Short Stories

Short Story: An Encounter

She was dusting the antiques and mending the shop while her grandfather was out when it happened. A midnight black cat waltzed into the shop through the open door. It blinked its eyes and stared at her. She let the feather duster drop by her side as she countered the stare. She had worked long enough with her grandfather to separate normal from abnormal. Her grandfather could bend stories and people’s lives through them, and she… she was learning the family trade.

She turned around and went back to dusting her grandfather’s antiques. He liked them to be in order despite never seeing him pay any attention to them, and whenever a customer came into the shop insisting on buying one, he declined. But she had learned early on that it was foolish to question her grandfather’s orders. The cat licked its paw slowly, occasionally observing her. She did the same, not licking a paw but stopping the dusting to see if the cat had decided what it wanted. She wasn’t going to walk into a trap by rushing to the cat, even how cute it was with its huge yellow eyes. It wanted something, and it better declare it if it wanted her to cooperate or pay attention.

She was sure the cat was magic, as the normals would say it. She wouldn’t. What she and her grandfather did, and the cat as well, was dimension shifting. The universe was more complex than physics let on. The parallel worlds let her tamper with the stable laws and make them hers. 

The cat dropped to its side and toppled on its back, basking in the ray of sun coming through the door windows.

Damn, she thought. It was toying with her. She wondered did it know she once had an orange tabby when her parents had still been alive. She shook her head and walked to the shop counter, taking the Walkman she had hidden under all the invoices and requests. The cat followed her. She was sure of it. It tried to hide it by licking its belly aggressively, but she could feel the yellow eyes on her. She lifted the headphones on and went dusting the other side of the shop.

When she was arranging the tomes her grandfather had gathered from his extensive travels, the cat brushed against her leg. She froze, feeling chills going up to her leg and move on her back.

“Okay then,” she said, dropping the headphones to lay on her neck. “What do you want?”

The cat sat down, locking those yellow eyes of it with hers. It let out a high meow.

“You win,” she said and lowered down to scratch it.

The cat closed its eyes and purred.

Thank you for reading! Have a meowious day ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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