A haunting mystery based on the Salem Witch Trials, written entirely from the point of view of a cat.
Casey Oliver Author Website
Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. It was during this year that several girls condemned more than twenty necks to the gallows. Witches. Evil walking amongst the God-fearing throngs of Salem Towne. For all the hysteria, the supposed witches were not the source of the evil that walked the rough dirt roads of Salem. The witch trials and subsequent executions are one of the most famous examples of mass hysteria and mob mentality and have spurned legend after legend and ghost story upon ghost story.
Fast forward to New Mexico, 2010. A simple house cat struggles to understand why the family the cat resides with would want to move to the east. Bubbles, a well spoken, well read, and egotistical feline, “Not cat, that word has always offended me.”, with a penchant for mice and a courtly manner to rival any prince. Upon arrival in Salem, the family has chosen to purchase the home built originally by Samuel Good, the son of Sara Good, Whom was among the first three tried and executed for witchcraft during those black days in 1692. Along with the previous owners’ pets, Nigel Jameson III and Mrs. Perry Winkle, Bubbles must sort out the challenges before him, discovering that the presence in the house is not that of Sara Good, while simultaneously avoiding The Witch’s Revenge.
I realize now that I must resign myself to leaving my home. As far back as I can recall, I have lived with my family in a small mountain town in northern New Mexico. I have been happy here, as the pace of life is languid and relaxed, exactly what a member of my particular character would appreciate in a suitable homestead. I cannot believe that my family would actually welcome the opportunity to abandon our comfortable life here. I had always assumed that they were as content as myself with our life. We currently live in a moderately sized, ranch-style home that I have always assumed has suited our needs adequately. Now, we are to relocate to a place that I assume is very far away that my family refers to as “Massachusetts”. I enjoy my life here, my days are often consumed with a wide plethora of activities that I find most entertaining. Chasing jackrabbits through the sagebrush, bathing in the warm sunlight, climbing the many aspen trees that surround our home to languish on a branch for hours feeling the cool mountain breeze that moves over me. Yes, I shall miss it all. I shall especially miss the mice. The abundant rodent population that bursts forth from the landscape in every size imaginable. Small, medium, large, as though I were ordering from a take-out menu designed especially for me.
Perhaps I should explain myself, lest you should think I am some demented child with a penchant for mice. I am a feline. Not cat, that word has always offended me, conveying our species, yet not totally encompassing the beauty, charm or intellect of our race. I do believe that the word feline is far more graceful.
I regard myself as a superb specimen of a gray long hair of indeterminate origins. My name? Is Bubbles. An absurd moniker thrust upon me by my sweet simple-minded family the moment that they rescued me from that most disagreeable place called the “pet store”. That heroic rescue is what accounts for my fierce loyalty to my family. My one regret is that I have been unable to show them what life is really all about. Unfortunately they are always too busy to stop and receive their lesson.
I have no children, having been altered at the appropriate age to prevent such situations from arising. As such, I prefer not to be referred to as a specific gender, as I believe this practice is nonsense when one is unable to procreate. I often wonder, however, what it would be like to have a brood of my own. This momentary lapse of reason is often brought about when I have spied one of the parents of the family looking with pride upon one of the children and I see the love and contentment in their face. I sit and daydream about what might have been, thinking at the same moment that it was rude to be rendered such without my permission or opinion. But, alas, it is quite often at this precise moment that one of the children does something that makes me cringe, such as breaking a lamp, or spilling grape juice on the beige carpeting and I am reminded that I am indeed lucky that I have been spared the headaches.
I apologize, for I digress. At the present moment, the family is in the dining room, discussing their plans to move “east”. I have no idea what this means, as I never did take a very keen interest in geography. I have far more important matters that require my immediate attention.
I am often astounded by the number of tasks I must complete for the greater good of the household. I am often needed to lie on the carpet in the family room for a great many hours a day, so as to ensure that it does not roll up and cause an injury. Other instances, I am required to dispose of the family’s table scraps, so as to keep the household waste production to a minimum. Add to that the various other chores that are required of any other household pet, such as lying on beds to ensure that the coverlet does not escape, chasing insects that only we can see to prevent an imaginary insect infestation, and sitting on humans laps so as to anchor them in the proper spot for the few hours of relaxation they allow themselves, and it does begin to seem that the list never ends. I am kept quite busy with the business of protecting my family and their possessions. Why, in point of fact, I’m so accomplished that they are often not aware of the full purpose of my activities. I believe myself to be invaluable to my family, and one of my few complaints is that they do not seem to realize it.
My family, the Hanson’s, are a loveable group. The mother, Julia, is particularly kind. She is delicate boned, with thick dark hair, and in contrast, light blue eyes. Being feline, I am no judge of human beauty, however, I do believe that Julia is a lovely creature. She is quite intelligent, and one of her favorite activities is reading. I often join her, sitting on her lap for hours as she reads the works of Tolstoy, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, and others and this is what accounts for my rather extensive vocabulary beyond “meow”.
Roger, the father, is friendly enough A strapping human male, dark of hair and eye, he possesses a muscular build that enables him to perform the heavy lifting, so to speak, that his wife often requires of him when she has returned from one of her many shopping forays in town. Roger can have a rather surly disposition, and when he has a bee in his bonnet I have noticed that it often takes Julia a good deal of time to calm him. I am not permitted near Roger until he has had ample opportunity to change from his office attire. I find this most insulting, as I do consider feline hair to be quite the attractive accessory in any right.
The family’s youngest child, Toby, I am fond of, having been acquired shortly after his second birthday. He takes after his father in looks, yet has the overwhelmingly good fortune to have his mother’s eyes. My only complaint where Toby is concerned is that he does have the tendency to handle me a little on the rough side. A rambunctious nine-year-old, he never seems to stay still, and participates in a wide variety of sports as an outlet for his enormous quantities of energy. In point of fact, the only time that Toby stays in one place is when he is watching his favorite sport, soccer, on television. This sport eludes me, as it seems to me that it is nothing more than silly humans, running up and down a field, chasing a ball that is not attached to a string or even filled with cat nip.
The eldest child, Christine, is ninety-eight years old, or fourteen in human years. An accomplished dancer in the form of ballet. In this regard, she is fortunate to take after her mother’s delicate boned framed. A bright, beautiful child who possesses not only good looks, but vast amounts of intelligence for one so young. I thoroughly enjoy lying upon her bed and watching her practice, I do believe that she resembles a feline, and her grace and poise never cease to astound me.
I have deduced the state of my plight from conversation that I have overheard whilst prowling beneath the table during family meal-times, searching for any bit of food that has valiantly escaped the family’s plates, and so therefore must be devoured for the infidel that it is. I resent the fact that this is the manner in which I must gain my information. Though I am quite accomplished in espionage, I wish the family would understand that I would rather gain my information directly. As a being of higher than normal intelligence, I might have been able to offer advice, perhaps a solution or two, anything other than this drastic measure that the family foolishly presumes to be practical. I have come to the realization that humans do not understand that we felines do have a brain in our heads, and therefore, would appreciate being regarded as the extraordinary beings that we are. I do believe that humans presume that that we think of nothing but chasing mice and playing with those absurd things that do a poor job of masquerading as kitty toys. I have come to the rather frightening conclusion that my family means to follow through with this insanity. I will admit here that I always presumed that they were as happy and content as myself here, however, from what I understand, Roger has managed to secure a far more lucrative position that will allow Julia to stay home in pursuit of her dream career as a writer. As she is also with child again, I can see how Roger believes this to be vital. What I cannot comprehend is why they feel we must go so far away to accomplish this.
For the remainder of the week, all is chaos, carefully organized by Julia, of course. Roger refuses to lose control of anything, and he is under the rather erroneous assumption that he is the one who runs our tight little ship. Everything is being run on a tight, non-negotiable schedule, so as to prepare us for our rather expeditious departure. Various chores are attended to at alarming speed, and it seems to me as though everything is whizzing by in one great blur.
Cartons have been obtained, and are filled to bursting with belongings. These are then carefully labeled so as to prevent mix-ups. Piles of old newspapers are used to wrap delicate objects, so as to ensure that they do not break during our exodus across the country. Everyday, another room has been packed and organized, the items either hidden within the confines of a box or shrouded in white sheets, so as to ensure that the surfaces do not become tainted with dust. I hardly recognize my home anymore. I have lived here for the better part of seven years and there is nothing here to connect the chaotic present to my happy and content past.
By the end of the week there is nothing to connect this empty shell with the happy home it once was. Everything save for the bare essentials for living has been wrapped, packed and labeled. I had hoped that in the chaos, I would not have to visit my physician. Unfortunately, my false sense of security was shattered the day of our departure. My physician, a sniveling little snip of a man aptly named Mr. Tweed, is one of the few humans I detest, with his bad teeth, thick glasses and exuding the rather disagreeable aroma of garlic and onions. It does seem to me as though he derives a kind of pleasure at prying open my jaws and examining my mouth and teeth until it is dry and I am left to attempt to gather a suitable degree of moisture. He pokes and prods for what seems like hours, examining portions of my anatomy even I had forgotten that I possessed, if I had even been aware that I possessed them in the first place. The torture and torment continued for an indeterminate amount of time, forever would be an accurate description, until at long last I was pronounced fit for travel. I know that I should have been pleased with this insignificant little parasites stamp of approval, however, I was preoccupied with plotting how to scratch out his eyes, a suitable punishment for the indignity I just suffered. The present dilemma was how to get past his glasses, as those monstrosities must weigh in at a good twenty pounds. My owners were negotiating the purchase of a large carrying vessel, a portable prison of sorts, made of beige plastic and bars. I am appalled that I am to be confined to this contraption as though I have committed some gruesome crime, A common criminal I am not.
The worst mistake I have ever made was as a kitten. I made the rather embarrassing faux pas of presenting my mistress with what I considered to be a prime specimen of a prairie dog. In my naive state of mind, I assumed that this was a suitable gift, a token of my appreciation for the heroic rescue of yours furry truly from the pet store. I would have preferred to have the ability to purchase costly gifts, however, one is limited when one possesses a serious lack of finances and opposable thumbs. Therefore, I felt a rodent to be a perfect substitute for the diamond earrings that I would much rather have given. That particular foray cost me a visit to Mr. Tweed, whom proceeded to stick me with little needles that he shoved under my skin, a torture technique that he called “shots”. Had I been able to speak, I would have confessed to taking the Lindbergh baby.
The day of our departure dawned sunny and pleasant, and I was rather disappointed that this lovely day was to be consumed with work instead of the pleasure that such a day demands. A large white van arrived while I was in the kitchen having my morning meal. I was attempting to delay the inevitable by taking my time and thoroughly devouring every last morsel, yet I was very aware of two male voices accompanied in the dining room by Julia. She was instructing them as to which items were to be placed into their vehicle. She sounded a bit frazzled, and I determined that she must be in need of my assistance. I decided to move into the living room upon finishing my meal. I assumed this would be the optimal post to supervise. I observed the men, large and beefy to the point of deformity, as I sauntered to my position. I should not by critical, as I am the stereotypical pudgy house pet. I noted that Roger was instructing the men to move his antique collection to the rented moving trailer that was attached to the rear of the family vehicle. Roger loves that collection more than life itself, and I should have predicted that he would rather carry it across the country on his back than to entrust them to these two cretins. I was in the best possible position to aid Julia in the supervision of these brutes, and I watched closely, so as to be sure that no mistakes were made. This was a delicate task, and I was pleasantly surprised to note that things were running smoothly. The children were lending a hand, Roger was helping the men, and Julia was finishing packing the remainder of the family’s belongings. We, Julia and I, had taken on the difficult task of aiding in the division of the possessions, to be sure that the proper things were being loaded into the proper vehicles. A rather strenuous activity, I assure you.
I began to marvel at the men’s tireless energy. I could not believe that they could do all this, without out so much as a cream break. I assume that I was astounded as I tire at anything more strenuous than chasing a fly. I do not understand, nor am I entirely sure I would want to, the human concepts of “work” and “jobs”. I simply cannot comprehend the exertion of that much effort when important, truly important, matters require attention. Naps, lounging, pouncing, why the feline mind boggles with the many dire errands we must complete for the sake of humanity.
I do believe that the only times in a human life when they truly understand what is important in this world is infancy and their golden years. It is during these two periods that they understand the importance of naps, meals, lounging, and in infancy, the pondering of imaginary insects. The meaning of the word “hurry” is lost on them, and I admire their ability to comprehend the many aspects that tend to plague the life of a feline. No, it is between these two periods that they lose sight of what truly matters. They are so busy rushing off somewhere that they have no idea of what they are missing.. Their lives are taken, nay, consumed with appointments, work, school, soccer practice, ballet, meetings, shopping, errands, bills, taxes, brownie meetings, cub scouts, school plays, PTA, lunch dates, dinner dates, goodness, their lives are spent just trying to survive the next fifteen minutes. Even meals are rushed now. Pre-packaged, time-saving products rule their diets. No one savors the flavor, if they cannot microwave it or prepare it in twenty minutes they would rather go hungry. This distresses me, rather, as I do believe that dining is not only one of the many pleasures in life, but an art form, to be studied, practiced and perfected.
As I am pondering this, milling over the complexity of this all-important issue, Julia approaches me with a dish. I was delighted to discover that it contained a rather large helping of my favorite meal. This strikes me as odd, as I have already dined this morning, however, my philosophy has always been waste not, want not, and what better time to put said philosophy into effect? I can say that this life practice is what accounts for my rather generous physique, coupled with the fact that I believe in maintaining the image of the plump family pet, so as to add an element of continuity to the lives of my humans. The flavor was a bit odd, yet not totally unpleasant, and I decided to continue with my meal, which was quite obviously a reward for my valuable supervision services.
Upon finishing, I thought it best that I resumed with my managerial duties, no doubt the family has come to chaos in my absence. I was relieved to see that nothing was in shambles, and I noted that most everything that was in need of my careful supervision was completed. I began to feel utterly exhausted, no doubt from the tireless effort that I was exerting in order to aid in the completion of this enormous task. I wondered if they really could finish the remainder without me. I assessed the progress and noted that most was complete. In point of fact, the final suitcases were being loaded into our vehicle, and I supposed the family could get on without me. A final check confirmed my suspicions, and I decided that a light nap would restore my strength. No doubt my services would be sorely needed later.