Today is the letter R in the A to Z Blog Challenge. It is also Vamplit Friday Flash and Black Cat’s is the theme. So, combining the two, R is for Reaper…
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
Eleanor stood over the open grave that contained the remains of her husband. She still didn’t understand what had happened. Brodie had been relatively young, only 48. He ran, ate the right food, his last physical had been damn near perfect. If anything, Eleanor thought she would go first, drinking cola, snacking on salty chips and sneaking cigarettes behind her health conscious partners back.
Brushing away a tear, Eleanor cast an angry look at the sky. She wanted to rail at God, give him a good piece of her mind for taking Brodie. A movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention though and she turned towards the plot of land a few rows from her husband’s. A black cat sat beside the gravestone, watching her.
“Don’t be silly,” she scolded herself. “It’s not staring at you.”
She tried concentrating on what the pastor was saying; something about Brodie going home to be with the Lord and she felt her anger surge. Again, she wanted to condemn God, disavow Him for taking her soul, because truly that’s what Brodie was. They were complete opposites; his yin to her yang, they completed each other.
Before she could send her contempt God’s way, the cat once again caught her attention. It had moved closer and was sitting nearly on top of her, separating their distance by only a few feet. And it was staring at her, its green eyes nearly glowing. Something about this cat seemed familiar and she gave a little start, realizing she had seen it with Brodie the day he died.
“Eleanor, are you okay?” Her best friend, Caitlyn put her arm around her shoulder, offering support. Irritated, Eleanor fought the urge to pull from her friend’s touch, biting back a harsh reply.
“Of course I’m not alright, my fuckin’ husband just died,” is what she wanted to say, but instead she said, “I was just looking at that cat.”
“The cat sitting right in front of us.” Eleanor nodded her head towards the cat, but it was gone. Looking around, even turning, so she could see behind her, Eleanor looked confused. “Well it was there just a minute ago.”
“It’s been a stressful day. I’m amazed at how well you’ve been holding together.”
“I’m not seeing things! A black cat was just sitting there, no more than two feet in front of us. I don’t know where it’s gone, but you aren’t going to act like I’m a blooming moron!”
The other mourners turned to stare, while the pastor fell silent. They all had that look of understanding that Eleanor was getting tired of seeing. “To hell with it, now they all think I’m bloomers.” Motioning for the pastor to continue, she tried to forget the damn cat.
“Caitlyn, I promise I will be just fine. Go on home.”
“You don’t need to be alone right now. What did I promise you when we became blood sisters? That I would always be there for you. That’s binding you know, I have to stay.”
“We were six years old and all we did was prick our fingers. I need to be alone. I want to think about him and if you’re here you’ll keep talking, trying to make me forget.”
“Not forget…but you need time to heal.”
“I’ll heal in my own way. We only just buried him. Now put down that plate and go.”
Sighing, Caitlyn put down the serving dish she’d been about to wash. “I’ll be back in the morning.”
Eleanor saw her friend to her car and then locked the door. When she turned around the black cat was sitting on the back of her couch.
“Git!” Eleanor swatted at the animal, chasing it off the couch. The thing jumped out of her reach, landing on the counter that divided the kitchen from the living room. “GIT!” Eleanor picked up a blanket and tossed it towards the cat. The creature arched its back and hissed at her, showing sharpened teeth.
“I don’t know how you got in here, but I want you gone! I bet you had something to do with Brodie’s death.”
Eleanor’s voice caught in her throat as soon as she said it. Suddenly she knew it had to be true
“Oh my God, what the hell are you?”
Eleanor backed away from the creature…a black cat; they were supposed to be bad luck. She’d never bought into superstitions before, but now she was a believer.
The cat just sat on the counter staring. His eyes shone bright and he lifted his head, tilting it and looking behind her.
“What…what’s there?” Eleanor turned, expecting to find something dangerous. When she did, she moved her foot, not realizing she was at the edge of the living room It was only a step down into Brodie’s den, but not expecting it, Eleanor’s foot came down hard and she fell forward, wrenching her knee.
“Now look what you’ve done. Go away!”
The cat didn’t leave, but sat just out of her reach, staring at her. His eyes were unnatural. Eleanor tried not to look into them, but they were hypnotizing. Before long she grew drowsy. Closing her eyes, she leaned back, lying down on the carpet.
She felt the cat sniffing her leg and then climb up on top of her, its heavy frame moved up her body, until she felt his nose sniffing at her eyes. A tongue reached out, licking her tears. Then the cat pressed his nose up against her mouth.
“What the hell…” Eleanor tried to push the cat off, but she was too weak. When she opened her mouth, she felt the creature suck the air out. Her life draining from her, she opened her eyes. The cat was staring at her, its eyes glowing green. She knew what he was now. He was the Reaper, come to take her soul. Sighing, finding peace with her death, she closed her eyes and waited to join Brodie.
Word Count: 1,000