My sight was going around and upside down, rolling until it settled and, is that me? From the corner of my eyes, I saw my body lying on the floor, my neck unattached to the rest of my body revealing a mass of blood. How am I still alive? is this the state when the brain remains alive after a matter of minutes? But, he plugged my eyeballs and- oh there he is, still finishing me with the grin on his face. But above all, the whole thing remained surreal to the very end.
People said that crossing a path with this ominous jet-black creature is a bad omen. They would take utmost care and cautious whenever they see a cat as black as the night flashing their unwinking eyes, perfectly motionless as it stares into the depths of your soul. It stuns your body and shivers your core.
Such myths never swayed me really, I’m a guy who ‘To believe it, I need to see it,’ type. People assume that black cats are associated with witches or the fact that they are witches and can take the form of black cats at night to roam around freely without being watched. A wicked being brings bad luck and death. We should never adopt them. What a load of nonsense, it makes me cringe.
I’m a man with a simple routine. I work as an optometrist which is a job I’m thankful for the generous salary, plus it is a stress-free kind of job. Bonus, I find eyes fascinating. These beautiful orbs whether it was human, reptiles, birds or even insects. The colors, the lines, and the iris are like a remedy for my eyes.
That all changed when I stormed outside at the end of my shift itching to get back home. I noticed someone was staring at me. A pitch-black cat with a terrifying peeper leered at me. In the middle of the crowd, I stood frozen in my spot, fixated by its eyeballs. Its amber eyes did not wink, neither budge, and the way it sat like a royalty, a real cat version of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet looking down at me.
It didn’t bother me much; it is just a cat. So, I looked away, heading back home. It was 15 minutes walking from my work, and it helped to move my muscles. On my way, I grabbed a refreshment and some grocery from a convenient store, a man came out and held my arm and said, “One is a warning,”
What’s his problem? I thought to myself, “Excuse me, do I know you?” I asked, but the man walked away without addition words.
I sighed and shook my head. Moron. I paid for my things and went on my way. I saw him again. The black cat. My second encounter. He was sitting the same pose, but the distance looked closer than the previous one. I knew it had to be the same cat from those amber eyes and the way it sat. I thought it followed me.
“Hey kitty, are you hungry?” I assumed he was starving. Before I could check him out, a young boy broke the line between me and the cat with his heavy breath said, “Two is no coincidence,” then fleed. The black cat disappeared. Vanished in thin air.
Cats were known for their quick and stealthy moves. He must had ran off.
The district was too lively today preparing for Halloween. They filled the stores with the jack-o’-lantern, chocolates and candies, different customs from werewolves to witches and-
I flinched at a cat looking figure standing at the entrance of a store. With a deep breath, I brushed my hair back. It was just a statue.
An old woman with a crane was waiting to cross the road. A good civilian like me would not neglect this scene without helping. I offered my service, “May I?”
“Why thank you, my child,” she said before I hold her crooked fingers with my hand rested on hers and with slow steps, we crossed the road.
“Three he is scorning,” she said abruptly.
“Who?” my eyes rapidly blinked in response before I saw who she meant.
The black cat was standing still at the end of the road just right ahead of us. His expression lifted my hair in terror. I could not speak. That expression was too eerie. Unintentionally, my grip hardened on the elder’s hand and I didn’t dare to walk. She said something to me and shook my arm, but I could not fathom. There was something dreadful about our encounters. A deafening honk brought me back and the car nearly hit us. The driver rained me with insults before the old lady stepped in defending me.
“You can’t drive until the pedestrians cross the road,” she tapped the car’s hood with her crane and she ended up helping me to cross the road after the cat was gone.
“I’m sorry I think I’m out of it today,” my gaze dropped, I couldn’t see her eye to eye after the danger I put her through.
“It’s alright child, it is the thought that counts,”
“Moment please, have you seen a black cat just minutes ago? You said he was scorning,”
“What cat my child?” she looked around, obviously, she had no idea what was that about.
“Didn’t you say something to me not too long ago?” I repeated, she was still confused.
“I’m sorry child, I don’t remember saying anything at all,”
Old people and their Alzheimer. I forced a smile. I needed to get back home as soon as possible.
I picked up the pace, sped my feet and set my vision straight. No peeking or checking people, just mind my business and go home to my bubble of safety to my only sanctuary. I usually take a shortcut by walking through a square park near to where I live. But not today, because today I was bamboozled, and I knew that bad things always happen in wooded areas and dark alleys. Ridiculous but least safe than sorry, I walked by the edges, adding more time to be late. Two girls came out of the park with a red ball on their hand; We made quick regretful eye contact.
“Four is dread,” they said in sync and pointed up.
My eyes followed up at the top of a white elm tree which seemed to follow the custom season of Halloween with its hideous branches that extended its claws to warn the bystanders and defying nature laws. The mastermind was the black feline, again with that ghastly expression a cold wave of wind rustled the branches. I ran away like a headless chicken, the count kept going and my stream of thoughts and questions blocked any sense of logic.
I made it home before I knew it and fetched the key from my pocket in a frenzy and terror-stricken manner. A paper. advertisement on the ground fetched my eyes. What piqued my curiosity was the red bold phrase written on the display of the sheet
“Five he follows,” I whispered under my breath, I lowered the paper and the little beast was standing in front of my door blocking my path.
“W-what do you want from me?!” in a desperate attempt I asked, my shivering tone got the better of me. I couldn’t get into my house with that beast blocking the way. This had to be all in my head and the darn myths and the superstitious! Momentarily I found my courage and could step forward. The cat didn’t move.
I took a second step, a hesitant third step, fourth doubtful step. My heartbeat raced, nearly exploded with every step. I gripped my plastic bag tight just in case it pounces at me. His eye sockets appeared to grow bigger taking over half of his face and for the first time, he made a threatening growl filled with gravel. I felt threatened. I tried to swish him away with my plastic bag but his sudden growl rattled my skin made me fall backward.
“Is everything alright Mr. Wilson?”
My neighbor, Miss Miller with her soft wavy bob hair appeared behind the fence of her yard.
“Is someone there? Who were you talking to?” impatience, we looked over the entrance door but there was no one.
“It’s….it’s nothing, I’m sorry but I need to go,” bewildered, I snatched my bag and unlocked the door as I entered, I heard my neighbor said, “Six, he is watching,”
I slammed the door and locked it behind me, I needed to settle my nerve. I went to splash my face with cold water and catch my breath. The quiet killed me so I turned on the T.V and raised its volume to whatever program they were airing. I inserted my grocery inside the fridge than made me a quick sandwich. Whatever was happening today was a huge prank. The kids were probably celebrating by one night before Halloween. Those little rascals.
“Seven is misfortune,” The channel host said it and before I paid attention, it kept repeating the phrase repeatedly without stopping until I looked at the T.V. the eye socket of the woman bled with black ooze and there were no eyeballs. My eyes were glued in horror to the sick image, nauseous disturbed my stomach and I spit the milk I was drinking. She nodded slowly as if she was talking to me. It meant for me. My hand reached for the remote to turn it off, but it didn’t. I rushed towards the cable and plugged it, but it was still the same. I did not want to see this face; how is this possible?! I lifted the T.V and threw it over the wall until the damn thing went off. Finally.
It didn’t take a while until I saw his shadows behind the curtains. A furry beast tried to make its way inside, but what terrified me the most was his two empty holes in his peers. My mind raced faster than my feet. I locked all the windows and closed the shatters, and any potential opening. Not a single gap to let anything in.
The count got closer and with every time I grew more intense and lost my mind before I could think straight. I had someone in mind who can help me with ‘these things’, there was no time for hesitation. I tapped his number and dialed.
Pick up… please pick up. The sound dialed for seconds but felt like forever, but he picked it up.
“James?” he sounded surprised with my sudden call.
“Hey Mark. I’m sorry for calling like this. I know it has been a while,” I tried to sound natural, I went over my armchair and sat, “ I hope I’m not disturbing you or anything,”
“No, not at all. What’s wrong, you sound awful, are you feeling sick?”
“I’m fine man,” I said but wasn’t convincing, he remained silent. Elbows leaned on my thighs before I sighed, “no, I’m not fine. I… I don’t know what to do, I keep seeing him everywhere,”
“A black cat, since I left work, we kept crossing path, seven times in a row now like the people keep counting and saying outrageous things, misfortune, warning, dread, whatever this is crazy and.. and his eyes… oh my gosh his eyes, M-Mark, what should I do?”
An awful silence fell, my friend Mark who had a strong belief in some superstitious which was why I hoped he can help me out.
“It’s just a cat James, you never believe such things. Hmm, I wonder where I have heard that before?” he declared with a sarcastic tone.
Of course, he is mocking me. I deserve it, my face flushed, and my skin tightened. Whenever he warned me or our other friends back in high school, I would be the first to mock him until he got discouraged to talk about it.
“Listen, you can reproach me all you want. I’m sorry, seriously this is beyond me. But right now, I have only you to turn to,”
“I understand. Yeah, I never heard such a case. Crossing the path 7 times already? I need to research about it, in the meantime don’t go out at all. Stay in your house until I call you back,”
“Not planning to, please don’t be late,”
We hanged up the call, but my heart was still hanging. If I don’t go out and nothing get in, I should be safe. I am safe. No big deal.
I had a lot of time to spend, my T.V was out of option, I went to my bookshelves and pulled a few covers, flipped the pages and yawned, Mark sure was late, but I trust him, he will call.
Ring ring. The sound of my phone ringing was a delight to my ears. I picked it up.
“Mark, thank Goodness, so what’s-“
“Eight is pure hate,” a wicked voice mixed with a noise of bad transmission said ended with a burst of wheezing laughter. with great dismay, I threw the phone away.
Everything blacked out. The timing was too perfect to set my heart ablaze. I kneeled and crawled to seek my only source of light, my phone, if I remember correctly, it should be here-
“There it is,” I touched it, but it was bigger than a phone. Wait a minute. This felt soft, hairy, and-
It made a soft growl, I fled, bumped into my furniture, and tripped over my couch. Shit, shit, shit!
My phone rang again, illumined light to the room. It was still dim, and I was uncertain if it was worth to get my phone back. He could be there. My eyes played tricks with me because there were black small figures creeping on every corner.
I sprinted to fetch my phone, with my swift fingers I pressed the flashlight button and directed to where that hairy thing was.
“I know you are here,” I said, looking at every corner. My phone rang again, and I put it in a speaker.
“James, why aren’t you picking up the phone?”
“The bastard is here, I don’t know how he got in,”
I went to my room and shut the door behind me, “And the power is off too, please tell me you found something,”
“Um, about that. No one has crossed a path with a black cat over 6 times. There was a case a long time ago with a man who did around 1986,”
“And?” I walked back and forth, cold sweats dripped from my forehead.
“He’s… well, they found him the next day unstable. They transferred him to a psychiatric hospital,”
I refused to believe this rubbish. Me? Ending up to a Psychiatric hospital? Because of a mere black cat?
“But there is something,” Mark finally added, “You know cats see things that we can’t detect with our own eyes. Perhaps, it sees something on you,”
“Like a spirit?” I scoffed as I twisted my face.
“Like a sin, James,” he said with a straightforward tone, “Nine is too late James,”
My eyes bugged out, I dropped the phone. There was a ferocious scratching on my door, the walls, the window it tore my ears. It was everywhere. Like a baby, I crawled under the blanket and wrapped it around me. The quivering wouldn’t stop and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Everything then went quiet.
There was a click.
“James,” my friend said.
“James,” his sound was eerie this time.
“James, James, James,” it became otherworldly. This wasn’t my friend. I peeked behind the covers.
The black feline. At the end of my bed, it was too late for me to avert my eyes. It paralyzed me.
“Ten, is a fate that you can’t negate,” the menacing sound was like knives. The beast stared at me like he knew what I did with those slitted eyes. The fire amber on his eyes burnt mine with madness. He crept, drawing the distance, climbed over me and with every paw he stomped on my legs crushed my bones from the weight. Uproar, his size increased, and his mouth spread letting out a deep snare that pierced my ears.
“Please,” I stuttered, panted, panicked. I couldn’t move a muscle. The wide grin on his face and the stressed lines on his eyes cut out my last shred of sanity. I stopped trembling.
“If… if this is true. That you see my sins, that I am being punished for my sins. If,” I cleared my throat, chinned up to meet his jaw above me.
“If you are taking revenge upon the eyes I have collected from your fellow cats and other animals from my fine collection, then I,”
The stink of a rotten dead impaled my nose. But until the last moment, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by his flaring eyes.
Bewitched by those orbs, “I can’t help but find your eyes gorgeous,” I said before I lose it all. He nipped my throat mowing it, as I let out a blood-curdling scream and a splatter of blood stained the carpet. I felt him ripping me to shreds and the last thing I heard was the clock resonating the hour of midnight. My eyes rolled away from my body; there I saw him devouring me.