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  • Writer's pictureAisha Kerrigan

Cat

When I was 16 our flat was getting refurbished and hence, my family had to temporarily move to a different place for a couple of months. My parents have chosen a building right opposite of ours and the flat in there was spacey enough to fit all four of us plus our cat. The rent was affordable and the interior was pleasant, much like the one in our property. Thus, to say it felt like we’ve not even moved was an understatement. The place was cosy and much like home, so our primary first-world problem at the time was solved. The second one was for me and my sibling to pick our rooms. Not that we were competitive but we were competitive. Always wanting to be the ones with the better everything. Typical sibling rivalry. But surprise, surprise, we’ve not needed to fight over that issue as both the rooms were equally spacious. But when I took one step inside, the room started to feel off. Like something was trying to pull me back and tell me this was a bad idea. It felt wrong as if I shouldn’t be there. But rationalization’s been telling me a different story. What’s a bad idea? Sleeping in a room? Alright, do like your cat does and curl up on the sofa. Obviously, logical reasoning won over. What else was I supposed to do? Go to my brother and tell him to switch rooms because ‘mine has a creepy ambience’? Tough chance. Besides, he’d probably tell me I’d feel at home if that’s the general aura of it. But that’s the interesting bit, every other room felt normal, no heebie-jeebies. This one? Not so much. Something about it didn’t feel welcoming. At that time I brushed it off and blamed it on not being used to the new flat. General anxiety. I firmly believed I’d get over it after a week or so. So, I gave it my countdown.

A week passed and that’s where strange things started to happen. No idea why it took that long for whatever there was in the room to start to harass me. But as they say, better late than never. Except in this case I wish it was never. One night - when everyone’s gone to sleep - I lay in bed about to drift off when I hear someone whispering my name. My brother’s room was right next to mine and I’d be able to hear him through the wall, so I thought it was him trying to scare me. So, I ignored it, we were too old for these games and if he’s had something to tell me he could always come in. A moment later, I hear the same whisper calling out my name again. I roll my eyes. Really? I’m not getting up. It’s too late, my bed’s too warm and soft and if he wants something he can get it himself. I closed my eyes and that’s when the whisper grew a loud and irritated tone to it, desperately trying to get my attention. That surprised me, was it really that urgent of a matter at this bloody hour? I didn’t want to leave but judging from the tone I thought he might actually need my assistance. Thus, I give in and leave my den of comfort, slowly opening his door only to discover that he’s asleep. I stared in the purest state of confusion. What kind of a prank is this? But as I observe his rhythmic breath and sprawled pose I realize he’s been asleep for quite a while. To say the least, I was baffled. I waited for a moment as I watched him, hoping to see some clue or sign that perhaps, he’s awake and this is all part of a very elaborate trick. But it wasn’t. That disturbed me and I mulled over that whisper again. Who was it? My parents went to sleep way earlier than us and I wouldn’t be able to hear my dad calling. At least not without him waking my mom along the process and having her complain. But that left me confused. The voice I’ve heard earlier was definitely male and there was my brother, in his deeper stage of sleep. I felt uncomfortable… I didn’t want to go back. But what else was I supposed to do? Wake everyone and tell them I heard voices calling my name? Doesn’t sound like the brightest idea unless I want my family to get annoyed and tell me off. I forced myself to ignore my gut feeling, quietly close the door to my sibling’s room and return to sleep. Thankfully, no more whispers followed that night.

You know how when you’re young you hope to go through something paranormal, so then you can tell creepy stories and impress your friends? That desire quickly shatters when you actually experience the mysterious situation. When you’re face to face with something unknown and unexplainable the last thing going through your mind is to run and excitedly tell about it. Instead, you’re trying to explain the event to yourself and find logic in the occurrence. But the disappointing part is that once you do decide to open up about it, nobody believes you. At first, I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want people to think I’m mad. Well. Madder than what they already claimed me to be. But after doing a bit of reflecting I’ve decided to brave it and share it with my family. They weren’t impressed. My parents blamed it on my love for horror movies and their other argument was to say I was dreaming. So, I’ve done even more reflecting and told my acquaintances. You know what they did? Didn’t believe me. Nobody did. So, at that time, no positive came out of that experience. Sadly, this wasn’t the end of it.

The story itself starts a week later from that event. One night I wake up and it’s dead silent, a little too much. It might be odd to complain about it being very quiet in the middle of the night, but this was different. It was as if everything was encased in a vacuum. I didn’t pay it too much thought, I was too drowsy to really take in any noise. So I turn around and pick up my iPhone to read 3:00 am. I’m a little annoyed to have woken up at that hour, considering at that age it took me an hour to fall asleep. But it was a weekend and at least I didn’t have to get up at 6:00 am for school. I put it back on the nightstand, look ahead and freeze in fear. That’s where I’ve wished I’ve never turned around, never reached for my phone, just so I didn’t have to witness what was in front of me. What I’ve seen left me paralyzed and staring helplessly. The chair at my desk was turning side to side on its own, as if someone was swinging on it, at a slow torturous pace. My stomach sunk, my throat’s gone dry and I was too afraid to run for it or move at all. All I could do at that point was to watch the chair slowly swinging. It was the worst feeling of helplessness one can ever experience. Makes one think whether this is what mice feel when they see a cat? At least mice know that they have a slim chance of surviving. I had no idea what I was up against and what to expect. But after what seemed like forever, the chair finally stopped swinging.

After a few more seconds of silent staring, I took a deep breath and thought that this is where I’ll get up and run. Easy. I could force myself to get up just count to three. One. Two. Three. I swiftly sit up and that’s where a red light shines in my eyes and something pushes me back so hard I fall back in bed. I didn’t see anything but the bright glare but I could feel the pressure on my chest as I was shoved. Panic entrapped me and maybe that was what forced me to jump out of bed and sprint out of the room rather than my will. I didn’t think I could run that fast, but adrenalin can do wonders. Once I was out I stopped in the hall and stared at my chair. I almost expected to see some shadowy figure emerge and follow me. But nothing happened and I thought that’s where it would all end. Boy, was I wrong.

Remember our cat I mentioned at the start? I forgot to add something, so here goes. This big snobby Persian would love to cuddle up next to me and sleep on my bed, but never in that flat. He’d avoid that room in general even during the day, it was the only place he’d not walk inside. So as I was standing in the hallway, watching that room like a hawk, the furry fatso lazily paced towards me. I don’t think I need to say that seeing his glowing pupils from the corner of my eyes nearly made me jump out of my skin. But that was the last thing I had to be afraid of. He paced in his usual ‘I own everything’ manner and headed to my room but when he reached the opened door he jumped away from it and froze, staring. The cat was just as tense as me, everything about his body language screamed he was alert and uncomfortable. So, now there were two of us equally scared and staring at whatever managed to chase out both of us. Now, you can say anything about humans and pull all kinds of explanations you can think of as to why they’ve seen things. You can say they were drunk, high or crazy. But animals? They’re more susceptible to other presences and can feel things that can’t be seen with a naked eye. The fact that my cat only gazed in the room and got instantly frightened was all the confirmation I needed that something was in there and I shouldn’t go back. At least not until sunrise, so that’s exactly what I did.

I picked up the cat and sat down on the couch both of us not taking our eyes off the room. One doesn’t take their eyes off a threat and at that time whatever was inside felt like a threat. I thought that if I looked away then that something would make itself be known in a nasty way. By averting my gaze I expose myself to danger. So I kept staring at the open door, hoping to see a hint of any sign of evil presence: moving objects, shadows, whispers, anything. I only ever glanced away swiftly to check the time on the clock on the wall, eagerly waiting for 4:00 am. Let me tell you, time drags when you’re terrified. I was surprised to find out that during the whole event only five minutes have passed. It felt like an eternity as both I and my cat stared at the door as if we were hypnotized. He didn’t even try to escape my embrace, unusual for the spoiled furball. At one point I stopped checking the time because the dragging seconds only frightened me more. After what felt like forever I’ve heard slow steps. This is it, this will be my breaking point. There’s only so much one can take and I quietly begged for whatever was in the house to stop. It didn’t stop. It was my mom. Nothing stops that woman. She walked to me and in her sleepy squinted-eyes state asked me confused what the hell was I doing. Sitting, mother. I was sitting. I held the cat like a child holds their plushie as I stared at her with terrified eyes, looked back at the predatory room, glanced at the clock to read 4:15 am and faced her again.

“I can’t sleep.” I lied. She didn’t believe me last time, she won’t believe me this time as well, I was certain of it.

“Let go of the cat and get back to bed.” Mom was persistent and at that moment I gave her the ‘do you want your child to die?’ face. It was ineffective.

“I’d rather stay here.”

“Go to bed!” Apparently, she can’t sleep when I’m not sleeping. Thanks, mum. I reluctantly walked back and as soon as I approached the door, the cat jumped and ran away. Of course, my mother wouldn’t find that strange, she didn’t know what just happened. To me though, that set off alarm bells. But it was light enough already, way past ghost hour. Maybe nothing else will happen; and, thankfully, it didn’t. That doesn’t mean I was comfortable enough to sleep, I still kept checking the chair now and again until I fell asleep due to exhaustion.

But that was the end of it. Nothing happened after that, no more visits from the entity, no more whispers or strange lights, no moving chairs. It was as if the thing in the room needed to make itself be known just once before leaving. To make me aware that it’s there. Even when the refurbishment in our flat was done and we moved back, nothing occurred at all. I still don’t know what that thing was or why it happened. But it didn’t follow me and that’s the most important part for me.


Feel free to buy me a blood sandwich you beautiful human you!

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