And so it begins.
I’ll never forget my first love. I was seven-years old and my parents had recently died from a fatal accident. Leaning on the spirits for comfort, they urged me to find a friend in the material realm. Up until then, I had only really conversed with spiritual beings – ghosts, angels, and other ethereals. They told me to find someone I could physically touch – to hug and hold, to feel the pulse of their beating heart and the warmth of their skin. And so, I ventured forth into the woods to find myself a cat. It would be my new best friend.
There was a spot in the woods commonly referred to as “the meow’s mark.” Catnip grew freely and abundantly. A thin, freshwater creek ran through the center. People often came here with offerings – little pieces of meat, bits of cheese, bowls of gravy or milk. In return, the cats offered healing purrs, some purrs so healing that it miraculously cured the sick. Cats are most famously known for their healing powers. Our community treats them with the upmost respect, and anyone who abuses a cat faces the death penalty without quesiton.
I have heard of some who visit the meow’s mark and take home a cat as their companion. However, simply choosing a cat is not enough – the cat must choose you back. Otherwise, they will refuse to stick by your side.
I believe I am worthy of a cat companion. I have a special skill – or a “gift,” you could call it. I can talk to cats, and they can understand and talk back. As a toddler, I used to assume that everyone could do this. Soon enough, I found out that there are very few humans in this world who have this power.
I had always dreamed of having a cat friend of my own, but I only kept them as acquaintances. Again, I hesitate to become attached to anybody in the material world. The only ones I ever let myself get close to were my parents – and look what happened – now they’re gone. If I could do it over, as soon as I learned to walk, I would have waddled away into the darkness and let the spirits take care of me.
I don’t know where my parents are. I know for sure that life does not end after death – but where did they go exactly? I have no clue. Sure, I can see ghosts, I can converse back and forth with them too, but only certain ones – it’s completely out of my control. It’s likely a good thing that my parents did not become ghosts, because from what I’ve learned, ghosts are very lost and unhappy beings. They come to me crying for help, asking for directions, how to get “home.” I tell them, “maybe, when I’m grown up someday I can offer assistance – but for now, please just leave me alone.”
I ask my angels all the time, “where did my parents go?” All they can reveal to me is that they are safe and still love me very much. It feels as if the angels are purposely keeping this secret from me. But they’re not, because angels do not have free-will. They take orders directly from God. Maybe God could tell me this secret; unfortunately, I have no direct access.
Anyway, here I was, venturing through the woods on my own. It was broad daylight, so I knew I was fairly safe. Now that my parents were gone, authority was taken into my aunt’s hands. She was my mother’s younger sister who never had children of her own, clearly unsure of herself. To my advantage, this made it easier for me to manipulate her. Therefore, to venture through the woods was not a problem to her, as long as I was home by daylight. In fact, I think she pitied me so much that she would grant me anything I desired. While I may be a clever girl, I am kind enough to know my limits when testing her.
“How do I get home!?” A wispy yet panicked voice called out to me.
I turned around to see that a ghost had jumped out at me — an old man with wrinkly skin. I knew he was a ghost because he was completely translucent and floating slightly above the ground. I also knew because he was obviously lost and confused — must’ve been a very recent death. Ghosts often approached me in the night — daylight was rare, but possible.
With a sigh and an eye roll, I barked, “I dunno!”
“Please, help!” He begged — as they always do.
“I can’t!” I yelled in frustration and continued walking.
As all ghosts do, the old man followed me, continuing to pester me. With all of my will, I kept on walking, avoiding eye contact, pretending not to see him.
If I could, I would help every ghost I saw. I’m not sure why I was given the gift of seeing and hearing ghosts, along with the ability to talk to animals, and many other strange eccentricities. It upsets me to see someone who just died, unable to understand what has happened to them, with no idea how to return back to their bodies. As a baby, I used to play with them, laugh and giggle with them, cheer them up. But now, as a kid, I find them quite eerie.
Continuing my walk, ignoring the ghost as hard as I could, he eventually gave up harassing me and floated away. Finally — I was here — cat’s corner!
“Pretty girl!” The first cat said to me — a beautiful, brown tabby.
I smirked with a blush.
The next thing I knew, a whole group of cats were rushing up to me, all screaming, “pretty girl!”
“Hello, little one!”
“Hi, pretty girl!”
“Cute, little girl!”
“Hello, little girl!”
Their voices were high-pitched and squeaky like their meows — even the boys. It was adorable, but absolutely overwhelming. I was getting attacked by cuteness.
“Hi, everyone,” I waved with a polite smile.
All of the cats paused and looked at one another with their heads tilted. I could tell that they suspected I could understand them.
“Do you have any treats for us, pretty girl?” An orange cat inquired.
“No,” I shook my head.
“Awww,” they all whined together in disappointment.
“I’m looking for a cat to take home — to be my companion, my friend.”
“Pick me!” A white, long-haired cat bursted out.
“No, me!” Another squealed.
“Me! Me! Me!” They all crowded around me with their tails waving about in exhilaration.
How was I supposed to decide? They all seemed so sweet and charming. I scanned the crowd of felines in hopes of one of them standing out to me. It was decision I’d have to make with my heart.
And then I spotted him — far, far in the distance, hiding under a tree — a pale-yellow kitten with forest-green eyes staring at me in fright.
“Who’s that?” I pointed. And then I made my way towards him very cautiously.
“Oh, him?” One cat said, “he’s very shy. We don’t know much about him.”
“You mustn’t be more than several weeks old,” I said in awe of his tiny body which made his ears look so large. “What’s your name?”
As soon as I came close enough to offer him my hand, he darted away.
“No!” I cried out, watching him run through the bushes. “Come back!” I rushed towards him.
He was so quick that I thought I had lost him.
“He’s too skittish,” one of the cats shouted out, “forget about him — pick one of us, we’ll always be by your side.”
“But I want him,” I pouted, looking at him in the distance. He was hiding in a bush. And then I turned back to the group of cats all staring at me, “how about this?” I proposed, “you all help me surround him, and I promise I’ll come back with treats for all of you! Enough to go around, and then some!”
“You pinky swear?” The grey kitten glared at me.
“Of course!” I abruptly nodded.
“Alright,” the tuxedo cat announced to the others, “let’s corner him! We want those treats, don’t we?”
All of the kitties squealed with joy as they ran over to the bush and surrounded the yellow cat before he could get away. He looked terrified, and I felt a little guilty, but I knew this was for the best. Reaching over, as he nearly slipped out of my hand, I tossed him into my bag and threw it over my shoulder after sealing it tight.
“Yes!” I cheered. And then I told the swarm of cats, “I’ll be back before sunset tomorrow with your treats!”
“Hooray!” They all exclaimed.
I headed straight back home to my aunt’s cottage and locked my new cat friend in my room. As soon as I let him out, he hid under the bed, and stayed there for hours. For a while, I stood there on my hands and knees, calling him to come out and let me pet him. It was frustrating. Finally, I gave up and let him be.
Over the next several weeks, I kept my cat inside my bedroom. I had decided to name him “Oats,” after my favorite meal — maple syrup oatmeal. I continued feeding him meat scraps, milk, eggs, fish, and pieces of grain, along with plenty of fresh water. He slowly came out of his shell, but he was still so easily frightened.
“Hey, Oats!” I constantly greeted him, “you know, I can talk to animals. Please, talk to me!” But he remained mute. I questioned if he could understand me at all.
It is said that once a cat knows that they can count on you for food, you can set them free and they will never leave your side. I was nervous to allow Oats out of my bedroom — but he was so excited.
Oats spent most of the day roaming the forest. Oftentimes, I had no idea where he had gone. I would call his name through the trees and he never answered. And yet, when I sat still in my backyard, picking flowers or playing with my hula hoop, I would spot him out of nowhere in the corner of my eye — hiding in the bushes, watching me intently. He was so sneaky.
Although he mainly kept to himself during daylight, at nighttime, I’d keep my window cracked open and once I had fallen asleep he would jump inside and cuddle with me on my bed. It was so sweet. He never cuddled with anyone else.
Oats and I grew up together. But only ten years later, my heart broke to pieces when he passed away. It was extremely sudden — he had contracted some type of deadly virus.
However, unlike my parents who had completely disappeared after their death, Oats came back to me as a ghost. He wasn’t a confused, lost, or scared ghost that I’m used to seeing. He greeted me with excitement, and said, “I love you!”
I was so happy to have him remain by my side. Of course it would never be the same — not being able to pet him or hold him. But knowing he was there with me made all the difference. And Oats would stick by my side until my own passing, and then we’d be together once again in the afterlife.
In the several years following, I would eventually go on to become the wife of the Dark Lord. This is my story — I’m here to explain how I ended up marrying the Dark Lord, and all of the strange magic to follow… it would be a journey like no other.
People have described the Dark Lord as daunting, intimidating, threatening… They say that he is chaotic and out of his mind… They never wanted us to be together.
But that’s not how I ever saw him. To me, the Dark Lord has always reminded me of my first love… my cat. He’s shy, skittish, and sensitive. He hides and runs away from me — yet he’s always there watching me from a distance. And he always comes back to me.