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Feline Shadows

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I am the definition of a crazy cat person. Everything I do in life is based around Fluffles, my little white cat. The only reason I have a job is to feed her. I have transformed my entire basement into cat paradise, or as I like to call it, Caturday Island. It’s full of scratching posts, cat trees, catwalks, anything. The only downside for me is the fact that my washing machine is on the other side of the room from the stairs. Apart from that, though, I don’t mind. I just learned to bob and weave.

The other night, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and browsing 4chan on my computer, my usual evening routine, when I hear Snuffles meowing from the basement. Now, this is a normal routine for her. It usually means she wants me to come down and pay her some attention, but I had just eaten a ton of pizza, so I wasn’t in the mood to try the stairs. Instead, I patted my lap and jingled a toy to try to coax her up. It doesn’t usually work, but I figured it would be worth a shot.

It didn’t work. I heard her scratching at the bottom step, trying to get me to come down. “Alright, alright. Hold on,” I muttered, heaving myself out of my blanket nest and starting the walk down the hall to the basement door. I flipped on the light switch gust inside the doorway and the basement was illuminated, but the cat was nowhere in sight. Of course, from the top of the stairs, my view was pretty limited, so I began the walk down the stairs.

There are a few catwalks along the ceiling for her to run on, since I knew that cats enjoyed high places. There are also a few alcoves in the walls filled with toys and things I roped my boyfriend into helping me build. The end result was, like I said before, cat paradise. So I was standing at the bottom of the stairs, scanning the cat trees for Fluffles, when a flicker of motion on one of the catwalks caught my eye. “There you are!” I said under my breath.

I walked over to the alcove I had seen her run into and stared into the shadows. I couldn’t really see anything inside because the light next to it had burnt out a few days before. I made a mental note to replace it. I was about to reach up to grab her when I heard her meow from behind be. She was sitting in a cat tree I couldn’t see into from the stairs. “But what...? Never mind.” I said, dismissing what I had seen as an optical illusion, brought about by my tired brain. I went over to Fluffles, scooped her up in my arms, and headed back up the stairs, turning out the light and shutting the door for the evening.

The next morning was Saturday, so I didn’t have to go to work. I woke up, and opened my bedroom door to let Fluffles out (she slept in my bed). She ran out and wandered around the house for a few minutes, before heading over to the basement door as I know she would. I was in my bathroom brushing my teeth at the time, so she would have to wait a moment before I could open the door.

Then I could hear her start scratching on the door. I wasn’t unduly troubled, she likes to scratch things. That’s why there’s so many scratching posts in the basement. I finished up with my teeth, and went out into the hallway to let her downstairs. I could still hear her scratching. I turned the corner, and there she was, sitting in front of the door patiently. She mewed at me when she saw me. But I could still hear the scratching. It was coming from the other side of the basement door.

Not gonna lie, I was kind of freaked out. After all, who wouldn’t be freaked out by an unknown scratching on a door? The door to the basement, of all places! But, stupidly, I went over and picked up Fluffles. Then I reached out... and opened the door. Nothing. The scratching instantly stopped, and there was nothing to be seen. Just to be safe, I turned on the lights and peered down the stairs. Nothing. I kept the lights on and closed the door. I looked at Fluffles and said to her “You can’t go down there today. There’s something weird down there.” I don’t know if she understood me or what, but she stayed away from the door until about one in the afternoon.

Then the scratching started again.

I knew the source of the sound, I didn’t have to look. Fluffles jumped off of the couch next to me when the sound started and trotted leisurely down the hall to the basement door, where she sat down comfortably and began licking her paws. I didn’t know what to do, but I sure as Hell wasn’t opening that door again. I called my boyfriend, Chad, and asked him what it could be, but he was stumped for an answer. So I asked him to come over and stay the night with me because I was starting to get seriously scared at this point. He agreed, but I think he might have been worried more for my sanity than the possibility I was actually hearing something.

He showed up at my place at around 2:30. The scratching had stopped at about quarter to two. He wanted to take a look in the basement, but I wouldn’t let him. I didn’t want him getting hurt down there, and I didn’t want to risk whatever was down here getting up here. Like I said, he was concerned about my mental health over the possibility of there being something in the basement, so he didn’t go downstairs. We slept in my bed, but we didn’t do anything but sleep.

It was about three in the morning. I woke up and really had to use the bathroom, so I went out into the hallway and two doors down to the bathroom and sat down. Then, about a minute later, I heard it again: the scratching at the basement door. I was pretty sure Chad was still asleep, so I finished up and hurried back to my room to wake him up. He sat up and was pretty groggy, but he woke up pretty quickly once he heard the scratching. He immediately jumped up and reached into his pants pocket, pulling out a knife that I’m pretty sure was too long to be legal. Then he quickly walked out into the hallway and turned on as many lights as possible.

He approached the basement door cautiously, but the scratching wouldn’t stop. He reached out slowly, grabbed the doorknob, and yanked the door open. Just like before, nothing. He flipped the light switch and we were bathed in the glow of the lightbulb at the top of the stairs as the rest of the basement was subsequently lit up. He charged down the stairs, to my dismay. At the bottom, he started waving his knife around threateningly, while Fluffles darted down after him, a white flash, and went to play in the cat trees, startling him and making him jump.

“Damn cat...” he growled. “There’s nothing down here.”

“Fine,” I replied. “Come back up here, and bring Fluffles, please.” So Chad went over to get Fluffles, and, as usual, she went limp in his arms when he picked her up. He brought her back upstairs and closed the door. But we left the lights on.

Then, the next day, we got out of bed, not that we got any sleep after that, and life seemed to go on as usual. Nothing happened that day, or for several days after. I was calmed down enough to let Fluffles play in the basement again, and I could go down there myself without being overly scared. I was putting a pile of underwear into the washing machine when I noticed Fluffles crossing a catwalk and going into an alcove. I poured some bleach into the washer and walked over to what I knew was her favourite toy, a couple of feathers tied to a string. I picked it up and walked over to the alcove, and started flicking it into the alcove trying to coax her out. She grabbed it, I could feel her tugging on it. She let go and I flicked it back out.

When I tossed it back up, a paw reached out and caught it. A black paw. A paw way too big to belong to any housecat. A low growl emanated from the darkness of the alcove, and suddenly a pair of bright red eyes became visible. I dropped the toy and sprinted for the stairs, noticing Fluffles and grabbing her on the way. As I ran up the stairs three at a time, I heard a thump behind me as whatever it was jumped out of the alcove. I slammed the door. Seconds later, a massive thump made the floor shake as that creature slammed into the door.

I ran into my room and grabbed my cell phone, dialing Chad’s number before I realized it. He invited me to his house, and I gladly accepted. I didn’t pack anything, just grabbed Fluffles and jumped in the car. When I got to his house, he immediately called animal control to go to my house and capture whatever was living in my basement. I don’t know what it was, but I don’t think anything with paws that big could fit in that little alcove. But Chad insisted.

Police report:

Two animal control technicians were found dead on 06/21 in the home of Elizabeth Revelle. Cause of death: apparent mauling by a large animal. Bloody feline pawprints found on scene, size of dinner plates. Ended at wall of basement. No culprit found. Bodies appear partially eaten.

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