Cat’s Nine Lives

He turned off the ignition to kill the sound of the idling car’s engine. He checked for his looks in the rear view mirror and stepped out of the car, slamming the door shut with a soft thud. Crushing the cigarette butt using his shoe, he adjusted his suit and marched towards the house. Samar had picked up the habit of smoking off late. It had been ten years since he last saw Tanushree, back when they were in the same class undergoing training at Infosys, Mysore. He had got a call from her out of the blue a month back asking him about his whereabouts. Currently looking for an inspiration for his next story, he was visiting Mysore for a week and thought of surprising her as she now lived in the outskirts of Mysore. He wondered how she looked now as she was not active on any social networking site. The next moment he realized he had left the bouquet of flowers in the car. He got back to the car to get it.

He was now in the courtyard, the house bore a neglected look. Dried leaves piling up everywhere. He looked for the bell and rang it. A few moments passed by and there she was opening the door holding a cute kitten in her hand. She had grown into a very beautiful lady. She smiled and he smiled back giving her the flowers he had brought for her, gently stroking the kitten on its head. She asked him to come in, giving him a warm hug, his nostrils soaking in the strong perfume she was wearing. She was wearing a pink robe and had hairs which reached her waist. Her lips and nails were painted the same color, blood red. When she smiled, her lips parted to reveal a set of perfectly white teeth and her eyebrows had that perfect arc. She was an epitome of true beauty. He complimented her and she laughed. It was a playful laughter having the same ring of mischief in it as he had known all these years. She asked him to sit on the sofa while she went to the kitchen to get him a cup of coffee.

He noticed the house was dimly lit and was full of kittens. Kittens on the sofa, on the floor, on the piano. They were literally everywhere. It might have seemed eerie to some stranger but Samar knew Tanushree was fond of cats. But what seemed uncanny to him was there was no grown up cat, rather all of them were kittens. Not thinking any further, he picked one fluffy orange kitten and started playing with it. It resembled Garfield and he loved Garfield.

She was back now with coffee and cookies. They sat together and talked about the good old days. He was now drinking the coffee and felt like her eyes were fixated on him. When he looked at her she just smiled averting his gaze. After having a few sips, Samar complained of dizziness. He then noticed his ears changing their shape, furs appearing on his hands. He was shrinking too at the same time. He was aghast and wanted to shriek but he was unable to. Tanushree’s smirk had now changed into a hysterical laughter. In no time the suit he was wearing had collapsed into a lump on the floor. A few minutes of wriggling and a kitten appeared. It scampered across the floor trying to avoid her hands but she managed to pick him up. She kissed him on the forehead and whispered in his ears, “Welcome to the party!” A shrill laughter echoed in the house and then she dropped him on the floor. The other kittens now came towards him. They were all meowing something but now it wasn’t just some strange sound, it made sense. In the flock he saw, there was Unmesh, Sahil, Rishab and Mani!

They all had met the same fate before him. She had used Cat’s nine lives to get her exquisite beauty. She was immortal.

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