by Verona Jones
Arizona summers were the worst, Claudia thought as she struggled out of
the driver’s side of her older Nissan Sentra. The summers were dry and
hot, but inside the car, Claudia stuck to the leather seats. When she
chose leather in the first place, she hadn’t been thinking about the
summers or she would have gotten cloth. Oh well, no help for it now.
Claudia needed to get her ass in gear as the Tucson shelter was ready
to close, and she wanted to adopt her new fur baby first.
The idea to adopt a kitten was a surprise to Claudia as she didn’t
think she was a pet person, let alone a cat person, but once the idea
took root in her brain two weeks ago, she hadn’t been able to get the
idea out of her head. So, five minutes before close she was here
looking for a new baby. Did she know how to shop or what?
Quickly, she walked through the shelter’s entrance, so she was inside
when they closed, giving her a few more precious minutes to walk the
cages looking for her perfect pet. Claudia had a vague idea of what she
wanted. She was hoping to find a solid black female kitten that would
be a companion through life’s daily adventures. Claudia was tired of
being alone. Granted, she did have a boyfriend—sort of. Bradley Benson
popped in, and out of her life, it seemed when it was convenient for
him. He was handsome, which Claudia suspected he used to his advantage.
With his Chocolate colored hair and piercing Jade green eyes, it was
hard to resist giving him his way, especially when he smiled that smile
revealing his cute little dimples.
Yes, Brad had dimples that were adorable when he smiled, and Claudia
knew she was a pushover when it came to erecting boundaries. Which was
why getting this kitten was so important. She was defying his wishes.
Brad had expressly told her “no pets,” but he hardly came around
anymore. He was always working or taking business trips, which left
Claudia alone most of the time, so here she was defying Brad and
getting a kitten.
The kennels looked well maintained, the floors clean as were the cages.
Claudia slowly walked down the rows of cages filled with cats and
kittens looking for a loving home, but she didn’t see any that grabbed
her attention. A young girl came into the room when Claudia was about
to give up hope. Her name tag said her name was Sheila, and Sheila
announced that the kennel was being locked up for the night.
“If you want to come back tomorrow, we are open from 9 am to 5 pm, but
we need to close up Ma’am.”
Claudia responded apologetically. “I’m sorry to keep you from closing.
I was hoping to find a companion as my boyfriend, Brad is out of town
for a week, and it gets lonely when he’s away.
“No worries, Ma’am, I understand. My dad is in the military, so he’s
gone a lot too, and I have Tinkerbell to keep me company.”
Trying not to laugh at the choice of names, “Tinkerbell?” Claudia
summoned the image of a tiny fluffy ball of fur that could fit a name
Sheila chuckled, “Yeah, I know. Tinkerbell is a munchkin kitten, and
they are very tiny, so, she is like a little Tinkerbell.”
“Oh, Munchkin’s are adorable, and yes, they do fit the name,” Claudia
smiled, “I apologize again for keeping you, I’ll leave and come back to
She said those words while heading to the exit, but before she reached
it, a tiny mew grabbed her attention, and she looked at the cage where
the noise seemed to come from and froze. There she was—her kitten.
Inside the pen staring back at Claudia, was a gorgeous long-
haired black kitten with gold eyes. What was intriguing was that the
little darling wasn’t solid black; on her chest was a white spot shaped
like that of the Egyptian Ankh.
“Uh, Sheila? I know you are in a rush to leave, but can I please adopt
this one?” pointing to the kitten staring at her.
It was the fastest adoption ever. Thirty minutes and three hundred
dollars later, the precious baby was in the car with Claudia sleeping
in the brand-new carrier she had purchased. When she arrived home, she
picked up the carrier, and gingerly carried it inside, set it on the
floor in the living room near the couch, opened the metal hinges, and
waited. Hesitantly, the little girl poked her furry head out and looked
around her with great interest. She ventured out more until she was
entirely out of the cage, sniffing and investigating everything as she
Conversationally, Claudia started talking to her. “Well, little girl, now we have to come
up with a name for you.” The kitten cocked her head to the side like she also wanted to hear what
her name was going to be.
Thinking about the white spot that looked like an Ankh, she thought Bastet after the
Egyptian goddess of cats. Speaking to the expectant kitten, she asked, “what do you think about
Eerily, the kitten suddenly turned her head and locked her golden gaze on to Claudia’s
startled Hazel one. It was as if Bastet knew what Claudia was saying. That was impossible.
Right? Yet, the steady look from the kitten suggested otherwise, and Claudia felt a chill slither
down her spine. Then she shook the idea away. Bastet was just a healthy normal kitten, nothing
supernatural about her at all.
“Well, Bastet, welcome to your new home.”
The days flew by as Claudia got to know and love Bastet’s personality. She was curious
and playful filling Claudia’s days with fun and laughter at the little one’s antics. Just ten days
later, though, Brad came home, bringing dark clouds and rain that matched the Arizona weather
“I told you no pets,” was his welcome home statement. Brad walked in the door without a
smile or cheery welcome, just his immediate displeasure about Bastet.
Not in the mood to put up with his churlishness, she responded, “Well, hello to you too.
Did you have a good trip?”
He waved away her flippant response, “I meant it, Claudia. No pets. You are going to
have to take that thing back to where you got it from.”
Claudia glanced over at Bastet, who was unusually quiet, watching their argument. The
kitten was strangely still. She looked back at Brad, “No. I am not taking Bastet back. You travel
a lot and are rarely home. She keeps me from being lonely and is a great company.”
They were arguing in the living room when Brad turned toward the hallway and started
walking towards the stairs leading to the bedroom.
“I’m not discussing this anymore, that animal goes back tomorrow – end of the story.”
Bastet had moved to sit in front of the hallway mirror, watching Brad leave the room.
Claudia had opened her mouth to continue the fight when a bolt of lightning came
through the open window – a brilliant white flash that slammed into Brad, flinging him across
the hall into the kitchen.
Claudia screamed and ran over to where he lay still. Pulling out her cell phone, she
shakily dialed 9-1-1, and in near hysteria told the emergency agent what happened. Afterward,
while turning Brad onto his back, she saw the red mark where the bolt entered. She was
surprised to see that there were no burns, just a red mark on his chest and a matching one on
his back. She started mouth-to-mouth then CPR. It seemed to like forever before the EMT’s
arrived, but Claudia knew it had only been minutes. They gently pushed her away and
continued the life-saving methods she had started, but they told her Brad was dead, and more
than likely, he had died instantly when struck.
Stunned and unable to move, Claudia sat on the floor frozen after the EMTs left, taking
Brad’s body. Bastet had crawled onto her lap like she was trying to comfort Claudia, and she
cuddled the small body huddled in her lap tentatively petting the furry head.
Raising Bastet’s head so she could look into the golden eyes staring intently back,
Claudia whispered. “You are just a normal cat…right?”
When the lightning had streaked across the living room to strike Brad, it lit up the
Hallway briefly. The brilliant light just for an instant revealed a woman standing behind
Bastet in the mirror. A raven-haired woman dressed in ancient Egyptian clothing staring
back at Claudia with glowing golden eyes.
© 2020 Verona Jones
Bio: Verona loves to write to write horror and supernatural
stories. She currently resides in Tucson, where with the help of her
three furry critics, she is happily writing stories to hopefully scare
readers under the covers.
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