Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SHORT STORY: Opposites Attract

Two months ago Owen proposed to Tayla.  They had dated for nearly two years and they both knew in their hearts they were meant for one another.  Presently they were getting ready to move into a new house they had purchased together.  Since buying a house and moving in together is a big step in itself, Owen wanted to show Tayla his full commitment to her.  And so, while out at a picnic one afternoon, he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him.  She of course said yes and they were happy.
All of this really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is they each had a cat.  Owen’s cat (Ivory) was a white short hair with black blotches of hair splattered about his body (It looked like he had fallen asleep under the easel of a careless painter).  Tayla’s cat (Ebony) was the exact opposite, she had black short hair with white blotches scattered about her body.  It didn’t occur to Owen or Tayla (nor would it ever) that if you were to look at the cats side by side, they were completely identical to one another, blotches and all.  Except for the color of their hair of course.  In a sense, Ebony was a negative copy of Ivory.
And all of this really doesn’t matter either.  What does matter is that when Ebony and Ivory lived separately, everything was fine.  However, when they were forced to live together, strange things happened…

“God, are they fighting again?” Owen said, thinking aloud.  “How’s anyone supposed to get any sleep around here with those damn cats fighting all the time?” he said even more frustrated now that he was fully awake.  Who could blame him?  Ever since they moved into the new house, the cats fought day in and day out.  The fighting wasn’t so bad; it was that god awful noise they made while they did it.  It was both incredibly annoying and immeasurably loud.
     Tayla had managed to sleep through their fighting for the first time in six days but Owen’s outburst cut her rest short.  “What’s the matt-?” Tayla started to ask but knew the answer immediately as the cats erupted once again outside their bedroom door.  Their claws scratched ferociously at the hardwood floor as they ran around the house trying to catch each other.  Owen and Tayla heard a loud crash (most likely a lamp this time, the one that Tayla’s parents bought her as an engagement present) from the living room.  Tayla rolled over to Owen’s side of the bed.  “It’s your turn, I checked them last night.”
     “You’re the one that was supposed to lock them up.”
     “Owen, I was finally able to fall asleep.  I think I was really close to dreaming this time.  Can you please just do it?  I promise I’ll double check the locks tomorrow,” Tayla mumbled, half asleep.
     “Ok, fine.  I love you,” Owen leaned over and kissed Tayla on the forehead.
     “Love you too,” Tayla responded as her words trailed off and she fell asleep again.
     Owen got slowly out of bed, still a little groggy.  He inched his way towards the door, trying not to disturb Tayla any further.  The cats let out a deafening screech again (with some added hissing this time) which startled Owen.  “This has to end tonight, one way or another, it has to end,” he whispered to himself.
     Owen could hear more growling from outside the door.  Two shadows retreated from under the bedroom door as Owen started to turn the doorknob.  He was hoping to catch them in the act, maybe even get them to understand who’s in charge.  He’d have to be quick if he was going to catch them.
     Owen flung the door open, charged into the living room…and stopped.  All of the furniture had parted to either side of the room.  Couches, chairs, tables were all pushed against the wall.  Smaller tables and lamps had been stacked on top of them.  On the far left of the living room, a lamp had fallen off of a table and crashed to the floor, shattering it into a dozen or so pieces.  Owen stood motionless.  He didn’t know what to think of the situation.  What happened here?  Who did this?  Have we been robbed?  It wasn’t really any of these questions that terrified Owen the most, it was the cats.  They sat on opposite sides of the room growling and hissing, not at each other, but at something (something it would seem that only the cats could see) hovering high in the middle of the room.
     “Tayla…get out here!” Owen shouted over his shoulder.  He did not turn towards the bedroom, still in awe of what was going on in the living room.
     In the bedroom, Tayla shifted around restlessly in bed, unaware of what Owen was experiencing.  She rolled over, sunk her head into her pillow and fell into a deep sleep.
     In the middle of the living room (apparently where there was nothing there for the cats to be angry about) something appeared.  The air seemed to wave, like that of heat rising off the pavement on a hot summer day.  A low humming noise pulsated as the waving air grew larger.  Seconds later the wave began to show color, light blues and purples at first but those soon turned into red and black.
     Owen was unsure of what to do.  He wanted to believe he was dreaming but it was…it was…so real.
     Then a face appeared inside the colored air.
     Its deep, dark scarlet eyes stared straight towards Owen.  Owen caught its gaze and then stood paralyzed.  He wanted to move but couldn’t.  He could feel its presence.  Inside him, he could feel it inside him.  “DEAR GOD GET IT OUT OF ME!” he cried out inside his head, his mouth unable to move.  This creature (or demon or whatever the hell it was) took a hold of Owen and pushed him aside.  It became Owen.
     The expression on Owen’s face went from a state of extreme horror to that of a sinister and (most importantly) evil grin.  Instantly, the apparition became aware of everything Owen had ever experienced leading up to this terrible violation of personality.
     The cats shifted their cries towards Owen the moment he was possessed.  Somehow they knew what was happening.  The animals always seem to know what is happening.
     The Owen Demon knew something as well.  It knew that Tayla was sound asleep in the bedroom.  If it could speak I’m sure it would have called her “easy pickins.”
     The demon ignored the cats and went to the kitchen.  It glanced around the room until it laid its horrible crimson eyes on what it was looking for.  A knife.  It pulled the knife from its holder then looked it over meticulously.  It tested the sharpness of the blade on Owen’s hand.  The cut was deep and bled profusely.  “Ow, motherfucker.  That hurt!”
The demon, pleased with the results, turned towards the bedroom and grinned once again.  Meanwhile, inside Owen’s head, Owen’s cries of pain went unheard.  The wound hurt like hell but the demon paid no attention.
     The demon walked towards the bedroom but was stopped short of the doorway by Ebony and Ivory.  They looked up at the creature from the floor.  The hair on their bodies were on end, very much like you would see on a Halloween poster.  They hissed and clawed the air, challenging it to try and get past them.
     It did.  It booted Ivory across the room as if he were a football at the opening kick off of the Super Bowl.  Ebony quickly retreated into the bedroom, towards Ivory.
     The demon inched slowly into the bedroom.
     “No you bastard, you stay away from her,” Owen pleaded to the demon, ignoring his own pain.  But the demon did not hear.  Or if it did, it wasn’t listening.
     Ebony cuddled close to Ivory, then looked up towards the creature.
     It drew the blade up high, readying it to thrust downward, deep into Tayla’s heart.
     Ebony set her paw onto Ivory’s so as to say “Please forgive me for what I must do.”
     “No, dear god NO!  I’ll do anything!  Take me, you son of a bitch, TAKE ME!!
     The demon took a deep breathe and channeled its power to the blade.
     Ebony lunged at Ivory’s head, mouth open.  She bit down hard on his ear.
     The demon stopped.  It shot a quick glance towards the two cats fighting on the floor, shaking its head in a “No, this can’t be happening” type fashion.
     Ebony fought hard, tearing at Ivory’s flesh until; finally, she tore a chunk of ear from his head and spat it on the floor.  Ivory didn’t so much as make a sound.  He endured the pain, knowing well what Ebony was doing.
     The demon howled violently as it fought to stay in Owen’s body.  Its efforts were unsuccessful as its spirit left Owen’s body and returned to the living room.  A blinding red flash of light illuminated the room as the demon returned to the place from which it came.  The colorful wind portal disappeared, closing in on itself.  Closing…forever.
     The house fell silent again.
     The blade fell from Owen’s hand and hit the floor, awakening Tayla.  “Owen.  Owen!  What’re you doing?” Tayla asked looking up at him, she looked down to his side and saw blood dripping on the floor, “Owen, what happened to your hand?”

Tayla never believed what Owen told her happened that night.  She told him that he was probably just having a very intense dream.  After several months of trying to convince her, he gave in and confessed to her that it probably was just a dream.  A confession he knew in his heart wasn’t true.
Nothing out of the ordinary ever happened in that house again.  Owen never found out what he had experienced that night, although he tried for months to figure it out.  The thought did pass in his head that perhaps it really was just a dream; maybe none of it happened…but what of the missing piece of Ivory’s ear?

Opposites attract…so they say.  They also say that in this world there is somebody for everybody.  Their other half.  So often we think we’ve found that other half when in fact we have not.  In the rarest of cases opposites do meet, and when they do…

…strange things happen.

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