The Salmagundi Excerpt – Cat’s Eyes

May 2, 2014 by

Our first excerpt from The Salmagundi is “Cat’s Eyes” by Clodagh Obrien. We’re huge fans of Clodagh and I think you’ll understand as you read the intro to her story below. She is lyrical and insightful. Her wordplay is both straightforward and surprising and I find myself getting little chills in multiple places while reading her work. She was one of the first people we reached out to when we started this project and we’re very proud she accepted our offer to be part of The Salmagundi.

This is the format you’ll see from us in the next couple of weeks. We’ll give you the author’s bio, why we like them and an excerpt or two from their work(s).

Clodagh O’Brien has been published in many interesting places. A Dublin resident, she prefers to write in bed and realises there are too many books in the world to read before she dies. She is the Assistant Editor of poetry and short fiction at the online literary journal, The Bohemyth. You can find her writings & musings at

Cat’s Eyes

All I can see are cat’s eyes. A line of them glistening under a coal laced sky. I left the street lamps behind miles ago. Now it’s just me, the stars, the pit of a night and those glaring eyes.

As a kid I always pushed in-between the front seats when we drove anywhere. I’d slip my knees into the gap and clamp them tight against the seats, then hook my fingers around the headrests, the filling so ancient it turned to putty in my grip. From there I had the perfect view of everything, front, back and up ahead. The only weakness was behind, and back then anything I couldn’t see wasn’t worth worrying about anyway.

It was a habit that used to drive my mother mad.
“It’s dangerous Ollie. Especially the way your father drives.”
She’d always say it, look at my father and give him a grin, one that I’d never seen her use with anyone else. He’d always grimace back, in a weird half-smile that looked like he was having a stroke. Smiling was never his forte, but at least he tried.
“At least pull the seatbelt around you Ollie. I don’t want to see your head flying through the window.”
To keep her happy I’d pull the belt across my stomach and lean back an inch. It wasn’t any safer, but it seemed to stop the nagging.

Outside the wind is howling. Every now and then it makes the car shudder. I can hear its murderous whispers.

I’ve never been one for music in the car. All it does is fill the space with noise. My father used to drive with the music blaring. Before my mother died it was Elvis, The Beatles and Buddy Holly; anything that made your muscles twitch. She used to hum along and tap her feet lightly against the plastic mat on the floor. Afterwards it was Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake in rotation. Afterwards we only listened to tragedies.

The clock on the dashboard says it’s eight, but it feels much later than that. I find winter is too fond of sleep. A season stuck in one long yawn that keeps you down for as long as it can. Out here with the city far behind is its favourite place, in a cauldron of shades and shadows.


Keep your eyes open and on our site for more experts from the soon to be released “The Salmagundi: an Anthology”!

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