Writing Prompt: Cats

Everyone avoided the house at the corner of Palm and 24th.

Stories as to why were varied, but the one that had the most traction – and the most whispers in the schoolyard, leading inevitably to dares, leading inevitably to children running away from the house like their pants were on fire – was that the previous tenant had spent the twenty years leading up to his death torturing animals. Specifically, cats.

The man, Eldon Withers by name, supposedly hated them. Didn’t have a single bone in his body that found them fluffy, cute, adorable, or loving. They were just nuisances to him, and the fact that the neighborhood had plenty of strays and outdoor pets drove him mad. So he took matters into his own hands, and started, in his terms, “cleaning up the neighborhood.”

Nobody knows how many he disposed of. Nobody knows what he did or how he did it. They just know that after twenty years, everyone kept their cats indoors and there were no strays. Then Eldon died. Heart attack, most say. Vengeance of the cats, the more superstitious townsfolk were prone to saying.

When the EMTs and cops searched the place, they found thousands of bones in the basement. They couldn’t determine just how many animals the bones belonged to, but just by sheer number, it was “a lot.”

That’s not where it ended, though; sometimes people would hear cats yowling in the night, or sounds of cats fighting. The sounds always came from the house, but those brave enough to enter never found any live animals… though a lot of them came out claiming they had felt watched, or with weird scratches on them that they swear weren’t there before they went in.

Some have claimed a hobo or two has tried squatting in the house. Police reports back it up; at least one body of an unidentified male was found in the house after calls complaining of a horrible stench were logged. The reports claim the body had been scratched, clawed and bitten in over a hundred places. Heart attack was the official story; died by fright was the claim of whisperers.

Nobody goes near the house, except kids on dares and the cops when the place starts stinking again or the yowls get too loud. Nobody knows what’s in there, but the kids on the schoolyard say it’s the spirit of all those murdered cats, pissed off and hungry for blood… and content to take it from anyone who trespasses on their domain.

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