Cat love, p.1
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       Cat Love, p.1

           Kate Everson
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Cat Love

  By Kate Everson

  Copyright 2012 Kate Everson


  I never expected the cat to come back.

  She had been away for days and it was early spring, so who knew where cats went? If she came back at all, it would be a miracle.

  Or at least, that’s what mom said.

  “Dahlia won’t be back,” she said in a low tone, looking out the window to the fields beyond. “She’s probably found another home.”

  That was typical of my mother. So negative. Why couldn’t she say something more positive, like “Well, maybe she will be back soon, ” or  even, “You never know… ”

  I couldn’t change my mother. If it was warm outside she would say it was too hot. If there was a nice cool breeze she would complain it was cold on her neck.

  “Mom, maybe Dahlia is just visiting,” I said, hopefully.

  But she just shook her head and walked away.

  Nothing could be done about my mother. I had accepted that, after all these years. As a child, I had believed everything she told me, but now I barely listened to her. I was in my own world now. I had friends at school that I hung out with. Cool friends. Ones I could talk to, and share important messages, especially about boys.

  Those were things you just couldn’t talk to your mother about.

  “I’m going out, mom,” I said, putting on my jacket. It was early spring and the weather was still too cool to go out without a coat. I could hardly wait for the really warm days when I could hang out at the lake with my friends. Those were the fun times.

  “Don’t be late,” my mother called.

  “I won’t mom,” I replied, already halfway down the walk. “Don’t wait up for me.”

  She said something but I didn’t hear it, which is just as well. I wanted to be free tonight.

  I found Darlene at the mall with Joey, her new boyfriend. They looked dopey together. And I wasn’t just saying that because I was jealous. He was way too short for her. I told her that, but of course she wouldn’t listen, being all wrapped up in her infatuation.

  “Hi, Darl,” I said, completely ignoring Joey.

  She smiled, her newly whitened teeth glowing in the neon lights. She had whitened them just for Joey. That made me sick.

  “Hi Karla,” she answered, wrapping her arm around Joey. “How’s it going?” she said, but she didn’t really look at me, just at him. I couldn’t stand it, and got away from them both.

  “See ya,” I called over my shoulder.

  I disappeared around the corner. Life was a pain sometimes. I was old enough to have a boyfriend, but just didn’t want to be bothered. Or maybe they didn’t want to be bothered with me. The prom was coming up and I didn’t have a date, but I didn’t care. Or at least so I said.

  I found a few more of my friends hanging out outside the coffee shop.

  “Hey Karla,” called Max.

  He was a big boy, a football player, and everybody liked him. I couldn’t imagine going out with someone as popular or as cute as him, so I didn’t really talk to him all that much. He was just out of my league.

  “Hey Max,” I said, and looked down.

  I wanted to be friendly, but just couldn’t. My hair was too brown, my face too thin, my legs too gangly. I knew I would never make it with the popular kids, so I didn’t even bother. I had a couple of friends, who, like me, just kind of stayed on the outside of the in crowd. We were okay with that. Anyway, I had something special that I kept all to myself. It made me feel like no matter what anybody else said, I would be all right.

  It had to do with Dahlia, the cat that didn’t come back.

  She was not just an ordinary housecat. We had a special link, and that was my secret.

  Sometimes late at night, Dahlia and I would go outside when mother was asleep and the lights of the town were dim against the sky. The stars guided us. Of course, Dahlia could see in the dark, so she had no problem with the night. I, on the other hand, had to learn to trust her vision. She guided me.

  “I’m coming,” I would say as she scurried on ahead, wary of predators, sniffing out danger and almost disappearing in the darkness. She was my guide, in more ways than one.

  But where was that cat now? I missed her. It had been days, with no messages. Would she come home?

  When I got back from the mall, my mother was already in bed. I sat out on the porch and watched the darkness. I was hoping Dahlia would come back tonight. I needed her.

  It wasn’t that I had no real human friends. I had a few, but they were nothing like her. She was my soul mate. We could communicate on a whole different level.

  “Here kitty, kitty,” I called to the darkness, hoping she would hear and come home.

  No response.

  I decided to put on my jacket and take a walk without her. It was taking a chance, I knew, because without her vision, I was almost blind in the dark. Even my small flashlight could only show a tiny circle of light against all that night. But I was desperate. Two weeks with no word from her was too much. I needed her.

  I walked down the path, through the grove of oaks along the river. Somewhere, I would find a clue, I knew. She would have left a sign, a message of some kind.

  I wandered by the water, being careful not to fall in. It was treacherous along the wet rocks, and it was a leap of faith to even be there.

  But it all paid off.


  I heard a sound from the bushes. Was it her?

  “Dahlia?” I called, hopefully.

  She came walking out, her tail held high. She was a little thinner than when she had left, but none the worse for wear. She rubbed up against my legs and purred.

  I picked her up and gave her a big hug. “Dahlia, where have you been?” I asked.

  But Dahlia jumped out of my arms and ran down the trail. I hurried after her. What was going on?

  I caught a glimpse of her, rounding the corner, and kept up the chase. Just then a huge, dark shadow came looming out of the bushes towards her. I screamed, but Dahlia had already taken evasive action. She was no fool. Before that canine even came close to digging its teeth into her tender fur she was long gone.

  “Yikes!” I shrieked, and scared the beast off.

  But Dahlia had disappeared. I shook my head, and decided to go home. It was getting scary out here, even for me.

  But on the way home, something happened that I will never forget. I was transformed. The light from the cat’s eyes must have penetrated my psyche and changed me forever. I could suddenly see in the dark. Everything was light as day. My eyes glowed.

  When I opened my mouth to speak, a Meow came out. I stopped and listened. I was purring. I looked down at my skin and noticed that I had fur, soft, gray fur with a bit of white on the ends. My fingernails were sharp claws. I dared look behind me, and sure enough, I had a long tail, twitching ever so slightly at the end.

  I had become what I loved. I was Cat.

  Then Dahlia showed up, walking from behind the bushes, her eyes sparkling in the dark. We looked at each other, and immediately began to communicate. This was what I had always dreamed of. It was something she had been preparing me for, all these walks in the dark, all these weeks of silent messaging in my mind. Now, we could talk for real. I knew what she was thinking and she read my every thought.

  “Dahlia?” I purred.

  She leaped into my arms and snuggled in tight. This was going to be a long night.

  I knew where she wanted to go. It was the only place that cats loved. A moonlit night, a fence walk. She leaped up and I followed, clumsily at first, then catching on to the rhythm of cat. We walked as a team, two cats on a thin line, perfectly balanced.

  By the moon and stars we pranced along, with out tails outstretched. When the moon was straight overhead we sat o
n our haunches and stared up at it. The moonlight was our guide and we were in tune.

  I don’t know how long we stayed out, but by morning light we wandered home. I went up to my bed and Dahlia slept at the end. I transformed back into a girl, reluctantly. Dahlia just looked demure. She had tamed me and I was hers.

  I got up and had breakfast with my mother. Dahlia lapped up her catfood in a bowl at our feet.

  “Well, that cat came back after all!” mom declared. “Imagine that!”

  I looked down and smiled at Dahlia.

  “She couldn’t stay away,” I said. “She had me as her student and I still have so much more to learn!”

  Mother looked at me, curiously, but said nothing. She was getting used to my strange outbursts now that I was at that impossible teen age.

  That night, my friend Alex stopped by. We were buddies at the gym and often worked out together or played tennis. He was more a buddy than a boyfriend, but tonight I had something special to show him.

  “Come with me,” I whispered, and led him down the trail to the lake.

  He didn’t know what to expect, but followed anyway. Dahlia lagged behind, giving us space. But she knew what was next.

  As the moon climbed up into the sky, he was transformed. His whiskers grew long and his nose small. His teeth shone in the moonlight and his skin became softened with thick, black fur. A tail twitched behind him.

  Alex let out a screech, but it was more of a yowl.

  “Yowwl!” he shrieked.

  Dahlia and I purred and purred. One more convert.

  We took Alex to the
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