A Little Monster

Alyson Tait

Wyld FLASH August 6th 2021

My mom died a month before my twenty-first birthday. By the time we handled the funeral, the lawyers, and cleaning up her house, I was staring at that long-awaited day — when I could finally sit at a bar for the first time and get very, very drunk.

I convinced some friends to come with me and keep me from drinking myself into the hospital. I assume this the reason I crawled into my bed before sunrise. I woke up the next day, and the first thing I saw was the devil-spawn of a cat I inherited from my mother. The white furball had to be older than me since every memory I recalled included the damned thing. It looked me dead in the eyes, bared its teeth, and hissed. Then it jumped and ran out of the room.

As if I spooked poor little Marcel by still being alive.

My head hurt too much at that moment to deal with much of anything, so I lay there for a while after it disappeared. When I finally made my way out of bed, I stumbled into the kitchen. I wanted grease, caffeine, and painkillers. There the cat sat, eyes lasering into its food bowl. It stayed in that spot until I eventually realized what the hiss meant to tell me.

It was hungry.

The cat was always hungry, a fact my mother had hidden well. She’d never complained about the time, energy, or astronomical bill it took to satiate the beast. I spent more time feeding the thing than I did myself, and if by chance I ever forgot, Marcel made sure to tell me. Yelling. Hissing. Biting. I didn’t notice for almost a year, however, that it never gained a single ounce. Not a hair on the cat changed.

 The realization that something was very wrong with the animal came with the anniversary of my mother’s death. When the day arrived, I struggled to keep myself away from that old barstool. My friends helped as best they could.

They were at my apartment when that solemn night rolled around — no liquor; just sparkling cider, a lot of junk food, and good company. I tried to keep my mother off my mind entirely but failed due to the mercurial cat jumping in my lap and shoving itself in my face every few minutes. The thing had never cared much for me until that day – the anniversary of my mother’s death – and then it wouldn’t stay away.

On it went, until the cat knocked a bottle out of my hand for the second time in a row, depleting the patience of my best friend, Temperance Hill. She stood, stepped forward, and grabbed the cat by the scruff of its neck, all in one fluid motion. Something in me recoiled at the sudden action, while another voice tried to get me to stop her.

I suddenly wanted to scream at the brazen idiocy of her movements, but I couldn’t figure out why. So instead, I clenched my jaw and watched the unthinkable unfold. I watched the torrid cat stretch to twice its length, body distorted, and jaw too long for its face. When it turned, its jagged teeth clenched upon Temperence’s flesh, and it jerked.

My friend’s arm tore away from her shoulder at the socket, and the limb and cat fell to the ground as one.

As deafening screams filled my ears, the long and limber feline-like monster squirmed and devoured the limb before calmly licking the floor and mopping up errant drops of blood. The room otherwise froze. The other girls sat with their mouths open — eyes wide. We didn’t know what to do — I didn’t know what to do.

Temperance paused. Her scream stopped long enough for her to breathe. She dropped to her knees and screamed again, reminding the beast of her existence.

I watched with rolling waves of nausea as the thing turned and finished its meal. Once satisfied, the cat leaped onto my lap once more. At that moment, I remembered what I had so long ago suppressed. My mother’s pet was no mere cat.

Except now, it seemed, it was mine to feed.

Author Bio: Alyson lives in Maryland where she got married, had her daughter, and began her writing journey. She has appeared in (mac)ro(mic), Wrongdoing Magazine, Pies Lit, and Pyre Magazine. You can find her on Amazon, and Twitter @rudexvirus1

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