave for the country. But there were no girls.
This was a companiable cat, they had seen when a woman had given him food. He was not starving. However, during one of their evening walks he approached them. The mother went a bit further – on her part she disliked caressing animals. You can get all kinds of sickness from them. She looked at her son and the cat from the end of the alley, where it turned onto a much bigger and noisier road. It took a good five minutes, then her son joined her. The cat didn’t follow the boy, but sat near the fence and watched him.
Something did change unnoticed. The mother might have missed it because she had not spent some months on the housing estate. She came back only at the end of summer.
They resumed their usual walk: down the alley, then along the much wider and noisier road. The cat came to them this time as well, but now the mother remained beside him. In the beginning she did not stoop to him, but once when she stood near her son, the cat grazed her calf as well. These were strange octads aroung human legs. He rounded one after the other, while rubbing the top of his head to the shoes or sandals. They knew that it was because of scent glands, but they liked it nevertheless. Thus it came as an accident that the cat attended the mother’s legs as well.
After a while she stooped to him, and caressed his black, shiny, electric fur. Though it was a well-fed animal, she felt around his neck and the top of his bust strange, unnerving ribs or tendons. She was afraid to give more pressure to her hands, so as not to break any part of him. The side of the animal was softer, without the secret, frail ribs.
„You should wash your hands at home” – she told her son.
However, she decided that this little caressing did no harm. On the contrary, they needed it. Her son had been diagnosed as having Basedow’s disease (owing to the their loss of flat, maybe), while she was afraid of breast cancer.
Their visits became more and more regular. Earlier if they had missed one walk or two, they didn’t bother. Now they couldn’t do it because of the cat. He didn’t lie beside or under the cars any more, but waited for them beside the fence of the nursing home. If however, they couldn’t come, he complained about it with a load meow the following night. Once he ran to greet them from the yard of the nursing home, just like a child sprints towards his or her long-seen parents.
Today they waited for the couple to disappear with the dog, then moved into the alley. The cat’s black outines appeared from behind the darkness of the yard – he was afraid of dogs. He seemed to be weary somehow, more sunk to himself. Nights are colder and colder – thought the mother. When she stooped down to the bulky animal, she sensed that he was trembling in his whole body. He might be cold. Perhaps he left his warm lair just to greet them.
It might have been because of the moon, but the cat this time accompanied them until the end of the alley. They went back with him because they feared for his safety along the big, noisy road. Anyway by now their whole walk adjusted to him between half past eight and eight each and every evening.

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 2


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Review 1:

Compelling hook?


Strong characters?


Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing.
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story was a feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The setting was realistic and vivid. The characters’ mood and emotions were conveyed successfully through the believable setting.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your strong opening was a promise of wonderful things to come!
General comments from your fellow writer 1:
Very imaginative! I do have one question for you though, what is Basedow's disease? You might want to think about explaining what that is if people haven't heard of it before!