'The Witch's Cat' by Jacqueline Bartle

His yellow eyes glow golden as cheap, unpolished citrines or dying leaves in the garden rubbish heap, darting and glittering in the face he knows to be darkly handsome. Anyone who did not know him might imagine that even the flimsiest of excuses would set in motion those well-sharpened claws that now shine like moulded plastic in the October sunlight. Doubtless he thinks he has a secret as he preens and grooms. By day he is Zac, or sometimes, at the Vets, Zachary. He is affectionate and well-loved by his human servant, who celebrates National Black Cat day and owns a calendar with black cats on. But now, night is falling, and the alter ego he has invented beckons. Even cat-treats cannot tempt him indoors. For tonight is Halloween. He knows this because he can read the black cat calendar. He waits until the sky turns to what he thinks is the colour of his coat, not realising that cats are colour blind, and that his fur is slowly fading to rusty brown with age. Then he leaps upward to the wall and arches his back like a cat on a broom in the moonlight. If he is expecting a lift from a passing witch, he will surely have a long wait. Someone should really tell him, witch’s cats do not exist, do they?


Jacqueline Bartle has recently escaped from working in an office and is beginning a second career as an artist and writer, assisted by her husband, and two cats; the latter have a particular interest in her latest work.

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