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I glance around and notice my mug of hot tea is gone. Not only that, there is writing on my message pad. I haven’t even touched it yet, it should be blank. I lean in closer and read “Help Me” in purple messy letters. I jump up from my chair. I’ve only been working at the playhouse a couple of weeks. Could this be staff initiation?  I sit back and decide what to do next. The last thing I want to do is overreact.

“Hee!” I hear the noise. I glance up at the basement door. I hear it again, a combination of a growl and a hiss. I get up slowly and walk toward the noise. “Hee! Hee”! I pause. I don’t want to open the door.  My hands shake. I can either open the door or run back to my seat and wait to see what happens next. I hesitate for a minute. Eventually I raise my hand to open the door. I yank it wide open.

Something jumps on me. What the hell is it? Pain, I feel pain, my skin burns.  A few drops of blood come out an ear or a nose. Is it my blood? The whiskers are blood-red. I grip a fistful of fur and throw the cat away from me. I think it’s a cat. It flies through the air and lands on the floor with a thud.

The cat is down for thirty seconds and gets up and bolts. I sit and do nothing for a full five minutes. My shirt has a couple of tears. My right hand, the one used to pry the cat, has little patches of blood on it. I see a couple of claw marks and scratches. I get up and walk slowly downstairs. I need to find the cat. Staff initiation is safe to rule out.

In the basement darkness has crept in. I turn on the light. The cat is nowhere to be seen, of course. I stand and wait. I hope the cat will magically appear.  I just want this nightmare to end.  Suddenly, I see the cat at the far end of the basement. Ironically the cat is posted right beside the emergency doors. It stares at me.

I have seen the cat roaming around in my neighbourhood. A tenant probably moved and left it behind. I was thoughtful enough to pick up a tin of cat food. But I forgot to actually give it to the cat. Ooops.

We lock eyes. A few minutes go by. No matter how long this goes on, I will not be the first one to move.  Suddenly the cat takes a step and then another. My heart jumps into my throat. My body contracts with fear and I can’t move. It takes a third and starts to pick up speed and charges me!

It lands on my throat and claws sink in. I try to pull the cat off but it clings as in life or death. I try to pull the cat off me again. This time I manage to pull it about a foot away from me. I stare into the eyes. They scare me the hell out of me. Suddenly, I feel weak; my knees are ready to buckle underneath me. Without warning, the cat swings a paw and swipes my left cheek. On impulse I drop the cat, for a second it’s in mid-air but quickly disappears. I look around and see nothing. My cheek throbs and is sore. I run into the girls’ bathroom. I want to see the damage. I see two slash marks on my face. I splash myself with cold water. I walk back upstairs to the desk. I sit for a couple minutes.

My eyes blink a couple of times just to make sure. This can’t be. What the hell is going on? The purple message is gone. My mug is right in front of me, filled with steaming tea.



Bio: A.J. Plum is new to writing and is just starting to explore different genres.


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