‘I haven’t seen her in over a month,’ Kyle said into the phone. He was talking to his mother as he did most weeks. As he spoke he absently stroked the fur of the black cat languishing across his lap. After each stroke, it nuzzled his hand and purring loudly, its eyes closed in ecstasy.
‘I liked her but she was a bit strange.’ He paused as he listened. ‘No, I wouldn’t say bipolar, more hot and cold.’ He slid the cat from his lap, ignoring its vocal complaint, and rose from the couch, the leather squelching as he did.
‘When she was here, she’d be really affectionate, always wanting to touch me. Like she couldn’t get enough or something.’ As he crossed the living room towards the kitchen and the little black cat followed him, its eyes shining with expectation. As he stopped to turn on the kettle, it rubbed back and forth on his leg, still purring loudly.
‘Then, she’d just disappear, sometimes for a week or longer.’ He scratched at his neck absently as he listened. ‘Yeah, but she’d never answer. She said her housemates didn’t like guests, so we never hung-out at her place.’ He took a mug from a hook and slung a tea bag into it.
‘Then, one day, I’d come home from work to find her sitting on my doorstep.” Opening the sugar container, he scooped some into the mug. ‘No, I don’t think she was stalking me. I would have seen her in the last month if she was…’ He peered out the window into the darkening yard as steam began to shoot up like a geyser from the kettle’s spout.
He poured the water and with the tea bag’s yellow tag hanging from the steaming mug, he headed back towards the living room. As he came through the door the little cat darted past him and across to the front door where it turned and glared at him.
‘Go out the window, girl,’ he replied to the unspoken demand.
The green-eyed glare continued and it added an indignant meow.
With a sigh, he walked to the door and opened it. The cat stared at him for a moment before slipping out through the gap.
***’The cat wanted to go out,’ he said as he closed the door again. “No, it’s not mine. Someone along the street, I guess. It comes to visit me sometimes.” He crossed the room to the open window. “No. I don’t think it has fleas.” He pulled the window closed but left a small gap. “Rabies, Mum, really?” As he reached for the curtain, he saw the little cat slinking across the lawn.
“It’s a lot like Carole, actually,” he said as it reached the hedge at the edge of his yard. It turned to look at him its round eyes glowing in the night. “It waits for me on the doorstep, lays all over me when I’m watching TV and then disappears for days.” Pulling one of the curtains closed, he watched it begin preening itself. “No, I quite enjoy its visits.” He pulled the second curtain in place, blocking out the darkness from outside.
“What’s been happening with you, anyway?” he asked as he returned to the couch and his mug of tea.
Outside, the slender black cat slunk across the lawn to sit beside the hedge. She peered at the living room window and saw her man standing there. With an inner smile, she began licking her fur with long strokes. As she worked, she heard the faint squelching of the couch and looked up to see the curtains had been closed.
In the darkness of the yard she began to transform. As her form grew, her forelimbs extended, slowly reshaping into arms and lifting from the ground. The fur on her body began to thin then disappear, while a long black mane grew from her head to cascade around her naked shoulders.
“You belong to me,” she whispered as she shivered in the cool breeze. Standing, she drew her clothes from their hiding place and began to dress in silence. When she was done, she peered at the window one last time before stalking quietly through the hedge and off along the street.
© AJ Key 2013