Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
“Can we play mommy, now?”
“Kitty, I’m tired,” Alicia sighed.
The closet door creaked wider as the child rolled over to see Kitty’s glass eyes gleaming in the darkness of the closet.
“But I’ve been waiting all day!’ whined Kitty in its gruff little voice. “And we haven’t played in sooo long.”
The child watched as the creature’s small shaggy body emerged from around the base of the door and shambled swiftly across the floor to her bed. It was amazing how Kitty had grown in the weeks since the Alicia had found her at that yard sale. She had been so ratty and matted that Mommy didn’t even want Alicia to touch it, let alone bring it home. But Daddy was always a softie, and Alicia could always get what she wanted from him. And so Kitty lived with her now.
There followed a brief series of grunts before Kitty’s small wolfish face appeared next to the child on the mattress, its plush face expectant.
“Pleeease!” Kitty crooned. “You know I can’t sleep unless we play.”
The child was tired but knew that once Kitty wanted to play, she would not be denied. “Huh, OK.” She took off the shirt of her PJs, placed it aside, wrapped her arms around kitty and cuddled her to her bare chest. As Alicia softly crooned her favorite bedtime song and rocked Kitty in her arms, she felt the familiar but still shocking stab under her arm as Kitty’s tiny teeth pierced her skin. But the pain was short lived and quickly replaced by a pleasant warm sensation as Kitty lapped at her flowing blood.
Alicia finished the song and lay back down. She placed Kitty next to her who continued to feed. “I’m worried Kitty. The doctor said he doesn’t know what’s wrong with me.”
Kitty’s faced emerged from the crook of her arm. “I hope you’re going to be OK. You know how much I love you,” said Kitty as she licked her lips.
“I know,” answered Alicia. “I love you to.”
“Are we still going to have the sleep over with your friend?”
“Mommy said she doesn’t think I should, but Daddy said they would talk about it.”
“That’s good. I can’t wait to meet your friend. What’s her name again?”
“Gina,” answered Alicia.
“We’ll all have fun playing together.”
“I’m tired, let’s go to sleep.”
“Yeah, we’ll have more fun tomorrow.”
“Kitty! Good news! Gina is coming to stay tomorrow! Daddy won the talk and her parents said she could!”
Kitty looked up at her and managed to make his stuffed face smile. “That’s great,” it answered. “We’ll play all kinds of games!”
Alicia crossed the room and sat down, slightly out of breath. “I told her all about you but she doesn’t believe me. She said I’m making it all up. But she’ll see won’t she Kitty? You won’t go all limp and pretend to be dead like you do when Mom and Dad are around, will you?”
“You told her about me?” asked Kitty, it’s glass eyes somehow narrowing.
“I know you told me not to, but I thought since she was staying over she should know. And it would be so much fun for all of us to play together!”
Kitty shuffled over to where Alicia was sitting and held up his stubby paws, indicating that he wanted to be held. Alicia bent over and, and with some difficulty, picked the creature up.
Now sitting in Alicia’s lap, her arms lovingly wrapped around him, Kitty said in a low gruff whisper “I asked you not to tell anybody about me.”
“I’m sorry Kitty. It’s just that I was so excited.”
Kitty looked up at her, “did you tell anyone else?”
“Well, just Josh.”
Kitty looked alarmed, “Who’s Josh?”
“He’s a boy in my Kindergarten, he said he wants to marry me!”
“You’re going to get me hurt,” plead Kitty. “You can’t tell people. They’ll find out and then they’ll take me away from you. Do you want that?”
“No.” Alicia looked down dejectedly. Even Kitty had to admit that Alicia did look sorry. “Do you want to play mommy?” she offered knowing that Kitty always wanted to play mommy.
“OK,” said Kitty as it cuddled up into the crook of her arm. “I can’t wait until tomorrow,” its voice muffled as it lapped at her. “Maybe it’s good you told Gina about me. I wouldn’t want her to be too surprised.”
“We’ll have so much fun,” responded Alicia as a deep fatigue overwhelmed her.
The little girls sat cross legged on the floor.
“Stop lying,” said Gina. She was a pretty girl, taller than Alicia but where Alicia was peaked and blond, Gina had auburn hair and her chubby face had a healthy ruddy glow.
“I’m not lying,” responded Alicia defensively. “You’ll see” with a bit of effort she rose, crossed the room, and turned down the light. “But you need to promise that you won’t tell anybody.”
Gina rolled her eyes. “Whatever” she said with dismissive disbelief.
“No, you need to really promise,” plead Alicia.
“Huh, OK, I promise.”
“Cross your heart?”
“Cross my heart”
“And hope to die?”
“And hope to die.”
Satisfied, Alicia called out in a loud whisper, “OK. Kitty, Gina’s here but it’s safe to come out. Show her that you’re real and that I’m not a liar.”
Gina stared in amazement as the little grey figure emerged from the shadows under Alicia’s bed. At first it walked on all fours like a dog or wolf, but as it cleared the bed it rose onto two legs and looked up at Gina with its shining glass eyes. The little girl’s amazement bubbled over into laughter as the grey creature raised an arm and spoke in a gravelly voice, “Hi, I’m Kitty,” it said.
Alicia practically collapsed onto the floor next to Kitty and scooped him up in her arms. “Kitty is my special friend.”
Gina’s eyes shown, “That is the coolest thing ever!” she cried.
“Keep your voice down,” commanded Alicia. “My parents will hear.”
Almost on cue a knock came on Alicia’s door just before it swung open. Kitty’s body went limp and slumped in Alicia’s arms as her father’s head poked in. “Girls,” he said, his voice a low whisper, “Keep it down. Gina’s parents are coming early tomorrow to pick her up and they might not let her sleep over again if you two are up all night.”
“OK daddy,” responded Alicia. He smiled at his daughter and closed the door. Almost immediately life sprang back into Kitty’s body.
“Let’s play a game!” it said quietly.
The creature led the girls in a few short games of imagination and a joined in for a game of Candyland before the girls decided to turn in.
“Can Kitty sleep with me?” asked Gina.
“Sorry, but Kitty needs to sleep in my bed. I’m his mommy,” answered Alicia.
Gina looked down with a pout.
“Don’t worry,” said Kitty. “We’ll play tomorrow.”
“OK,” said Gina with a huff as she collapsed on the air mattress and pulled the covers over her.
Up on the bed Alicia and Kitty settled in for one last game of the night.
Gina slowly opened her eyes and then caught her breath to see Kitty close to her face and looking at her.
“I’m cold,” it said to her. “Can I get under the covers with you?”
Gina lifted the comforter. The creature climbed in next to her and pressed itself against her body.
“You’re fun to play with,” it said.
Gina smiled, “you are too.”
“I wish we could play every night.”
“Yeah, but mom and dad won’t let me stay overnight again, not for a while.”
“That’s sad. I’ll miss you. Can you give me a hug, please?”
Gina wrapped her arms around the furry plush body and smiled.
Kitty whispered in her ear, “well, if you can’t sleep over here, maybe, we could sleep over at your house?”
“Probably not. Moms and dads need time to say yes or no. Maybe next week.”
“Next week?! That’s so long to wait!” Kitty looked at Gina with desperation in its eyes. “How about just me then, you can sneak me home in your night bag. Then you don’t need to ask anybody!”
“But what about Alicia? Won’t she miss you? She’ll be mad if I stole you.”
“Silly, you can’t steal me if I ask to go. Alicia will understand. Besides, I play with her every night, and you can give me back at school on Monday.”
“I don’t know…”
“But I thought you loved me, and we can play together more. I know so many games that I’d love to teach you!”
“Well, only if Alicia says it’s OK. I don’t want her to be mad at me.”
Kitty’s wolfish face contorted into a broad grin that showed a row of thin needle like teeth. “I’m sure she will.”
Gina awoke to the sound of knocking on Alicia’s door.
“Girls, time to get up,” called Alicia’s dad. “Gina’s parents are here. It’s time to go.”
Gina ambled out of the air mattress, but Alicia didn’t stir. Gina went over and shook her friend’s body a few times but she didn’t respond at all. Her cold little body just limply rolled over onto her belly. Gina frowned. She wanted to say goodbye to her friend but she didn’t want to get in trouble for making her parents wait either.
She quickly got dressed and bent to stuff her bed clothes into her night bad. As she did, she caught a gleam of reflected light come from under Alicia’s bed. There was Kitty, looking at her longingly. “Please” it whispered.
Gina’s heart melted. She scooped up the creature and said, “we’ll all have so much fun playing tonight.”
Kitty looked concerned, “all?”
“Yeah, you, me, and my brother.”
“You have a brother?” Kitty seemed worried.
“Yeah, but don’t worry, he’s just a baby. He can’t even talk yet.”
Kitty’s face lit up. “We’re all going to have lots of fun!”
“Girls,” called Alicia’s father, louder this time.
Gina smiled at Kitty and gently tucked the creature down into her night bag.
“Bye Alicia,” she called as she closed the door, but Alicia didn’t respond. Her rigid and cold little body hadn’t even moved.
CREDIT : Sasha