Given that Christmas is just about over, this post may be a tad bit late. Then again, some things never quite go out of season, and I would count crazy, unexplainable surprises among them. So, here we go:
I have seven cats.
Relax, now. Not all of them live with me in my house. Some of them stay outdoors in the day and sleep in my garage at night. This way, the sofa doesn’t get too buried in cat hair…
Is this a bit extreme? Possibly. Seven cats is a lot, it’s true. But you know what’s even more extreme than seven cats? Eight.
All semester, I’ve looked forward to coming home. This has been due to a variety of reasons: getting to see my friends, getting to see my family, getting more time to write, and, well, getting to actually sleep. Yet, one of the things I miss most at college are my seven furry felines. However, when I arrived home a few days back, I discovered something a tad bit surprising. I didn’t have just seven cats anymore. I had eight. No, my family didn’t get a new kitten. On the contrary, this eighth cat was a friend from many years ago, one I’d come to believe had died many years before. His name, quite fittingly, is Mystery.
I was about eleven or twelve when Mystery and I first met. One of our friends is a vet. Because of the nature of her profession, people were forever leaving her boxes of unwanted critters for her to deal with. One October day, someone mysteriously dropped off a box of two tiny scraggly kittens. Having no room for any more animals, our vet friend asked us if we might want them. Since we only had about five cats at the time, my mom answered, “Sure.” And just like that, we became the proud owners of two new kittens. There was a tortoiseshell one, which I named “Patches,” and a fluffy, coal black one with light green eyes, which I named “Mystery.”
As they grew up, their personalities became more apparent. Patches loved to catch birds and rabbits and was basically fearless. Mystery, however, was sweeter and a little more timid. He couldn’t quite meow, but made a warbling sound instead. He loved to be pet and always came when I called his name, and he was scared by loud noises.
The years began to pass until, one day, Mystery disappeared. Totally crushed, I went around calling his name for days, but Mystery never came. I was certain he was gone. It wouldn’t have been the first time I had lost a cat to the coyotes.
Fast forward a few years to when I was about fifteen or sixteen. A strange cat started hanging around our yard. It wasn’t a great rarity; stray cats are pretty commonplace in these parts of the woods. This one was weird, however. It was terrified of loud noises and sudden movements and it had coal black fur and light green eyes. If you called out, “Kitty,” it ran. It ran from everything really, except the name, “Mystery.”
It was shocking and I didn’t really understand how he could have survived all those years in the desert, but it was definitely the same cat. Mystery had returned.
Much to my disappointment, he hadn’t stayed long. Only a few days later, Mystery vanished without a trace.
Fast forward a few more years to the present. There I was at school, taking finals. My mom mentioned in a phone call that a stray black cat had been hanging around our house lately. But like I said, strays are pretty normal and I didn’t think much of it.
When I came home, however, and saw it for the first time, I was stunned. It looked just like Mystery. But that couldn’t be possible, could it?
Later that night, when I was out in my yard, I saw it again. It took off running.
“Kitty!” I called out and it kept running.
“Mystery!” I called and it stopped. It looked up at me with its bright green eyes. “Mystery!!” I called it again. To my complete shock, it turned around and started–hesitantly–walking toward me. It stopped, seemingly afraid, and made the same high-pitched warble that Mystery had always made. I crouched down and held out my hand and called again, and Mystery came running to me. He rubbed up against my legs and my hand and let me hold him. He was purring so loudly, as if I couldn’t pet him fast enough.
Want to see him? Well, of course you do–he’s absolutely adorable!!
This was taken back when Mystery first reappeared a few days ago. He was still a little skittish around me then.
But he quickly warmed up and came closer.
He loves having his belly petted
Now, he’s as friendly as ever. He loves sitting on my lap while I type away at my next novel and he loves napping contentedly on the windowsill.
Isn’t he a cutie? (I obviously think so)
Will he stick around? I honestly have no idea. What Mystery chooses to do is, quite frankly, a mystery. I don’t know where he came from or where he is going to be next. All that is for certain is this: Mystery came home for Christmas.
Book sales are coming along well. We don’t know for certain how many copies of Labyrinth of Lies have sold, but there is still the matter of formatting the novel for print that needs to be taken care of. This might take some time. Those of you waiting for a printed copy, thank you for your patience and hang in there!