***AVAILABLE NOW: Hearts in Exile, Book Three of the stand-alone Tallenmere fantasy romance series from www.melange-books.com.***
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These words were used to describe
the terror that struck my home. Oh sure, at first, I thought the same
things. How could I not? The little
demon even came with its own ball of pink yarn. But that was before… No, I think I better start at the beginning
and let you decide.
“Can we keep her, Daddy?” Brittney’s
eyes sparkled as she hugged the tiny yellow ball of fur which appeared on our
front doorstep that morning.
I looked at her then the cat who
mimicked my daughter’s plea.
I shook my head. “Baby, we can’t
afford a kitten right now.”
Tears filled her hazel globes. My will crumbled. “Oh, all right. But you
have to promise me you will take care of her.”
“I will. I will. I will.” She
hugged me, the kitten smooshed between us. “I love you so much. I’m going to name her Tabitha.”
Tabitha quickly became an extension
of my daughter. Wherever she went, the
cat was never far, even in her bed.
One night, as I tucked my daughter
in and was about to give her a kiss, the kitten growled. It wasn’t one of those cute “look at me, I’m
a ferocious kitten” growls, but a deep menacing rumble. Her eyes were narrowed, her ears laid back,
and her sharp pointed fangs were bared.
I stepped back, stunned. The cat
sat her rump on Brittney’s pink pony blanket and licked her paws as if nothing
I bent to finish my bedtime ritual
when a sharp pain crossed above my brow.
My hand went to my forehead and found it wet. I looked at my reddened
palm then back at Tabitha. She lay
curled up, purring at my daughter’s side.
“Daddy, your head.” Brittney sat
up. “What happened? Are you OK?”
“I… I’ll be fine, Sweetie.” I
returned my hand to the wound. ”Goodnight. Sleep tight.”
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” She
giggled and scooted back under her blankets.
I rushed to the bathroom and turned
on the light. The vanity revealed three
long, narrow scratches. They started at the center of my forehead and
disappeared into the hairline just above my ear. I bandaged it , but the unseen
attack kept me awake for hours.
Later that night, I was woken up
from a crash in my room. My heart leapt,
sure there was an intruder. I rolled out
of bed. My hand found the baseball bat leaning against the wall. I stood in the
dark, searching the shadows. The house was deathly still.
My attention was drawn to two
silver dots glowing above the bureau. Tabitha stood still as a statue in the
center of the dresser. She stared at me.
I waved my hand at her. “Shoo.
Get out of here.”
She hissed and barred her
fangs. Her hair stood on end.
I poked the bat at her. “I said
She jumped to the floor and padded toward
the hallway. At the door, she turned her
head toward me and narrowed her eyes.
I watched shocked and amazed as the
tiny cat ran, with its hind end hopping, toward my girl’s room.
My hand found the toggle and light
flooded my room. I approached the bureau,
noticing right away the portrait of Brittney and I laid flat. The glass
protecting the picture was shattered; the cracks spider webbed out from the
center of my face.
A few hours later, I cooked
breakfast. Saturday was Pancake Day. I
had just flipped a mouse head shaped pancake when a scream rose from upstairs.
My heart thrummed. I’ve never heard such
an ear splitting sound come from my daughter.
I ran up the stairs, turned to
Brittney’s room and smashed through the closed door. My eyes widened. My baby lay on the bed with
the kitten on her chest. The cat’s mouth
was open directly above hers. A green
light flowed from my daughter’s mouth to the feline’s. Brittney’s rigid arms and legs convulsed.
I sprang to the bed and backhanded
the kitten. It was thrown across the
room. I heard a thump as I cradled my
daughter in my arms. I turned to the door.
The kitten stood blocking my
way. I kicked at it.
It jumped to the side then pounced
toward my face. I fell back onto the bed
with a ball of yellow fur blocking my vision.
She bit my nose, scratched at my
ears. With Brittney still in my arms,
all I could do was turn my face.
The cat’s eyes met mine. The once deep brown irises were now emerald
green. I tried to look away, but felt my
body go rigid. I was paralyzed.
Tabitha opened her mouth, revealing
rows of sharp, pointed teeth. A hiss
formed from her open jaws. It reminded
me of air escaping from a punched tire. The jaws closed in on mine. Sharp pain rose from my chest as my breath
was stopped. My sight blurred and
tunneled. I could hear nothing.
A brown shape crossed in front of
my head. I gulped in a breath of air.
The cat had disappeared.
A rhythmic thumping came from the
corner of my daughter’s room. I stood on
shaky legs and looked toward the noise.
Brittney had the baseball bat in
her hand. She raised it above her head
and slammed it down as if driving in a stake.
Red coated the wooden bludgeon and splattered against the once pink
I went to her and saw the remains
of Tabitha laid on the floor. Exceptionally and definitely dead. I grabbed my daughter from behind as she
raised the stick for another attack. She wilted in my arms and cried.
She turned and hugged me
tight. After a moment, she looked up at
me with tears in reddened eyes. “That was a bad kitty.”
I stroked her blonde hair and tried
to comfort her. “Yes she was, but you took care of her.”
TJ Marshall is a father of two adorable girls, a career soldier and a writer of fiction. His first novel, Jacob's Call is a fantasy adventure in the editing stage and is due for release as an Ebook in November 2012. It will be the first installment of The Finder's Tomb trilogy. TJ just entered the world of writing in January 2012 when he enrolled in the F2K creative writing course. Since completing the course, he has gone on to join Writer's Villiage university and plans to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo where he plans to work on the second book in the series.