You have 4 free member-only stories remaining for the month. Subscribe now for unlimited access

The Shadow Cat

I was merely a child when the incident of the Shadow Cat took place. I have learned that fear is one of the most complex human emotions ever since. Centuries of thought and contemplation have done precious little to demystify feelings of dread completely. As the saying goes, we fear most what we do not understand, incidents that violate our understanding of the world. Only once in my life did I go through such an experience, and that too as a young boy.

That night, Mom and Dad were out at a party, and they left me with grandma. She was nodding and snoring every so often, jolting awake as we watched Batman cartoons. I love the Batman cartoons, and Scarecrow was my favorite of all villains. His obsession with phobias and the desire to master human fear has always resonated with me. Anyway, I did not like poor grandma resisting sleep on my account. I told her to lie down and promised to be a good boy.

“If someone rings the bell?” she asked.

“I will come to wake you up and not answer the door myself, grandma.”

Similarly, I promised to stay away from the kitchen and the attic. She planted a wrinkled kiss on my forehead before getting up from the couch and moving into her room. I watched the cartoons, munching on a chocolate bar…when all of a sudden, the weirdest sound came into my ears. The noise was so bizarre that something constricted my heart, making me switch off the television—sheer silence. Nothing stirred; it was abnormally quiet. I strained my ears, ready for the lightest whisper drifting through the air. Finally, when the silence dragged on for too long, I decided that it was probably my imagination playing a trick on me. Switching on the television, I saw Batman beating the crap out of the Joker, who laughed his maniacal laugh, apparently enjoying the beating…again; the bone-chilling noise reverberated throughout the house, louder than before. Once more, I switched off the television. The unknown had entered my world, creating a vague fear where the object of terror is not known, only sensed. These shadows are the epitome of horror; when you cannot spot your tormentor but only feel them lurking nearby.

I felt chained to the couch; an urge to run into grandma’s bedroom took hold of me. I wanted nothing more but to seek solace in my grandmother’s embrace. Mustering all my strength to get up, I suddenly experienced a creeping sensation that something, or someone, was watching me. Turning my head every which way, I finally spotted a pair of amber, slitted, glittering eyes. They were etched into the shadow, engulfing the staircase landing above. My heart pumped faster, faster, and faster, beating against my chest…the sound of its rigorous beating pumping into my ears. However, brief and fleeting relief took hold of me as the creature with the eyes made a sound. It was barely similar to a cat’s meowing.

But my desperate heart clung to the explanation that the eyes staring at me belonged to a feline. However, a sound emanated from the deep, unpunctured shadow that made me doubt my original speculation. My breath became restricted and came in short and painful bursts. The noise was a high-pitched, callous, and raspy version of a meow. Something bizarre and peculiar rendered my brain incapable of averting my gaze, moving my muscles, or making a sound to call out for grandma. Then, the strangest thing happened…the eyes faded away as if the creature had blinked and teleported away.

Perhaps it really is gone! I thought naively and mistakenly.

A wave of relief washed over me; a warm sensation scattered throughout my body, embalming my heart and muscles. My breath came more effortlessly…but then the blood-curdling sound, the malicious cry, echoed through the house one more time.

The sound had come not from above but from the kitchen. The lights were off, and an oppressing shadow filled the room. I slowly glanced in that direction, from where the sound had come, hoping against hope that my suspicion was not natural. But there they were, the two eyes, only a few feet away, wide-open and menacing, looking right at me. This time, my young body reacted differently as the flight or fight instinct kicked in. I was on the verge of dashing off, sprinting away in case the vile creature moved forward. The staring match with the eyes in the dark lasted for too long, like eternity most cruel. My throat has constricted, with tears of dread ever so slowly trickling down my cheeks. I wanted my mother and father, grandma, anyone to come and take me away. The atrocious creature took no pity on my devastated state and misery; my anguish was immaterial to it as it continued to leer in my direction. One drop of salty water, suffused with my terror, dripped onto my arm, making me flinch ever so violently. No sound came from my clamped throat, but my entire being shook, and my vision quivered as if in the grips of a terrible tremor.

Please, please go away! I prayed, pleaded, and implored.

Upon focusing again on the void in the kitchen, I found that the eerie eyes had once again disappeared. But my reaction was unlike last time. I knew what was going to happen. Ominously, my senses could perceive all and everything. The tick-tock of the clock, the shortness of my breath, the humming of the refrigerator. I had been mustering all of my courage when, suddenly, the lights went out, and something happened that made me wake up screaming in the middle of the night to this day. The hellish, devilish eyes were inches away from my face, burning red with the slit pupils contracting.

I screamed and closed my eyes, every fragment of being feeling physical pain.

The next thing I remember is being shaken by warm and wrinkled hands. It was grandma, asking me what was wrong.

What could I have told her?

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller