A Kat's (GOD AWFUL!!!) Blessing
They made their way back to where Kat had her run in with the cat god, having zero luck and finding no clues whatsoever.
“Man, I’m exhausted. I’ve been walking and running all night,” Kat complained, plopping her butt to the ground. She started rubbing her legs, which ached from all the running and walking she had been doing that night. “My legs are gonna be sore as heck tomorrow.”
“Think of the bright side. You’re burning off the excess calories from the cake,” Maria said, swiping the sweat from her forehead.
Kat let out a groan as she laid down on the edge of the road. “I haven’t even gotten a chance to have any yet! I came straight to your place when my mom brought them home.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” apologized Maria.
“How was it?”
“I already brushed my teeth when you brought it over, so I didn’t have a slice.”
“Guess we’re in the same boat.”
Maria pulled out her phone and checked the time. “It’s getting pretty late.”
“Yeah. I’m pooped.”
“What do you want to do? Expand our search?”
“Nah,” Kat said, sitting back up. “It’s pointless now. Let’s call it quits for tonight.”
“You sure?” Maria asked.
“At this point I don’t think we’ll find anything just by looking up and down the same stretch of road. I think I’ll try searching elsewhere in the area after I get some rest.”
Maria extended a hand to Kat and helped her up from the ground. “What do you plan to do now?”
Kat shrugged. “I dunno. I figured I’d walk you back home. Least I could do for your help. Afterward… I’m not sure.” She looked up at the moon and the stars between the sporadic clouds. They appeared like someone spread millions of jewels in the sky. “It’s pretty.”
“Hm?” Maria looked up at the night sky. “Yeah, it is.”
“Maybe I’ll find some place to camp for the night. Y’know? Sleep under the stars. I mean, I am a cat now, after all.”
“You are in no way camping outside,” Maria said as a matter of fact.
Kat was caught off guard by how demanding Maria was. “I, uh, was just kidding?”
“I know your ‘I was kidding’ tone. You were actually thinking about sleeping outside somewhere, weren’t you?”
Kat looked away from the intense glare Maria was giving her.
Maria bonked Kat on the head with the back of her hand. “It’s fine if you don’t want to go back to your place for the time being, but if you think I’m gonna let you sleep out in the wilderness without even as much as a sleeping bag, then you’ve got another thing coming.”
“C’mon, Maria. It won’t be that bad.”
“And just where did you plan to sleep?”
Kat glanced away.
“And what about food and water? Were you gonna go down to the creek and suddenly become a fisherman without so much as a fishing line?” Maria asked.
Kat glanced even further away as she began to sweat.
“What about wild animals, huh? How were you going to protect yourself?”
Kat’s neck was starting to strain from how much she was trying to look away from Maria. “Th-things would just… work out. Right?”
“Just like how things worked out when you tried rescuing a kitten from a pack of wild dogs.”
Maria shook her head in disappointment. “You don’t realize how dangerous it can get out here. There’s animals lurking all around us right now, and you don’t even realize it. They could be waiting for the right opportunity to strike you down and eat you.”
Kat stuck her tongue out. “Pffbt! I pffbt your claims! I can see just fine, thank you. In fact, I think my cat eyes are making me see pretty well in the dark! And let me tell you, I don’t see one stinkin’ animal—”
As Kat was talking, Maria picked up a rock and threw it as hard as she could into the small forest next to the road. Dozens of birds flocked out from the trees as a stampede of animals, from raccoons to possums to even a wild pig, burst from the brush in fear of Maria’s rock.
Kat slowly turned around to look at the unsuspecting woods. Her heart was racing as she squinted into the darkness that seemed to envelop the trees and bushes. She wondered how she had not noticed any of them earlier when she was hiding in there.
“Th-th-that was just a f-fluke!” she stammered her words, her fear obvious.
A pack of coyotes howled in the distance. At that moment Kat had latched herself onto Maria.
“Do you still want to sleep out in the woods by yourself?” Maria asked.
Kat rapidly shook her head. “Uh-uh!”
“Alright then,” she said, grabbing Kat’s hand. “Come with me.”
The two started walking toward Maria’s house. “But I can’t stay at your place! Someone will notice me.”
“We’re not going to the house,” Maria assured her.
They entered her family’s property from the road, following the path toward the house. However, they turned toward the location of her family’s barn, where Kat used to play with Maria frequently as kids.
“You’re having me stay in the barn?” Kat complained, already smelling the dozens of animals as the summer wind carried its stench to her. If her options were to risk getting killed by wild animals or having to sleep next to a herd of cows and their smelly poop, she was prepared to risk her life with the wild animals.
“Nah, there’s already a couple barn cats sleeping in there. I don’t think my dad needs another cat to chase after mice.”
“Ha ha,” Kat groaned.
If it wasn’t the barnhouse, then Kat wasn’t sure where they were going. She remembered running out into the field with Maria plenty of times as kids, but she didn’t remember there being anything out there. It was nothing but crops durings the summer.
Further and further the two walked across Maria’s family’s property. The more they walked, the more curious Kat became. She never realized just how big their farm really was. No wonder Maria was always needing to help out, Kat thought. It must take an army just to tend to everything every day!
Just as Kat was starting to become exhausted, ready to give up and simply lay down to sleep where she stood, she spotted a tiny building tucked away at the edge of the field.
It was a small guest house with white vinyl paneling with solar panels covering the roof.
“Whoa!” Kat said, running up to the tiny house. “What is this place?!”
“It’s the guest house for whenever my grandparents from either side of the family come to visit,” Maria answered.
“Was this always here?!”
Kat walked around the house, admiring how cute it was. She then peered through the window, trying to look inside, but it was too dark. “Man! I wish I’d known about it when we were kids! This would’ve been a super fun playhouse!”
“That’s specifically why my dad didn’t want us out here,” Maria said as she went to the fuse box and turned on the power. She then unlocked the front door and flipped on the light.
“Awesome!” she cheered, running into the guest house. There was a futon situated in front of a 40” wide screen TV with satellite, including premium channels. A pair of wing chairs for additional guests sat next to the futon. There was a kitchen separated from the living room by an island cabinet, with a mini fridge and freezer combo, an oven, microwave, and sink. When Kat inspected the contents of the fridge, she was disappointed to find it completely empty.
“There’s no point in keeping food here when there’s nobody visiting,” Maria said.
Kat closed the fridge door. “Fair point.”
The bathroom only had a small standing shower, with the toilet situated right next to it, along with a sink and medicine cabinet. When Kat inspected underneath, she found a couple spare rolls of toilet paper.
“This place is great!” Kat said, collapsing onto the futon. “I could practically live here! Even this futon is super comfy!” she said while burying her face into a pillow and kicking her legs up and down.
Maria turned on a small, window unit AC. She then opened a closet and pulled out a comforter and a couple additional pillows for Kat.
“Toss' em to me!” Kat said, extending her arms.
Doing as told, Maria tossed the comforter and pillows to Kat, who latched onto them. She then rolled around the futon, giggling with delight in a burst of excited energy. Maria watched with a smile as Kat made her bed and climbed underneath the comforter.
“I swear I could just die from coziness,” Kat said. “This is way better than even my own bed!”
“Gotta keep the grandparents happy, or else they’ll come up to the main house and complain all hours of the day and prevent dad from getting anything done.”
Kat picked up the TV remote and turned it on, then started flipping through channels.
“I take it you’ll be okay with being all the way out here on your own?” Maria asked.
“Mhm!” Kat nodded.
“I’ll come by in the morning to bring you something to eat, okay?”
“I’m going to head back to the house and go to bed,” Maria said, opening the door to leave. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Kat replied.
Maria exited the guest house and started to close the door behind her.
“Wait!” Kat called out, sitting up from the futon.
“Yes?” Maria asked.
“Thank you, Maria.”
Maria smiled. “You’re welcome, Kat.” She then closed the door behind her and walked back to the house, debating whether it was worth it to take another quick bath before going to bed or not. When she turned around to look at the guest house, she could see Kat enthusiastically waving to her from inside the window. She waved back, then continued onward.
Kat watched Maria until she was no longer in sight. Alone to her own devices, she hopped back onto the futon and made herself comfortable and flipped through channels on the TV. But after a few minutes of looking for something to watch, she lost interest and turned it off. She took off her top and shorts and placed them on a chair, folded neatly for her to put back on in the morning. With the light turned off, she climbed onto the futon and pulled on the comforter. Her tail poked out from the side, swinging back and forth off the edge of the futon.
As she laid quietly, she rubbed her hands against the fur on her arms as she thought about the events that had transpired in the past few hours. When she tried rolling over, her tail got in the way, forcing her to get up and turn around. This was something she was going to have to get used to.
“I wonder if I’ll be able to find that stupid cat and change back,” she mumbled to herself.
What if I never change back? She thought. What if I spend the rest of my life as a cat, hiding from people? Would my life be technically over? And just as the final summer vacation before my senior year of high school, too. They’ll probably force me to do distant learning too if I don’t show up to school. This sucks.
I wonder what Mom will say when she sees me like this? Hope she doesn’t get too angry with me for disobeying her.
Her stomach growled.
Wish I had gotten to eat a piece of that cake tonight.
As her thoughts continued to bounce around, her mind drifted to sleep as the AC hummed into the night.