She watched from the treeline
in the heat of that summer evening,
a strange ochre colored beast with cotton ears
and short front legs – white,
like she was wearing stockings.
In my lethargy, I watched back
as she crept closer, and wondered
of my camera’s zoom setting.
Ah! It was still in the cottage
next to the half-eaten bowl of porridge
and bottle of fresh cream
from the farmer next door.
Nice man, that farmer.
Young. A widower seemingly desperate
for the company of his next wife.
It wouldn’t be me, but I was down
for an evening by the fire pit
with his home-spun ginger beer.
He warned me about a strange cat
after inviting me to dance with him
and the fireflies that evening.
“It’s firefly season in these parts,”
he boasted. “My wife and I made an event of it,
until that dang cat got to her. Demon cat it was. Black as night.”
A fleeting rage crossed his face before he smiled,
proud of the fresh cream.
I never expected to encounter the creature
that afternoon, and I must admit, she was beautiful.
A black mask framed her yellow eyes,
making them pop like diamonds.
I would swear I saw a menacing smile
before she leapt forward to attack.
BOOM! The cat fell to the ground with a screech
that surely was from the depths of hell,
like nothing I’d ever heard. A rustling to my left
suddenly made me more scared than had the cat.
BOOM! I thought she was dead,
but the cat had, miraculously, gotten up
before the farmer could get another clear shot at her.
Demon cat indeed!
She seemed to fly back into the dark forest
through trees, vines, and ferns,
as if they weren’t there.
“Hold on just a minute so I can check for blood,”
He wasn’t talking about my blood, but that of the cat.
“I know I hit him, but I never can find nothing to track him,”
he said, puzzled. “I hear him scream, but it’s like I hit his
dark soul, and not his mortal body. You saw him, didn’t you,
that black cat with the yellow eyes. Same one that got my wife.
I had a hunch he’d be after you,
so I came to see if I could get a shot at him.”
I must have been in a state of shock,
not having realized how close I had come to
some sort of immortal death.
It took me until just this week to wrap my head around
what he said next.
“My wife is still out there somewhere, I know it.
I see her from time to time, wearing the same ochre colored dress
and the white socks I’d given her for Christmas,
And those godawful white ear muffs, made her look like she had
giant balls of cotton wrapped around her ears.”