In The Shadow

We’re inside the desolate ruins of a building. He beats me to a pulp and drags my mangled body across the floor. Fire ants buzzing with anticipation, move towards the trail of blood. 

Having successfully demonstrated his dominance, he heals me to my original condition. I have my options laid out in front of me. Work with him or die. No. I have only one. I accept. 

Why? Why does he need me? He’s so much stronger than I am. In a situation of exposure to risk, he’s 10 times more likely to survive. Am I just a disposable shield, to gauge the strength of the enemy lurking in the shadows. 

Slowly, and carefully we begin to climb the stairs. The cement rubble, fallen over the years, makes grinding noises under our feet. You can feel it, hanging densely in the air. The tension. 

There’s an evil energy to the air. It grows stronger the further up we go. I pause and glance back at him. He nudges me to get moving. We don’t stop. Not now. Increased heart rate and perspiration. I curse myself, for my curiosity to explore this shambles of a place. 

Step. Step. Step. Stop. Is that what I think it is!? There’s a bunch of kittens writhing on the floor, they’re a sickly bunch. With scarce food and a barren surrounding, only the strongest of the litter survives. 

He looks at me with a confused gaze. How did these kittens reach here, to begin with. Gulp. We go further up. We can help them on the way back. 

The evil aura is almost unbearable now, like the scratching of nails across a classroom board. It makes me want to close my eyes. It makes me want to go back. It makes the risk of fighting him again look like a no brainer. 

No. I have to see this through. I have to find out what it is. If it’s the last thing I do. Step. Step. Step. There she is! She’s looking right at us. Frozen in our steps, our eyes fixated at her. 

She has eyes of black and yellow. Eye slits narrow like a snake, ready to strike. Her body, covered with smooth, shiny, black fur. Her legs pressed hard against the ground, ready to jump. Claws as sharp as knives, glistening. 

Aaaaaaah. We scream and run out of the place.

Anyway, that’s the story of how I developed a fear of cats when I was in 2nd grade.

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