One Halloween a few years ago…
It was the end of October and although no snow had fallen there was a deep chill in the air. The rain although heavy at times today had become a light drizzle. I was late getting home from work as I had to stop at the grocery store for quite a few items. My road was slippery, as the rain had knocked a lot of leaves from the trees along our street. I pulled the car into my attached garage and popped the trunk to bring the grocery bags in the house. The garbage men had come and my can and lid lay in the strip between the sidewalk and the road. I decided to get the can first before it rolled out into the street. The wind was howling as strong gusts buffeted me on my way to get the empty can. I grabbed the can with one hand and the lid with the other.
As I started to turn a gust caught the lid and pushed it hard but I held on. I had not seen her coming but an elderly lady in a dark coat was walking down the sidewalk and the lid slammed into her. She lost her balance on the wet leaves and landed flat on her back. She was screaming in pain and flailing her arms and legs. I dropped the lid and can and bent over her to help her up. She scratched my face with her long nails. I finally managed to grab both her wrists and subdue her till she calmed a little. I helped her to her feet, apologizing profusely the whole time. She glared at me with a scowl on her face. I asked her if she was hurt. She pushed me away muttering something and continued walking.
She did not appear to be seriously hurt so I took the can and lid and stored it in my garage. My face stung where I had been scratched. I brought the first bag of groceries in and set it on the kitchen counter. I immediately went to the bathroom to look in the mirror. I had a nasty scratch from my eye to the corner of my mouth. Blood was quickly seeping from the scratch. I felt a little woozy and my image in the mirror was getting blurry. I felt my knees buckle and I knew I was going to pass out as darkness engulfed me.
I could feel the hard floor beneath me as my consciousness returned. I opened my eyes and saw my blouse and jacket wrapped around me. My mind struggled to make sense of the perspective. As I tried to get up I realized something was very wrong. My body felt weird and misshapen. Two furry legs and paws wrestled out of my clothes piled on the floor. They belonged to me. I was a cat, a domestic short hair, a tabby. How could this be? What happened? What could have caused this? I had to be dreaming, that was the only possible solution. I tried to force myself to wake up but it didn’t work. I looked up at the bathroom counter. I thought to myself, if I can jump up there, I can look in the mirror. I crouched down with my back legs and sprung for the counter. I easily landed on it in front of the mirror. I looked into my catlike eyes. I looked like every other tabby I had ever seen, except it was me.
I heard the front doorbell ring. I jumped down and trotted toward the door. I could hear a number of children giggling and talking. They yelled, “Trick or treat.” I looked out the front windows as they walked away to the next house. I tried to yell for help. I sounded like a cat howling. A million thoughts ran through my head. I was trapped in my own house in a cat’s body. I could not open a door or talk to anyone on the phone. I was scared and was having a panic attack.
This had to have something to do with that old lady. I forced myself to stop and think. I have my same brain and memories. What can I do, what can I possibly do? I can’t talk to anyone. I can’t even get out of the house. Why would I want to get out of the house? Where would I go? What would I do? The doorbell rang again, more kids yelling, “Trick or treat, money or eats.” I remembered the car was still parked in the open garage with the trunk open. The door to the garage had the old pull down door handle and opened out into the garage. If I could get the handle to pull down and push on the door I could get out. I thought about the old lady, she was my only chance. I walked into the kitchen and stared at the door. I could not reach the door handle from the ground. I spotted the square kitchen garbage can nearby. If I could knock that into the hallway under the door I could stand on it and reach the knob. I decided, since I had no other plan, I should try. I hit the garbage can hard and sent it tumbling over. It was almost empty since I took all the garbage out the night before. It landed in front of the door to the garage. I jumped up on the can and pulled on the handle. I heard the latch click and I pushed with all my weight and the door opened.
I walked out into the garage and saw another group of kids in costumes coming up my driveway. I crawled under the car till they left. The rain had stopped and the wind had died down a little. I trotted in the direction the old lady was headed. I was amazed at how much better I could see even though the perspective was very strange, being so low to the ground. People were walking in large groups from house to house. I stayed near the bushes out of sight. I felt the urge to pee, I tried to ignore it but it was too strong. I squatted down in a flower bed and relieved myself. There was no sign of the old lady.
I followed the bushes around the last house on the street and ended up on the street next to mine. All the houses were lit up but one. I noticed three young boys sneaking up to the porch of the darkened house and I crept closer. They set a bag on the porch and lit it on fire, rang the doorbell and ran. The door opened and it was the old lady I knocked down. She was kicking the burning bag off the porch and I ran in her opened door as fast as I could. She saw me and yelled something. Very soon she came in the door yelling, “Get out kitty, this is not your house.” I jumped up on her old dining room table and stared at her. She walked over and said, “You get out of here!” as she swatted at me with her hand. I just hissed and stared at her.
She looked me right in the eyes and I saw recognition sweep across her face. I stood my ground staring back. Her eyes softened a little and she shook her head from side to side. “I will take you home, everything will be alright.” She said softly as she picked me up. She carried me very gently but still firmly as she walked back to my house. She walked in the open garage and opened the door to the house that was still ajar. Pushing the garbage can out of the way, she set me on the kitchen floor and mumbled some words that I did not recognize. She stepped out and closed the door as I felt my consciousness fade away.
I heard a doorbell ring and a chorus of kids yelling for trick or treats. I opened my eyes. I lay naked on the kitchen floor, confused and cold. I remembered my dream, or was it. Why was I here like this? I found my clothes in the bathroom and put them on. I looked in the mirror and the scratch was gone completely. I went to the kitchen and looked at the clock. I had been home over an hour now. The garbage can was knocked over and in the hall. I shivered at the realization that it was not just a dream. I was never the same after that Halloween night. I never went by the old ladies house, better to leave it alone I decided.
© Copyright 2016 attanasio. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Non-Fiction
Poem / Poetry
Poem / Poetry
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