I bought my very first house last month.
I had to sit in my car for a few minutes, I was just in awe for a few minutes that this house was really mine. It was one of those things that I wanted since I was kid, as stupid as it is- my very own house. And I got it for a steal, the previous owner had just gone into hospice and her son just needed to get rid of it.
Dylan was waiting for me when I got there, he was a really sweet guy who was just going through one of the roughest times a person can. He welcomed me in, offered to help me sort through the furniture to see what I was going to pitch and which I was going to keep- he wasn’t the sentimental type when it came to flower printed couches, apparently.
I had just laughed and was about to tell him yes when something large ran past my leg and raked its claws down my leg. I screeched, hopping up on a chair and pulling up my pant leg to assess the damage. That was one deep cut, and I looked over at that flower printed couch to see the furry culprit-
a gargantuan calico cat, with the most angry amber eyes and the meanest face I’d ever seen on a cat.
“Goliath! That’s where you are!” Dylan attempted to reach for the cat, who just hissed at him and bolted down the hallway and I heard him zip up the stairs.
“Goliath?” I questioned as I sat down on the chair I’d so carelessly leaped on.
Dylan held up a finger before he went to the bathroom and brought me a wet rag to care for my ankle. Then he told me about Goliath.
His mom had apparently always loved cats, but the accident that killed her husband also killed her three cats. Dylan, all sorts of messed up from the grief of losing his father, ended up pulling away from his mom and moved across country to go to college. By the time he sorted himself and returned home several years down the line, his mother had taken in the feral tom.
“He’s always suspicious of strangers, but he’ll warm up to you soon enough. When you can get him calmed down, call me, I’ll take him to the shelter. I’d rather not have Goliath chew up animal control. Besides, he’s a good cat. He saved my mom, I think if he hadn’t shown up, my mom would’ve died from loneliness.”
I don’t know how anyone could be friends with that jackass tom. That night when I was about to go to bed, I found him again. Sitting on my bed. Staring at me with a murder glare.
I sat down on the bed, the hair on my neck standing straight up as Goliath growled at me. “Stop that,” I shook my finger at the angry cat, “I thought male cats couldn’t be calico. Well, they can be, but apparently the few that are are typically infertile or have a bunch of other issues.”
Almost as if he understood what I said, the hair on his neck went flat and he stopped growling, like I took the wind out of his sails. That made me snort, but I held firm. “Now, Dylan’s going to pick you up the moment he can, whether you like it or not. I don’t want a cat. Not now. Capiche?”
Goliath responded by flicking his tail before grooming one of his front paws. I sighed and pulled myself under the covers, feeling a bit silly for talking to a cat. “Goodnight, Goliath,” I said.
That first week was a nightmare. Other than that initial conversation before bedtime, Goliath spent all his time hiding under thing and waiting for the right moment to come out and bat his paws at me. My ankles and calves were covered in scratches. I complained about his guerrilla warfare to Dylan, and I think he was trying really hard not to laugh even as he offered his sympathies.
It was irritating and I couldn’t wait for Goliath to take a damn chill pill so Dylan could send him to the shelter.
It was exactly one week after I moved in that I woke up to hear Goliath yowling.
At first I thought he was just being pissy and this was his new attack on me. But as it carried on… I felt like he sounded sad. Just really sad. I ended up getting up and checking to see what was wrong. Goliath was sitting on the window sill in the living room, for a cat of his mass he was surprisingly agile. He continued to cry and my heart melted. Here I was, being all ticked at this cat, when no doubt he just missed his previous owner.
I don’t know what possessed me to pick up Goliath and carry him to the couch for some much needed cuddle time, but he didn’t try to hurt me. I stroked his ears and softly told him he was okay, that all was going to be okay. Goliath just repeatedly headbutted me in the chest as his cries quieted, we both ended up falling asleep on the couch. My neck and back were killing me by morning, but Goliath was still asleep as I grabbed my phone off the sidetable where I’d left it charging the night before and I called Dylan.
“Hey, Goliath’s stopped being so angry, I think now would be the time to take care of him,” I said, quietly as not to wake him up.
Dylan was quiet for a few seconds before I heard him take a deep, shuddering breath. “Yeah, um… I can’t. Not now… my mom went last night. Just passed away in her sleep. I’m sorry,” He said.
I looked down at the sleeping cat in my lap. “Oh, it’s fine. He can stay here then for a bit more. I’m so sorry.”
He just ‘mmhmm’d’ before he hung up. I looked down at the slumbering Goliath and decided I was heading to the pet store after I showered. Whether I liked it or not, I now had a damn cat.
I wondered if Goliath knew if he’d lost his owner, that he was mourning her last night.
Now I know he did.
There was another reason I got this house for as cheap as I did- about two years ago, there was a bunch of unsolved disappearances and murders in the area. Heck, the next door neighbors lost their three oldest kids to some sort of wild animal attack before they just vanished themselves. Creepy, but I’m not the kind of person who gives a shit about that sort of thing. So someone may have died on this street, big whoop, people die all the time.
But Goliath was different. I think I always knew he was different.
I talked with him all the time and he always seemed to be listening. I usually talked to him about how work was going, or what I was going to make for dinner or what was going on in the book I was reading. Sometimes we talked about more serious things, about my depression and how hard it made it to get up in the morning sometimes, about how I always wondered if moving out to this small town was really the right choice, how I really wanted to be a writer instead of an accountant but I lived comfortably because of accounting and I wouldn’t as a writer. Goliath was a great listener. Never said anything back, but he was a cat after all.
Last Saturday night though, someone broke into my house. I had fallen asleep on the couch watching Netflix, Goliath had just gone out the back cat door to do his night prowls, I was alone.
I woke up when I heard someone going through something in the kitchen. My half asleep brain first thought it was Goliath just trying to get into the cat food, so I stumbled my way over there to tell his dumb ass to knock it off. Instead of an oversized house cat though, I saw a figure with a black ski mask holding one of my kitchen knives.
I tried to bolt back to the living room to get my phone but didn’t get too far when I felt something cold slice through my back and impale me through the shoulder. It’s not like I had a reference for what being stabbed felt like, I didn’t even realize I had been until I fell to my knees, barely able to even breathe much less scream.
My attacked pulled the knife back out and I looked up, saw the glint of the blood covered blade preparing to make another strike. I couldn’t move. My dumb ass didn’t fight or run, I just laid there like a complete waste of space while the knife came down again… or it would’ve, if Goliath hadn’t pounced his arm and sunk his teeth right into his skin.
The guy shouted and shook the infuriated cat off, Goliath smacking into the kitchen cabinet before sinking to the ground. I scrambled as fast as I could to the hallway, blood dripping down my arm as I scrambled to get away.
The sound that came from Goliath as he got back to his feet- house cats don’t make that sound. Tigers, maybe.
Goliath growled again, I felt the temperature of the room raise as cats just starting pouring into my house. Through the open window my attacker had probably come through, through the cat door, hell some even pawed their way up from the basement one way or another. They ignored me as they surrounded Goliath and the intruder.
“What the fuck-”
Goliath roared, his tail whipping back and forth as he paced around his prey. The guy gulped before looking down at me. “Call him off! Call your fucking demon cat off!”
I coughed and shook my head. “He’s not mine,” I said before I began pulling my body down the hallway. I made it to my bedroom and heard my attacker screech in horror before I lost consciousness. I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up to Goliath licking the wound on my back.
I only saw what Goliath really was for a second. I’d seen tigers at the zoo smaller than he was, his black fur thick as a wolf’s and the orange patches now glowing like magma. Those fiery eyes flicked up at mine, I blinked, and he was back to being a normal- if not slightly oversized- housecat.
I don’t know what he did to my back, but the stab wound’s gone. Just a scar now. I’d want to believe it was a dream, but although my kitchen was mostly clean, there was a few swaths of blood left under the table. And I now have like four other cats living in my house. One of them had the nerve to have its babies under my sink so I have to find homes for the fuzzy freeloaders.
While I lounged in the living room, I saw one of them hack up what I think was a finger. It scarfed it back up before I got a good look. I turned and looked at Goliath, who was perched on the couch arm. “Just what the hell are you? Did that old lady who lived here before even know?”
Goliath just looked at me, and I swore he winked before yawning and dragging his claws down my couch arm.
At least I don’t have a body to clean up. And I’ll never need a guard dog with this asshole cat in my home.