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Mystery

Tangee was practically alone in the world, except for Naomi. Naomi was her black cat, or as Tangee described her, her familiar. Naomi had wandered in one night during the ravishes of a late night summer storm. It was a storm not unlike the one brandershing itself outside right now, except this was October. To be exact, it was October 30, 1966.


Naomi had claimed her territory on June 6th of the same year, and weaving her feline magic, had also taken Tangee's home, hearth, and heart by storm. Tangee called Naomi her stroke of luck; luck because she took away some of her loneliness.


A little over a year ago, Tangee's parents had died in an automobile crash. The reason for the crash presented no hard facts and according to police and the autopsies performed, there was no cause for the accident that had claimed both her parents' lives. So the question of why, had since left Tangee with no rhyme or reason in her life.


There was a sizable inheritance that had gone to Tangee upon the death of her parents. That included the immense house that she lived in alone with Naomi.

Tonight was another dramatic, unsettled evening in Tangee's undramatic, unsettled life, probably presented by Hecate herself, in a desire to exhibit her power and authority towards humanity through the violent storm outside. Naomi seemed oblivious to the effort.


It had been storming since dusk and Tangee had lit the fireplace to take out the morbid cold that engulfed the house with a tomb-like presence. The house itself was old and creaky like an aged crone, whose bones cracked at each slight movement. The house possessed a magnificent charm, enhanced by its antiquity. When the patriarch of the family died, Tangee's grandfather, she and her parents had moved in to care for her bereaved grandmother. Her grandmother had died a few years later. Tangee always felt that she had died of a broken heart. She could now empathize with her grandmother's sorrow.


Tangee loved exploring the old house as a child and there were always nooks and crannies to be discovered in the attic, basement and even the old cottage behind the house. Her grandfather was both an alchemist and a self proclaimed inventor of sorts, and when he passed, an assortment of gadgets and devices were found in all those areas. Fear was never one of Tangee's characteristics, rather she braved into and upon everything in search of answers and adventure. That is, until her parents had died, when a great despair and sense of dread overcame her. Medication in the sixties consisted of self proclaimed drugs embraced by the flower children of the era, or something to make you sleep at night, prescribed by doctors. She accepted the latter at her doctor's insistence, but rarely used it.


Tonight though, even Naomi was not her adventurous, agile self. Both of them loved storms and the thrill of electricity in the air. They absorbed the power of lightening like sunbathers would embrace the sun, and they moved with the rhythm of the thunderous cracks as the elements danced in the sky, in a whirlwind of lashing wind and pelting rain.


Tangee, besides being a self employed artist, loved music and reading. What better cure for a fitful night she thought, than a cozy book by the fire, and some gentle music. Music that would soothe the savage beast; the demon that oppressed her worried mind tonight. She picked an album from her collection of classical vinyls and placed it on the record player her grandfather himself had made. Pouring herself a glass of Merlot into one of grandmother's crystal wine glasses, she snuggled into the deep cushioned sofa by the fireplace, wrapping herself in one of her knitted afghans. Picking up her book, she coaxed Naomi up next to her. Naomi gladly accepted the invitation. All seemed right with the world; at least in this little corner of the house.

A while had passed, when suddenly, Naomi startled. Arching her back, her black fur stood up like tiny daggers waiting to attack at a moment's notice. Her green eyes stared into the distance, displaying large fiery embers of emerald and amber gemstones. The little reading light flickered off, on and then off again. The only light left was from the fireplace next to them.


Suddenly Tangee heard it too. Starting out low and menacingly, the sound ebbed a little higher, tap by tap, then beat by ominous beat. It was around her, across from her, above her. Tap, tap, tapping, than rising dark and ominous, into a solid low thumping.


Tangee rose from the sofa and slowly opened the table drawer next to her. She reached in and extracted a flashlight. The noise ebbed a little as she moved away from the fireplace. Searching the kitchen and pantry, nothing was there, except for shots of thunder, and bolts of lightenig.


Leaving the kitchen, she neared the upper stairway and the tap became a thump again. Aided by the fire in the living room, and the light from her torch, menacing shadows threw themselves along the walls and wildly danced upon the ceiling. She slowly crept upstairs, Naomi lurching ahead of her. The familiar in her pet had come alive. She seemed empowered by the strength of Bastet, herself, also known as Bast, goddess of felines everywhere. They checked every room on the second floor, but noticed the loudest noise emanating from above them. The noise was now in the attic.


Steep wooden stairs that she climbed up as child, held no delightful enticements for her tonight. She slowly creeped hesitantly and cautiously lest she trip and fall. With nothing but the trusty light in her hand, and Naomi's willing instincts, she searched the long ancient cavern of the immense upper room.


The sound increased till she could no longer stand it! Creeping down the attic stairs, Tangee felt entrapped. Every fiber in her being screamed with fear amid the beats of this incesstent perpetrator. Now the sound came from the floor below her, under her feet and throughout her veins, into every crevice of her being. She was torn between chills and a rampant, ravishing fever, like fire and ice filling her senses with the impending sense of death.

Naomi was upon her, smothering her with her black coal pillow of fur, midnight enveloping her eyes. Thump, thump, thump! "Stop", she cried, "stop the noise". She descended into an abyss of darkness, entombed in a grave of her own making. She was buried in eternal darkness.


Suddenly she was awake! The tangled afghan laid on the floor alongside her. The little reading light was on once more. Naomi disentangled herself from Tangee's grasp and scurried off to her litter box. To the left of her the record player was thumping, the automatic reject switch stuck, while the vinyl record album remained imprisoned under the needle of the arm. Thump, thump thump. Near her laid the leatherbound Poe classic, "The Telltale Heart", the classic story of the man who had murdered and buried the body of his victim, only to be driven insane by the victim's beating heart beneath the floorboards of the murderer's house.


The storm had stopped. Naomi returned to forgive Tangee from her unpredictable human behavior, purring and kneading on her floored besottled lap. Tangee petted and showered her with kisses, rising slowly to go lift the arm off the record player and turn it off. The light must have been on all the time or the electric current would have also gone out too turning off the music. She had covered her face in her sleep with the heavy afghan, going from being chilled to sweaty fear, eventually falling off the sofa, onto the floor.

All a nightmare caused by lack of sleep, despair and a glass of Merlot; a surefired potion for a diasterous encounter.


As Tangee tidied up and headed up the stairs, she resolved to do three things the next day. Buy a costume for the local Halloween dance she'd seen posters hanging about around town, go to the dance and meet people and new friends, and last, but not least, get rid of grandfather's record player and buy a new one!


The last item on the agenda would definitely work. As for the rest, who knew? The clock in the hall chimed midnight. It was October 31st. Indeed, who knew? After all it was Halloween! Magic was known to happen at this time of year! She climbed the stairs, making sure everything was off and all books tucked away. It was time for some magical dreams. The wheel of the year had turned. Naomi followed her up the stairs, jumping ahead of her into the large welcoming bed. That night, they slept like the dead, in the arms of Bastet.





July 20, 2020 22:06

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2 comments

Elle Clark
13:32 Jul 26, 2020

This had a deliciously turn of the century gothic feel. It conjures Wilkie Collins and Stoker and Stevenson. I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the other was a dream’ twist especially as you’d set Naomi up as a familiar but I quite liked the connection between the thumps and the record player as the cause. I really enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing.

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Cynthia Grove
19:13 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you. I can empathize with your disappointment too in dream endings. However sometimes they have good explanations. Perhaps we can follow up with another tale of Naomi and Tangee, continuing on the magic they embrace together.

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