A Cat of Nightblack HuebySabledrake©
Three bags of candy and a clothesline.
The candy for any kids that might come knocking on his door. Snack-size Snickers bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms.
The clothesline for later, because he had never liked guns, didn't trust pills, and knew that slitting the wrists was only effective when done just right.
He stood with his cart in the long grocery store line. The checker wore a clown suit, all baggy spotted pants, frizzy hair, and bulbous red nose. Orange crepe paper had been strung over the aisles, and jointed skeletons swayed on long threads.
Would Laura take Mindy and Jim trick-or-treating? Were they, right now, happily carving jack-o-lanterns and hanging up construction paper bats and witches in the windows?
Sean eyed the heap of pumpkins and thought about buying one. He wouldn't even have to carve one; some came pre-painted with images of ghosts or vampires or bolt-necked Frankenstein monsters.
It might be days, even weeks, before he was found. It wouldn't do to leave a pumpkin to sag and decay on the porch.
He reached the head of the line. The clerk scanned his candy bags and his clothesline, took his money, rendered change – somehow handling all this while wearing large floppy gloves – and wished him a happy Halloween.
Sean managed a tight smile and headed for his car.
The neighborhood shops were doing a 'safe and sane' treat handout early in the afternoon, and the sidewalks outside were full of costumed children and their parents. Even some of the adults were dressed up.
A trio of college girls bounced by, turning heads and drawing stares. The blonde wore a 'naughty nurse' uniform. The brunette was a harem girl in gauzy pants and spangled bra. The redhead was Little Red Riding Hood in fishnets and miniskirt.
Only a year ago, that sight would have interested Sean. He would have watched with the appreciation of any healthy straight man, married or single, young or old. He might have indulged in a moment's fantasy, imagining himself taking the three of them back to his place for a wild night of acrobatic sex.
Nothing delighted him anymore.
He drove for home, mindful that at any moment some little cowboy or ballerina might dart out in front of him. The day was properly Octoberish, with dark clouds seething and churning across a slate-grey sky. Wind whirled dry leaves in a riot of fiery colors. A briskness in the air promised a chill when night fell.
Everywhere he looked, he saw houses decorated for the holiday. Scarecrows propped up in yards. Jack-o-lanterns with candlelight flickering in gaping mouths and eye sockets. Papier-mâché tombstones.
A dummy hanging by a noose from the stout branch of a tree.
It gave Sean a shiver. He couldn't help glancing at the bag in the passenger seat. At the clothesline. Three hundred feet of it, looped into accordion folds and girdled with a plastic wrapper. More than enough to get the job done.
The sky had grown darker by the time he reached his house, the sun behind the clouds and sinking toward dusk. The wind snatched at Sean's hair and collar as he got out with his purchases.
An ungodly screech made him jump. He spun, saw nothing, and heard it again.
The sounds came from a little park on the other side of a wooded greenbelt. More screeching and yowling mingled with cruel laughter, a shout of pain, and a curse.
Sean set his bag on the porch and moved through the trees. He emerged to see a group of teenagers. Five of them. In jeans and tee-shirts, some advertising metal bands, others with witty sayings printed on them such as "This is my costume" and "Just gimme the fucking candy."
They had a cat. Two of them did, anyway, struggling to hold onto it while a third and fourth opened a pillowcase. The fifth retreated a step, nursing a row of bleeding gashes on the back of his hand.
The feline, black as a felt cutout of the night, was putting up a ferocious battle. Its fur was standing on end, its green eyes were wild, its ears were flat against its skull, its sharp white teeth were bared.
Somehow, the boys got it in the pillowcase and tied the end shut. They clustered together, comparing injuries, while the cat in the pillowcase thrashed and shrieked.
"Hey!" Sean said. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Except that he knew. Didn't they warn people to keep their pets inside on Halloween? Especially pure black cats. He found it hard to believe that these punks were genuine devil-worshippers, but he wouldn't put it past them to get their malicious kicks by killing a helpless animal.
The boys turned toward him, their expressions sullen and angry and guilty all at once.
"What the fuck do you care?" one of them snarled. He had long greasy hair and too much silver death's head jewelry, as well as crude tattoos scrawled on his arms.
The five of them shifted position, and now they weren't a loose group of teenagers just standing around, but a tight little fighting unit.
"Leave the cat alone and get out of here," Sean said, while part of his mind clamored at him to shut up and go away before they hurt him.
Then again, it seemed pretty absurd to be worrying about that when he planned to be dead by dawn anyway.
The mouthy one, leader of the pack, raised his fists menacingly. The others followed suit. Behind them, the pillowcase rolled back and forth, and the noises coming from it now were agonized howls.
"You want to fight me over a cat?" Sean asked. He grinned. It had been so long since there'd been any kind of a smile on his face that it felt stretched and weird, and probably made him look like a lunatic. "Come on. I'm killing myself tonight anyway. I don't have anything to lose. Maybe I can take a couple of you little shits with me."
Maybe it was the grin. Or maybe the tone of his voice, which was flat and entirely serious.
"Screw it," the leader said. "We don't need the damn cat. It was only a game. You know, trick or treat."
"Nice trick," said Sean. "Why don't you go knock down some grade schoolers and steal their candy while you're at it? Assholes."
He was pushing it, and he knew he was, but he didn't really care. This was the most alive he'd felt in ten months, ever since Laura had taken the kids and left him. It was so good just to feel something that he was almost sorry when the chastened punks shrank back, shamefaced.
They melted away into the creeping shadows that encroached on the park, turning the picnic tables and swings to ominous skeletal shapes in the gloom. The cat in the pillowcase uttered a hopeless, mewling cry.
"Kitty," Sean said, trying for a soothing voice. "Kitty, kitty."
The answering meow was mournful and pathetic.
"It's all right, kitty," he said, picking up the pillowcase. "I've got you. It's all right."
He was ready for the cat to attack him through it, claws punching easily through the thin fabric. But the cat didn't move. It swung in a weighty lump at the bottom of the pillowcase.
"I'll take you home," he said to it, feeling slightly foolish but figuring that since no one else was around to hear him talking to a cat, he didn't care. People talked to animals all the time. Sometimes even to plants. "See if you do have a collar on, give your owner a call. And if not, or if nobody's home, you can stay the night at my place and I'll let you out in the morning when it's safe."
As he said this, making a promise to the cat, he realized that meant he wouldn't be able to carry out his plans for the evening. He couldn't very well hang himself and leave the cat locked up in the house with his cooling corpse.
So he'd put it off until tomorrow night. A few hours more or less wouldn't matter. And it might be better, anyway. He wouldn't want to spoil Halloween for Mindy and Jim, leave them with that grisly association for the rest of their lives.
He carried the pillowcase home, took it inside, and made sure all the doors and windows were securely closed before he undid the twine. He wouldn't have been surprised if the cat shot out in a spitting ball of teeth and claws, shredding his face and then going on a rampage through the house.
But the cat poked its sleek black head out almost shyly, and regarded him with enormous green eyes. It mewed. Sean held out his hand. The cat sniffed – even the nose and whiskers were black – and then rubbed the side of its jaw against him.
When it came all the way out, he confirmed that there was no collar, and that he'd been right about the cat obviously belonging to a good home. Its fur was silky, its eyes were clear, its body was lithe but not scrawny.
It set about exploring the new environment curiously. Sean was surprised to find himself hungry. His appetite, like his libido, had been one more casualty of the divorce wars. He didn't know when the last time was that he'd eaten for any reason other than sheer habit.
And here he was with hardly any perishable food in the house. He opened the fridge and the cat came trotting in, tail high. Some scrounging in the freezer and cupboards turned up a box of frozen French bread pizza for him and a can of chopped chicken meat for the cat.
He ate in front of the television, watching a Halloween special hosted by horror movie sexy-vamp Lady Nocturna. Whenever the doorbell rang, he got up to dole out candy, always mindful of the cat. But his feline visitor showed no interest in escaping. After devouring the canned chicken, the cat staked out a spot on the couch and went to sleep.
Sometime later, when it had been almost an hour between ringings of the doorbell, the cat moved to Sean's lap. It curled there, soft warmth that rumbled with a melodic purr beneath his stroking hand.
He'd forgotten how nice it was to pet a cat. Laura had been allergic to anything with fur, and had vehemently refused even the most plaintive requests from Jim and Mindy to get a puppy or a kitten.
"Almost too bad I have to turn you loose tomorrow," he murmured.
The cat arched its neck and curved its spine to mold to his hand. It blinked those big, lazy, adoring eyes at him. It writhed onto its back to expose its belly. He rubbed obligingly, and noticed that it was a girl. On the screen, the voluptuous Lady Nocturna pouted carmine lips at the camera and said they'd be right back after these commercial messages.
Sean drained his fourth beer. He was feeling quite pleasantly mellow, more than he had in a long, long time. "Think I'll call you Nocturna," he said to the cat. "Just while you're here."
By the time the special was over, he had polished off the six-pack and his head was buzzing. He switched to the news – top story being the discovery of a mutilated cat hanging from the gate of a local cemetery – and turned the set off.
"That could've been you," he said to Nocturna, hearing a slur in his words.
She yawned, the inside of her mouth pink, her teeth pointed and white. He gently set her off his lap and got up. The room swayed a little as his head reeled, his brain seeming afloat on a sea of beer. He saw the clothesline still in its plastic wrapper, one end sticking out of the grocery bag.
Funny how just having another living being around made suicide less appealing a prospect. He hadn't been aware of how deeply he'd been missing any sort of companionship.
Which meant, really, that once the cat had gone back to her rightful owners, he'd be all the more alone. Time enough for the clothesline then.
Sean undressed, brushed his teeth, and got into bed. The cat hopped up and curled by his hip. He petted her with slower and slower strokes as drowsiness settled down over him like a billowing dark cloth.
Dimly, distantly, he heard the clock in the living room begin to strike midnight. He felt a shifting, the mattress sinking under a weight. The cat moved beneath his hand. Stretched. Warm purring fur.
So smooth. Soft. Almost not like fur at all. Almost like satiny skin.
And the shape, lean and rounded, a long exciting sweep of hip and thigh.
He inched his hand higher and felt the dip of a waist. He raised his heavy eyelids with an effort, and saw two luminous green eyes staring back at him.
Two luminous eyes, yes, but the face they belonged to was that of a woman. Her skin was milk-white in the dimly-lit bedroom, her hair falling in ebony waves. She was on her side, facing him, her head propped up on one arm. A little smile, teasing and coy, played about her lips.
Sean blinked foggily. He started to form a question, but before he could get a word out, the woman with the radiant green cat's eyes covered his mouth with two slim fingers tipped with the dainty curves of sharp nails.
His hand was still on her hip, feeling the smooth reality of her. She clasped his wrist and gently drew his hand higher, arching her body with sensual feline grace as she did so. As his palm passed over her ribcage, he felt a vibration thrumming in her, and he heard her low and contented purr when he at last cupped the firm swell of her breast.
He couldn't tell if he was awake or dreaming. Wasn't sure if he even wanted to. If it was a dream, it was the most vivid he'd ever had. He could feel the texture of the woman's nipple stiffening against the palm of his hand, could smell the clean scent of her long black hair as she leaned toward him.
Her eyes never left his. He expected a kiss, but first she rubbed her cheeks along the sides of his face and the bump of his chin. She nipped him on the jawline with quick, sharp teeth. She was still purring, the sound seeming to rise from her throat and chest in steady humming waves.
When she finally did kiss him, she did so with a demureness that went contrary to the bold way she held his hand trapped against her breast. He couldn't help responding, but when he tried to slip his tongue into her mouth, she drew away. Her smile chided him – oh, no, you naughty boy.
Ten months since he'd been with a woman. Almost that long since he'd even had any interest in masturbating. The trio of coeds – nurse, harem girl, Red Riding Hood – hadn't done more than spark a momentary nostalgia.
So it was no surprise that all of a sudden he was erect to the point of nearly physical pain. His cock pushed against the sheet and blankets, trying to stand upright in a way it hadn't done since he was twenty.
The woman – his mind insisted on identifying her as Nocturna, which meant this had to be a dream no matter how real it seemed – brought his captive hand to her mouth. She nipped at his fingertips the way she'd nipped his chin, and then licked his fingers.
A delicious prickly shiver went through him as the supple coarseness of her tongue rasped wetly against his skin. He glimpsed the glint of her teeth, white and pointed. Her eyes glowed with mischief and affection as she watched his reaction.
Sean reached out with his other hand, sinking his fingers into her thick black hair. She purred louder and moved her head to maximize the caress. With a swift and agile movement, Nocturna swung her body over his and lowered herself onto him. The bedclothes were between them from his collarbones down but the contact couldn't have electrified him more if there had been no blankets at all.
Her weight was at once solid and light, her legs extended straight between his splayed ones so that her pelvis rested atop his. The pressure on his stiff and straining cock was wonderfully maddening. He instinctively raised his hips, grinding into the cloth, so intensely aroused that he was afraid he might explode.
She cuddled on him, her long-fingered hands kneading rhythmically on his chest, nails nicking him in pinprick sharpness. As she kneaded, she also drew the bedclothes down in agonizingly slow increments. Sternum. Stomach. Navel.
He petted her head, her back, her smooth but athletic white arms. As she inched down his body, her purring vibrated through his flesh and bones. She pulled the blankets to his hips, then lower, until his cock abruptly sprang free. Sean swore he could see it throbbing, the tip welling with eager fluid.
Nocturna let go of the bedclothes and wrapped her fingers with delicate precision around his cock. He groaned through gritted teeth and seized the bottom sheet in both fists. Her touch was light and playful, making him think of a cat daintily batting at its favorite toy.
When she darted in with quicksilver speed and ran that rough, nubbly tongue along the underside of his shaft from base to tip, it was more than Sean could withstand. He shouted aloud, a strangled wordless cry, as his orgasm erupted in hard pumping jets that spattered down on his belly and thighs.
The force of it dizzied him, made him briefly black out. He revived to find her lapping up the spill with ladylike flicks of her tongue. It was enough to stir him to immediate renewed erection, but Nocturna only gave his cock a mildly interested glance before crawling off him to fold herself into a sitting position beside him on the bed.
Again, he was about to speak, but was dumbstruck by her agility as she raised her leg and licked herself, ankle to knee to thigh and lower still until she was bent double with a dexterity that Olympic gymnasts would have envied. He watched in amazement as Nocturna first groomed the thick black pelt of her pubic hair, then began pleasuring herself with her own mouth. Her toes flexed and curled, her purring intensified.
Her other leg was extended along his side. He rubbed it, causing her to raise her head and look at him with an endearing, curious expression. Sean untangled his legs from the blankets and moved himself around until he could place his head between her thighs.
She leaned back, bending the leg that had been straight up in the air until her foot was resting on his shoulderblade. He nuzzled her the way she had nuzzled him, running his lips and cheeks and chin over the silken tuft of fur, breathing her scent, finally tasting her.
Inside, she was warm and wet and sweet. He licked with greater fervor than he ever would have done with another woman, knowing that his soft and pliable tongue would have to be applied roughly to compete with Nocturna's own.
Wordless mewls and writhing told him he was performing adequately. She urged him on with tugs at his hair. He kept at her, probing deep, encircling the nub of her clitoris with his lips and nibbling at it, sliding his fingers into her slick and clasping heat.
She came with a howling, shrieking cry like a bobcat. Her thighs seized the sides of his head and would not let go as she shuddered and raked his shoulders with her sharp nails. He couldn't breathe, thought he might die, but it beat the hell out of hanging himself. Before that happened, she collapsed in a languid array of limbs, dreamily blinking those radiant green eyes at him.
Sean rose up on his knees. His cock pointed out at an angle from his body, swollen and red and demanding to be driven deep. As he reached for her, she coiled and turned in a seamlessly graceful movement, ending on all fours in front of him. She looked back at him expectantly.
He needed no further invitation to mount her in this way, plunging his aching cock to the hilt. The sensation was so incredible that he wanted to hold that position for several seconds, savoring the feel of being inside her.
But she bared her teeth and hissed at him and rocked against him to encourage him to thrust. He did so, slowly at first, then harder and harder until their bodies were slamming together and the bed was shaking and creaking, and the headboard beat the wall in a rapid drumroll.
She climaxed again and again, voicing those wild screeching howls, and Sean heard himself matching her with cries of his own that sounded far more animal than human. At one point she reared up against him, and he cinched his arms around her so that his hands could plunder her breasts while he caught the nape of her neck in a love-bite.