It's that time once again.
The preparation and planning has been glorious. Though it is the same record I've played over and over for millennia beyond millennia, it is no longer broken. I have managed to ripen the mix and stir until it is an entirely new recipe. As petite and distastefully helpless as this form is, I am still an animal and can enjoy my bestial instincts that allow me to suffer pleasure in my kill.
So unappealing is this fragile form humans bare, however; to pity them is to offer a luxury they do not deserve. Their flaws and weaker forms aside, there is work to be done. One paw upon his chest; my nose to his; a single breath and his soul is mine to harbor.
Beatrix kicked the aging envelopes aside as she attempted to leap across the unwelcoming welcome mat. Her unnatural perfectionism beginning to overwhelm her, she knelt down as she stepped into the house, folding wads of unopened mail beneath her arms. She scoffed angrily at herself and her father's negligence. Once again she arrived at his home only to find the expected - he never left.
She stumbled inside, her face drawn with agitation. She brushed her long, brunette hair aside and straightened her dress suit. Her black flats tapped across the wood floor as she entered her childhood home.
"Dad? They'll turn off your electricity again if you forget to pay your bills." She shook her head in disdain as she continued inward. "Forget?" She mumbled to herself, "That's a laugh. More like, 'decided not to'." As her shoes tapped across the floor, she opened her mouth to yell at him once more when a small flash of white caught her eye.
Glancing around the corner of the hall, she stumbled slightly recognizing her father's brown, no-hassle tassels standing on their heels. She ran to the living room doorway where her father's bloated body laid cringing, with a small, erect white cat standing regally upon his stomach. The cat stared at her ferociously with vehement anger and frustration. She scowled severely, dropping to her knees beside her father, assuming he had passed out once again. She shook her father harshly, forcing the feline to abandon his post.
The cat stood beside them both witnessing the young woman's scowl turn into a frantic grimace. As a look of understanding washed over her, the white cat watched her stand abruptly, rushing for a nearby phone. While she reached for a cordless phone nestled in the hallway, the cat growled slightly, and retook his place atop Clifton Jennings. As he kneaded his paws into his chest and began to resume his work the young woman scowled from the hallway. She screamed about her father paying his "Goddamn phone bill", and she rushed back through the foyer towards the front door.
As she passed by her father's fading body, she swept the crouching feline into her arms, and sprinted towards her car. She pressed the cat into her chest where it remained helplessly nestled as she dug through her purse for a phone. Listening to the woman's even words as she explained the situation to a 911 service, the feline could not resist the urge to nuzzle into her embrace. Whether it was by instinct or desire, the small cat could not help but think, "Being held isn't so unpleasant."
Beatrix and her small companion sat at her family's kitchen table with naturally proper posture. She caressed the cat slowly as her older sister and three younger brothers surrounded her with mournful glances. The white cat found himself leaning into her embrace and watched the scene unfold eagerly despite the fact that his work was already done.
Beatrix fiddled with his license as her tearful sister scoffed, "Get that disgusting thing off mom's table. Since when has dad had a cat!?" Beatrix's eyes were menacing as she ignored her sister's order. "He's had him for months now. You'd know that if you ever came to see him. And that disgusting thing's name is Mort." The entity residing in the small cat allowed a purr to escape his throat as he too stared at the weaker human.
Before the brothers could interrupt her, Beatrix's older sister began to weep. "I'm not the one who hated him, Bea! I never understood why you came back at all. You were the one who always wanted him dead. Well, wish granted." The young woman's brothers pulled their older sister back, as they attempted to change the subject. The older of the three motioned towards Beatrix, "How have you been Bea? Still working for that editor?"
Obnoxiously, the younger brother interrupted, "Yea Bea-itch. Still trying to write?" As her other siblings snickered and tried to politely stifle their laughter, Bea released her frustration that had been building upon tripping over unopened mail. "No, and how can I?! I've been stuck nursing your deadbeat father!"
"Our father?" Her enraged sister yelled, "He was your father, too."
As the humans wasted their time arguing over who would get their childhood home, and who would pack their father's belongings, the small cat chuckled to himself as he politely cleaned his paws. "Deadbeat, what a charming idiom. Yes, he is quite dead."
Beatrix numbly set about boxing dishes and folding kitchen towels. Despite her lack of compassion, it was for this reason that she was volunteered by her siblings to pack her father's things. After all, the rest of them would be too overwhelmed by grief to finish the work in a timely fashion.
Dressed as comfortably as possible, the tall, lean young woman pulled her hair back into a ponytail, and straightened her black tank top and gray sweat pants. Her toes curled against the linoleum as she opened the refrigerator. Soon she found herself scowling. As the small white cat that had followed her all morning stepped into the kitchen, she slammed the refrigerator door. He sat on the cold linoleum, calmly observing her reaction.
She responded to his interest as if he'd asked a question. "Bastard still hasn't changed. More beer in his fridge than food. Actually, no food at all. Just alcohol." She slammed her fists against the countertop, her form seething with disgust. The cat curled around her feet as if silently agreeing with the furious mortal. He purred to himself, growing more and more attached to the empowered young woman.
She shook away her anger long enough to approach the nearby pantry. The cat followed her towards the opening door, staring at the pounds of cat food and other feline necessities as Beatrix released a sarcastic laugh. "Seems he cared more about you than us, Mort. After mom died, we never had food. He'd spend all his money on alcohol and let us go hungry." The cat glanced up at her inquisitively. She smiled, "At least you weren't mistreated."
Beatrix slowly closed the door and retreated towards the living room. The cat paused for a moment, surprised by his own feelings of pity. He had only taken possession of the cat's body two days ago, but already he regretted the feline's attachment to the dead man. Without even trying, he was on the tempting woman's bad side.
He raced after her into the next room where Beatrix stood staring coldly at a large, leather recliner with a coaster atop its armrest. He approached slowly and stood next to her, staring at the aging furniture. "For the past few months he would always be sitting in that chair passed out. Every time I'd walk in the door, all I had to do was follow the smell to this room. Yesterday I just knew he would be sitting in that chair. I was so sure."
The cat rubbed against her, sharing in her disgust. She brushed a few loose strands away from her face. Slowly Beatrix began to smile experiencing a slightly cheerful memory.
"When mom was alive this chair told a different story. I would come sit in his lap and read my parents a poem I had just written. They would both praise it and smile at each other. Then he would give me a hug and kiss my cheek." The smile slowly began to fade, "When mom died I would try the same thing; I tried to show him a poem or two. He was always so drunk he would rip them to shreds. No matter what, he would rip my poems. Eventually I learned to keep them to myself after about the fifth time he tore them apart in front of me."
Catching a large stain in the corner of her eye, she turned her back to the scene, scowling heatedly. "He'd always dropped his scotch when he fell asleep. That damn coaster was such a joke. He and his beer always ended up on the floor." She picked up the small animal and caressed its chin as she retreated to a new room. She needed to work, but contrary to her siblings' assumption, she too was overwhelmed by memories - just not grief-stricken ones.
This attachment has grown exponentially the last few days. Unexpectedly my interest was piqued. For some reason, instead of following my predestined schedule, I stayed. At first it was only a playful curiosity, perhaps amplified by my temporary form's natural inquisitiveness. As time passed I found myself relating to this mortal. A fragile being who will never possibly understand eternity and the meaninglessness in emotions, yet I find her beautiful.
In a few days a mortal woman has filled this void of loneliness. Her disgust for weaker constitutions in others; her perfectionism and focus to the task at hand; all her qualities that make her seem cold add to her tempting characteristics that may be the end of me.
For millennia I have accepted my lot in eternity. I've understood that it comes with a mandatory existence filled with loneliness. But for millennia I have not noticed its overwhelming effects until I met someone who I didn't want to lose. Never have I been tempted to break the laws of the universe. Never have I been tempted to change the rules for anyone, not even my own desires.
Now I will risk my existence and threaten my position with the maker for this woman. Mostly out of my selfish desire to no longer be alone, I will take this woman's soul decades ahead of schedule. Never have I been so tempted and hopefully never shall I be again. It's not the first time my choices have sent ripples through history and predestined time. Thankfully, her levelheaded attitude and smalls flaws will be enough to cure my eternal loneliness. And then never again will I allow myself to be tempted.
She'll be grateful to leave this place. I know she will.
Mort contemplated the beginning of their journey as he entered the master bedroom. Trotting gracefully into the dimly lit room he sighed at Beatrix's once again anger-filled form. She sat atop the left side of her parents' king-sized bed staring coldly at a large black bible atop a nearby nightstand. The cat leapt onto the small folds along the bedspread, sitting beside her as he rubbed his head into her open hands. Soon he would whisk them away to his home in eternity, but for now he would let her release her decades old anger.
Beatrix grabbed the bible forcibly, her anger seething through her finger tips. Her fists clenched the large book, turning her knuckles a ghostly white. She scowled as she glanced at Mort's large, blue, genuinely curious eyes.
"This was his hollow Bible. Even when he wasn't such a drunk there was always a bottle of whiskey here. He would joke with my mother when family came over. 'All I need to make it through the day is right here.' Then he'd touch the bible and my mom would snicker. They didn't realize
how bad it would get." She caressed the book's cover as a memory of her mother flashed through her mind. Mort was startled by this momentary weakness, but sensed that their departure was coming. Soon she wouldn't have to worry about regret or deceased loved ones. Soon she wouldn't need those memories, just him.
As long dead tears began to form in her eyes, Beatrix shook away the momentary lapse and opened the large book's cover. Her eyes widened and she gasped slightly finding herself, for once, genuinely surprised. Mort leaned his head slowly, wondering what had changed her angered demeanor so quickly.
The young woman's hands shook slightly as she lifted a small stack of papers from her father's whiskey stash. Instead of a large bottle of alcohol, Beatrix found her father's makeshift photo album. Sorting through the papers slowly, she smiled at the large photos of her nieces and nephews. They reminded her of how much she loved them despite her siblings' hostility. She set them aside and whimpered slightly at the sight of a large aging photo of her mother.
It was wrinkled and yellow, but still somehow managed to capture her mother's timeless beauty. Covering her mouth to stifle a whimper, her eyes widened once more when she noticed something still remaining in the hollowed Bible. Mort gazed on as Beatrix lifted a stack of haphazardly taped documents. Along the notebook pages were multiple rips and creases awkwardly covered with large amounts of tape. Scrawled with a weak hand were multiple lines and stanzas, emulating a younger Bea's childhood poetry. The young woman soon realized that it wasn't just emulating, they were her poems from so long ago.
Staring with disbelief, she hugged the poetry to her chest. "That bastard. He lied to me. All this time acting like he didn't care about us, acting like his love for us died with his wife. But he kept them, he kept all of us right here."
Tears that she had fought so hard to keep contained fell along her cheeks and splashed atop her sweat pants. Mort stared, his mind reeling from the unexpected turn of events. His small paws backed away slightly as this unexpected wave of emotion overcame his tempting muse. An eternity of wisdom could not prepare him for this instant change of emotion. As Beatrix wept for her mother, her siblings, and even the forgotten love she had for her father, the eternal entity came to a realization.
"She does not hate them. She pities them as I do. But it's not pity for their existence, it's pity for their souls. She loves them as I love her."
Beatrix smiled weakly as she cradled the bewildered cat in her arms. She rubbed her chin against his ears as he curled into her embrace. "I think I understand now, Mort. He was so miserable and alone. He alienated himself and died with nothing but memories. And I'm just like him." Mort's piercing blue eyes stared into hers, begging her not to continue.
She smiled at his possessed form, "It's different now, though. Because of him, I won't end up like that. I'm not going to die alone." The young woman released the white cat gently, reaching for her cell phone. She stood slowly, inhaling a deep breath as she neared a sunlit window and began dialing her older sister.
Beatrix wept as she discussed what she'd found with her sibling. Surprisingly, the soft sound of her older sister apologizing traveled through the receiver and reached Mort's flickering ears. They laughed and cried, sharing their memories and regrets.
The small cat rested on the wood floor, his back angled with grief. He watched his love release her sorrow and discover a new happiness that he didn't want her to lose. She had once again found her joy and perhaps deserved an entire lifetime to thrive in it. "No," he thought, "She deserves more."
Understanding that his eternal loneliness was sub par to his desire for her happiness, he slowly crept towards the bedroom doorway. As he began to make his temporary exit from the world of the living, he took one final glance at his muse. "She will have her time here and she will live her life." As he took another step towards the doorway, he said sternly to himself, "And I will see her again." Entering the world beyond eternity he managed to chuckle despite his departing sorrow.
"After all, everyone meets Death in the end."