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The Darken Vessel 2

Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!

The eyes of a predator!

The eyes of a predator!

Something’s Not Quite Right ...

The next morning, Clarissa finds Muffin sitting on the floor licking her paws. There seems to be a red substance on them that she is trying to get off. Clarissa looks at her in surprise.

“What’s that you’ve got on your paws, Muffin? Let me see—” But before Clarissa can go any further her sister Amanda bursts into the room.

“Have you heard the news, it’s just awful.” Amanda laments.

“What news? What are you talking about?” Clarissa asks, forgetting all about Muffin and staring at her sister.

“It’s Travis Mayweather! That dreamy Travis Mayweather!” Amanda sighs thinking about her latest crush. Even though he’s five years her senior, she thinks he’s the dreamiest guy ever.

“What happen to Travis, did he break a fingernail or something?” Clarissa ripostes sarcastically.

“No, he was almost mauled to death by some kind of animal.” Amanda answers.

“Is he alright? Where is he?” Clarissa responds in amazement.

“At County General Hospital. He was out for his early morning jog when something came from behind him and started attacking him. Said that it happened so fast that all he could see were claws and teeth.” Amanda gives a retelling of the story she overheard.

“Where’d you find this out?” Clarissa demands.

“It’s on the news. They were thinking that maybe some animal escaped from the zoo or circus but that’s not the case. Some of the adults think that a rogue may be about.” Amanda finishes.

“Oh my, I sure hope Muffin will be safe.”

“Muffin? What about us? What about the community? The town?” Amanda eyes her sister surprisingly then looks at Muffin.

“Of course I hope everyone will be safe, but Muffin is just a sweet little kitty.” Clarissa replies picking her up and hugging her affectionately.

“Hmm ...” Amanda retorts. “Anyway, mom told me to tell you that it’s time for breakfast.”

Clarissa throws on her fluffy pink robe and hurries downstairs with Muffin following close behind. For a brief moment Muffin pauses and looks at Amanda in a very bizarre way. Amanda stares back in defiance and the cat turns again to proceed down the stairs.

“It’s getting on time for school young lady and you aren’t even dressed. Now finish your breakfast so you can get showered and leave.” Maxine Gordon, her mother rebukes and gets an angry hiss from Muffin.

“What’s wrong with that cat of yours, Clarissa? I’ve never known her to bristle up when I’ve scold you before.” Maxine notes as she places pancakes with sausages on the girl’s plate.

“She’s fine mom, I don’t know what you are talking about.” Clarissa counters, seeming oblivious to what’s just happened. Maxine looks at her other daughter who just shrugs her shoulders.

Clarissa gobbles down her food, takes a quick shower then hurries out the door to catch up with Amanda. When she glimpses behind, she finds Muffin trying to catch up with her but seems to be weighed down.

“What’s with that cat of yours, Clarissa? She’s acting really weird today.” Amanda whispers as the feline catches up with them and begins to amble beside Clarissa.

“I don’t know. Call me crazy but I thought I caught her trying to whisper something into my ear late last night.” Clarissa recalls as she looks down puzzlingly at her cat.

“Go home, Muffin. You’ve never tried to follow me to school before. Go home!” Clarissa orders but the cat refuses to obey. “I said, GO HOME!”

Muffin gives Clarissa a look that causes her to involuntarily shutters then heads back toward home. Amanda gets on her cellphone to her mother before she leaves for work.

“Mom, Muffin tried to follow Clarissa to school. She got really upset when Clare set her back home. Can’t you let her in before you leave?”

It's like Muffin has become two distinctly different cats!

It's like Muffin has become two distinctly different cats!

“I don’t have time to honey, I’m already nearly late for an important appointment. Billy doesn’t have his first class until 1:30 pm. I’ll ask him to. He’s still in his room.”

Maxine hangs up her cellphone and goes to inform Billy of his new assignment.

“Aw mom, I’ve got a big test coming up today and I really need to get some sleep. I was up till late last night. You know, the carpet around my door has a very peculiar odor.” Billy reports asking his mom to take a whiff.

“It is unusual, isn’t it. I don’t have time to investigate any further. I’m late Billy. Please, just let Muffin into the house.” Maxine requests as she rushes downstairs, grabs her purse plus briefcase and heads out the door just in time to let Muffin into the house herself.

“Hiss” Muffin replies as Maxine closes the door behind her. Billy rises to go downstairs to let the cat in but finds her in the hall staring at him.

“What’s the matter with you, Muff?” Billy reaches to brush the feline on the back, but she jumps completely out of his way.

“Damn, what the hell—” Billy doesn’t finish his sentence when he notices how the cat is bristling up in an attack mode. He notices that her claws appear exceptionally longer than normal, and it seems that she has grown considerably larger as well. He rushes into his room and grabs his baseball bat, the one that was autographed by his favorite player. By that time he returns, Muffin is again her normal size and has become completely docile.

“I don’t know what the hell just happened but I’m putting your behind in Clarissa’s room.” With that he grabs Muffin by the scruff and gently lays her into her bed. Then he scratches his head and goes back into his own room, locking the door.

During lunch time, Clarissa meets with her sister Amanda and they discuss the events of the past 24 hours.

“Do you think that Muffin’s strange behavior has anything to do with that Ouija Board?” Amanda asks.

“I don’t know, Mandy. We need to get that thing out of the house just in case. I wish dad were here. I sure would like to ask him some questions about great aunt Emily. Remember, she said she was out for revenge?” Clarissa reminds her.

“Yeah, that’s what really bothers me. That and there is something going around trying to kill people.” Amanda rejoinders.

“Certainly you don’t think that Muffin has anything to do with it, do you?” Clarissa studies her sister’s face. It’s filled with concern.

“All I know is that this morning Muffin acted very weird. She gave me a look—then she almost attacked mom.” Amanda recounts.

“A strange look—like the one she gave me when I told her to go back home?” Clarissa queries.

“Exactly,” Amanda affirms.

“We need to see if Mr. Greenburg will give us a refund for that Ouija Board. I hate we ever bought that thing.” Clarissa admits.

“Me too. I thought it was going to be fun but—” The ringing of the school bell interrupts their conversation and the girls return inside to complete their classes for the day.

Before Billy leaves for his class, he checks in on Muffin to make sure that everything is okay. When he opens the door, he finds the room empty of any inhabitants. He looks under the bed, by the dresser and checks the closet. But there is no Muffin. Feeling the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, he slowly turns around and witnesses a frightening sight. There is the cat, and it looks like she is covered in blood!

To Be Continued ...

The Darken Vessel 3

  • The Darken Vessel 3
    After Billy’s encounter with Muffin, he decides he must warn his little sisters of Muffin’s present state. It is at that time that the girls confess to their part in the fiasco. Meanwhile, Maxine Gordon has just arrived home to find a surprise!

© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS