An eccentric relative died and left you a cat and an old pair of glasses. The cat was pretty normal except it spent a lot of time play fighting imaginary enemies. Or that’s what you thought, before you put on the glasses.
I’m not a cat person. Mostly because I’m allergic to them. I have never owned a cat in my 30 years alive on this Earth. That being said, I still can’t understand why Aunt Belinda left me her cat Benjamin, and these weird glasses. We weren’t close per se, but we maintained an awkward relationship over the last five years. I would visit her at least once a month to make sure she was doing okay. Aunt Belinda was never married and was a little eccentric. I knew she was lonely and felt bad for her. Since my mom died a few years ago, she didn’t have anyone else. While we bonded over our love of Nutella and Game of Thrones. Sometimes she would say off the wall things that I never understood. She once told me that we descended from demon hunters, of all things. I remember just shaking my head at her dismissing the idea, thinking she was crazy, but she adamantly argued that it was true. Belinda told me it’s been years since our line was needed, but that was no longer the case. She pleaded with me to go through my mother’s things to find our family ring.
I knew what she was talking about. It was a strange ring that looked like a hand gripping your finger with a Black Obsidian stone in the middle. I kept it in a box in my secret safe at home. Mom gave it to me a week before she passed. She made me promise to wear it and never let it out of my sight. It was almost as if she knew she was going to die. My breath caught in my throat every time I thought about it. It was hard enough dealing with her loss every day, but the manner in which they discovered her was awful. Goosebumps traveled down my arms as I recalled how they found her brutally mutilated her just outside of her home. The police report stated that she was mauled by a black bear, here in our heavily populated area in South Florida. I knew we had them in the Everglades, but we were by no means close to that area. She died five years ago, and I still had nightmares about it.
I jested with Aunt Belinda that she’d been watching too much tv and needed to get out more. I’ll never forget the look of utter disappointment on her face. How her whole body deflated as I joked with her. She shook her head and mumbled something about failing my mother. The comment caught me off guard. When I asked her about it, she shook her head and said it didn’t matter. The whole interaction still haunts me to this day.
I was struggling with the fact that Aunt Belinda also died mysteriously. Someone strangled her in her sleep last week, but by who would do that to her? She didn’t have a boyfriend that I knew of, and she didn’t have many friends. She had strangulation marks around her neck, but there was no forced entry into the house. It looked like she struggled in the bed and the cat had shredded the sheets, but nothing else was out of place, making the whole thing suspicious. The police had assured me they were still investigating. The whole thing brought back the sadness that had been lingering around the edges. First mom and now Aunt Belinda. I was the only living woman left in our family. At least I still had my dad, I thought miserably.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts as I watched Benjamin. He was a beautiful Russian Blue cat with gray coloring and yellow-green eyes. I’ve had him with me for a week now. I take daily allergy pills just so I can be around him and not sneeze to death. Oddly enough, it seemed to be working. Usually, even allergy pills weren’t enough around cats. I was relieved too, because I just didn’t have the heart to give him away. He was so quirky and unlike any cat I’d ever met. Sure, he slept a lot, and don’t bother him when he was in his little hidey hole. I found out the hard way he liked his alone time. The scratches on my arms were proof of that hard earned lesson. I watched him with great fascination as he went at it. He really looked like he was fighting something. Benji, as I liked to call him, was hissing at the air in front of him and swiping ferociously. He hopped from one side to the other as he swiped and hissed. I could almost imagine where the thing was that he was play fighting. Was this normal behavior for a cat? I wouldn’t know honestly. In my musings I must’ve missed something because Benji was now halfway across the room and limping. Wow, he was really getting into it. Maybe he fell off the chair or something. Except wait, was that blood?
I rushed over to Benji and inspected him. Sure enough, he had a cut behind his ear and was bleeding. I started panicking as I inspected the wound until I realized it was only a scratch. I went to get the peroxide and some cotton balls to clean him up as I pondered how in the world he got hurt. When I was satisfied that I’d cleaned him up thoroughly, I investigated the rest of his body. Other than his limp, he seemed okay. My ornery cat waited patiently for me to inspect him, which I found rather odd. It was almost like he knew he needed to be tended to and was utterly still as I inspected him. Usually, trying to do anything to him other than pet him was a mission. Benji must’ve concluded that I was done and promptly dismissed himself. I sighed audibly as I watched him go into his hidey hole. I swear, sometimes he acted like a moody old man.
I sat back down at my table and picked up the glasses again. Glasses probably wouldn’t be the right term for them. They were more like goggles. You know those goggles that you suctioned onto each eye separately when you went swimming? Imagine those in all black with smoke tinted glass within their frames. They even had an adjustable rope cord. They were odd thing to wear and why in the world would she wear these out and about? I hadn’t even tried them on yet. Truly, I wanted to just throw them out, but I couldn’t. She left them to me for a reason. I hopefully would figure out what that was sometime soon.
Out of curiosity, I went in search of the ring. I pulled the box out of the safe and sat back down at the table, turning the box over in my hands. I’d never even tried it on. The ring had always felt like a bad omen considering my mother died shortly after giving it to me, but the conversation I had with Aunt Belinda had stayed with me. She seemed pretty upset that I didn’t have it with me. Honestly, what could it hurt to wear it for her? I opened the box as I stared at the creepy-looking ring. I ran my finger over the smooth stone, feeling a pull towards it. I pulled it out of the box and placed it on my right ring finger. Once the ring hit home at the base of my finger, I was knocked out of my seat by an unseen force. I landed square on my back hard, the wind knocked out of me.
I struggled to breathe as I wondered what the hell had just happened? When I got my breathing under control, I realized Benji was sitting on my chest staring at me, purring. He looked pleased, which was strange. Why was he sitting on my chest, staring at me? I reached out tentatively to pet him, and he snuggled into my hand as his purring intensified. Since I’d had him, he had by no means even attempted to snuggle with me. I was touched by my little furball. I sat up and carried him with me to the couch. Once seated, he readjusted himself on my lap and fell asleep. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t understand it and suddenly was exhausted. I passed out on the couch with Benji on my lap. A first in our relationship. When I woke up, it was around 3:30 in the morning and I noticed Benji was play fighting again. He was hissing loudly and screeching at his invisible enemy. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and called out to him. He ignored me, of course, as he continued to battle. Poor little guy looked tired though. I didn’t understand what drove him to play at such a strange hour. I questioned myself again about whether my cat was normal. I vowed to do some research tomorrow when I really woke up. Sleep was calling to me again. It felt like I was drugged and my body was struggling to respond. I was being pulled hard to rest. My limbs felt heavy as I dragged myself to the bed and passed out.
When I woke up, Benji was curled up on the bed next to me. I smiled at the sudden change in his behavior. Not understanding it, but grateful for my little companion. As I started to pet him, I realized he had another cut on his flank. There was dried blood caked in his fur. What the hell? I got up and got the stuff to clean him up again, wondering how he did this. As I cleaned him up, I got the distinct impression of gratitude. It was strange because I could swear it was coming from Benji. I smiled at myself and the ridiculous notion as I finished cleaning him up. When I was done, I checked the time and was shocked to realize I slept for an additional 12 hours. It was now 3:30 in the afternoon! I couldn’t believe it. I felt fantastic though, almost like the fog had been lifted and I could see and hear everything clearly now. My stomach grumbled at that moment, reminding me that I hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday. I made my way to the kitchen and put a pot of coffee to brew. It didn’t matter that it was the middle of the afternoon. Coffee was always necessary upon waking. I was contemplating what I should eat when I suddenly felt the desire for Bacon. I loved Bacon, but strangely, I knew it wasn’t me that was craving it. I looked down and realized Benji was staring up at me. Was it he that wanted the bacon? I pulled the bacon out of the fridge and showed him. Suddenly I was hit with a yes, yes, yes! He purred and rubbed up against my legs as the thought came through. Was my cat communicating with me? I just might be losing my damn mind, but I indulged the cat. I mean, who didn’t love bacon?
I was about to sit down and eat at my table when Benji started rubbing up against my legs again, reminding me I had yet to give him his bacon. I chuckled and took a few strips off my plate and set them in his cat bowl, making sure to crumble them up a little so he could eat it easier. We both finished eating around the same time. As I sat and sipped my coffee, lost in thought over what happened yesterday with my ring, Benji jumped up on the table and sat in front of me. He stared me down until he had my undivided attention. I sensed he was waiting, so I put my coffee cup down and looked at him quizzically. He pointedly looked down at the goggles sitting on my table for a few beats and then looked back up at me. My brow furrowed as I stared at him. What does he want? I sensed frustration and agitation suddenly as he took his paw and started toying with the cord on the goggles until they ended up falling off the table and into my lap. Once I had a hold of them in my hand, I looked at him, startled. His feelings were starting to come through to me. They weren’t always clear, but right now I was sensing expectation from him. Did he want me to put them on? As soon as the thought crossed my mind, he meowed at me, almost as if in answer. My eyes widened in shock as I realized that he either read my mind or somehow I sent that question out to him and he answered.
My hands shook as I picked up the goggles from my lap. Benji started looking to his left and then back at me. Once again, I sensed frustration from him, but more concerning was the fear and concern that I felt from him. He meowed at me again and through our mental connection; I felt a push to hurry. Hastily, I put on the glasses. I secured them around my head and adjusted them on my face. As soon as they were on, Benji took off to the left, where he had been looking before. At first I didn’t notice anything until I found where Benji was play fighting. This time I could see. He wasn’t play fighting at all. He was fighting something very real. I had nothing to base this on, but my instinct was that he was fighting a demon. They were going at it in our kitchen, and he was doing his best to keep it away from me. I gaped at the situation in front of me. All this time, this has been what he’s been doing? The demon was terrifying to look at. It was a dark mass of smoke and shadows that slithered from place to place. The demon’s shape kept changing depending on its attack. It had a humanoid head with eyes that were pure white but, the rest of its body was black and constantly shifting. The eyes seemed to glow within that dark mass as it watched my Benji while keeping me in its sights. At that moment, it looked like it had a spider body with long, sharp talons. It took a swipe at my cat with one of it’s many legs. It missed Benji by a hair.
I stood up abruptly, knocking my chair over. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I couldn’t let him fight alone. Absently, I touched my ring and felt everything fall into place at once. I knew what to do. The knowledge came to me in an instant. It had always been there, lying dormant, waiting for me to call upon it. As soon as I searched for it, the power rose within me. It was like connecting with an old friend. I closed my eyes as I took it all in and processed it. When I opened my eyes again, I realized I was floating, but I wasn’t alarmed. There was a demon in my house that needed to be gone. I floated closer to the fight. I analyzed the demon, picking him apart to figure out the best way to end him. Since he seemed very much like smoke, I imagined a cyclone that would suck him in. I spun one hand in a circular motion to create the cyclone I had envisioned within my mind’s eye. I kept the other hand open, hoping Benji would jump into it. Once the cyclone took shape in our kitchen, I felt Benji jump into my hand. I smiled as I cradled him to my body. Soon the cyclone sucked the demon into it, as it was helpless to escape. When I was sure I had the demon in its entirety, I gently set Benji down at my feet and slapped my hands together in one loud clap, followed by a forceful push down with both of my hands splayed open. Just like that, the cyclone and the demon were gone. I wasn’t sure if I pushed them back into the boundaries of hell like I intended, but they were no longer in my kitchen, so that was a huge plus.
I couldn’t believe what I had just done. Suddenly, I felt completely drained and almost fell to the floor. I trudged over to the sofa and plopped down. Benji came running after me and sat on my lap. The extent of everything he’d done for me thus far hit me at once, and I was so grateful for him. I wasn’t sure if he could hear me, so I just decided to tell him out loud.
“Thank you Benji, for everything you’ve done. I had no idea, and I’m so sorry it took me so long. I promise you that you won’t fight alone anymore.”
Benji responded clear as day in my head. “It’s about time, Nilsa. I’ve been waiting for you for years.” He said as he curled up in my lap. I was stunned at the clarity of his thoughts. “Oh, and stop calling me Benji. I hate that nickname. My name is Benjamin!”
Photo by Paul Stollery on Unsplash