The Black Cat
Kirk V. Bhajan
Mad. They saying I mad. But I not mad. I admit when she leave me it hurt. I mean, I only human. We was together for nearly a year, you know. I must feel it. I even bring she to live home by me. Is only when she leave it mash me up. But I didn’t go mad. No, no, no. If anything, I would say I was closer to reality after the breakup. But they still saying I is a madman. Hear what — you judge for yourself.
Well, she leave five months ago on a Friday. I remember because the rain was falling bucket a drop that day. She tell me she got a little apartment close to the University and was staying by sheself. I have no clue why she really ups and gone, you know. I never do she nothing. You know what? Come to think of it, I was too good to she. She ass was too happy, that is what happen. Okay, okay, I sounding like I toting but hear me out. She is the type of city girl who good spoil. She grow up in Sando and she was an only child for she parents (who never liked me by the way). And when she come Barrackpore to live with me she probably feel like she gone in bush. You see by me have plenty farm land and I wouldn’t lie to you, cock forever crowing and the air does smell like dry cowshit when the breeze blow hard.
But I feel the real reason she leave was because she think I educationless. I did warn she that when she start University people will put a pack of dotishness in she head. I tell she that I would see bout she, that she had nothing to worry about. She woulda be good by me and we woulda have we family and I woulda mind she. If I didn’t love she and I was crazy I woulda never see about she like that. Never.
But she say the reason she wanted to go was because I too controlling. That I cramping she style. That I monitoring who she friends them is. That I obsessing over she. But like I say, since she gone, I seeing things for what they really is now. I sure the real reason she leave is because she want to go university to take man.
So anyway, the woman pack she bag and bolt out. Then a week later I see she by Club Morphe. The music was blasting some nasty penis-in-vagina-hole dancehall song and she had on this tight tight jeans with all she gizzard print out. I spy she sitting down all buddy, buddy with a big Black man. Then I see she smiling with him. The same damn smile she used to smile with me. The same same smile. Well boy I feel sick when I see that. I not racial and I not a possessive man eh, but lord that make my stomach turn.
No matter what I do, no matter where I was, all I could think ’bout was she smile. And that laugh she used to laugh. It used to start from inside she belly and buss out of she grinning teeth, into a squeal, whenever she was excited. She used to well laugh like that with me. But no more. Now she laughing like that with another man. Nasty woman. But I still love she. I telling you, God as my witness I really love she, you know. I couldn’t eat or sleep for weeks. I would pace up and down my street like if I paving the road. Every night all I could think of was she. If I didn’t love she, you think I woulda feel this way?
Now I not the kinda man to beg so I didn’t even message she, no set of long message on Whatsapp. All I do is watch good to see when she was online, especially in the night. And doh tell me that unreasonable. I mean if she now break up with me, what reason she had to be online talking to somebody?And, who exactly she was talking to? That was the question! I wanted to know. I needed to know. So I would go on Whatsapp, sometimes for hours just to see when she went online. I get a copybook and would write down the time she went online and for how long, trying to find some pattern.
Then all of a sudden, one day, jusso jusso, she block me on Whatsapp. I went on she Facebook and Instagram but I realise she block me there too. I create a fake account just to see she picture. Oh God that hurt me. Watching that picture of she smiling. And through the picture I could hear she laughing. It was the same laugh she used to laugh when we was together. Whenever I tried to sleep she laughter was constantly running through my brain. Over and over and over again. All I could see in my mind was she smiling. All I could hear was she laughing. I say to myself I needed to see she just one more time. To see how she was doing. That not crazy. Wanting to see somebody you love. All I needed was to see she. Just one more time.
So I say let me track she down. I tell myself I have to move like James Bond, slick and smooth like a spy. I follow she before and after she went to work, always at a distance. I would park up three streets from she apartment, then I come out the car and wait behind a silk cotton tree that was growing across the road from she. I tell myself she most likely was friending with some new man, opening up she legs for him. I know that is what she doing. She not letting that pussy go to waste. No, no, no. She had to be brushing. I just know that is what she up to. I know she kyat woulda be scratching she. So for three weeks I watch she.
This is she routine:
Every morning the light in the apartment come on at six. She used to make coffee around half past six because I used to smell it. Then she would put on she track pants with all she bamsee squeeze up and make three spin around the block. She come back sweat down and wave to a tall red man who start running when she finish jog. Then she go back inside around half past seven and take out a bowl of milk and feed she cats. She had five in total. I remember all of them because when she was by me she had them with she and they was always shitting in the yard. At a quarter to eight she would leave for work at a primary school in Curepe. Sometimes when lunchtime reach she would go Pita Pit or Subway. Once a week she get barbeque by Smokey’s Grill. She leave work quarter past three and go straight back to the apartment on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. On Wednesday and Friday she go she classes in University from five to eight in the night.
For work she wear on some short skirts with all she leg showing. For she class she put on some tight tight tops and I sure sometimes she nipples woulda print out when the AC blowing cold in she class. On Sunday she leave home lunchtime and come back down south and visit she mother and father until six in the evening, and then she head back up. On Saturdays sometimes she go Morphe. Three times in the three weeks I see she liming with a tall fair-skinned Indian feller there. The man look like he was going University too and that he had plenty money because he was driving an Audi. One or two times I see him upstairs in the gallery in she apartment smoking a cigarette.
Every day I watch she. I watch she in she gallery. I watch she when she went to class. I watch when she went to eat. I watch when she change she profile picture on Facebook. I watch which new man car park up in she garage. I watch what she wearing. I watch to see which man she was laughing and smiling with.
By day, my thoughts only on seeing she. At night, whenever I could get any sleep, I would dream she. And the more I dream she, the worse I felt. Well is then that things start to go from bad to worse. Just watching she wasn’t changing anything. I could see how happy she was. Talking and smiling and laughing. I nothing to she anymore. She was happy-go-lucky, always smiling and laughing and I rottening from the inside. I know she opening she leg for all the different man I saw she with. Smiling with them and opening she leg for them.
Every day when I saw she, she had that Jezebel smile carved on she pretty face. I see she for the hypocrite that she was. Every, single, day I telling you, the more she smile the nastier I realise she was. So I come up with a plan. Nothing big. I eh no big schemer.
I would wait for she to return home from class that Friday, then brace she. That was all I was going to do. I swear that was all! I really just wanted to ask she why she smile so. Why all of a sudden she moving like I never existed, when all this time I crying every single night. She smile became twisted up like a snake. I had to stop it. I just had to. Every night all I see was she smiling. I just wanted to see she one more time. I know in my heart and I swear to God, I would never ever ever hurt she. I love she too much to do anything bad to she.
That Friday I follow she to the University. I waited in the car park. She class start at five and finish around eight. I stay in my car, just like all the other times, watching as the day slip into evening and then night. The weather was set up for rain. The breeze was cold and I swear I could hear she laughter floating in the air. I know she sitting down next to some pretty boy from class, laughing and flirting and smiling with him. Ten to eight reach and the rain start drizzle, then it start fall. It was sounding like if a demon was tapping on the hood of my car with he bony fingers.
As 8pm reach I drive back to she apartment and wait right outside. I tell myself that in this rain she would just open the automatic gate and go right into the garage without looking back. I post up myself outside she house and wait while the rain falling and splashing. I wait until I heard the automatic gate start to hum and the iron start to rattle.
She car pull in the driveway. It would take a few seconds for the garage door to close. In them few seconds, I ease myself into the garage. Then she come out of the car, she legs dripping wet. Immediately the woman start to bray. She want to know why I there. No hello or how I going eh. She eh even smile. She only start asking one set ah pack of ass questions like: What happen to me? How I get in? How long I was here? If I feeling right in my head? I bite my tongue and didn’t say a word.
I just stand up and wait. Wait to see she skin she teeth for me. I heard the garage door close shut. Still, she didn’t smile.
“What happen? You eh happy to see me?”
“Look boy, get the hell out from here before I have cause to call the police for your mad ass!”
Nasty ho. Just smile for me.
I could hear she teeth rattling inside she mouth. In my heart all I want to do was hold she and tell she that I here. That everything would be alright. That I love she and all I do is think about she. All I want to do was hold she and tell she how much I love she. So, little by little, I walk towards she. Just to hold she, you know.
But she gone and open she big mouth: “Okay, calm down. I think you need some help. Just hold on, and I’ll go get you something to drink. Then we could have a nice chat. Just let me go inside, okay?”
Ahhh, there it was. That big broad smile. It start to rise up from the edge of she cheeks. I could see she fine, pearl-white teeth. She look so pretty like that. I wrap my fingers ‘round she neck, gently. I swear I was gentle. All I could see was she smile. All I could hear was she laughter. She was trying to say something. I doh think I heard she words at all actually. All I could hear was she high-pitch laughing wriggling inside my ears. I can’t remember hearing anything else.
I hear a cat hiss and it wake me up. I look up at the doorway. The cat was skinny and black. It look right at me. I didn’t recognise it from the others she had. I look down. I saw she body. It had a gash to the side of she head from where thick, red blood was trickling out from. And so it was smelling fresh! Well that sober me up one time. I eh rant or rave or get on like no madman. No. Instead, I take it step by step. Step by step, I did what I had to do.
I took she car keys from she pocket and open the trunk. I look around in the garage until I find five large garbage bags, a sheet of blue tarpaulin, a pigtail bucket, and a hacksaw. I take my time and did what I had to. Step by step, minute by the minute, I did what I had to. I try my best to keep the blood from draining out of the tarpaulin but it keep leaking. I wasn’t worried too much because the floor was tiled so the blood wouldna soak in. After, I stuff the bags and throw everything in the trunk. It still had a small puddle of blood on the ground. I look around the garage for something to clean the blood. I find a mop, some bleach, and another bucket.
When I come back I see the cat licking the blood. The cat crouch over the pool and drinking it up like it cask wine. All that time it looking at me. Looking and watching and staring with big green eyes. No expression. Just drinking the blood and staring. I feel it knew what I just did and it mocking me.
I ran it away and started mopping. I scrub and scrub and scrub. I had to make sure not a drop of blood left behind. I gone inside and wash my face and hands. But wherever I go the cat following me. Every step I make I could feel it right behind me. Watching me with them beady eyes. Mocking me. Stalking me. Laughing at me.
I try to think where I could throw away the garbage bags. I decide the best thing would be to go to the beach and dump them in the sea. I finish cleaning and gone inside to wash up. I was so tired I collapse on a couch in the living room. The cat sit down opposite me and was watching. Every minute that pass the cat remain right there. Watching and judging and mocking.
Next thing you know, through the rain outside, I hear a horn beeping. I pull the curtain and watch through the window. The same fair-skin Indian feller and another girl was in a car outside. I start pacing up and down, up and down, studying what I should do. I know they saw the light in the garage on for sure.
Then I hear the gate bell ringing. I had no choice so I open the gate for them to drive in but I wait inside the living room. All this time I waiting I could hear a faint sssuhh sssuhh sususususus like if the black cat was laughing. Then, all of a sudden I hear the living room door creak open and two of them come in and find me on the couch.
The girl was constantly walking ‘round the room. She had big, black eyes like a semp and they was darting around, all over the room. The man sit down on the couch opposite me. Now if is one thing I could say about me, I is a kinda man that could conduct myself under pressure. I explain to he that I come over to check on she the same way when I try calling she but she wasn’t picking up. I tell he that I was she cousin and she had messaged me earlier to tell me she was feeling very depressed so I came to check up on she.
I know I could be real slick and smooth in pressure situations like James Bond so before long I was laughing and joking with them. But the girl was still fidgety fidgety and was constantly texting but I try not to study she. So I talk and talk and explain to the dougla man that most likely she had gone back home and would be by sheself until she feel better. We talk for some time. And the more we talk the better I start to feel. I couldn’t say how much time pass exactly, but I know the rain stop falling because the room get quieter. The last thing I tell them was that I will keep in touch if I hear anything. I walk them out and tell them goodnight.
But when all of we reach in the garage my blood run cold and my body freeze up on me. Right where it happen, right on the very spot the body was, I see the black cat sitting. Its green eyes just kept watching me. Watching like a demon.
I try act normal in front of them and force a smile. And Jesus Christ, the image of she flash back up in my mind. The black cat remain right there on the spot like if some force was making it behave so. It eh budge. Not for anything. It just sit down mocking me. And this is the crazy part. The cat slowly start to flex its shoulders like if it was a wind-up toy. The black hair across its body start to bristle, and then I see its pink lips start forming into a smile! And then it open its mouth, flash its sharp pointy teeth at me and from inside its belly it start to laugh a strange nasty kinda laugh, almost like if it was squealing. I telling you! I swear to God it was laughing! It start to slowly lick its paws, then the ground where the blood was, still staring and smiling and laughing at me. I couldn’t stop it. I feel this heat on me, like if a set of ants was on fire and running all over my body. I start to scratch the back of my head and neck. I try closing my eyes but when I did I only hear the cat laughing even more. Susss Susss Susssussusss SSSSUSSSSS…KYAR KYAR KYAR KYAARRRR
The more it licked and laughed and watched and stared the more I feel like if I wanted to rip off all my clothes and run back home. I start to bawl and beg the Lord God in heaven to have mercy on my poor soul. I strip myself until I was naked as I born. I drop on the floor and beg and plead with the black cat to stop.
By this time I notice more people was milling around the garage. But I didn’t care. I start bawling and crying and tell all of them everything what happen. That I was the one who kill she. I beg them to carry me away. Away from the black cat before I really lose my fucking mind! I open the trunk and show them the bloody garbage bags. I didn’t care nomore. I just needed to get far far away from the cat!
Suddenly, I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. It was the big Black fella. He lift me up, take both my hands, hold them tight behind my back and looked directly in my eyes:
“What cat are you talking about, sir?”
Kirk V. Bhajan is a writer from San Fernando, Trinidad. His work has been published in several venues, including: Ake Review, alba lateinamerika lesen, Moko, sx salon, and Akashic Books’ Duppy Thursday flash fiction series. He was longlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Competition and was the winner of the 2017 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival’s Future Critics award. Kirk writes to understand society and himself.