A Kat's (GOD AWFUL!!!) Blessing
Thus began a cat and mouse game: every single cat in the Kingdom of Cats versus Kat. She left the basement, only to run into a group of cats blocking the doorway she came through earlier, forcing her into another part of the house. Anything not nailed to the floor was tossed about as Kat scrambled to dodge a near-constant barrage of attacks. The house falling apart around her didn’t help matters either, as more of the floor collapsed into the basement, or bits of the ceiling would drop whenever she crashed. A few times she wound up going through a wall, destroying it.
The longer the chase went on, the more the house became irreparably damaged. It was a miracle that it had the strength to keep standing, which could be attested to the builders who erected the house to begin with. One has to imagine how they’d felt seeing their work ruined in such a ridiculous fashion after years of neglect.
Kat found herself surrounded by a group of cats with nowhere left to run. She desperately looked for a way out, but every single doorway and hole in a wall was guarded by an opposing cat.
“We got ya now!” yelled one of the cats.
Scared out of her mind by the impending onslaught, she looked up as if to pray for help from a higher being. What she saw was a giant hole in the ceiling, leading to the roof. Whether it was sheer luck or a gift from the heavens to the poor catgirl is up to debate. Nevertheless, she jumped at the last possible moment before a series of flying cats would’ve made contact with her.
“Oof!” they said as they rammed and clawed each other by accident.
On the roof, Kat carefully ran across the rickety tiles toward the edge of the roof. Before she jumped off, she saw a group of cats anticipating her leap.
“Yikes!” she cried, running to the opposite end of the house.
Again, she was met with a group of cats waiting for her to come down.
No matter where she looked, she was completely surrounded. There was nowhere left for her to run.
Lightning flashed in the distance, followed by a rumble.
“Come on! There’s about to be a severe thunderstorm! Can’t you just let me go home?!”
Boss hopped onto the roof before her. He glared up at her, his claws digging into the tiles of the roof.
“It seems that my leniency towards you has revealed your true colors,” Boss said.
“No no no!” Kat cried out. “You got it all wrong! I was just trying to escape quietly! Not completely tear up the place!”
“And that is supposed to make your situation better?”
Kat stumbled over her words. “Okay! Yeah! I guess it is bad! But you gotta listen! There’s a huge storm on the way! This place is going to fall apart!”
Boss lunged at Kat, who dodged out of the way.
“I can perfectly see the approaching storm,” Boss remarked. “Do you take me for being blind and deaf?!” He lunged at Kat again.
“That’s not at all what I’m getting at!” she cried, barely managing to get out of the way.
Time and time again, Boss assaulted Kat, which led her to either dodging or taking the full brunt of the attack.
As the fight stretched on, the wind began to pick up, bringing with it a drizzle of rain. A few of the cats who watched from the ground began making their way toward the surrounding trees so as not to get drenched from the incoming downpour. It wasn’t long before all the strays in the Kingdom of Cats watched Boss and Kat battle from a distance.
The two grew tired as the fight stretched on and on. They both breathed heavily as their movements grew sloppier. Boss started landing more hits compared to when he started, but the lack of energy made them less effective.
Finally, after what seemed like was going to be a never-ending duel, the two stood at opposite ends of the roof. Both were completely exhausted by this point, with neither having the stamina to keep going. More lightning struck as it began to shower, eventually becoming a downpour. The roof was slicker than ever, with sheens of light reflecting off the tiles with each bolt of lightning.
Boss had never encountered such an opponent. One who could match his abilities. It was almost exhilarating, in a way. But it had to end eventually. This was to be his last strike. If he couldn’t take down Diabolus Calico, then he’ll have failed all the strays who looked up to him. Who sought him for protection and leadership.
Kat, meanwhile, was wondering how much longer was it going to take before her mom came to pick her up.
“It seems the two of us are on our last legs,” Boss commented between exhausted pants.
Kat, who too was panting heavily, nodded.
“All you’ve done was dodge my attacks this entire fight! It leads me to believe you’ve been holding back this entire time!”
Kat shrugged. “I just didn’t want to hurt you. I mean, I’m human, and you’re a cat.”
Boss erupted in laughter. “You believe yourself to be human?!” Just as quickly as he started to laugh, he ceased. “Though I will admit, that would answer some peculiarities regarding you.”
“Well, it’s true! I was a regular human up until the start of this summer when I was transformed by this cat god! In fact, that’s why I’ve been chasing you guys all summer! I’ve wanted to know if any of you stray cats knew where the cat god likes to hang out!”
“A cat god?” Boss repeated quizzically. “Does such a being exist?”
“Aw, come on!” Kat yelled in anger, throwing up her arms. “You mean you’ve never heard of it either?!”
“If one exists, then none of my brothers and sisters are aware of it. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, however, and accept your story that you were once human and that this ‘cat god’ turned you into what you are now.”
“Well, thanks for understanding,” Kat said. “In that case, can we call this nonsense off? I never wanted to fight or anything. And since you guys don’t know anything about the cat god, then there’s no reason for me to be here anymore.”
Boss got into an attacking stance. “I can’t allow our duel to end in such a manner.”
“But you just accepted that I’m human, right? Or did I mishear you?” she asked.
“No, I believe you. Which gives me all the more reason for me to take you down.”
Kat took a step back. “Wait, what?! How the heck did you come to that conclusion?!”
“It is because of you humans that we’ve had to endure such pain and suffering for all these years. You lash out at us when we mind our own business. Drive us away when we try searching for food. You kidnap us and haul us away in your vehicles. And, worst of all…” He hesitated for a moment, dwelling on a past memory. “You pretend to love us, then promptly abandon us.”
Kat was confused. “Huh?”
“When we are young and innocent, you humans adore us. Shower us with love. Pet us every night and show us love and comfort. Yet, without warning, you place us in a box and drop us into a creek to drown.”
Kat was horrified by what she heard. “...What?”
Boss relaxed his stance while lowering his head. “I was just a young kitten,” he said in a hushed tone. “My blood brothers and sisters, having only experienced life for a short time, were taken away from our mother and stuffed into a box, with the opening sealed shut. I cannot tell you exactly what happened afterward, but I remember the sound of a car, and the cries of my siblings wanting to be free. Then… we fell from a great height into a body of water. The box tumbled around, everyone crying, trying to scratch their way free. But water started leaking inside…
“The next thing I remember was waking up along the side of the creek, not far from here. I don’t know how far I drifted, or my siblings' fates. What came next was the most painful year of my life. Every day was a fight for survival. Many times I went to bed starving, thinking that was the last time I would see the moonlight, only to find myself having escaped death’s grasp yet again. It took a long time, but I got stronger. I soon met others with misfortune similar to my own. Soon, we banded together and created a family who would help each other. Protect one another. Find other strays in need of help and give them a home. The Kingdom of Cats would become our sanctuary.”
Boss had been so preoccupied with his story that he hadn’t noticed Kat approaching him.
He felt her pounce him.
Oh. It seems I had let my guard down as I got lost in my memories. Maybe I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. Well, if this is to be my fate, then so be it. I only pray that someone stronger, better suited as a leader than I, could take over and protect everyone.
“I’m so sorry,” Kat said as she embraced him, tears mixing with the rain as they fell down her whiskers.
Boss froze, not knowing what to do in the face of this sudden display of sympathy.
“Those people who did that to you were jerks!” Kat cried. “They deserve all the hate!”
He felt comforted and safe within Kat’s arms. The gentle strokes of her hands across his head freed him momentarily from the pressure and stress he’s had to endure acting as leader of the Kingdom of Cats.
When he first saw Kat, the notorious Diabolus Calico, he had a suspicion that she wasn’t the monster everyone had thought of her to be. Now he had confirmation. He relaxed his tense muscles as he allowed himself to be swept up in Kat’s display of sincere kindness. “I do not know what makes you different, but maybe if I had encounters with more humans like yourself growing up, maybe things would’ve been different.”
“There’s other kind people out there,” she said, thinking about her family and friends, and all the townspeople who have shown kindness to her throughout her life.
There was a loud creaking noise as the roof started to lean. Before Kat and Boss could react, the dilapidated house collapsed underneath their feet. Kat let out a scream as the two plummeted amidst the falling debris.
The stray cats watched in horror as their home fell apart before their eyes with their leader.
Ignoring the rain, they quickly ran to the ruins, fearing for Boss’ life.
Sitting in the bottom of the basement, surrounded by piles of fallen debris, was Kat and Boss, holding onto one another in shock from their near-death experience.
“Holy crap!” they both said in unison.
They looked at one another, checking to make sure the other wasn’t seriously injured. A sigh of relief escaped them when they learned the other was okay and then began to laugh loudly. All the strays began cheering, relieved that Boss was safe and sound.
Kat put Boss down next to her. “Man! That was crazy! I can’t believe we got out unscathed.”
“Speak for yourself,” came a voice from within the debris.
Kat jumped in surprise, only to recognize the voice. “Frank!” she yelled, grabbing pieces of the fallen house and moving them aside.
Underneath the table in the basement was Frank, rubbing his head in a daze. Despite everything that fell on top of it, the table managed to hold up, saving Frank’s life.
“Are you all right?!” Boss asked.
Frank crawled out, no worse for wear. “Yeah. I’m alright. But jeez! You sure did a number to this place,” he said, looking up at Kat.
Kat let out an embarrassed laugh. “Um, yeah… Say, why don’t we get out of this pit?” She then picked up both Frank and Boss and jumped from the exposed basement.
The stray cats quickly gathered around Boss and Frank to see if they were alright while glaring at Kat with hatred. Some hissed at her.
“Cease your anger!” commanded Boss. “While she did harass us for the past several weeks, it was all due to a misunderstanding.”
Boss went about explaining what Kat had told him about simply wanting to ask about the cat god, while Kat apologized profusely for having scared them so much.
“I don’t expect you to forgive me so soon, but I hope one day we’ll be able to put this past us and become friends,” Kat said.
“Friends nothing!” yelled a stray. “You just destroyed our home!”
The mob of strays agreed and began yelling at her for her part in the building’s destruction.
After a minute of Kat failing to try and calm them down, Boss shouted at the mob once more. “Silence!”
The strays obeyed.
“The building was always in disrepair,” Boss said. “What happened tonight was always an inevitability. Sure, Kat had sped its destruction sooner than we would have liked, we should be thankful that nobody was seriously injured, or worse!”
The mob calmed down, murmuring amongst themselves that it was true the place was pretty much a hazard. And they agreed it was a miracle that almost nobody was still inside when it came down. If it had happened at any other time, the injuries and deaths would have been devastating to the Kingdom of Cats.
Despite the assurance that she wasn’t completely responsible, Kat still felt terrible at having destroyed their home during a severe storm. She felt like she had to do something to make amends.
“Oh!” she exclaimed. “I got it!”
“I sure hope my car isn’t getting scratched up,” Kat’s mom said as she drove down the abandoned road. Bushes and overgrowth had been reclaiming its territory, which made driving difficult as a constant barrage of branches would rub up the side of the car. To make things worse, the rain had gotten more intense in the past few minutes, making it difficult for her to see where she’s going. Even with the floodlights on, she could barely make out the remains of the road.
Ludwig sat on the dashboard, looking ahead. Whenever a roar of thunder shook the car, he’d jump, but got right back to looking onward.
“You’re really worried, huh?” Kat’s mom asked.
Ludwig didn’t respond.
“Yeah. This storm really is picking up. But I’m sure Kat managed to find a spot to keep safe.”
By that point, it had been forty-five minutes since she sent the text to Kat that she was coming to get her. Kat’s mom had seriously underestimated the conditions of the road combined with the rain.
“I should’ve gone earlier,” she said as her car bounced from the potholes.
Finally, she arrived at the house. Or at least what was once a house.
“What the?!” she yelled, seeing the collapsed pile of rubble before her. She anxiously buttoned up her raincoat, pulled over the hood, and flipped on her emergency flashlight. “Stay here,” she told Ludwig.
Kat’s mom got out of the car and walked over to the fallen house, shining a light on it. She cursed the rain, which made it difficult for her to see if there were any signs of life.
“Kat!?” she yelled.
“Mom!” she heard a yell from behind her.
Relieved from hearing her daughter’s voice away from the collapsed building, she turned around. “Kat!” she called out to the dark shadow underneath a large oak tree. “You there?!”
Lightning flashed, illuminating dozens of pairs of eyes crowded together underneath the tree, with one pair significantly higher than the other.
She dropped her flashlight in surprise as the deafening thunder echoed from the distance. When she quickly picked up the flashlight and pointed under the tree, she saw dozens of cats huddled closely around her daughter.
“Their house fell apart!” Kat yelled. “Would it be okay if they weathered out the storm at our place?”
All the stray cats began meowing as if pleading to Kat’s mom.
“Uh…” she said, confused by the question amidst the spectacle. Another stroke of lightning snapped her out of it. “Sure! Sure! Get in the car!”
It was an incredibly cramped ride, but the entirety of the Kingdom of Cats squished themselves into the car. With Kat’s suggestion, Boss commanded everyone to leave ample room around her mom so she could focus on driving safely. The AC roared to keep the inside cool as the humidity mixed with a large number of animals in the car made it stuffy.
Once they arrived home, Kat escorted all of the strays upstairs and helped dry everyone off as Ludwig tearfully gave away all the cat food that was in the cupboard. Kat’s mom, while initially loving the idea of having a bunch of adorable cats staying in her home, quickly ran around making sure they didn’t knock anything over or get into anything they shouldn’t. The last thing she wanted was all her work to get covered in a carpet of cat fur.
Early next morning, just as the sun was starting to rise over the rain-soaked town, Boss and the Kingdom of Cats got ready to take their leave.
“You sure you guys are going to be okay?” Kat asked, wearing her oversize t-shirt pajamas so as not to be indecent around Boss and the others.
“We will be fine,” Boss said. “It might take some time to find ourselves a new home, but we are a resourceful bunch.”
“What about that idea I suggested last night? I could ask the townspeople to help build you all a new place to live. I’m sure if we call the property owners, we could put it where the old house used to be.”
Boss shook his head. “I appreciate the thought, but we are still leery of human trust. If we were to allow them to build us a home, they would know of our location. While I understand not all humans are as sinister as the ones who have abandoned us or attacked us, I feel it will be safer if our home is kept a secret from them. And from you as well.”
“Aww! Why? I wanna come visit!” Kat objected.
“You may be one of us, Kat, but you are also human. When the day comes that you accomplish your quest of finding the cat god and transforming back into fully human, you will no longer be our sister.”
Ludwig stepped outside with a loud yawn. “I’m sure you’ll be tempted to show people the Kingdom of Cats if you knew,” Ludwig said.
“I would not!” Kat yelled. But after thinking about it, she relented. “Okay, yeah. I’d be super tempted to show Maria.”
“So you understand?” Boss asked.
“Yeah, yeah. That’s fine. But don’t be strangers around me and run off! Okay? Be sure to say hi to me! Oh, and if you ever have any problems with anyone from town, come find me. I’ll talk to them on your behalf.”
Boss bowed, with the rest of the strays shortly after. “Thank you for the kindness you showed us despite our acts of hostility toward you.”
Kat rubbed the back of her neck. “Yeah, well, it was partly my fault for spooking all of ya.”
“If we ever come across anything regarding the cat god, I will personally come to let you know.”
“Thanks! I really appreciate it!”
“Take care, Katherine Lily Jones,” Boss said before leading the pack of cats away from town.
Kat waved goodbye as she watched her newfound friends ventured off to find themselves a new home. She was disappointed she couldn’t help them but agreed it was for the best. Besides, she knew they were a resilient bunch. They’ll be fine.
“They heading out?” Kat’s mom said, stepping outside in her robe with a cup of coffee in hand.
“Yeah. They said they’re going to find a new Kingdom of Cats.”
Kat’s mom placed a hand on Kat’s shoulder. “Sure was fun having a house full of cats for the night.”
“But now comes the fun part!” her mom said cheerfully.
“The fun part?”
“They left a heck of a mess for you to clean up.”
“Whaaaat?!” Kat whined. “You’re not gonna help?!”
“It was all your fault to begin with, so you need to see it through.”
From early that morning until late that afternoon, Kat begrudgingly cleaned the entirety of the house until it was completely spotless. And then to top it all off, she was sent off to restock all of Ludwig’s cat food using her own allowance as punishment.