Four horrible short stories about animals

I : IMPLIED HORROR

I woke up feeling like a cat had died in my mouth.

Then, finding the kibble tray untouched, I began to think about my sleepwalking issues.

*

II : SCIENCE!

Dear Munston county high school PTA, the expression “raining cats and dogs” is problematic. Dropping felines and canines on people is not the equivalent of rain, no matter how heavy. If anything, it is a hailstorm with padded hail.

Plus, dropping the said animals in sufficient density to simulate rainfall would mean a descending blanket of growling, yowling fur; and continued such rain would not sluice off, but rather gather in hissing and barking piles and drifts, more like snow than rain.

Thus — get your hands off me, I have science to report! I am the science teacher, you hired me to do this!

Look up, you fools! The ceiling is rigged — hamsters are the perfect size — look up! LET IT RAIN!

*

III : DIALECT

“I’m herding cats”, the old man said.

“Can I watch?” I said.

“I’m herding them pretty badly.”

“Oh?”

“Wid a club. Wid nails. An’ fire. An’ a dawg tied to it.”

“That can’t be a good way to do it.”

“Hey, what, watch it or ye’ll get herd yousself.”

*

IV : THE PURRING

I always knew we would be replaced by human-cat hybrids eventually.

I did not expect Johnny to come to work with a cat glued over each ear, though.

“Tinnitus”, he mumbled, his cat-framed face smiling.

A slight purr echoed off him, amplified by his empty cranial cavity no doubt; but it was less irritating than the air conditioning’s hum.

At lunchtime he got up quickly, muttering something about the toilet.

The next day he was more of a cyborg: both cats had thin, clear plastic tubes installed into their behinds, leading to what I suppose should be called a double feline colostomy bag on Johnny’s belt.

His lunchbox held three servings of kibble; his own seemed the saddest of the three.

With a shudder, I noticed his hair was braided into the cats’ fur; and when a shapely young lady walked past, two tails rose from behind his head, swaying like tentacles, framing themselves like horns.

The next day Johnny came to work looking like he had been in a fight, losing badly.

“What happened?” I asked. His face was a criss-cross of scratches.

“Cats don’t like to bathe”, he muttered, a cat staring angrily, unblinkingly, at me from both sides of his face.

“Mrowr”, the cat on the left said.

“And when they don’t purr, I feel sad.”

The rest of the day was uneventful, except when Liz dangled a cat toy over the partition wall, and the cats jerked forward, driving Johnny’s face into the partition’s rough linen-y embrace.

Thinking about that later, that seemed a bit off. The cats were tied to Johnny’s head; how could they cause such a movement? Was it mere imbalance on Johnny’s part?

The day after that, the cats seemed miffed.

“Aren’t you going to take your hat off?” I asked.

“It’s not a hat. It’s pants.”

“It’s on your head, isn’t it.”

“Johann downstairs told me I have to wear pants”, Johnny said.

I did not want to, but I looked at his crotch. He was wearing pants. And whatever that turbaney thing was, wrapping round his head so that only his face, and two cat-heads, peeked out.

“He was behind me in the cafeteria line. He does not appreciate feline genitalia at eye level.”

“Not many people do.”

At this, he gave me a weird look and went away.

His lunch was a tuna sandwich. As he ate it, the cats licked their lips. That was unnerving.

What was worse was when Liz sent Johnny a cat photo, one with some kind of a situation-appropriate, though I cannot say what that could be, caption.

Johnny looked at the picture on his monitor, really stared, a look of terrified horror coming over his face, sweat beading on his temples — I thought Liz had come up with a real winner of a caption — and then he bolted up and ran out, bent over, hands over his crotch.

A really good caption — but on my inspection, it wasn’t.

The cat in the picture was nice, though.

After work, I happened to walk out with Johnny, and out of the blue, he said: “I feel boundless contempt for all humanity.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes. And dogs should be exterminated. And there should be mouse farms! And I want a cow in the next cubicle over, for milk!”

“You’re kind of creeping me out here, Johnny.”

“What? These are perfectly normal, natural urges!”

And he turned to stare at me, six eyes, four in cat faces and two in a human face, all in sync. The purring was suddenly deafening in the corridor’s silence, a vibration that made his eyeballs tremble.

The gaze of the cats remained steady, though. Unflinching. Unnerving.

Full of contempt for all humanity.

“Do you, er, do you ever take the cats off, Johnny?”

He recoiled like I had asked him to tear a hand off.

“How dare you say such a thing, human?” he shrieked — well, yowled, more like. The cats opened a pair of mouths of sharp teeth and hissed at me, their eyes malevolent and aware.

In a second he was on me, pushing me against the wall, face contorted in conflict, fingers at my throat, his nails digging at the back of my neck like claws.

I did the only thing I could think of: I flailed, reached out with my hands, grasped a half-full canister off his belt, and yanked on the tubes leading upwards from it as hard as I could.

Three pairs of eyes widened in shock, pain and a portion of indignant outrage; and his hands went slack for a moment.

In the moment, I pushed him back and swept the horrid cat-turban off his head. It hung over him for a second, like an octopus clinging to its prey — it screamed — I tore, tearing hair and cloth — and the thing hit the floor with a scream of such anger and despair as I’ve never heard.

Johnny tottered on his feet for a second, then fell down too, in a dead faint.

After my breath evened, I buttoned up my collar and called an ambulance. Some kind of an episode, I said. Probably overcome by stress. Acted a bit funny, then fainted.

Johnny got a week of sick leave, and then came back a bit more skittery than he had been; he had no memory of the cat time, none at all. Stress related, he told me; that was what the doctors had told him.

What happened to the cats, I’d rather not tell. I feel no remorse, though, for they were evil cats; and there is no human evil to compare to the cold malevolence which sits, purring, in the unspeaking, simmering hearts of the feline beast.

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