Chapter 38:


A Kat's (GOD AWFUL!!!) Blessing

Kat gripped the fur on her forehead in frustration as she tapped the eraser end of her pencil on her desk. In front of her was the final exam before the start of winter vacation. Everyone else in class had already finished and headed home, leaving Kat alone with her teacher, Mr. Schlesinger.

Deciding to take her final year of high school more seriously, she put in an effort to be more studious. But years of bad habits are difficult to change despite her best efforts. Especially in just a matter of months.

To make things worse, a video game she was excited for released shortly before the exams, pulling her away from her studies.

She was completely unprepared, second-guessing herself constantly.

Mr. Schlesinger poured himself another cup of coffee from his thermos. He cursed the cold temperature of the classroom, as the heating had already been shut off for the holidays. The rest of the faculty had already left, leaving Mr. Schlesinger in charge of locking up once Kat finished her exam.

“You’re a senior this year, Kat, so don’t expect assistance this time around,” he said.

“I-I know that! I’m not a kid anymore, after all!” she yelled, as she had recently celebrated her 18th birthday the month prior.

Noting the time, she reached into her coat pocket to dig something out. Desperate times call for desperate measures, she thought.

“That better not be a cheat sheet you’re digging out,” Mr. Schlesinger commented.

Kat chuckled. “I would not stoop so low to something as childish as a cheat sheet. I’m not a middle school kid anymore.” She held up her hand. Resting between two claws was a four-sided die.

Not a middle school kid anymore, huh? Mr. Schlesinger thought.

“I’ll leave my fate in the hands of the gods,” Kat said.

“Because you’ve had such great luck when it comes to gods so far,” he commented.

Kat pouted but refrained from commenting on the sarcasm. She had an exam to finish.

Each face on the four-sided die was labeled with a corresponding letter on her answer sheet, which she had written in marker the night before. However, it didn’t account for the fact the multiple-choice questions had five answers to choose from, not four.

Kat began rolling the die to solve the questions, only to pick the fifth option every so often just to be on the safe side.

“Finished!” she cheered. She hopped over to her desk and handed her answer sheet in.

With the exam out of the way, she grabbed her things and got ready to bolt out of the classroom.

“Hold it!”

Kat froze in place.

“Don’t you go yet,” Mr. Schlesinger said as he started grading her answer sheet.

“You didn’t stop anyone else from leaving to grade their exam,” Kat pouted.

“That’s because nobody else does anything as stupid as you do,” he responded. “See? You failed. Try again,” he said, pulling out a new answer sheet.

“Whaaaat?!” Kat whined. “I gotta do it again?!”

“You yourself instructed me to be harder on you this year, so I am. If you want anyone to blame, blame yourself.”

Kat cursed the version of her from the start of the school year. She took the answer sheet and sat back down at her desk, dropping her backpack onto the floor.

It took another hour, but Kat managed to finish the exam legitimately this time.

“Here,” she said, crawling over to Mr. Schlesinger’s desk. “Are you gonna grade it now?” she asked.


She slumped onto the floor. “Great…”

It took only a minute for her exam to be graded.

“Here,” Mr. Schlesinger said, holding the answer sheet before Kat’s face.

“I can’t look,” she said. “I’m too scared about having to retake it a third time.”

“Then be happy about the fact you don’t have to.”

“Because you’re tired of waiting for me to leave so you can go home?”

“Just look at it,” Mr. Schlesinger said, dropping the answer sheet on her face.

Kat slowly squinted her eyes open, fearing the worst. But when she saw her grade, her eyes shot open as she jumped to her feet.

“I made an 83?!” she shouted in disbelief. “B-but how?!”

“It’s because of the effort you’ve put into your work this year,” Mr. Schlesinger smiled. “All you needed was to have a little more faith in yourself and not leave it to chance.” He patted Kat’s head. “Good work this year, Kat.”

Kat was in a state of shock. With each question she never felt confident about what was the correct answer, relying on her guts. It turned out her guts were actually the bits she remembered from studying.

She hugged the answer sheet, then held it up in the air. “It’s a Christmas miracle!!!” she cheered.

“Again, it was because of your effort,” Mr. Schlesinger clarified.

Kat went around his desk and gave him a big hug, along with a quick peck on the cheek. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she said.

She grabbed her backpack and once again prepared to bolt out of the classroom.

“Leave your answer sheet!”

Kat halted, then spun around 900 degrees to hand Mr. Schlesinger her answer sheet.

“Thanks again, Mr. Schlesinger! Happy Hanukkah!”

Mr. Schlesinger wanted to correct Kat that Hanukkah ended two weeks ago, but considering she was in such high spirits, he opted not to.

“Merry Christmas,” he replied.

Kat smiled, then finally escaped from the classroom. She dashed down the darkened halls, her breath visible before her with each huff. Her sneakers squeaked against the floor with each step.

Once at the entrance, she burst through the double doors, where she prepared to leap into the air off the stoop.


She slipped on the slick, ice-covered cement steps, sending her flying upward. She flipped around in the air a few times before falling face-first in a foot of snow.

“You okay?”

Approaching her was a tall figure, clad in a black coat with a dark violet gothic lolita dress puffing out underneath. She held a parasol over the fallen catgirl, saving her from the falling snowflakes.

Kat pushed herself off the ground. Her entire person was white with snow, as it clung to her clothes and fur.

A roar of laughter from a group of kids, each gripping a backpack while dressed warmly for the cold weather.

“Nice faceplant,” Marco commented.

Kat looked up, spotting Maria’s siblings and Isabella laughing at her misfortune. Carlos walked over to Kat, worried if she was hurt.

After standing up, she violently shook the snow off her.

“Hey!!!” they all whined while laughing as they were hit with snow.

“How long were you guys waiting for me?” Kat asked.

“A long time!” Isabella chided her. “We were finished with school hours ago! What took you so long!”

“Now, now,” Maria said, calming her down. “Us older kids have difficult exams right before vacation.”

“Then how come you were out here before any of us, yet Kat was the last one out?” Patricia asked.

The twins rubbed their noses. “Cuz Kat’s stupid, unlike Maria,” they said in unison.

“Why you…” Kat hissed, gripping a fist.

Just then, Mr. Schlesinger walked out of the school building, where he noticed everyone was still gathered around the entrance. “There’s a snowstorm coming this way in another hour or so, so you kids get home. Alright?”

“Okaaaay,” the siblings and Isabella said.

The group watched Mr. Schlesinger lock up the front doors before making his way to the school parking lot.

“Have a splendid new year,” Maria said.

“Yeah! Happy new year!” Kat said afterward.

Taking a cue from the two, the kids also wished Mr. Schlesinger a happy new year.

He turned around, smiled, then waved goodbye.

“Mr. Schlesinger’s right. It won’t be good if we’re stuck out here when the storm hits, so let’s hurry home.”

The gang started making their way home. Maria’s siblings and Isabella would sometimes rush ahead and play for a bit before Maria and Kat caught up. Isabella would crouch in the snow and leap at the other kids, pretending to be a snow monster.

“Got any plans for winter vacation?” Kat said, resting her hands behind her head.

“Just celebrate Christmas with the extended family like every year. Though we’re inviting The Kingdom of Cats to join us this time. There are quite a few family members who’ve been dying to meet Isabella.”

“I bet,” Kat said. “She’s adorable, after all.”

“How about you?”

“Going to see my grandparents on my dad’s side.” She then puffed out her chest and hit it with her fist as an act of bravado. “It’ll be the first time going into the big city since the transformation!”

“Ah,” Maria replied. “You worried about causing a stir?”

“I think it’ll be fun!” she answered. “In fact, my grandparents still don't know I’m a catgirl! I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they take a look at me! It’s gonna be hilarious!”

“Don’t go giving them heart attacks.”

“Trust me. It’ll take more than that to give them heart attacks,” Kat assured.

“Mom going too?” Maria asked.

Kat grimaced. “Nah. You know how she gets around them.”

Maria nodded. “You’ve really gotten used to being a catgirl, huh.”

Kat turned to Maria, tilting her head in confusion.

“It’s just you haven’t been all ‘I wanna change back noOoOow!!!’ for a while now.”

“Well, I mean, I kinda got tired of that after a while. Whining wasn’t gonna speed things up. Nothing I can do except wait and continue living my life to the fullest!”

“Yeah,” Maria said. “That’s a good attitude to have.”

Kat giggled.

“Mariaaaa!” cried out Veronica.

“What is it, sweetie?” Maria asked.

“Mail truck!” she answered, pointing to a mail truck down the road, turned at an odd angle.

“Uh oh,” Maria said.

Kat handed her backpack to Maria. “I’ll go check it out!”

With that, Kat ran on all fours, dashing over to the mail truck with incredible speed.

“Huh. Weird,” she said as she approached the abandoned mail truck. It appeared to have gotten stuck in a pothole, unable to get enough traction due to the snowy weather. Several inches of snow had fallen on top of the truck, making her assume it had been there for a while now.

Going over to the side door, she saw the faint remnants of tiny footprints leaving the truck, trudging forward down the road. The footprints eventually came to a stop at an abnormally shaped pile of snow.

Kat reached into the pile of snow, grabbed onto something, and hoisted it out of the snow.

“What happened to you, Post Cat?” she asked.

Shivering in her hands was a black and white cat wearing a mail carrier uniform. It was once considered a god, but the cat had used its powers recklessly, thereby having them temporarily revoked. Wanting to make amends to the community it had wreaked havoc on, it had taken a job at the post office to act as the town’s mail carrier, as the one before was near retirement. It was quick to learn and managed to handle its new job well, adopting the name Post Cat.

“Ma-ma-mail tr-truck g… g-got stuck… Couldn’t-t-t mo-move it, so dec-c-c-cided to hoof it…” Post Cat sneezed repeatedly into Kat’s face.

Maria and the others soon approached the scene.

“What happened?” Maria asked.

“Seems the mail truck got stuck and Post Cat decided to try to walk to town.”

“With how underdressed you are?” Maria said, criticizing Post Cat’s attire.

It wore a long sleeve shirt and slacks as per its uniform but lacked any sort of real coat to help protect from the snow.

“Don’t they have one for you at the post office?” Kat asked.

Post Cat shook its head. “N-nothing in my-my size… I thought i-it would be fine a-a-a-anyway. B-but then the sn-snow started c-c-c-coming down…” It let out another huge sneeze.

“Come here,” Maria said, taking Post Cat from Kat and wrapping it insider her coat. She shivered briefly from the cold, then shook it off. “Isabella, go on ahead and alert my dad.”

Isabella saluted Maria. “Roger!” she said before making a break to Maria’s house.

“T-th-thank y-you,” Post Cat said. “B-but the mail! It n-needs to b-b-be delivered…!”

“You’re in no condition to deliver mail! You almost froze to death!”

Kat turned back to where she had pulled Post Cat from the snow, where she found a mail satchel.

“I’ll finish up your route!” Kat said. “You go get warmed up at Maria’s!”

“O-o-ok-okay…” Post Cat said before letting out another sneeze.

Kat gave a thumbs up, then peeled off from Maria and her siblings, who quickly made their way to their house to help Post Cat.

As Kat walked down the empty road, swinging the mail satchel back and forth from her shoulder, she looked at the neighboring fields blanketed white by snow. Icicles hung off the barbed wire fence, bobbing around in the frigid wind.

Looking behind her, she saw the dark grey clouds moving closer to town.

“I better hurry,” she said, picking up the pace.

When she turned back to look where she was going, something caught her eye. Amidst the world of white and gray stood a tiny figure on a wooden post, wearing a pink robe. It held a crimson-colored umbrella above its head, shielding itself from the falling snow.

“What is that?” Kat wondered aloud as she continued down the road.

Initially, she thought it was some sort of large doll that someone placed on the wooden post. But the umbrella resting above it spun back and forth, indicating it was indeed alive.

Even weirder was the fluffy, dark orange fur-covered tail with horizontal stripes of a lighter shade that moved back and forth out from underneath the robe.

When Kat got close, the figure seemed to notice Kat approaching and turned to face her.

The face of the figure was that of a red panda with a blue jeweled clip stuck next to its ear. Up close, Kat realized that the robe it wore was a kimono.

“Um…” the red panda said, looking directly into Kat’s eyes. Its white whiskers rustling in the wind. “I don’t suppose you’re acquainted with a cat deity, are you?”

Kat was astounded by the bipedal, kimono-wearing, apparently-able-to-speak-perfect-English red panda.

Is this another god?!

“Hey!” Kat yelled, startling the creature. “You wouldn’t happen to be able to undo that god’s blessing, would you?!”

The red panda almost tumbled off the wooden post but managed to regain its balance. “I, um,” its voice squeaked. “I see… Well, no. Only a deity who grants a blessing can be the one to undo a blessing.”

“Figures. Thanks anyway.” Kat continued walking by, leaving the red panda behind her.


The satchel on Kat’s shoulder suddenly fell to the snow. Its strap had been cut cleanly.

Suddenly, a katana blade pierced the air next to Kat’s head, where it rested on her shoulder, turned toward her neck.

“It is impolite to ignore deities like that,” the red panda said, its voice dropping several octaves. Its voice now resembled that of a femme fatale; a seductress ready to plunge her blade into her victim’s heart.

Slowly, Kat turned her head, where she found the red panda effortlessly perched upon the barbed wire fence. Its eyes struck fear in Kat, sending a shiver down her spine. Any sudden movement could send that blade slicing through her neck.

“One look at you tells me you’re acquainted with The Cat God,” the red panda said. “So tell me, where is--”

Suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew across the fields. The red panda swayed back and forth on the barbed wire fence, struggling to keep balance; its arms swinging around in circles.

“Whoa!” it cried out in its original high pitched voice, as it accidentally tossed its katana into the air while its face planted in the snow.

The katana fell mere inches from Kat’s face before piercing the broken satchel and getting stuck in the frozen ground.

Not wanting to stick around, Kat made a run for it.

“Hey! Wait!” the red panda yelled, struggling out of the snow. “I just want to talk!”

“I’ve had enough problems dealing with you deities! I don’t want anymore, so leave me alone!” Kat yelled without stopping.

The red panda scrambled to its katana and pulled it out from the ground. “Get back here!” it yelled, chasing after Kat.

Kat ran as fast as she could, with the red panda refusing to give up.

“Aaahhh!” Kat yelled. “I’m tired of dealing with you darn gods!”