Aphelion Issue 265, Volume 25
September 2021
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Cat People

by Theresa C. Gaynord

Lucius licks the spatula that once made pancakes,
leftover grease from bacon frying in a pan,
dum-di-dum, his head tilts as music from the
morning songsters awaken with the November sun.
Last night the moon was thin, sharp, crescent,
his green eyes hypnotically entranced by dark
clouds drifting across it, blotting his calico fur
with makeshift stars into prominence.
Rowan trees with gnarled bark, huge with spreading
roots and limbs, held knowledge of the dead.

Even the nonchalant nuance of Luicus’s facial
expression honored those who passed before,
knowing that one day he too shall become dust
only to be reborn once again. Spit and polish,
he kept everything crisp and neat, for Samhain
fell over his usual haunts registering
each rise and fall of his breath among invisible
vapors that stretched out to touch him; the nutty
stuff of dreams that leaves you frozen without
the mercy of explanation.

“How do you know you’ve loved someone enough, Lucius?”

He heard her voice before he saw her, the raven-haired
cloaked and hooded figure walking the old shale
road that would labyrinth between the messes
of greens and blues rising up high from the watchtowers
of the East.
A pinch of salt to guide her way, the violet scent of her cologne,
those soft hands that tickled his neck with the sleepy, whispery
feel of her skin before she shed physical form into the cat
person she really was leaving a surplus
of bracelets, stockings and hooded cloak in her wake,

burning her human form barefoot across damp earth.
Lucius saw the reflection of them both in the flames,
their watery images dancing, stirring the fire,
that crackled with red blue sparks into the air. Deliberately,
she cozened up to him as they lodged in the field of woods
where he shivered as she held him more tightly. He saw the
slackness of her jaw, the blackness around her yellow eyes,
greedy for his substance. She once condemned him to death,
this Succubus that turned him into her familiar after stealing
his soul, condemned to never see the sunlight across his

own face ever again.

“Betrayal has a price, Lucius.”

They were young and just then
falling in love before he found out who she really was, before
he found out who he really was. Witches have no choice about
being witches, they just are,
and breed within their clans. They looked at one another with
night-seeing eyes and inhuman powers before the dawn came
reverting them back to two-legged creatures that made
breakfast in the morning and worked for a living,
existing in secret among you and taking on many forms,
possessing supernatural powers and thousands of years

of traditions and shared history. In the meadow, by the
graveyard, a raised sarcophagus holds a cold,
lovely statue of a centuries old Lucius, timeless, suspended.
He still grieves for his human wife, the one he betrayed with
her, damned if he did, damned if he didn’t, but his mistress,
with violet cologne that smells like rain,
stained from years of weather, dirt, hissed at his remembrance.
And so two once warring clans become one between the fine
threads of time, accepting their destiny; and the scent of her
violet cologne, it had all been worth it, everyday he spent,

in her prison.

2020 Theresa C. Gaynord

Theresa likes to write about matters of self-inflection and personal experiences. She likes to write about matters of an out-of body, out-of-mind state, as well as subjects of an idyllic, pagan nature and the occult. Theresa writes horror, as well as concrete gritty and realistic dramas. Theresa is said to be witch and a poet. (within the horror writing community).

Find more by Theresa C. Gaynord in the Author Index.

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