“When lightning strikes yah, it turns yah into a cat.”
Those were the words of grandma. Even after she died fifteen years ago I can still hear her guttural voice when she replied to my question, “What happens when lightning strikes you grandma?” I thought people died when lightning hit them but thanks to my superstitious Grandma we all turned into …
There are two types of people in the world: cat people and of course just people. Cat people are people, mind you. It’s just their unsettling penchant for felines that separates them from the rest. I never knew my grandmother to be a cat person but the way her mustache grew stringy and long like whiskers, I had no reason to doubt it – she was one of them.
She died on July 16th 1993, in Room 456 of Freetown Hospital – now derelict – with a tube poking out her nose and her neck connected to a noisy machine. Mom said that the machine generated wind and blew it into her lungs so that she could breathe. Grandma died an easy death. We all expected it. She lost her left foot in the war, the right one to Diabetes and she was lucky enough to be one of the first people in Freetown to get a heart transplant. Now who would put a Freetown native on the city’s long transplant list? Dad thought that the heart she received was indeed the heart of a …
I thought I had rid my life of those kind of people after the passing of grandma but my wretched twenties found me moving back to Freetown with my wife, Mandy. I lost my job in the city and the rent was too high for someone who mopped floors and emptied corporate trash bins for a living.
Freetown’s population was dwindling. There were more houses than people now. The delicatessen and the coffee house were still there. The chapel’s steeple was still the tallest thing in the area. My house was still in the same lot – still had up the Christmas lights and the reindeer of the front, a deck with awning, a grill, and of course a vegetable garden. It was so empty the whole town probably heard when I parked my old Chevy in the front and got out, slamming my luggage on the ground and waving at Ma who stepped out holding a rifle across her chest.
“Wasn’t expecting yah boy!” She yelled, cigarette hanging from the corner of her chapped mouth. “Come on in before the cats get yah!”
“Aww,” Mandy gushed, cheeks turning red as she ran up the steps to greet her cigarette-puffing mother-in-law. “I didn’t know yah had kittens Gray.”
I didn’t know either.
“Kittens? These ain’t no kittens. These ‘re some tigers! Hunt all day eat all night, my babies looking for more than tuna these days. Be careful callin’ ‘em kittens, now that’s a felony!”
Mandy paused then turned to look at me like she was internally yelling, “Help Me Gray!” But I owed her one for persuading me to come back home. I picked up my luggage and walked past her towards the door. Ma pointed the rifle at me and joked, “Yah ain’t taller than this fella yet but yah still my baby!” then pinched my cheeks like she was gushing at a toddler.
When we got in I was expecting to see cats. The kitchen hadn’t changed. Ma’s messiness hadn’t either. The tap was dripping in a steady haunting rhythm, the fridge was as rusty as a wet nail and the sink was full of dishes and leftovers. I swore I saw a mouse too. Ma, who just propped the gun by the door said, “Don’t worry. The cats would get him.”
“Ma, where are the cats?” I asked, opening the fridge to grab a beer. I tossed one to Mandy.
“They come at night. That’s when yah see them. Don’t worry. They’re real friendly.”
Whenever mom spoke of the cats her tone held a tincture of eerieness. As if there was something different about those cats. Something sinister. I bet they weren’t just cats. Maybe she adopted a tiger and was reluctant to show us in fear of being judged. Even that stupid thought calmed me more than the thought of a house full of…
Dad turned the corner to the living room, nearly knocking me over with his hissing electric wheelchair. He handled it like a car, maneuvering the joy stick to reverse into the living area. I hadn’t seen dad in years – he looked ten times skinnier and the vertex bald patch was getting wider, now he only had sideburns and a mighty mustache (the type that hung over the lips).
“Hey bud. Good to have yah back home. The lawn could do with a trimmin'”
“Yah haven’t cut the grass in ten years pops?” I said, tossing him a beer. He caught it, opened it and chugged.
“Oh hell yea he cut the grass just not as good as you Gray pudding.” (Can’t believe she still calls me that).
“Yeaaa…” Dad echoed, like he was just about to say the same thing. He was a bit slow with getting words out, must be the stroke. The doctor called it expressive aphasia.
“Come on. Have a seat!”
The dining table was more nostalgic than the town itself. It was the same one that I grew up with – Bingham tablecloth with a plastic over it, that coffee stain on mom’s end and a small tear on my end. They changed the vase though.
“What happened to the old ones?” I said, pointing at the centerpiece.
Ma had just turned away from the fridge carrying a large pie; she kicked open the oven and tossed it in. Mandy’s eyes followed it gleaming like a little girl who’d just won big at the county fair. The smell was satisfying but Ma’s next words killed my appetite.
“Ehhh… that one’s been a goner since last February. The cats knocked it over. Broke it into so many pieces. Couldn’t put it back together again… like Humpty Dumpty.”
Cats. She keeps talking about these cats but not one in sight. The thought of them in my room made me sit up straight. Mandy rubbed my hand, “Whats the matter dear?” She asked.
“So how’s Freetown been since I’ve been gone?” I asked, cutting into the pie.
Ma just sat down to eat. Dad rolled over to his place. Mandy gestured for us to hold hands and say grace.
“God. Bless us. Bless this food. Bless these souls. And most of all thank you Jesus for bringing our little Gray Pudding back home.”
I was a bit nervous. Thought she was going to pray about or for the cats. But she kept it low-key. Less cat talk the better.
I cut a slice for each of us. Ma lit a cigarette and pulled on it in between bites, “Freetown’s been same old same old. Everyone you knew is either dead or bedridden. Only had a few young gals left. Not that much to go around if you know what I mean,” she said and winked at me. “Billy knocked up Angel. Hugh knocked up both Claire and Jenny. Now Frances is pregnant.”
“A thirteen year old down the street. Remember the Perkins, the old miners, Catholic couple?”
I remembered them vaguely. They used to go to church every day of the week except Mondays. They had a daughter named Chelsea. She used to play with us until one day we never saw her again. Rumor had it that she got sent away to a Catholic boarding school out of town.
“The youngest one been fooling around with a couple o’ them bad boys from outta town now she’s about to pop!”
Dad shook his head in disgrace. “That’s why I’m blessed to have a boy!”
Mandy tried to stifle a laugh. I saw a truck lurch forward through the small kitchen window. The driver just tossed a cigarette butt out.
“What about Billie Jean?”
“Billie Jean,” Ma said, rubbing her chin and slitting her eyes to look at the ceiling.
“Yea. Used to be our neighbour before the fire took the house,” I reminded her.
Dad hit the table causing Mandy to jerk. “Aha! Blonde little Billie Jean. Your first crush!”
“The poor things. House was never insured. Heard her mother fell in love with the plumber from East Fryes and they moved in with him only two months after the fire. Love sure is convenient.” She said, stubbing out the cigarette in the ashtray. She pulled out another one and lit it.
Dad’s fork hovered over his plate for a while. He stared at it like he thought his secret telekinetic powers would bring the food to his mouth. “You know son. I think you did a good thing by leaving this old town.”
“Why’d you say that pops?”
He slowly pulled a napkin to wipe his mouth clean. “It’s just that… the… people here are getting old. Ain’t no youth like it was in the old days. Everybody has just gone. Gone with the wind.”
At this moment, as if nature was copying his words, a ghostly gust blew. It was the remnant of a pur. Like the cry of a …
“Folks like us. We’ve never been to the big city. But you. You did it. You’ve been places ma, me and all the generations before us have never been.”
“Yea… you made a wise choice son,” Ma chimed in, “And yah picked a good one too,” she said smiling to Mandy.
“Yea. He sure knows how to pick em.”
Mandy blushed, hardly looking away from her pie. “What’s the secret recipe?” She asked. She must have felt it too – that level of uneasiness that made her so desperately want to change the subject.
“Oh my. It’s a family secret,” Ma replied.
“Hmmm… well I’m part o’ the family now. Let me in!”
Ma cracked open a Mountain Dew with her teeth. “Okay dear. You’re right. I should tell yah the recipe. But don’t be scared when I tell yah. Yah still wanna hear?”
“It’s her foot.” Ma’s eyes landed dead on mine when she said this. “Grandma’s foot,” Then that insidious drunken chuckle followed. She pulled hard on the cigarette, it burned to the middle then she blew a cloud of smoke out. Mandy choked, fanning the thick fog.
Mandy glanced at me. “Well… she sure as hell has a tasty foot!”
Ma hit the table three times, laughing until she coughed, hawked and spat in the sink but missed.
“Kentucky’s where I’m from by the way,” she said turning to Mandy. “We had a farm. My mom used to help make the juice. She used to crush all them berries with her foot. So she does the same with her pies. I seen her get those store-bought berries and stomp on ‘em til they nice and mushy.”
Mandy nodded. I knew she had some reservations now by the pace of her chewing.
A silence as slurred as dad’s speech interlaced with the knocking of cutlery on poor man’s China came after that. Every one had his head bowed. Ma started picking the ash from her fingers. Mandy looked at me then lifted her beer for a toast. “Cheers. To Grandma’s foot!”
“To Grandma’s foot!” We all said and knocked bottles.
Fortunately Ma didn’t give my room to the cats. She left it just how I left it – a child-sized bed with the Batman bedsheets, a lamp, study table and my stratocoaster all packed below the sloped wooden ceiling.
“So it wasn’t such a bad idea to come back. See. I told you?” Mandy said, climbing under the dusty covers. “Didn’t know you had an attic bedroom while growing up. You’re cool as school,” she said, playfully bumping my arm.
“Yea.” The lamp flickered then died. We sat in the dark.
“Whats the matter?” her voice came. “Is something bothering you? I could see it at the table. We can leave if you want too. I mean I’ll go wherever you go.”
Mandy’s soft lips pressing on my cheek was all I needed to resist me from bolting out the door and getting onto the next Greyhound.
“No. It’s just that so much has changed. Ma wasn’t a chain smoker when I left. She wasn’t that into cats either.” I looked to the darkness where I saw Mandy’s face last. The darkness didn’t let up, not even an outline of her face just yet.
“Yea… what’s up with your folks and cats?” she joked.
“Yea… what’s up with my folks and cats.”
Mandy had already pecked me, turned and said goodnight. Before I could say anything else she was asleep. It was with great trepidation that I pulled the covers to my nose. Every shadow in the room could’ve easily been a cat. That’s just how things were now. Everything was a cat until proven otherwise.
That night I dreamt about ….
There she was, standing infront of the fridge in the back of the store, twirling her hair and snapping loudly on some gum. She must have heard me coming or she heard my voice, whichever one, the soft widening of her eyes told of an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
“Look what the cat dragged in…”
I paused at that comment. I paused a little longer at her racoon left eye.
“Don’t ask questions. My old man ain’t changed. Still drunk off that Jim Beam… he still thinks I look like mama.”
“Hell Billie Jean. I thought you said you were gonna get out. Can’t believe yah still stuck in Freetown.”
“Yah the only lucky soldier. Get out while yah still can.”
“Well. You can say that twice. I’m back.”
“Looks like it. Atleast for now. Ain’t got work in the big city. All the folks with higher education gettin’ them better jobs if you know what I mean.”
“Yea. I know. Only University around these parts is the flour mill. Ain’t nobody learn shit.”
We both started off laughing. Ma had been trying to get me to work at Freetown Flour Mill since I graduated from elementary school. It was guaranteed to get a Christmas turkey on the table every year and definitely enough to raise three kids. Dad used to work there and he raised us good – well until he got the stroke.
I was so deep in thought I didn’t realise how close Billie Jean was to my face, “Yah still look like Kurt Cobain,” she blushed, brushing my hair from my forehead. “You still play guitar?”
“Haven’t touched it since but I see ma still held onto it.”
“Yah should play again for me someday. Like you used to.”
She winked, giggled and walked past me to the counter where she rest a six-pack of beer, a bag of sugar and a pack of Wrigley’s. She wore a ripped denim shorts, short enough to reveal half her butt cheeks, a pink brassiere and went barefoot. That was the Freetown way of dressing for a store stop. “Bye Gray.” Still flat-chested and somewhat rude. Still my Billie Jean. My eyes followed her until she disappeared down the street.
“Thirteen fifty,” said the cashier who looked half-asleep. Harris convenience store was still standing. Back then it was the face of old Mr. Harris himself behind the counter. This was probably his son. I pulled out some rumpled bills and put them in his hand.
“Preparing for the storm eh?” He said, staring at the two tins of corn I just bought, “That ain’t going to be enough.”
Before I could say, “What storm?” the dull voice of the reporter from the overhead TV caught my attention.
“A thunderstorm warning has been issued. The greatest storm in Freetown is approaching and about to make history. An active front is expected to move over the northwest of North Carolina in approximately ten days. It is expecting to bring heavy rain and strong winds. The Mayor of Freetown is asking all residents to take safety precautions immediately, abandon all mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. The Freetown Hospital can be used as a shelter for all those residents who are unable to leave.”
Freetown hospital? “Ain’t that where grandma died?” I asked, looking back at the lazy-eyed cashier.
“My pops died there too. It’s the only hospital we have. Thirty twenty five.”
His eyes glazed over my pockets, then he began packing more tins that I’d just run back to get. “Have a good day. See yah after the storm.”
“Are you going to evacuate?”
“No. My store is sturdy, more concrete than my house. I’ll stay here. Should only pass for one night.”
That was the Freetown state of mind right there. Nothing could harm us. We were so forgotten even nature must have thought us unimportant. I nodded and walked out the door.
It was coming in ten days. The sky was crispy blue but in the near distance some gloomy dense clouds closed in. Strange. I roused the lawnmower to a rattling start, stuffed a cigarette in my mouth and started on the front lawn. We didn’t have a fence so it was legal for Billie Jean to watch me (bareback and sweaty) from her lawn chair in bikini and sunglasses, sunbathing the Freetowm way, whistling at me every chance she got. The heat made her look wavy. I kept my eyes on that dark haze from afar, untrusting of the weather, let alone the weatherman.
“Yah think they lied?” I asked dad who was sitting by his bedroom window, pointing out the patches of grass I missed.
He too saw the darkened skies. “Might as well pack up and head for Freetown Hostel.”
“It’s not a hostel dad. Hospital.”
“Ain’t that the same thing?” He joked.
“No. When you say it that way, makes it sound creepy.”
“I bet it is creepy. That thing shut down since hell knows when. Probably full of mice and cats.”
The lawnmower choked and died. Two yanks and it was back up and rumbling again. I didn’t like the idea of sheltering in an abandoned hospital especially where Grandma died. Let’s head out of town. That’s what I thought. Didn’t get a chance to actually say it, that’s because a solid roar tumbled overhead like a stampede in the sky. The sun’s rays dulled within seconds, clouds merged to form a black ceiling. Then raindrops like daggers came pelting down. I looked to Billie Jean but she was gone. Shutters shut, lights out.
“Get inside boy!” Dad yelled.
The only bulb in the kitchen, hung from a feeble electric cord, swinging and spattering shadows. It blinked a couple of times then went out.
“Mandy!” I screamed. She came through the doorway that gave on the kitchen feeling her way towards me. “What happened? What was that loud noise?”
“The storm’s come. Where’s ma?”
Her eyes glowed in shock. “But I thought they said ten days. We ain’t had no time to prepare. We’re gonna die. All of us!”
Dad rolled over to a trap door in the far end of the kitchen, “Never thought I’d have to use this in my life. Come on, let’s head down to the cellar!”
“I’ll get mom,” Mandy called, getting ready to turn around.
“No. I’ll do it. You head down.”
The torrents of rain were like God’s angry fist, punching with the intention of beating our little house down. We could’ve been smashed in no time. I found mom passed out on the bed with two empty whiskey bottles laying beside her. I shook her, did the sternal rub and all but nothing. She had this strange staccato breathing like she was choking so I knew well enough to turn her on her side. Her eyes fought to open themselves, a thick drool trailed down her lips, she coughed and said, “Gray… Gray… leave me here. I – I can’t leave without them…”
“Without who?” Now why did I ask? A flash of lightning struck, showing up a small grey cat with humongous white-out eyes on the boudoir.
I dragged her outside. The boudoir was dark again. Only God knew if it was still there or if it moved. Only He knew if it was now behind me. Dad was waiting by the trap door, Mandy was emptying the fridge and cabinets of anything that could feed us while we were down there. I lifted Ma on my own down the stairs. The wind slammed the door shut behind us.
Dingy. Dark. Smelled like a mixture of old mouldy paint and small animal poop; reminiscent of a confined space locked up for years. The circle of white light from the flashlight pointed at me. Dad had put it down. I heard him trying to light an old lantern. A few squeaks, the smell of gasoline, the raking of a matchstick then pop, a tiny flame engulfed the room. Now I could see everybody. Huddled together, each of us looked more scared of what could possibly be hiding in the cellar than the relentless storm outside. The plaster on the walls was peeling, the bricks were crumbly and mouldy. The staircase was crooked. Two wooden pillars flanked its rear, some pipes and cables ran across the ceiling. I spied the corners, had to be a rat somewhere.
Ma lay on me. Her drunk snores overpowered by the thudding downpour and the lashing wind. Dad’s lips were moving but the storm was too loud to hear him speak. He looked helpless in his chair but he did his best to protect us.
Mandy jumped and clung to my arm. Dad released a relieved sigh. We were fortunate enough to have this forgotten cellar down here. The cloudburst ran on for thirty minutes atleast; we heard the clanking of metal on metal and the pelting of trees, banging on our roof.
Ma was starting to come around, a few paces away from me she lay on her back mumbling. At first it seemed benign but then the mumbling transformed into weird chants like she was under some type of spell. Her chest raised from the ground making a small arch, her eyes rolled back slowly then her body shook.
“She’s seizing again,” Dad said, rolling over to hold her.
Mandy gave me a startled glance. She was thinking what I was thinking. That was no seizure.
Somehow her voice climbed to a pitch louder than the storm. She just kept saying, “We abandoned them… we can’t leave them… we abandoned them… we can’t leave them… we abandoned them…. we can’t leave them.”
Mandy and I were smart enough to know who she was referring too: the cats.
I began scanning the room for any sign of those white-eyed monsters.
“Your mom is crazy,” Mandy bent over to whisper in my ear. I had no other emotions inside me but fear. The flame in the lantern was getting smaller. A premonition louder than the storm outside swept across the room. I looked to the trapdoor- it flapped… once… twice… thrice.
Ma was now standing, pacing the floor in her white nightgown. We had no idea if she was awake and knowing or if she was unconscious and possessed. Anything could’ve happened now.
“We need to let them in… we need to let them in…” Mandy grabbed her before she reached the staircase but she scratched and pushed her violently to the floor, hissing and chattering like one of them.
“Ouch!” Mandy cried, glancing at the sharp slashes she made on her left arm. Ma was at the trap door now. I was too scared to stop her. Dad couldn’t do anything in his wheelchair. Just as soon as she un-latched it, a lull came. She paused, pulled her hands to her face and then fell backwards.
“Ma!” I screamed.
Dad rolled over to her.
“The cats are out there. She was going to let them in. It’s all a trick!” cried Mandy, her face cold with fear.
Dad looked at me while he brought Ma’s face to his, patting her cheek but she didn’t wake up.
It was as if no storm had ever passed. No more squalls. No more rain. Just some residual thunder rolls. We waited for thirty minutes more when we were sure the storm had passed. Mandy tremulously unlatched the trap door. It was just the kitchen and a panoramic view of a giant dark thunderhead above us.
“Oh man… it took our roof,” Dad said sadly, moving up the rail in his wheelchair.
The frontdoor dangled on one hinge. We had to step over shards of glass to get outside and when we did, the scene was unbelievable. Freetown was vandalized: ravished trees lay in the middle of the road, houses were now pieces of wood scattered around like a pack of cards, a thick veil of haze lingered close to the ground. Mandy helped me lift a small branch from off the hood of my Chevy. We all crammed inside, Ma and dad in the back, Mandy in the passenger seat looking back with her mouth fixed open and me, driving. The Chevy started up with an agonizing whinney.
Then all of a sudden Mandy and dad started yelling, “Drive, drive!”
Through the rearview mirror, spinning towards us at a dizzying speed like a life-size top toy, was a tornado. Twisting and pulling everything in its path to its center, whirling at a slant. My mouth dropped and I couldn’t bring my lips back together. The Chevy zoomed over the fallen branches like they didn’t exist. Keeping my eyes ahead and behind me was hard enough, causing the car to swing from side to side. A smaller cyclone of black dust formed behind it, funneling from a thunderhead and when it reached the ground the Chevy bounced. I had enough gas in the engine.
“Gray!” Mandy cried. Another smaller tornado formed. There were now three on our tail, each leaving a trail of destruction behind it.
“Gray! Watch out for that cat!”
A tiny cat with the same wide white eyes stood ahead on the damp road. It was drenched. It had patches of white fur, wore a necklace and a pink … bikini? chewing on what looked like gum.
Billie Jean? I thought leaning closer to the window screen.
We forgot that what was behind us was more deadly than a small seemingly harmless cat on the road. “Gray! Drive!” Mandy wrestled with me for the steering wheel. “The cats are coming. The cats are coming. The cats are coming,” Ma chanted.
“Shut up!” Mandy said looking more terrified than ever. I slammed the accelerator. The tornado was almost ready to whip us into the air.
“Where are we going?” Mandy cried, as I turned up the hill and tore through a copse. On the other side stood the spooky remains of …
The tornadoes turned off track as if happy we went where we went. The building looked untouched; faded and brown-bricked with windows either boarded up or too grimy to see through. The rain drizzled but it gained momentum quickly. Soon it was a downpour, rushing us through the moss-covered door.
The inside was quiet. The ground was full of leaves and decomposed debris. Still… it felt like someone was there.
“Hello?” I called. Only my echo replied. Dad rolled down the corridor checking each room then he turned to face me. “Nothin’ here,” he called.
Some tiles in the ceiling were missing, exposing faulty wires and scampering vermin. A staircase led us down to the basement which had more corridors. A sign with the words Maternity Wing hung on a closed door.
“That’s where yah were born,” Ma said, her breath landed on my shoulder. She was back to herself, not as perky though. It was as if the storm sapped all the energy out of her.
I paused for another look down the corridor then opened the door to find some Freetowners huddled like a pack of scared kids on Halloween night in a haunted mansion. I immediately recognized the guy infront as the guy from the store. He was holding a baseball bat, ready to swing as if expecting a ghoul to barge in any minute. A pregnant girl sat in the corner, holding her belly wincing. That had to be Frances. A boy in football jersey kneeled beside her caressing her hair. They all seemed relieved but scared at the same time.
“Is the storm over?” The store guy asked.
“This ain’t no storm,” the pregnant girl cried, “This is a message from Hell!”
“Yea! They took my Billie Jean!” another guy got up and lunged at me.
I warded him off with my hand but his chest was up, he was ready to fight me. “Billie Jean you say?” I asked.
“Yea… my girl. She, she was with me then the lightning struck and I didn’t see her anymore. Where’s she? You’re that new kid from down the street. She’s been talking ‘bout yah a whole lot. What did yah do with my Billie Jean!”
The store kid raised his bat. That assuaged him enough.
“Can someone tell me what’s going on?” The pregnant girl said, looking to me as if she expected me to know everything.
I looked around at dad and Ma and Mandy. “Has anyone seen any cats around?”
“Cats?” the store kid asked, “Yea. Cats been around Freetown for years.”
Like if a bulb went off in her head, the pregnant girl got to her feet and ran to me, “Yea… I seen ‘em too. They got big white eyes.”
“What are you saying?” The guy said, pacing the floor seeming to be on the verge of pouncing again.
“My grandma used to tell me this story about a storm… she said that Freetown was gonna get it someday… and the lightning when it strikes… it turns you into… cats.”
All I got were blank stares. The pregnant girl sat back down when a cramp came.
“It’s like the storm wanted us to come here. There’s something here that someone wants us to see…”
“Something like what?” the store kid asked.
“I don’t know. We were all born here and we’ll probably die here.”
The store kid let the baseball bat fall to the ground. There was a great sense of dismay in the room.
“Dude. You’re trying to say that the lightning turned my girl into a …”
A sound like a bark pedaled through the roof. The door flung open and a shadow moved in. Whatever was coming to the door was towering. Mandy clung to my arm.
“We need to go now!” I said.
“Are you nuts? That thing is coming for us!” someone cried.
I stormed through the door and ran the other way. I didn’t care who followed me. Neither did I bother to look back at whatever was there. I came up on a dead-end. The store kid punched the wall in frustration. Mandy gave me a sidelong glance and held my hand, mouthing the words I love you. We all turned around, each of us anticipating the worst sight to ever be seen.
About halfway down the corridor, sat a row of white-eyed cats. More cats came from behind them and sat on top the row below it, building a wall of ….
The pregnant girl screamed then fell to the floor.
I spied a half-opened window in the room to our right. Room 456. We could exit through there. I grabbed Mandy and ran towards it but something stopped us. Inside, lying on a frayed cot, with a tube in its left nostril and a ventilator attached to its neck, wearing a pearl necklace and a floral dress was a large furry cat with amputated hind limbs; its whiskers so long they could almost touch me. And with a smile wider than its face, it said, “My little Gray, I see the lightning didn’t get yah yet!”
K. C. Callender is a young Barbadian emerging writer with a soft spot for speculative fiction. Her work includes prose, poetry and song and has appeared in Planet Bizarro Press. Her poem ‘Black Beauty in Resistance’ was awarded bronze & published in the 2011-2012 Arts NIFCA Winning Words Anthology.
If you enjoyed this story, you may also enjoy “Nemesis” post-apocalyptic feline horror by Rudolfo San Miguel.
While you’re here, why not drop by The Chamber’s bookshop?