Cat's Milk

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Something isn't right with the women in Aaron's family.
It's a passion. It's an obsession. It's a fetish of pure dementia.
?
A small tale of one young man's struggle to cope with his mother's most unholy and insane fascinations.

Submitted: May 24, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 24, 2013

A A A

A A A


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Hello, my name is Aaron.
I’m just your average guy from your average town, just another face in a vast sea of people who all think they’re different but are in fact all the same.  Yep, I’ve found it doesn’t matter how you dress, think, or act; you fit into a broad category just like everyone else—nerds, bullies, queers, Goths, suits, conservatives, liberals, men, women, black, white.  It’s hard being radical when there are so many like you.  Now of course we always have our exceptions to the rule, those who are so beyond the norm that there’s no category to put them in, except for maybe with the loonies.  The outsiders.  The ones so dissimilar from the rest of us that they simply cannot function normally in society.  For me, that exception is centered upon one very special woman in my life, and lunatic aptly describes just the start of it.
Oh no, I’m not talking about my wife.  Never had one; never wanted one.  Don’t give a damn about the whole marriage scene: two young and callow lovers, crotches afire, dreaming of long walks on the beach, passionate sex all day every day, growing old together, finally dying in each other’s arms at their Florida ocean-side condo….
In reality, marriage these days seems to be for the couple’s parents, who hold firm to the antique idea that their children should abstain from sex until holy matrimony.  What both sets of parents and even the groom don’t realize is that the bride in white used to frequent the local middle-of-nowhere liquor shack from the time she was twelve, drinking herself into a catatonic state and playing the blowup doll for all the drunken, filthy men of society to feel her up and penetrate every orifice of her body.  And let us not forget that as she stands at the front of the church in the sight of God, looking deep into her man’s eyes, she’s knocked up with another man’s baby.  Again.  (See, she’s secretly had several abortions through her teenage years.)  Don’t worry; she’ll tell her new husband about the pregnancy after the honeymoon and maybe he’ll think it’s his.
With the birth of the bastard child, named Aaron (go figure), mommy and daddy reach the world-shattering conclusion that their jobs at McDonalds and Dairy Queen can’t possibly pay the myriad of bills from heartless companies that seem to enjoy making young people suffer under their greedy oppression.  Dad, the ever-loving coward, bails out and leaves mother to care for her son.  He had a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t his anyway.  It had to do with how he was the sort of good Christian boy who always used a condom and entered only the rear hatch, so that he might save his bride’s deflowering until their wedding night, of course.
Now, there were multiple reasons why my dad felt the urge to pack up and leave our lives, but the principal motivo for his departure had something to do with the women in the family.  Something that just wasn’t quite right about them.  A passion.  An obsession.  A cult-like fetish of pure dementia.
I was a junior in high school when, upon returning home one afternoon, my mother told me the exciting news.  Prissy had her litter.  One of our thirteen cats, Prissy was an orange and white tabby who got fucked behind a shack—hmm, sound familiar?—and birthed four new kittens.  Why would your mother be so thrilled that three of them were females?  She wouldn’t care, you say?  Well mine did.  She came over to me, cupped the back of my head in a hand, and while scratching my skull with her long, homegrown fingernails, she said, “Just think, baby.  Soon we’ll be harvesting their milk like we do from their mommy!”
Yeah, you read that right.  She milked cat nipples.  Collected the precious creamy liquid in glass jars to store in the refrigerator.  You see, the purpose of our little household cat farm was that my mother, and her mother, and her mother before her all drank cat’s milk.  I promise there’s nothing wrong with your vision; you read that right.
How far back does this unholy tradition go?  Well I know for a fact that my dear grandmother guzzled it all the time.  Had a glass of it in her hand just about every time I saw her.  From before her there are only second-hand stories passed to me from my mom.
Grandma told me once it tasted like fishy walnuts.  Good for your pelvis, she used to say.  The poor woman.  She met an unfortunate end when she allegedly slipped and toppled into our running wood-chipper.  Helped our tomatoes though, God bless her.  As it turns out, grandma was an excellent fertilizer.  My mom was terrified after the accident that she would be blamed for her death—grandma had just finished her will, after all—so she spread the shredded remains in her precious tomato garden, her greatest obsession besides cat’s milk.  This was around the start of May last year, and this is when the status quo lunacy began to escalate even further.
Shortly after I spread my wings and left the cobra’s nest, mother planted a little garden to work on as a stress-relieving project between the two part-time jobs she would toil under until the day she finally went to that place in the sky where Jesus and Elvis play chess together and muse over the ironies of life.  She loved tomatoes, especially if they were diced and floating in a bowl of warm cat’s milk, but she couldn’t get the damn things to grow.  She tried just about everything, putting more money into her garden than she ever invested in me.  Still, her patch of chemicalized dirt remained a patch of dirt.
But after grandma died and mother sprinkled her flesh and bone over the stubborn tomato seedlings like smoked mozzarella in a New York delicatessen, the plants sprang up within the week.  Shortly thereafter, however, the tiny vines began to shrivel, and mother decided she needed more fertilizer.
Did I tell you that she hated to fail?  When she was a little girl, going to the same elementary school I later went to, she had bitten the poor boy next to her out of pure rage simply because she couldn’t keep her crayon inside the lines of a picture she was drawing.  At least, that’s what Mrs. Thompson, the oldest teacher at West Junction, had told me when I was in her fourth-grade class.  I think she expected the same from me, but I was always a quiet kid.  You must understand I didn’t want to share much about my life.
Anyway, mom soon became a vegetarian, throwing any meat from the house into the tomato garden.  She would buy whole chickens and packages of sausage and pork loin only to shred and sacrifice the raw, bleeding flesh to her carnivorous gods of soil and fruit.  And then, when her stash of drug money depleted, the cats began to vanish.
At the time I moved out to support myself with a job in retail, I was nineteen and we (she) had twenty-three cats.  My mother’s house had become a small milk farm.  She was on her way to becoming like grandma, whose cats numbered forty-six.  And just like her mother’s, my mom’s home acquired that same pleasant odor of cat food, kitty litter, and shit.  A normal person cannot imagine what it’s like to enter a single-wide trailer with over twenty meowing cats climbing all over its furniture and crapping on the rug because the single litter box in the kitchen was packed with hard piss.  I swear the sand in there was hard enough to act as my apartment building’s foundation.  At least grandma had a three-story residence.  I remember how the bars over the windows made it look like an insane asylum.  It was condemned and later burned after her unfortunate death.  The cats were still in it, may their souls rest in peace.
I stopped in for a visit one day and learned that Prissy had died.  Not only her, but all of the older cats in the house, the ones that could no longer mate or be milked.  Being semi-normal, I found this to be coincidentally strange.  “Come see my garden,” urged mother, so I followed her to the backyard.  The tomato patch that had started as a three foot square had now matured into a rectangle twelve by fifteen feet.  Instantly the noxious smell of rot filled my nostrils and it took all that was in me to not toss up my fast food breakfast right there.  But then my eyes lowered to the discolored ground buzzing with flies, and what I saw there stopped my heart cold.  My toes curled inside my sneakers, my lungs caught in my throat, as I opened my mouth in a silent scream.  To this day, I’m fairly certain that my face then looked something similar to those six rotting faces, frozen in eternal horror, starting back at me with their hollow feline eyes squirming with hundreds of maggots.
Over the next few months, the neighborhood pets started to disappear.  Cages were opened, leashes were cut, and the animals were never found.  LOST PET posters competed for space on telephone poles everywhere, but I knew where they had all gone.  They were all taken by my cat burglar mother to feed her reddening, breathing orbs of seedy fruit.
One bright morning, Little Becca Floyd left her house to knock on neighborhood doors so that she might deviously use her sparking blue eyes to pressure the free peoples of the community into buying multiple boxes of her cookies from the fiendish Girl Scouts of America.
She never returned home.
Days later, a state amber alert commenced and a county-wide search shortly followed.  Little Becca Floyd was never seen again.  However, while taking out the trash for my mother on one evening visit, my gaze affixed to a crumpled green sash in her curbside dumpster, a sash decorated with an impressive number of badges.
Adrenaline racing through my veins, sweat tingling the nape of my neck, I stormed into the house and waved the article of vile scout-wear in her face as she was eating.  In shock, she dropped the mint cookie from her hand--it landing with a clank onto her plate--as I frantically yelled in her face.
“What is this?” I screamed.  “What did you do?”
Her initial alarm melted before me into a pitiful state of shame.  She buried her face in her chocolate-covered hands and began a pitiful wailing sob as her meaty shoulders shuddered and bounced.
“This is sick!”  I said, pacing furiously back and forth.  A shit-load of thoughts collided in my head at once and tangled into an incoherent ball of mental yarn.  What could I say?  What could I do?  I couldn’t just let this go and pretend it didn’t happen.  The words came out of my mouth before I had time to ponder them.
“I’m going to the police.  You-- You need help!”
The finality of my words hit me in the brain like a sack of flour.  I was threating my mother with a possible life sentence!  At first I wavered, thinking to recant my words of betrayal, but my heart became firm against me and I knew it was the only thing to do.
She looked up at me with twin wells running over, her face as red as one of her demonic spherical babies.  I wanted to feel sorry for her; I wanted to give in.  But I couldn’t.  I turned to step outside with my phone and turn my mother in to the police, the conflict in me tearing at my soul.
Had I seen in her eyes what was there, had I seen that last thread of her sanity unraveling, I would have never turned away from her.
In a flash she leapt from her seat and dashed to the kitchen counter, clasping her chubby fingers around a steak knife.  She lunged at me with a screech, raising the knife behind her head and bringing it down with all her weight toward my back.  Only those paranoid years of being chased by bullies saved me that day.  Out the corner of my eye I saw her and I spun to catch her arm.  I couldn’t stop her from colliding with me and sending us both falling heavily to the floor, but I did manage to redirect her arm and the knife away from me.
The short struggle on our nasty carpet that followed ended with the knife slipped into my mother’s heart.  I watched helplessly in horror as dark red blood soaked through her mass-produced shirt and onto my hands and clothes.  The world stopped.  Boiling pools of salt water burned at my eyes as I realized what I had done.  Trembling, I held her close to me in my lap as the tears burned down my cheeks.  Seconds passed like minutes.  Over and over I told her I was sorry.  It was all I could say to her.  Then, I felt her body quiver; I heard her whisper faintly that she would see me in Hell; and then she died.
I don’t know how long I sat there on the floor as a sea of cats meowed and pawed around and on top of us, sensing something was wrong.  One of them, Margaret, gazed accusingly at me with her bulbous yellow-green eyes.  I clearly recall having the creepiest feeling that the loose spirit of my mother could see me through those eyes.
The longest stretch of time imaginable slowly ticked by, and then the panic inevitably began to overtake my sorrow.  I had killed my own mother.  Yes, in self-defense, but a jury would convict me!  How could I explain this to the police?  Regardless of the truth and all the evidence I could show—as if the number of cats weren’t enough—they would never believe me.  I’d be labeled a monster, fired from my retail job, thrown away in some prison for the rest of my life!
I couldn’t simply hide her body.  We lived in a fairly secluded area; she had no friends who would come to look for her.  But the bodies are almost always found.  I’d watched enough television cop dramas to know that.  What was I going to do?  Someone was sure to discover what happened.  They would find her eventually.  My life would be ruined.
I was over.  Done!
Finished!

Unless…


Harvesting time has come and gone.  While I write this, a half-eaten tuna sandwich sits on the kitchen table next to my right hand, a couple of tomato slices included.  Best damn tomatoes I ever ate.  And why not?  There’s a little bit of my dear mother in every one.  The neighbors down the street seem to love them too.  And what else is better to wash it all down with than a nice cold glass of cat’s milk?
Next year, I’m thinking I might grow some watermelons.
Yeah, that would be good.

-M. Strain Jr.
11/08 -- 03/13

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