Something Wicked This Way Comes
By: Maggie D. Brace

It all seemed so gradual at first, that I never put two and two together. The raspy voice, the feeling of fullness at the back of my throat, the light–headedness… who would have thought it wasn't just an allergic reaction to my new little friend?

"How can you be allergic to a hairless cat?" Jeremy frequently queried those first few weeks after Bee wormed her way into my heart.

"Maybe it's her skin flakes or dander…I don't know. Maybe it's just a cold!" I heard myself counter, but deep down I didn't really believe it.

I'm not sure when I actually realized there might be more than meets the eye to the pushy little runt of a cat that appeared mewling at our back door one day late September. Jeremy was instantly repulsed by the hairless, splotchy pink and grey worm–like creature, but it was almost as if I was transfixed. I couldn't look away. I couldn't close the door. I merely opened it a tad more to let her saunter through. She enjoyed a leisurly face rub on the corner of the door, then pushed past my legs, hopped up on a chair, and curled into a small ball. I looked at the tiny black collar around her skin–folded neck and saw ‘Bee‘ in a curiously ancient looking script with an eyeball drawn next to it. No other identification was given, or needed, for it seemed like she was clearly where she was meant to be. It was as if she had lived there forever. I never gave it a second thought, Bee was here to stay.

I had always wanted a cat. Although this tiny, hairless gray bag of bones was not exactly the cuddly, furry bundle I had imagined. Somehow, even though I was slightly repulsed by her aggressiveness and splotchy tufted physique, I couldn't even imagine life without her. A distant memory filled my brain. My own Grammy's voice replayed in my head, "No cats, ever! They'll suck the breath out of a sleeping child!" Perhaps that's why I allowed Bee to take over the household, some perverse childhood revenge for never having a pet cat made me childishly want one more than ever.

Little by little, she worked her way into our daily life. I found my stay at home fact checking job was ideal for meeting Bee's rigid schedule. She required her three square meals served on time, immediate cleansing of her litter box after each usage, and a good half hour of daily grooming several times a day. The first few times I didn't comply I was reprimanded with a screechy meow. Jeremy always said she sounded like a banshee from the misty hills of Ireland. His granny use to regale he and his cousins with vivid ghost tales, and his mimicry of her banshee voice was a spot on rendition of Little Bee. "AAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooowwwwaaaaaaaa!" she would protest, and it seemed to effect Jeremy like nails on a chalkboard. Anytime she gave her demanding cry, he would vacate the house immediately. "Elvis has left the building," I jokingly whispered in her ear the first time he headed out. Without even acknowledging my humor, she returned to licking her back paw.

At first, I just attributed the scratches I found all over my body to my usual clumsiness. One on my arm, a few on an ankle, a jagged, bloody raised welt on my stomach. Now, how could I have done that? Each morning as I got dressed I spied a few more. After a few weeks, there were sections of my arms and legs that had infected wounds on almost every square inch. Jeremy asked about the particularly gruesome laceration on my right knee. It had been there several days, and instead of healing, it seemed to be getting worse. He noticed the pus oozing out of it during dinner, and almost lost his mac and cheese.

"What the hell?" he grimaced, "That is seriously gnarly! Why don't you put something on it?"

The fact that I hadn't even thought about how bad some of the cuts were, let alone tended to them in any way, should have set off an alarm bell. As it was, I didn't care about them or their mysterious appearance at all. It seemed like the only thought crossing my mind was when and where I could next groom Bee.

The little flea bites were next to appear. My feet and ankles almost looked like I was wearing dark red socks. The raised bumps were everywhere, and I couldn't ignore the maddeningly painful itch like I could the cuts. I almost continuously rubbed the sole of one foot against what ever spot of the other itched the most at the time. The fleas didn't seem to attack Jeremy, or anyplace else on my body except my feet and ankles.

Who knows which came first, the feeling of ennui each morning I awoke with Bee tightly curled around my head, or the decline in my inclination to do anything work related. My supervisor sent a strongly worded missive about both the quality and quantity of my work, but I just couldn't even muster the energy to fabricate an excuse of any sort. After about a week, I basically stayed in my pajamas all day, making a pretense of signing in online to work, only to stumble over to the couch and plop down. I would rouse myself to cater to Bee's needs, but found I had no energy left to feed myself or even take a shower. My bloody cuts left bright scarlet designs on my lime green pjs. If I looked at them at the right angle, it almost looked like a pretty design.

"What did you do all day?" Jeremy would angrily query each day when he arrived home. "You look like crap!"

The first few days I fumbled for excuses, "My allergies are really a pain." Or, "I just don't feel good! Leave me alone!" Eventually, I didn't even answer. I stopped going to bed each night and just stretched out on the couch all day and night.

It must have been at least a week before I realized Jeremy hadn't been home, hadn't called, hadn't yelled at me about my appearance. Come to think of it, I vaguely remembered my boss calling and summarily firing me. With a smug satisfaction, I clutched Bee to my bosom and whispered in her tufted ear, "We're finally rid of them! Now it's just you and me, Sweetums." Bee slowly rotated her left ear away from my hot breath and busied herself with licking her tail. She stared over my shoulder and ignored the intimate moment I thought we were sharing.

Every so often, I woke on the couch gasping for air with Bee on my chest instead of wrapped around my head. It felt as if a huge weight was pressing down on my lungs. She would peer into my eyes with her slanted green ones, her clawed paws perched on my chest, and it almost felt as if she were looking deep into my soul. I felt a chill course through me, and a gnawing ache began in the pit of my stomach. I attributed it to a lack of food. I hadn't eaten in days, I hadn't really left the couch in at least the last four days. In the back of my mind I reckoned it must be late in October, but the energy it took to formulate that idea left me too weary to contemplate anything else besides another nap.

On Tuesday I woke up to a missing pinky toe, and it was a very curious sensation. I could see the toe was gone with a scabby stump in its place, and I could feel the searing pain coursing up my leg, but I just didn't really care. I unwound the sleeping Bee from around my head and gave my foot a cursory once over. Noticing the bleeding had almost stopped, I lay back down. The little pool of blood at the foot of the couch resembled a heart shape. I felt a vague queasy sensation in my stomach as Bee sidled up to the heart of blood and began to noisily lap it up. But then, a stray thought passed through my mind…now maybe I won't have to get up to feed the little scamp so often. Her taste for blood might be a blessing in disguise.

The missing left pinky toe was followed by the right pinky toe on Wednesday, my right earlobe on Thursday, and a gouge of flesh out of my left buttock on Friday. It was all the same to me. I'd unwind Bee from her curled up position atop my head, examine the shape the blood pooled into, and watch Bee greedily lap it up. I thought I should probably feel more indignation at the fact that I was slowly being whittled away, but I just couldn't gather the energy to be mad at such a sweet little kitty.

It was the very next day that was the tipping point. All Hallows Eve by my best calculation. I groggily pushed myself up on my elbows, opened my eyes to survey myself for which body part would be missing, and choked back a sob as I realized I could only see out of my left eye. I groped my fingers into my right eye socket to assess the damage and found only a gaping hole. "My eye, my fricking eye!" I screamed. "Are you kidding me?"

Bee slowly unfurled herself from around my head, stood on my shoulder and gave a luxurious stretch.

As she plopped down on the couch to begin lapping at the starfish shaped puddle of blood, I began to scream.

"What the hell are you anyway? This has gone too far! YOU TOOK MY EYE!"

I grabbed the cat by her glabrous nape as a surprised mewl escaped its lips. I rushed to the door and unceremoniously dumped the writhing, clawing bundle of wrinkled flesh out the door. Her collar slipped off her scrawny neck into my hand. The cat tried to worm its way back in the door, but I booted it away with my pinkyless left foot, and slammed the door. I sunk down to the ground on my knees and put my head on the cool linoleum.

It was as if a cleansing wave of new thought swept over me at once. I glanced down at my bloody, torn pajamas, yanked them off and gasped at the filthy scabs and oozing pustules that covered my body. As I drew myself up to head to the bathroom, one lone thought rattled in my brain as my eyes alit upon the dropped collar. "Boy, that's the last time I'll ever invite a cat named Bee into my life!"

I picked up my clothes and the discarded collar to throw them in the trash. With my one good eye I squinted at the collar. The picture of the eye was partially scratched off. I pulled the rest of it off and revealed the true name of the beast…BEEZLEBUB!


Rate Maggie D. Brace's Something Wicked This Way Comes

Let The Contributor Know What You Think!

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...