I didn't notice the creature at first when I awoke. The morning started like any other: the rustle of leaves, the patter of feet down the road, a blanket of fog nestling the town in a soft aura.
I still didn't notice it as I headed out from under Mrs. Gallahan's porch. It had proven to be a cozy resting spot for several months now. It kept me dry and was a fine spot for mouse-catching.
"Good morning, Edgar." Mrs. Gallahan came down and scratched behind my ears. I leaned into it with a purr.
"Here you are." She set down a plate with cat food which I scarfed down. After I'd polished it off, Mrs. Gallahan took it back inside. I never followed, I just accepted her food and had only recently begun permitting her scratches. But inside was taking things too far for my taste.
Mrs. Gallahan returned with her bag in hand. "I'm off, Edgar. Don't get into too much trouble, now." She crossed the road and headed toward the center of town.
That's when I saw it.
A figure loomed at the edge of the tree line, not 30 feet away from the house. At first, it barely caught my notice; it looked just like a man.
But its head was cocked at just enough of an unnatural angle. And its limbs were a bit too long.
And now that I thought about it, I didn't think humans had reflective eyes. And I could have sworn they typically only had one pair of arms. And I was certain humans didn't have antlers, either.
The creature appeared to be gazing out across the town, then turned to meet my stare. A cold shiver ran through me at the meeting of our mutually reflective eyes. I hissed. The creature looked for a moment longer then turned and walked back into the forest.
I knew better than to follow, but I kept on guard after that, always keeping an eye on the tree line. I rested uneasy that night.
A week passed before I saw it again. I was curled up on Mrs. Gallahn's front steps as the woman in question walked up, illuminated in the warm glow of the setting sun. She offered her hand to sniff and scratched my back before heading inside.
As she walked past me, I saw the figure again. This time, it stood beneath a lamppost at the end of the block. I growled and it turned to look at me. We stared at each other for a minute as the whole town seemed to hold its breath in the still evening air. I didn't know what the creature was, but I knew it could only mean trouble. We each stood unmoving, watching to see what the other would do. Finally it took a step forward. I hissed and it considered me for a moment before sauntering off to the trees.
I stayed on the porch that night. Mrs. Gallahan fawned over me the next morning, delighted that I'd crept closer to her door. It seemed she hadn't noticed the threat that appeared to be creeping ever closer.
That day, I stalked Mrs. Gallahan as she headed into town. I dashed up a rain gutter and watched from the rooftops as she got her morning coffee, then went inside a building which looked to be filled with children. Fortunately, the figure was nowhere to be seen. I waited outside for hours until the children finally poured out of the building. There were so many of them that I almost didn't notice the figure which had somehow materialized beside a tree at the edge of the grass. For some reason, none of the children seemed to care, or even acknowledged its presence at all despite it raising a long spindly finger towards one of the smaller children. The tiny thing had tiny brown pigtails and had been spinning about, only to fall right in front of the creature.
I leapt from the roof and hissed at the creature. It remained shrouded in shadow and a calm demeanor. It looked down at me then turned to head for the trees.
The children still seemed to take no notice of the creature, but they clambered around me to smother me in their affections. I balked, I didn't want all of their grubby little hands touching me all at once. I squirmed to freedom and retreated back to the rooftops.
Eventually, the children left, and after another hour of waiting, Mrs. Gallahan finally emerged from the building. I leapt down to greet her.
"Oh, Edgar, what a surprise!" She leaned down and I graced her hand with a small lick.
"Well, I think it's time for me to head home," Mrs. Gallahan said. "Will you be coming with me?" She asked.
Mrs. Gallahan started towards the house and I fell in line beside her--keeping a sharp eye out.
it was a rustle of leaves that alerted me. As we neared the house, we passed a lone tree. Yet the air was calm, too still to rustle leaves.
I whirled about to find the creature. Its long body towered above me and its eyes shone in the dim light.
I hissed. It took a step back.
"Edgar?" Mrs. Gallahan turned around.
The creature hadn't left. I yowled and lunged at it.
"Edgar! What has gotten into you?" It seemed she, like the children, couldn't see the beast before her. It reached out a long brach-like arm towards her.
I yowled again and it retracted the limb and took a step back. I hissed once more, which caused it to finally turn and head for the forest.
"My goodness, Edgar, what has gotten into you?" Mrs. Gallahan asked. I gave a final huff in the direction of the creature before returning to Mrs. Gallahan's side.
"There now, you're a feisty one, aren't you?" She leaned down and cautiously offered her hand, which I sniffed politely.
Mrs. Gallahan smiled and rose. "Alright, that's enough excitement for one night." She climbed the steps to her porch and opened the front door.
This time, I followed behind her.