As if they were never there. Not as if they had died, which technically they had. It was different, this was as if they were, well, never there. She could recall them, yes. He was tall and their daughter, she was blonde. That ought to make a person sad. She glanced in the mirror. Normal. Nothing hurt. The closet door remained open. She shrugged and closed it. The cheap mirror on the back of the door rattled as the latch clicked. Once the mirror was straight again she found her way to the kitchen. The Bacon sizzled as she shredded sweet potatoes. Can’t go wrong with Sweet potato hash and bacon. That’s what her husband used to say. It troubled her through breakfast. She tried to remember other things about them. Focusing on her thoughts she furrowed her brow and closed her eyes. Think. Think. What were their names even? A sharp frantic knock-knock-knock-knock! shook her from her reverie. She jumped and knocked the half full glass of milk off the table. It shattered in a super nova of dairy soaked shrapnel on the tile. There was blood. She walk-hopped to the door holding a rag to her shin. The knock sounded again, four times in rapid succession.
She stopped in her tracks and stared at the unlocked door. Without stepping forward she reached for the door chain. Another round of knocking. She looked for the stereotypical cane/umbrella case next to the door that could be doubled as an armory. Why were those only in movies? She locked the door and ran to the kitchen for a knife or something.This time the knocks came deliberately.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
She grabbed a knife and a grill skewer and crouched out of sight. She waited. Silence. Five minutes passed while she hid in ambush. Must have been the kids down the street. She told Elanor that they were trespassing last week, of course she pulled the “Don’t parent my kids card”. She walked to the table and finished the half empty glass of milk. With a shaky hand she turned the glass over. Not a crack? The last dregs trickled out onto her leg and mingled with the blood from the scrape. With a shaky hand she set the glass down and walked to the bathroom to dress her wound.
Bandaged and bathed she decided it was time to check out the closet. The old stairs creaked under her feet. She straightened the mirror on the closet door before wrenching it open. Slowly. She waved her hand in the darkness to find the string for the light. Rasputin! She called for her cat. She never really liked to be alone in the dark. She found the light string and pulled. Rasputin lay on the top shelf blinking at the light from the outside. Aww, you were locked in here bud? Come on. She reached up to grab him but recoiled at the hiss of distaste.
He was never nice to her. Always her daughters cat. She moved the clothes aside and stared at the wall. They were just there last night, the both of them. Huddled up and giggling. They were hiding from her. She found them and crouched in to join their closet antics. He squeezed her hand and they made eye contact. That’s all she could remember. She sunk against the wall and rubbed her eyes. When she opened them Rasputin was sitting in front of her. His tail beat the ground next to him patiently.
“Why are there no cats in the bible?” He said.
She ran out of the closet and down the stairs but not before grabbing the small brown box off her dresser. She went to step outside as they had been trying to abstain from smoking indoors. But recent things had her on edge. She locked herself in the bathroom. She smoked two huge bowls before putting the pipe and grinder back into the box. With the bathroom fan on to clear the air she stared into the mirror. She looked, afraid. She called her sister.
“Hey, are you guys going to be here early Saturday?”
“Because if you are I totally want to make breakfast. Your sweet potato hash is to die for!”
“Yeah. Um, Yeah. We’ll be there Saturday.”
“You sound weird, what’s up?”
“I’m just confused or something, do you know if there are any mental illnesses in our family?”
“I mean Mom was Mom.”
Suppressing a smile. “No, seriously Sarah.”
“No. I mean one of Mom’s uncles had Alzheimer’s or something like that. That’s all that I remember? Tell me whats up, you’re making me anxious now.”
“I, well its nothing. I’m just stoned in the bathroom.”
“You would call me from the toilet!”
“See you Saturday, she flushed the toilet and held the phone out before hanging up.”
She went out and found her laptop before settling on the couch to google cats and bibles. That was just in her head after all. She may or may not have googled ‘cats talking to me’. The search wasn’t very successful. There were some forum posts about the folks that wrote the bible hating Egyptians, by some property their hatred was turned towards cats. That seemed sort of reasonable. Considering the intelligence of the people back then. She got distracted as people on the internet do and ended up falling asleep on the couch.
She walked through the desert in her dream along a path outline by pink granite. The moon hung low in the sky scantily clad in strings of clouds. The sand was warm beneath her feet enveloping her toes with every step. There were people in the distance. A group of huddled figures moving in rhythm. She ran towards them. As she grew closer she could hear them chanting in a low drone. They stood in ring with bowed heads and rotated every few seconds. The closer she got the louder the chant got. It rattled her rib cage as she peaked over the shoulder of one of the cloaked figures. A little girl with the head of a cat wearing her daughters necklace sat meditating in the circle before them holding a snake. The Cat-girls eyes opened abruptly before she bit the head off the snake and spoke.
“Apep is coming. The boat is sinking. Ra is dead and all there ever was. Nobody is safe.”
The knocking from the front door woke her up quick. She didn’t need to be told twice, it was time to go. She prepared a bag of food and water, took her dads old Knife from his days in the military and the little pistol they hid under the bed along with the box of ammo and drugs. The knocking came sporadically and motivated her to leave quickly. She bounded out the back and to the garage before reversing out of the alley faster than she ever had before. She didn’t know where she would go but it felt right to get as far away from her house, their house as possible as if she were never there.