The baby mewled—a rhythmic whimper that jolted me awake.
I padded to the nursery; it was dark but for the moon’s silver-rimmed glow silhouetting the cot. Instinctively, I reached under the blanket to stroke my newborn’s warm skin.
My fingers jerked as they brushed against something furry. Suddenly, the thingamajig squirmed under my hand.
I yanked the blanket away. A pair of creepy blue eyes set in a tawny face of a kitten gaped back at me.
Panic seized me; where was my baby? How did the kitten get here?
Several small mews echoed. I stood transfixed as two yellow dots floated in the far corner and slinked closer.
“A cat…” I gasped. Had I left a window open?
The feline purred, locking me in her ice-cold gaze as she sidled towards me.
I flipped the light on. And poof! There was nothing there. My baby was asleep in the crib, sucking on her little thumb.
The orange tabby was everywhere; since that day, she roamed the house, sniffing the air, her belly slunk low to the floor as if she owned the place.
Something about her looked familiar. I hated cats, and her presence riled me. It messed with my head; Why else would I mistake my baby for a kitten so often?
But I couldn’t inform Animal Services. A single mother needed to lie low if she was illegally squatting in her dead friend’s house.
The musty smell from the crib turned my stomach; now, there was no mistaking it. My baby was gone, and multiple kittens had seized the crib, just like the mother cat had done to my house.
Their howls filled the room. Someone banged on the door. “Muzzle your fucking baby,” they yelled for the umpteenth time.
“It isn’t a baby. They are kittens,” I hissed amidst sobs, my eyes fixed on the smug tabby sprawled on the sofa. She swished her tail in response.
Did I see a smirk on that god-awful face? I couldn’t be sure.
“The poor baby is on the verge of death… looks like it hasn’t been fed for days,” the social worker said, peeping into the crib.
“Thank God for the neighbours… They say the mother is crazy. Keeps imagining cats and kittens everywhere,” the other whispered, picking up the blue bundle from the crib. They ambled to the door.
What? They couldn’t see the monstrous cat or her hideous kittens?
I looked hard at the cat perched on the windowsill; suddenly, a memory clicked. I knew her… she was Coco, my dead friend’s dead cat.
I remembered how I had thrown a stinking box of Coco’s kittens in the trash bin and watched the stray dogs feasting on them. The distraught Coco had met her makers the same evening. I had accidentally run over her while reversing my car.
I dashed after the social workers; my breath hitched as I read the words on a passerby’s T-shirt. It said—Karma is a cat.
Karma is a cat- from a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
Karma- a borrowed word from Sanskrit. It is the belief that all intent and actions of an individual lead to inevitable results.
Picture Credit-Bastien Janlliot/ Unsplash