Warm Fuzzy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers

One should never get too involved with a good thing.

Fuzzy entered our lives a couple of years ago.  Of course, at first, he didn’t have a name at all, but when our nine year-old daughter took one look at him huddled in the back of his wire cage and picked him up she declared his name was Fuzzy.

Stephanie became attached to the kitten quite fast; attending to his needs as he made them known.  She even was fairly good at cleaning his box when necessary.  But, most of all, he basked in the love Stephanie gave him, hardly ever leaving her side.  When she went to school, Fuzzy would lie on the window sill where we had erected a small, padded platform, and wait for her return in the afternoon.

When he saw her, he would jump down, stretch deliciously, and stroll over to the front door and sit on his haunches waiting for her to enter.  Her first act, even before taking off her sweater and hanging it on the hook was to pick him up, roll him on his back, and stroke his belly while staring into his eyes and crooning.

My wife, Natalie, didn’t see anything wrong with this, but I began to get a little worried at the attention Stephanie was paying Fuzzy.  When we ate, he ate, when we watched the television, he lay in her lap and watched the television intently, and when she went to bed, he was at her feet curled up.

Fuzzy began to grow.  Not abnormally so, but he was turning into a rather large cat of indeterminate type; he was not marked in any way, but totally black with bright eyes that were either amber or yellow depending on the lighting.  Whenever my wife or I were near, he would turn his head towards us and squeeze his eyes almost closed, almost as if he were reading our body language.  It was quite disconcerting.

But, time moved onwards.  On some evenings, after being sent to her room for bed, Stephanie could be heard reading stories to Fuzzy or relating the latest trial or tribulation she had gone through at school during the day.  As always, when Stephanie finally went to sleep, Fuzzy would come downstairs for a bit of nourishment at the crunchy bowl and a sip of water at his private little fountain.  Then, after grooming himself, he would stroll over to the window seat and gaze intently out the front window, seemingly at nothing for a while, and then go back upstairs where he accompanied Stephanie all night.

Following her eleventh birthday, Stephanie had begun to trust Fuzzy with all her secrets.  She wouldn’t relate any but the most frivolous or minor details of her daily life to us, but to Fuzzy there were no secrets between them.  I began to get a little more worried and even attempted to listen in on her chats with Fuzzy.  Whenever I attempted this, however, Fuzzy would suddenly jump off her bed, silencing her voice, and come to the door and peer up at me until I turned and went away.

When I got home from work one evening, Natalie approached me wringing her hands.  “Charles.  I am more than a little worried about Stephanie.  She’s upstairs in her room talking to Fuzzy.”

“That’s doesn’t sound too serious, Nat.  All kids talk to their pets.  Heck, I used to do it all the time.”

“Yes, but did they ever respond?”  She asked pointedly.

“Um, no, not that I recall.”  I shrugged a little.  “Well, that doesn’t sound too bad.  Maybe she just has a bit more active imagination than we did at that age.  What with all the things kids can do now I’m not really surprised.”

“Perhaps you’re right, Charles.”

“I don’t think we should worry much, Nat.  She’ll grow out of it.  Kids nowadays are ‘into’ things like werewolves, witches, and the like.  Don’t forget that Halloween is just three weeks away.”

Natalie seemed in thought.  “Hmmm.  Maybe you’re right.  I don’t want to say anything for fear of making her think we’re spying on her.  That would be just as bad, wouldn’t it?”

I took Natalie’s hand.  “Yes.  It would.  If it will make you feel any better, maybe I might see if Dr. Waldron would be interested.”

“You really think so, Charles?  A psychiatrist?”

“I don’t mean taking Stephanie to see him, just me talking to him.”

“If you think that might help...”

So that’s what we did.  I was able to talk with Doctor Waldron a few days later at his office in the university.  He seemed to be interested, and also suggested pretty much the same action I’d outlined to Natalie – take no action and see if this was just a phase, or something to take further note of.  When I related this to Natalie, she seemed much relieved.

Nevertheless, we managed to keep a closer eye on Stephanie and Fuzzy while they were together.  For Halloween, Stephanie announced she wanted to go as a cat.  She’d explained that Fuzzy had given her the idea.

“You’re sure it wasn’t Gail, Steph?  You and her were talking about costumes just the other evening.”  Asked Natalie.

“No, mother.  Fuzzy told me I would make a good cat.”

“Oh, well, as long as Fuzzy thinks you’ll do, then that’s what we will do also.  I think we can rustle up a cat costume for you.”

Stephanie gathered up Fuzzy, who’d been watching the exchange intently, and went back upstairs.  Natalie and I discussed what we would use for the costume and settled on Stephanie’s black leotard, her black slippers, and some sort of headgear with an attached mask for the whiskers and nose.  I was to search for the mask on my lunch break the next day.

Luckily, stores had been gearing up for the spooky night and I found what should delight Stephanie quite a bit.  It was a black velvet, full-face mask that had pointed ears, eyeholes over a longish snout with a pink nose, and long, white whiskers that stuck out over a partially open mouth with rows of white teeth.  It looked quite realistic, actually.

In the three days before the big day, Stephanie hardly ever took off her costume when at home.  She’d added a couple of things herself, which she said that Fuzzy had suggested, such as a red collar with a small bell on it and gloves that looked like paws.  Then, wearing the costume, they would both go upstairs after dinner to Stephanie’s room where she would read more to Fuzzy.

Without our urging, Steph was now going to bed with no argument.  But in the two night following, I’d woken up to the sounds of muffled conversation.  I tried hard to make out the words, but couldn’t.  The second night, the night before Halloween, I crept out of bed and padded over to listen at Stephanie’s door.  This time, the talking did not stop as I approached as it had so many times before.  I listened, but still could not make out any discernable words.  Grasping the doorknob, I turned it slowly and pushed the door open a crack.

It was dark, but Stephanie’s little night light gave enough illumination to show me a strange sight: Stephanie was lying across the foot of her bed, curled up and facing Fuzzy, who was lying under the covers with his head on her pillow.  His eyes snapped up to meet my horrified gaze.  Stephanie’s blue eyes looked back at me as his mouth opened and he said clearly “Hellllp meeee, Daaaady!”

 


Submitted: October 02, 2014

© Copyright 2022 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Mr Watson

A purrrrfect tale, I told you they were reincarnations of witches, great original horror story.

Thu, October 2nd, 2014 8:40pm

Author
Reply

Thanks. This is my entry into BriannasBooks Horror story contest for this year.

Thu, October 2nd, 2014 1:44pm

Nancy1724

God I hate cats !! So the cat took her body ? Amazing story love it really should be a movie I believe :D

Fri, October 3rd, 2014 5:43pm

Author
Reply

Cats are my favorite people. It was transmogrification, actually - they swapped bodies. Thanks for the read and comment. :-)

Fri, October 3rd, 2014 11:34am

BriannasBooks

This is an interesting and unique story :) The whole story was written beautifully and the ending was very strange xD Well done! The results for the contest should hopefully be up soon :)

Fri, October 31st, 2014 8:07pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Brianna. Waiting...

Fri, October 31st, 2014 1:12pm

H. Adams

Lovely little ending twist. I should've expected it, but I didn't. I love when I'm able to read something with a great twist and be completely off guard when it makes itself known. Also makes me happy that you wrote something about cats; they're my favorite animals :D Good job!

Tue, June 30th, 2015 5:43am

Author
Reply

They're my favorites also, Hanorbi. They've owned me for a great number of years.Almost every one of them have lived past 15 years, three lived past 20 years, and one lived until she was 23 years old. They are all indoor cats. Thanks very much for reading. ~Tom

Tue, June 30th, 2015 7:09am

hullabaloo22

Have to say I loved this story, Bill. It's no secret that I love cats, and in lots of ways could quite relate to Stephanie as a child. Her increasing obsession and the growing secrecy were shown really well, as was the unease of her parents. I expected something to happen but not your surprise ending.
A worthy winner for Skitch Bot!

Mon, August 21st, 2017 3:45pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much, Hullabaloo. I really appreciate your review. I've loved cats since I was a child. We've always had them around - even when I was overseas. In Japan, we had a Siamese who ruled the house. One of my cats lived to be 24 years old. We have one now we call Cami (short for camouflage). She's a calico and hides so well on our rug.

Bill

Mon, August 21st, 2017 8:54am

Oleg Roschin

Can't believe I missed this one. Perfect composition and a fantastic twist at the end - I never saw that coming, even though I was preparing myself for something horrifying, staring at the genre tag ;) What is it with those animals? Cats swap bodies with people, rabbits mutate and take over the Earth... ;))

Fri, August 25th, 2017 7:12am

Author
Reply

I've always had the impression that cats were out to rule the world, but just waiting for the right time. When my cat looks at me and licks her chops, I don't know if she's sizing me up for dinner, or wants her dinner. I love anthropomorphic stories.

Bill

Fri, August 25th, 2017 5:04am

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