50 Halloween Stories: #5
The Cat Came Back
Twice he brought mice. Bloody, ragged stumps of rodent left on the doorstep.
“Good kitty, Bradford,” is what Oswald said because he knew that the cat was only offering him a gift. How was a cat to know that humans don’t think half-eaten, blood-caked rats make good presents?
Once he brought a bird, a beautiful blue jay torn to shreds by angry claws. Oswald’s front stoop was littered with feathers and smears of jay innards.
The duck was probably the worst. Oswald found the poor thing splayed out on the doormat, bleeding into the flowered letters on the welcome mat, feathers everywhere. It was days before he could get the gut stains out of the W and the E.
Or perhaps the worst was the rabbit, its body ripped open, entrails hanging, so fresh that the rabbit was still warm, so mutilated that Oswald threw up right into the gaping hole that was once the bunny’s abdomen.
Oswald tried to tell Bradford that he didn’t want these presents. But Bradford, being a cat, couldn’t understand that. Oswald scolded him and sprayed him with water every time the decrepit corpse of an animal was deposited on the doorstep, but Bradford would just look at him like “What? What did I do wrong?” and Oswald realized the futility in teaching this cat how not to drag his bloodied victims home.
The morning when Oswald opened the front door to retrieve the paper and found only the neighbor’s racing pigeon, headless and pried open, he had enough. Tired of cleaning up blood and burying his “gifts,” Oswald took Bradford to the woods and left him there. He consoled his conscience with the fact that Oswald must be a wild, feral cat by nature and he would be better off running free through the woods where he could pounce on owls and sparrows and woodchucks to his heart’s delight.
The next morning when Oswald opened his front door to find only the newspaper and no blood or guts or stinking animals with intestines hanging out, he felt better about his decision.
It wasn’t until the following morning, when Oswald found Bradford’s bloody, bodiless head on his doormat, eyes fixated in horror, flies milling around its ears, that he knew he had bigger problems than a killer cat.
This started out as a 100 word story.