no one tells black cats

Submitted into Contest #169 in response to: Start your story with a character encountering a black cat.... view prompt


Drama Sad Speculative

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

I'm walking down the street when I see a black cat.

I'm walking slowly, gently, kicking my feet along, and there it is.

A feline, with its shiny coat, small paws, and glistening yellow tinted eyes.

I've promised myself I wouldn't go down this street. I have no where to be. No one is expecting me. It's getting colder as the autumn wind picks up, so I grab at my fur coat and huddle closer into my own body.

I'm walking down the street as to ignore the thoughts that seem to strangle me when I'm sitting in my apartment, bored out of my skull. Every night is the same. I work. I walk home. I open the front door. I say hi to Mrs. Landron. She tells me the laundry machines are still down, and that there's no one around here that can figure them out. I shake my head and tell her someone will get around to it. I throw my bags down, I shake off my coat, and I lie down on the couch.

You walk out from the hallway, on a phone call.

"No, no. I know. I'm trying. I am."

Your gravelly voice still turns me on. I'm sprawled out, my eye bags prominent, my face red and splotchy from the weather. I

look at you, but you don't seem to notice me.

I reposition my body. I wiggle my butt, as to look more attentive and awake. I run my hands through my hair. What do you think of me?

"I know. This is what I've been saying. I can't."

What if I was dancing around you, twirling my arms like I was at a disco, letting my hands fall down to my hips? What if I hugged you from behind, and you nuzzled my face with yours, giving me kisses on my cheeks and whispering my name?

I met you in a coffee shop. We exchanged glances, and then we exchanged numbers. You got a chocolate scone and a latte. I told you how much I love baking scones, and how my mother would make them with me growing up. You smiled with your eyes, and your ears would move too. And so we came back the coffee shop again and again. And these times, we'd share a scone- one half each, but you'd make sure my half was bigger.

"When do you think we'll go for scones again?" I quietly said one night, while we laid in our bed together.

You looked over at me, sideways and awkward, your eyes half open. "We only did that a few times, didn't we?"

"Well, yes. You enjoyed it every time, right?"

"I don't know if I like scones anymore."

"Oh." I nodded, my face going still.

And the conversation ended, as you shifted towards your side of the bed, closing your eyes and going silent. My eyes didn't close. I grappled at the sheets, staring at the ceiling. It's just scones, I told myself. It's just scones.

You stay on the phone, and I stay on the couch. I close my eyes, as you walk towards the kitchen, tapping your fingers on your chest. I'll stay right here.

I'm walking down the street, to see something new. Everything is the same, all of the time. The way you speak, the way you yell. The way you direct yourself. All I feel is the way I felt three autumns ago- a little bit alone, eager to rush into things.

I look up at the sky. I notice how expansive and beautiful it is. the clouds are buzzing by. I wonder if you ever notice the clouds when you're walking to the office, or to your friend's house, or to the bank.

I'm walking down the street, a street I've never been on. It's a street that might not lead home. It has little stores, with glowing storefronts, and cracks in the sidewalk.

I stop where I am, as I see a black cat.

I point at it, shaking my finger and making a funny face.

"You're typically a symbol of bad omens," I say, my hair now blowing in my face as the wind picks up.

The cat doesn't move. It sits on its hind legs, its eyes staring at me.

"Are you a witch or something? Are you going to curse me?"

It still doesn't move, unfazed.

I put my finger away, shaking in the cold. I grasp at my coat, looking up at the sky again.

"You probably think I'm crazy, don't you?" I ask loudly, letting out a small chuckle. "I'm talking to a cat. I'm standing in the cold, down a street I never take, talking to a cat."

The cat is staring. Its eyes are locked.

"You're listening to me. And that's good enough. I don't think anyone really listens to me at the moment. Everyone I see, they look right through me. It's as if I'm a ghost. I'm invisible, aren't I? Maybe that's the problem," I nod, crossing my arms to lock in any body heat I may be giving off.

"No one tells black cats, or any cats, their troubles. But I'm going to anyways. I just want to be held again. I'm married to a man who has so many other priorities. What's the point of marriage anyways? I'll be turning 31 in a few weeks and I haven't had sex, proper steamy sex, in ions."

"I'm trying my best, I really am. I'd try harder if I could. Maybe I'm being dramatic, or foolish. But the other day, I was thinking like I normally do, and I got the thought that maybe I'm not meant to be here. And that no one would necessarily miss me if I was all but dead and gone."

The cat sat there, the leaves on the ground scratching and moving in the breeze.

"There it is. I said it. I think- I mean, I do. I know exactly what I want. That is, I want to die. I don't know how, but I want to do it. I'd like to just be remembered. A tiny, casual funeral would be fine by me. It's not like I'd be there to plan it."

The cat turns its head slightly.

"Sad, I know," I said pathetically, tossing my head backwards and shrugging my shoulders. "But it was nice meeting you. Even if you're a nasty, evil witch. You have magical eyes."

And with that, the black cat got up and ran. He disappeared down a hidden alley.

I never saw the cat again.

I took a deep breath, and let it begin.

I kept walking. And walking. And walking.

I don't know where I ended up.

I suppose none of us do.

October 21, 2022 19:52

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David Ader
23:36 Nov 02, 2022

I like the way you used the cat as a vehicle for your protagonist to reveal herself. (It is a her, yes?). You write of the cat, "You're listening to me. And that's good enough." That's both sad and poignant. It reveals a state of mind, a loneliness, that works very well. The second to the last line, I don't know where I ended up" is haunting. In the past tense, it teases the reader with wondering.


Madison Barlow
02:38 Nov 03, 2022

thank you for your kind words David! :) yes, when i was writing i was picturing my protagonist to be a girl… but i don’t mind if someone sees them as a boy! doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the story. i’m glad you enjoyed!


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