Today Mike Mander had received a letter, written on an old fashioned type writer. Someone wanted a book redrawn, they said something about giving cats a bad reputation. “The Dreaming”, the book was called. A dystopian story of a world were cats ruled, keeping humans as slaves for food and play.
Some crazy cat person for sure, Mike thought. He crushed the paper and threw it in the bin. It was late, he wanted to go home. The sun was going down.
He usually walked home. It wasn’t very far if he took the short cut though the industrial port. There was an old house on the hill. It always had a light on in one of higher windows. The rest of the house was dark. He wondered who was living there.
He passed through an alley. The garbage was piled up on one side. Leftovers from the fishing industry, that much he could smell. There were cats. Disgusting, dirty port cats, digging into the rotting fish and garbage. They looked up when he arrived. Sat there, watching him. He hated cats.
Coming out on the other side he could see someone in the old house, looking down towards him from the window.
A couple of days later he got another letter. It was strikingly similar to the first but a lot more threatening. “Take the book out of the stores today or we’ll kill you.” Hard to misunderstand.
He took it to the police, but they didn’t really seem that interested.
-Don’t worry, the police man said. This happens all the time. We’ll see what we can do, but it’s probably just some kids having fun.
He felt a bit better, and didn’t think much more about it. Though it was the first time it had happened to him, he knew these kind of things occurred in the editorial industry.
I guess I’ll just have to get used to it, he thought.
Some days later he had worked late again, and took the short cut through the docks. There were more cats now. A lot more. Cats everywhere, and they were all looking at him. He started walking faster. Further down the road black cats were coming out from the sides. They blocked the street between the storage house walls. He stopped, turned around. Cats. The whole street was covered with cats.
-Aren’t they beautiful? The voice came from the darkest corner in the alley, behind the containers.
-Hahahahaha! Cats… It was the voice of an elderly woman. She didn’t sound too good, her voice was weird and twisted. -The most beautiful creatures in the world. How could anyone ever want to put them down?
-I do not know what you want, Mrs, but could you please tell your cats to let me pass?
The cats started jumping down from the containers and the roof. Hundreds of cats staring straight at him in the darkness.
-Such perfect animals. Divine, I’d say.
-Please, lady, I do not know what you… But he did know. The Dreaming. The letters were from her.
The cats moved closer. Slowly, but firmly.
He started walking. He walked into the crowd of cats in front, ploughing his way through the black mass on the ground. The woman was laughing. The cats were hissing, circling him.
One jumped up on his pants, ripping it, climbing up his thigh. He grabbed it, threw it away. Others came. Jumping up from the ground, onto him from the roofs, from the boxes and containers. Cats. Cats everywhere. Crawling all over him, scratching their small, razor sharp claws through his skin. His screams could hardly be heard through the pile of cats covering his body.
The woman walked over.
-That will teach him, won’t it, my sweets. The cats were rubbing themselves to her legs, purring softly. A dark tail followed her up towards the house with light in one window. The rest stayed to finish their meal.