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The Black Cat

It was a school night when I awoke from a deep sleep to my sister’s piercing cry

Mother was away for schooling and Daddy was in charge. He was doing pretty well until the night of the attack.
    It was a school night when I awoke from a deep sleep to my older sister Heather’s piercing cry. Our rooms were adjacent and I heard everything: the banging, the fighting, the blood-curdling screams. My sister and I weren’t the best of friends, but I had never wanted anything bad to happen to her.
    “Daddeee!” I heard her shriek.
    I sat straight up in bed. “Go help her!” my mind raged. I laid back down petrified. “What if it’s an ax murderer? What could I do?”
    “Daddeee!” she shrieked again.
    Where is Daddy? I wondered frantically. Why hasn’t the security alarm gone off? Did Daddy not set it? Has he already been attacked? Oh my God! Is he dead? My mind raced in silence.
    “Hel-l-l-p!” Heather screeched. I sat up. “ Hel-l-l-p!” she cried out again.
    I laid back down frozen in terror. Why aren’t my muscles moving? Am I next? I thought wildly as I laid there.
    Maybe I should hide … under the bed? But there are books and stuffed animals there; I would never fit. What about the closet? … No, no, my feet will show. Should I jump out the window and run for the neighbors?
    “NO, NO, NO!” Heather wailed.
    Why isn’t Daddy coming? I wondered in horror. You coward! DO SOMETHING! I silently screamed at myself. At 10, I was younger than my sister, but I knew I was stronger. But how much stronger? Strong enough to fight off the attacker? Dear God, what should I do? I prayed.
    THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. Someone was running through the house.
    Is it Heather or the attacker? I listened as I heard banging on my parents’ bathroom door. Is the monster going for Daddy now? I worried frantically. I should have warned him! Or is it my sister? Is she free? Why didn’t you hide, Missy? I quietly chastised myself.
    “Help me!” my sister begged. Then I heard the bathroom door open. I could hear the shower and fan running.
    “Oh my God!” my father exclaimed.
    I tiptoed to my parents’ room. The ax murderer might still be in the house, so I kept quiet and peeked around the corner.
    When I saw my sister’s face illuminated by bathroom light, she looked like the final scene in the Stephen King movie Carrie. Her face and disheveled hair were coated in blood.
    “What happened?” my father pleaded.
    “The cat,” my sister sobbed. “It was the cat.”
    Our new pet was a jet-black stray cat Heather had found on her walk home from the bus stop. It had taken a liking to sleeping on my sister’s pillow. While my sister and I slept that fateful evening, the cat must have been spooked. As it tried to escape, its claws got tangled in Heather’s long hair.
    I stared in shock as the light from the bathroom detailed the damage to my sister’s face. Both of her eyelids were punctured and her face and scalp were a mess of scratches and scrapes. After Daddy cleaned up as much blood as he could, we drove to the hospital. On our way out the door the cat dashed outside ahead of us.
    My sister survived without scars, rabies, an infection … or a cat.