Meanwell Manor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Who is watching when the family move in to Meanwell Manor? And, more importantly, who does he serve?

Submitted: May 07, 2016

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Submitted: May 07, 2016



Meanwell Manor.

As the car draws up outside the old house I move into my hiding place. I have a perfect view but know that I am safe from being seen.
Two children tumble out first, twins by the look of them. Over the many years that I have been here I have seen lots of these young humans and going by past experience I would guess that they are about ten years old. Good, Master will be pleased. The adults, a male and a female are not of much interest to me although it helps in my task if at least one of them is cat friendly.
The man has the key. He unlocks the door and disappears inside followed closely by the woman. The children run around outside for a while.
I could introduce myself now but I won't. An old and scarred cat is nowhere near so appealing to children as a cute tabby kitten. Tomorrow, when I adopt my new persona, that is what I will be. They will love me, take me in. And then my real work will begin.
I stay hidden, watching for a while longer, then turn away to wait until nightfall.

I do not need to be taken in to the house. I have my own entrance to the cellar that so far has remained undiscovered by any of the people that have dwelt here. It is that entrance that I use when darkness falls.
“Master,” I call. “Master, I have news.”
The ancient voice enters my head, always grating, always menacing. 'I have felt the approach of a young one, Cat. That is no news to me.'
“No, Master. But this time there are two! They smell similar so I would say they are twins. And they are about your favourite age, not too young, not too old.”
'Interesting. Male or female?'
“One of each, Master.” I press my body flat to the floor. “May I approach your dwelling place?”
'Of course, Cat. You will need my magic to carry out your work.'
Even inside my head I can hear his superior tone but I must banish that thought. Master knows every thing that I think while I am inside this cellar. I drag myself forward, maintaining a grovelling posture.
'Be ready, Cat. You know this will hurt a bit. Now what age shall we go for? About two months, I think. Just think what it will be like to be so young again!'
I brace myself for the pain that is about to wrack my body. I will try to take it silently but should a yowl escape it will just be put down to a cat fight.

I lick my tiny, fluffy body. All my normal aches and pains are gone for now. I am an old cat. I have lost count of the many years that I have lived through but they would surely number in their hundreds. Master has chosen me as his accomplice. I have served him from my own real kittenhood but I am not the first to do so. Master is much, much older than me.
It is a sunny day. Good; the children will be more likely to spend time outdoors. That will give me the opportunity to get to work straight away. I find a nice warm sunny patch at the bottom of the garden to curl up in for a snooze while I am waiting.
“Jason, look! A kitten. Isn't he beautiful!” The voice of the girl wakes me. She is quite close but has not reached out to touch me yet.”
“Leave it, Sophie. Don't touch it unless you want to get clawed by the flea-ridden thing.”
The poor boy has no clue that fleas would not come near me, nor any other insects. They can sense the Master, unlike these gullible humans.
“But he's so cute. I know he won't hurt me.” The girl, Sophie, leans towards me and reaches out a hand. I move away so as not to seem too keen but then allow her to stroke my soft kitten fur. When I grace her with a purr I know that she is mine.
Not so the boy, though. Jason, she called him. He picks up a stone and throws it in my direction. He has bad aim and almost hits his sister, but he doesn't care.
“Get away from that thing. I told you. Wait 'til I tell Mum and Dad. They'll be so mad at you for ignoring me.”
I spring away and run like a kitten should from shouting and from stones. But I let my eyes flash in warning at the boy. He has no idea who he is dealing with.
Sophie has jumped up and already run off towards the house. “Mummy! Daddy! There was a kitten and it was so cute and I was stroking.......” Her voice fades away as the door shuts behind her.
At the door the boy, Jason, pauses. He turns back and looks at me. It is quite obvious that he doesn't like me but that is good; it will make my task so much easier. He bends down and picks up a stone. It lands a great distance from me but I force myself to run as any good little kitten should.
I do not see any more of the children today. They go out in the car with the adults and do not return until late. But it does not matter. I have information to bring to Master tonight so he will be happy with me and reward me well.

The following morning it is raining. I make my appearance well after the sun has risen. Sophie is sure to see me at some point and I will seem such a poor, bedraggled and soaked specimen that she is sure to take pity on me. Just one invitation to go inside is all I need from her then I can put my plans in motion.
The door eventually opens and Sophie emerges into the garden, pulling the adult male along by his hand.
“Look, Daddy. Isn't he the most adorable kitten ever!” She bends down to scoop my wet body up and I let her without any struggling at all.
The man reaches a hand over and stroke my head. “He's lovely, Soph. But he's in really good condition. He probably belongs to a neighbour somewhere.”
“But Daddy, we don't really have any neighbours. Not for miles. And he's so small he couldn't walk that far. Please let me keep him! Please, Daddy.”
Time for me to help Sophie a bit. I look at the man and make myself look as cold and miserable as I can. “Meoww,” I go in my baby cat voice.
The man looks from Sophie to me. “Well, I don't know what your Mum's going to say, but you can take him in the kitchen for a while. Give him some milk. I'm not promising you can keep him though, Sophie. Remember that.”
“Oh, thank you, Daddy. Thank you. Come on, Ginger. You can come in and have some milk.”
And that is it. Today's task has been successfully accomplished. The invitation has been made and there is no going back from it now.

They allow me to stay in the kitchen for several hours during which I manage to win over both Sophie's Mum and Dad. Not Jason though, he doesn't seem to like me at all.
I spent almost an hour curled up on Sophie's lap being stroked and petted and talked to. The warmth that spreads through my whole body is greater than any I remember feeling before. I could really get used to this way of life. Being Sophie's pet would certainly not be the worst thing that could happen to me.
They put me outside in the evening after another saucer of milk and some cat food. Sophie begged her parents to let me stay inside with her but they would not give in and allow it. I can see Jason's gloating face staring out at me from the window. I can't help but flash my eyes at him just to see a look of alarm replace the smugness.
I expect Master to be pleased with my progress but instead he greets me with anger. His anger hurts, his anger burns. If it wasn't for the fact that I regain my true self when I am in his presence I would not be able to bear it.
'You will never be anybody's pet, Cat. You belong to me.'
“Yes, Master. Of course, Master. I am for ever and always your servant.” How I hate the way he can instil such fear in me but he is so cruel and so powerful. My own thoughts brought this about. Master can obviously sense my thoughts whenever I am inside the house now. His strength must have grown. I must remember this and save myself from unnecessary torment in the future.
'Now, report your progress.” Master sounds calmer. He is appeased, at least for now.
“You will be pleased, Master. The girl has persuaded the adults to accept me. I have been invited inside.”
Master chuckles and it is music to my ears. “Excellent work, Cat. You've won their confidence. The hardest work is done.”
In spite of the pain he has just caused me his praise brings out a purr.
'Not long now. Not much longer to wait!'
I leave Master muttering to himself. As I make my way across the cellar my body shrinks and, by the time I am back outside, I am a kitten called Ginger again.

Over the next few days I get to spend more and more of my time inside the house. I am no longer restricted to the kitchen but am given an almost free run. My favourite place has to be Sophie's bedroom. She lets me curl on her bed with her toys and she will curl up with me. I don't let my thoughts run away with me now though; this is nothing more than a temporary treat.
Jason has not warmed to me at all. Any opportunity that arises he will try to kick or torment me. The temptation to show him my true self is sometimes so strong it is only my Master's wrath that prevents me from doing so.
I cannot help but take my chances to get revenge on him. A little while ago he reached down, grabbed hold of my tail and tugged it hard. I gave a yowl and a swipe with a paw as any self respecting kitten would do then, when the chance arose, I crept into his bedroom and sharpened my claws, hard, on some of the paper he keeps piled up by his bed.
“Mum! Mum! That cat has ripped up my best comics.” Jason is so mad that he is crying. If I was a normal cat maybe I would feel at least a twinge of shame. But I am not. I am Cat. And this boy has far more to fear from me than a few bits of shredded paper.

In the cellar I find that Master is becoming impatient. Just the children's presence is enough to increase his hunger to a level that is becoming a torment to him.
'Cat! It is time. You must bring one to me. Tonight.'
“But Master...” I start to say, before a pain so strong pins me to the ground.
'Do not think to question me, Cat! You serve me and will obey.'
“I will try to bring you the boy but I do not know if I can yet get him to follow me.”
Pinned back to the ground in even more agony, I tremble when Master roars. 'Do it! Find a way! Now go from my sight.'
As soon as he releases the pressure, I am off, changing into my kitten form as I race across the floor. Master has willed it so it must be done or I will be in eternal torment.

I make my way up the stairs, acting as if I am heading for Sophie's room. I take my time on the landing, stopping for a lick and then a scratch. My loitering has paid off.
“Mum!” That stupid, smelly animal is upstairs again.” When Jason approaches me I look up at him and force out a tiny meow.
“Get away. Keep out of my room. I know it was you that ripped up my comics.” Jason kicks me.
I act like he has hurt me when really, after the treatment Master has subjected me to, it hurts no more than a slight pinch. For just a moment Jason is sorry. He bends down to stroke me and I leap at the opportunity to race into his room and hide beneath his bed. When he reaches after me I growl, hiss and bat at his hand. Not enough to scratch though. I must not make a mark if my plan is to work.
Timing is everything now. I grab something as I shoot out from under there and I run down the stairs, through the hallway, carrying on in my downward journey to the cellar. I can hear that Jason is following me. His footsteps thump on the stairs and his insults, ignored, reach my ears.
There has been no sound of complaint from his parents so that means they must be out of earshot. My plan could not be working any better.
I am hiding behind the cellar door when Jason arrives at the bottom of the stairs. Just a push from my now regrown body is enough to shut it and trap him inside.
Jason sees me now and I can sense his confusion. Where has the pretty little kitten gone to? It does not matter that he sees me now in my true form for he will never get the chance to tell anyone about it.
He must know that me and Ginger are one and the same. His stolen toy is dangling from my mouth. He advances towards me and I back away towards the well. Let him think that he is trapping me. That is a sure way to lure him forward. I almost let him grab me and then I leap straight down into the well itself.
Jason leans forward after me and as he does I feel Master surge up, breathing in deeply. He is sucking the boy's personality up, feeding on his thoughts and feelings, and especially on his emotion of terror.
When Master has made the journey back down into the well, I leap back from inside it to land on the cellar floor right next to Jason's body. He is alive but to all intents and purposes might as well not be.
'Well done, Cat. You have served me well this day.'
And I can't help myself but purr from my Master's praise.

There are hours of noisy commotion, of ambulances and policemen. There is no reason, though, for them to think that it was anything more than an accident although questions are asked about Jason's easy access to the cellar.
Sophie has to go out with her parents a lot for the first day. I hear them saying how they are spending time talking to Jason, trying to get him to respond. But after that they leave her home with a neighbour to keep watch. This girl, much older than Sophie, ignores me. She has eyes only for her mobile phone.
Sophie is sad about her brother. I think it is strange really as they never seemed to get on well with each other. In fact I would have expected her to be glad to be free of his bullying ways. But, no. She lays on her bed and cries, all the while hugging and stroking me.
I should feel sorry for what I have done. I regret causing Sophie pain but I do not regret my actions. I am my Master's slave and am here to do his bidding.

Maybe Master senses my growing attachment to the girl for it is not that many days later that I hear him calling me. I have been careful to guard my thoughts and feelings, to hide the affectionate feelings that have been growing within me.
Maybe Master is calling me for something else.
I wait until night-time to make my way back to the cellar. I bow as I enter the room and pad slowly, head lowered, towards the well.
'The other child, Cat. You must bring her to me soon. Her presence here is gnawing at me.'
“They will be watching, Master. It is too soon.” Have I lied convincingly enough? Nobody would notice a thing and the door has still been left unsecured.
'Don't question me, Cat.' No pain this time but the warning is all too clear.
“No, Master.”
'Soon, Cat. Very soon.'

I resume my kitten form and take myself off into the garden. I hide away underneath a bush, wanting to be left alone to think. I had always known this would happen, that Master would demand that I bring Sophie to him. There is no way out for me but I might be able to spend a bit more time with her and delay the inevitable moment.
When the rain starts and I feel my fur beginning to get wet, I go back indoors, up the stairs and straight into Sophie's room. She reaches out to me and strokes my face.
“Oh, Ginger,” she says in her soft voice, “What would I do without you.”
And the thought pops into my head that she will never know the answer.

I have two further days of comfort and warmth before Master calls me again. His patience is wearing thin and he will not wait much longer. My days with Sophie have more or less reached their end; I know this before he even speaks.
'Where is the girl, Cat? Why have you not brought her to me?'
“I thought there was no hurry, Master. I believed that you were still savouring the boy.”
'Bring her tonight, Cat.' He sends out a warning bolt of pain. 'And do not fail me!'
Only when I am well away from him do I give in to my sadness and curl into a tiny ball. I do not know how I am going to be able to exist with myself after this night but I know I will. It has happened so many times before.

Sophie follows me willingly down the stairs. She has started to recover from Jason's accident and she is chatting away to me. At the top of the stairs to the basement she calls me back.
“Ginger, don't go down there. We are not allowed.”
I continue my downward journey and eventually I can sense rather than hear her light footsteps on the stairs. She enters the cellar before my transformation and her look of horror at the cat I really am compared to the kitten she knew and loved is almost enough to strengthen my resolve. The rumble from inside the well finishes off the job.
I walk slowly over to the well and jump onto its edge. Sophie hesitates to follow, unsure of me after my transformation but eventually she makes her way to my side.
Sophie gingerly reaches out a hand towards me. “What are you?” she asks.
Before her hand reaches my fur there is a rushing sound, almost deafening, and Sophie is frozen to the spot in horror. If she had just turned and ran she would have had a chance to escape.
I watch as Master shoots up from the well, as he grabs the girl and pulls her back down inside it with him. He has done this before when I have grown particularly attached to one of his victims. If I were not a cat I would weep, but cats cannot cry.
I know what will happen now. The girl's disappearance will remain a mystery and the family will move away. I will lurk in the shadows with my Master until eventually another family will move in and I will become young again.
I know all this because I am Cat and this is my curse.

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