I said I would and I keep my promises. Never underestimate the fury of a cat forced to wear a costume or a frilly hat.
It was a dark night, the children were out in full force, goblins and ghouls, vampires and that one kid dressed like Justin Bieber who everyone else pretended they didn’t know. Pumpkins sat by doorsteps and skeletons hung in windows, dark alleyways where few dared to tread during normal times suddenly held an enticing mystery for young tricksters eager for a mark. The call of trick or treat was heard at every doorway in the town and the night held a certain macabre joy for those participating in the Halloween festivities. Little did they know what was to come that night.
In one home, a little off the beaten path, a young couple was preparing for the influx of trick or treaters by setting out the candy bowls and making sure their costumes were just the right mix of scary but child friendly. As a young man straightened his vampire teeth and his wife put the finishing touches on her witch’s garb, a small black cat ran across the room to attack a stray candy wrapper just waiting to be pounced upon and swatted about.
“Oh, we forgot to dress up Jasper,” said the woman to her husband.
“He’s a black cat, hun. We’ll just say he’s your familiar.” responded the man.
“That’s just lazy, we have to find something. Maybe we can stick those little devil horns on his head and make him a demon.. no, too scary.. what about that thing, you know, that costume my brother used to dress his dog in? That was cute, or maybe…” she trailed off as she rummaged through a box of old costumes and accessories, throwing the rejects in a pile to the side, as her husband watched with a bemused expression on his face.
The unsuspecting Jasper finished playing with his wrapper and sauntered over to get a drink of water when he was suddenly lifted into the air by two large hands belonging to the young man. The hands tried to pet Jasper reassuringly as the woman approached with a pair of bat wings and harness to attach them. Jasper sensed danger but the man held him tight and he was helpless to stop the terrible humans from attaching the offending wings.
If this had been an isolated incident perhaps nothing untoward would have occurred that night. Unfortunately, in this town, on this night similar incidents were taking place in countless households. The number of offended cats grew and grew, each in their own private hell, until one escaped the clutches of its keepers and jumped through an open window into the night, fluffy pink tutu fluttering about his hindquarters. The one cat gathered his brothers and sisters, aiding their escapes into the dark night. As the community of cats in costume gathered and shared their humiliation, the anger and rage at the humans reached a crescendo and overflowed into a consuming fire of madness that overtook them. The beginning of the end was at hand and the rampage could no longer hope to be stopped.
Human children still scampered from house to house gathering their candy but from the shadows beady eyes gleamed, plotting revenge upon the two-legged creatures in their beloved costumes. The alley tricksters were the first to succumb, the stealthy padded paws and the darkness masking the cats approach until the first strike of claws against trickster flesh. Those in the lighted areas who chanced to hear a cry or a scream, took it in stride as a normal sound of Halloween, the usual hue and cry of those older children who preferred scares over treats.
Soon the alleyways belonged to the be-robed felines, the tricksters fled or become thralls from the power of the cat scratch. For the madness of these cats had awakened a long forgotten power to control their human brethren, taking back their mastery and control of our earthly realm. This power had lain dormant for thousands of years, shadows of itself showing in the advent of crazy cat ladies and the prominence of cute cat videos on the internet.
From every shadow waited a cat in lion costume or red riding hood dress, in pumpkin hat or aviator jacket. A leader emerged, maddest of all in a full body bunny costume, the terrifying anger on her face the only part of her that could be seen. She had been named Polly by her human, which only added insult to injury, and her ferociousness in juxtaposition with her ridiculous costume was a frightening thing to behold. Polly gathered her brethren and human thralls for a simultaneous attack on all the humans in the town. With one fearsome howl a thousand and more cats pounced with undying rage on the still unsuspecting humans.
Across the town, trick or treaters, parents and children, grumpy old codgers and kindly old grandmas, all fell before the might of the rampaging feline frenzy. As one man bent over to pick up a quarter, all he saw was a glimpse of fur and yellow frills out of the corner of his eye before he was overtaken and the scratches on his face and hands brought him to the ground, only to rise again under the power of the cat horde. Another human heard the quiet padding of paws following him down the street but every time he turned around he could see nothing and was driven mad by the sound; he ran from the town and to this day can be found muttering on street corners “they’re in the shadows, can’t you hear them? The pitter patter of padded feet, stalking, preying, they’ll come for us all one day. Just you wait, just you wait…”
By morning the town was silent and empty save for the soft whisper of fur rubbing against street lamps and a quiet hum of purring contentment as the cats were finally freed from their costumed prisons by the human thralls kept behind to feed and care for every whim of the new owners of this once crowded town.
If you ever wander by this way and you come upon a town where the few people seem to have dazed eyes and speak of little but their abiding love for the feline population, make sure not to get a scratch or you may just never leave. And if you’re ever tempted by the thought of dressing up a feline friend in a witch’s hat or hotdog costume because it will look oh so cute!, remember this tale of warning and think again or suffer the consequences.