It was the cat again. It was the door first and then when he was climbing the bus, and over and over, he had been seeing it everywhere he went. This was the tenth time that the cat had appeared. Stephen did not believe in superstitions or the paranormal, but this was creeping him out. Every time that he saw the black cat, his heart skipped a beat.

It had green eyes, and a dark black fur, coating her skin.

Stephen was in the cafe right now. And the black cat...was sitting beside the

door, staring at him. Uncomfortably, Stephen left a five-dollar bill on the

table and got up. He turned and tiptoed away, trying to hide behind people,

thinking that maybe the cat will leave him.

He stood on the sidewalk and ordered a cab for himself. He could have taken the bus, but he feared the cat coming in. He had never been so paranoid in his entire life. “What’s happening to me? I am literally scared of a cat!” he whispered to himself. On the opposite sidewalk, the cat was still staring. Stephen’s cab came and he stepped in and the driver moved on.

The cab was fast. It was fast enough to make sure that a street cat could not follow it. “So, going to work?” the cab driver asked, giving Stephen a grin through the rear-view mirror. Stephen usually talked with cab drivers a lot, but today, he did not feel like it, so he just sent back a sad “Yes” to the driver. The driver looked ahead again and the smile disappeared.

The entire journey felt silent all of a sudden. The cab driver’s mood had also gone down. The driver looked straight ahead, making no eye contact. They soon reached a small one-way lane and the car turned into it. Stephen picked up his phone and started checking his social media posts, when the phone rang. It was Sharon, his boss. He quickly looked at his watch. He was late.

He picked the phone up and Sharon started bursting into a rage. Stephen was an important person and they had to go and sign a deal today, and the time was not exactly favouring them right now. Sharon kept on shouting and Stephen listened quietly. When the call ended, Stephen looked at the driver and said, “Can we go faster? I really need to reach quickly as I am already late!”

The driver nodded and increased the speed of the car. Stephen looked out of the window and saw two and three-storey small houses lining at the edge of the road. But then as they passed the alley, he saw it again. The black cat, licking its paws and staring at the cab. Stephen’s eyes widened. This was no joke. The cat had made it this far on foot, following Stephen.

Stephen’s eyes were fixated on the alley, his head turning to catch another glimpse of the cat as they rushed past the alley. “Faster” Stephen said and the driver replied in a grim voice, “This is as fast as we can go, sir!” Stephen let out a groan. Sharon would be extremely angry. But Stephen was not telling him to go faster because of Sharon. He wanted to outrun the black cat.

Stephen looked out towards the main window and saw a turn ahead of them. But that was not the part Stephen felt weird about. A truck was coming towards them. It was driving on the wrong lane and coming straight for them. “Look out!” Stephen shouted. The driver turned and saw Stephen. The driver’s eyes were hollow, darkness smiling at Stephen from inside. “What happened, sir? Something wrong?”

“Aw, hell no!” Stephen shouted and tried to open the door, which did not budge at all. Stephen immediately picked up the steel water bottle lying on the seat and hit at the window with it. It caused a crack. The truck was pacing in slowly. The driver’s head, completely zombified now, was staring at Stephen. He kept on hitting the window with the bottle until a hole opened up.

As Stephen looked out, he saw the cat near a house next to him, licking her paws again. “Leave me alone!” Stephen shouted and put his hand outside the hole, opening the door from outside. The door flew open and Stephen jumped out. The car rammed forward and hit the truck. As he kept on watching, the truck went in through the front window and incapacitated the driver, turning him into pulp and more of it rammed into the rear seat, exactly where Stephen was.

Horrified, he got up and started to run away from the crash, but as he kept on running, he saw that the cat was following him. It was running right beside Stephen. It was almost as if the cat was racing with him. But then, it turned into an alleyway and meowed. Stephen stopped and looked at it. The black cat was calling him. She was meowing continuously, calling Stephen forward. He stepped into the alley and the cat turned backwards, going deeper.

Stephen kept on following. He did not care about the stupid deal anymore. He had just gotten away from a horrifying death. The cat stopped after there was no one in sight and a voice boomed from the inside of it, “You cheated me. How dare you, Stephen?” the voice crackled and was dark. Even though that term was not used to talk about voices, it was exactly what Stephen thought the voice was like. It was dark and scary.

Stephen kept on watching as black mist surrounded the cat. Slowly, the mist began to rise, going above Stephen’s height and stopped around a foot above him. The mist slowly disappeared, revealing a figure wearing dark black robes and holding a scythe. As the figure turned, it showed its face to Stephen. It was just darkness. Plain darkness with two white dots in the place of eyes. “You cheated me. You cheated my master!” he shouted.

“What the hell are you?” Stephen shouted, turning to run away. But as he kept on running, he hit an invisible wall. His head banged and he fell down. When he got up, the wall was not invisible anymore. It was a very real and opaque black wall. The atmosphere turned dark and purple. Stephen was trapped inside a small box.

“That right there was your death, you mortal!” the figure shouted, “And you escaped it! How dare you cheat Death?” Stephen was confused. There was nothing he could actually understand. It was all gibberish. “Who are you?” Stephen shouted and asked again. The figure came forward and caught Stephen’s mouth, “Death’s assistant. I am a Reaper. I follow people who are going to die. As a dog, as a cat, anything. And then, I take their soul. But you!” the Reaper shouted, “You escaped your death. How did you do it?”

Stephen was scared, obviously. “I don’t know” he stuttered as he talked, “I just…I just don’t know! I did what my mind told me to do! LEAVE ME ALONE!” The Reaper stepped back and said, “I can’t, Stephen. It is my duty to bring you to my master. I cannot do anything but that!”

“But I am not dead, right?” Stephen asked. The Reaper’s face did not exist, but Stephen could have sworn that he smiled. “We follow rules and regulations, Stephen. We do as we are told. But sometimes, to do our duty, we break them!”

The Reaper lifted his scythe and started to swing it towards Stephen. He bent and saved himself from the swing. He ran and hugged the black wall, trying to run away. “You cannot run away, Stephen!” the Reaper said and moved his hand up and caught Stephen’s neck. “Let’s go” he said and swung the scythe, decapitating Stephen.

That was the last he saw. Everything else in his mind turned into eternal darkness. His limp body stared as the Reaper walked away with Stephen’s soul. Side by side, both of them going into the underworld.

October 26, 2019 14:16

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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