Walking through the forest, I came upon a lovely villa, its lights burned invitingly gave it a dream like effect. Beginnings are always a bit ambivalent … think about Hansel and Gretel, the witch’s house seemed a child’s paradise, but in the end, well we all know what happened.
This dream house had its own special powers of attraction so, I walked down the path then up the stairs, wondering who might be the owner of such a delightful place. Near the door stood a clay pot and instead of lovely geraniums or some other ornamental plant, I am sorry to say, there were quite a few bird’s skeletons. That should have given me a clue about the inhabitant of this mausoleum and served to have me leave immediately, but I was tired and decided to ring the bell anyway.
The door opened a crack and there stood a butler of sorts. I told him I’d lost my way in the woods and needed to use the telephone. He just looked at me. I figured the man didn’t understand me, so I tried speaking to him in one of the other tongues I’m able to speak. He still made no reply. At this point, I heard a ‘voice’ in the background and the butler stepped back to let me pass.
My host was a large dark figure in a black woollen cape. I wondered if sleep had stolen me from reality.
“Meow help youuuuuuuu?” said the figured personage.
“Well, I just need the use of your telephone actually.” I replied trying to be as blasé as I could. I’d realized that the creature before me was some sort of monstrous cat! The green eyes that reflected in the light were fixed upon me. I was wondering if I might have been mistaken for prey to be caught for dinner.
“Neow weee’ve noew fffone … ” the figure replied again.
I thanked my host or hostess, it was hard to tell which, turning to leave but found the door had been firmly closed behind me.
The cat person removed its cape and stood before me in all its glory. Well glory isn’t actually the right description. It looked like an over-grown alley cat that had been in many a scrape. The right eye was ruined and puckered shut, the left ear was a torn up rag of a thing. When I say over-grown cat, I’m talking about 5 feet 9 inches of over grown brindled cat.
“I allllways neow a cat luuuuuver when I seee one! Come come. Don’t be ssssssshy!” and my host, for I’d decided that it must be a male cat, led me to the candle-lit parlour (“come into my parlour said the spider to the fly” came to mind.)
I was invited to sit upon an old settee and the personage offered me a choice of drinks .. catnip wine or a nice cup of tea. I accepted the tea, though I thought it would probably be catnip laced.
Soon the butler brought the tea. The cat, whom we may now call Minx, had told me his name, began to tell me his story. He was related to an Egyptian cat goddess, who’d disseminated around the world her young thousands of years before. He had been like any normal cat though until one morning he woke up with excruciating pains in his limbs and a terrible back ache. He’d grown from a sturdy three-foot high cat (when he stood on his hind legs) to the monster I had before me.
I listened sympathetically for hours, what else could I do, still wondering what my fate would be.
“Well …. naaaw. You’vvve my story. Go and write it, my ancestress has told me all about you!”
At that moment a rat flitted out of a crack in the wall and Minx jumped upon it and devoured it in a second. I shuddered thinking what he could do to me, however it seemed that I was to be let free, in order to write stories about Minx and his life.
I walked away from the house and when I looked back, there was no sign of a house ever having been in these woods at all. I soon found the road and a small pub. I went in and ordered a stout.
“Have you ever seen the house in the woods?” I asked the bar maid. She just looked at me as though I were some sort of alien.
A man near me looked me up and down, then he said: “There was a house, long ago. It was the property of an old witch named Bast or something of the sort. Burned her, her cat and her house back in 1645. No one ever goes near there now. It’s haunted they say by a huge brindled cat wot eats anything that get’s near it.”
I finished my beer silently and began to think about the stories Minx had told me.
© G.s.k. ‘15
Wordle #204: through, am, clay, burns, wild, tongues, dream, beginnings, powers, end, stolen, sleep
the Sunday Whirl