This story was written for an alphabet challenge and previously published on another site. The challenge was to start each sentence with a letter of the alphabet, using each on in order, beginning with J.

Just looking around my house made me sad. Kitty was nowhere to be found, and the drab walls seemed to echo my loneliness. Long afternoon shadows stretched across the dusty floor. Messy piles of clutter squatted on every surface, and the air was chill. Neglect cast its sorrowful pall over my space.

Only I could correct this situation, I admonished myself; I could no longer languish in the poisonous grip of lethargy.

Pulling a cooking pot from the cupboard, I sprinkled in some seasonings and poured in several cups of water. Quartering a roast, I placed the pieces into a sizzling skillet, browned them well, and then added them to the pot. Root crops, onion, and celery went onto the chopping board and then into my stew in generous-sized chunks. Savory aromas soon filled the air and the kitchen grew warm and inviting.

Under a flow of water in the sink, pearly bubbles formed as I squirted dish soap over the shameful collection of dirty plates and glasses. Very soon, the kitchen was clean and the countertops sparkling.

While my food simmered, I lit a scented candle and moved into the rest of the house to continue working. Xerox copies, piles of books, odds and ends, dirty laundry; all of these things I put into their proper places, filed them where they belonged, placed them in the wash, or threw them into the trash.

Yanking the covers from my bed, I quickly remade it with clean sheets and blankets, fluffing the pillows just so. Zipping around, humming to myself, I scrubbed the bathroom spotless, turned on some lamps, polished furniture, and vacuumed rugs.

A homey feeling entered my rooms, pleasant and sublime. Blustery winds beat against the windows, but inside I was warm and snug. Crawling out of her hiding place, Kitty curled up on the easy chair and purred. Dreary feelings of gloom were replaced by the enjoyable satisfaction of productivity.

Everything was tidy then so I tended to the laundry. Folding clean clothes, I inhaled their warm fresh scent and smiled.

Gee, that wasn’t so bad after all,” I told Kitty. “How well this day has turned out!”

In short order, I’d transformed my cold unfriendly house into a cozy welcoming home, and I relaxed into its kind embrace, contented once again.