Cat in the Basement

(Magic realism short story)

This is a typical city, a typical residential area. Artyom was returning home, his high-rise building was shining in the sun. At home from work, his mother was waiting for him, whom others would call a grandmother. The guy was eager to get to the dinner table. When Artyom, jumping over the steps, went up to his floor and entered the apartment, his mother greeted him with a loud and sad cry.

After much questioning, Artem heard from his mother why she was crying. It turned out that their cat Sicillius fell out of the window and still had not returned. The guy was horrified. Their soft and fluffy cat was gone, but he had never been on the street. After the story, the mother again burst into tears. Artyom did not have to ask, he promised that he would definitely return the cat, would bring Sicillius home.

Artyom went into his room and took out his old sword and helmet from the closet. Once he was an adventurer, but then he was shot in the knee.

Now, after so many years, he again tries on his old equipment. The thought of poor Sicillius and his mother hurts his heart. Artyom kisses his mother before exits, and she hugs him back.

Artyom finds dark footprints under the windows. They shine in the midday sun. The cat is here, the guy feels. The tracks lead under the house, through the basement window. That’s where you disappeared, Artyom thinks over. He returns to the house and walks to the door leading to the dungeons under the house. The lock on the door was broken, but no one had looked into this damp room for many years. Rustles and creaks are heard in the darkness of the basement. Perhaps something evil has settled there. Sighing heavily, Artyom lights the torch he has taken with him. A bright light illuminates the slippery steps. Artyom begins to descend; the point of his sword is scraping against the walls. He does not not know what dangers might await him there. In the darkness of the dungeon, Artyom stops distinguishing the steps, but he clearly hears Sicillius’s meowing. The cat is definitely there, lost and not knowing what to do.

In the darkness, the guy distinguishes the lights. They float here as ghostly spirits, deep under the living area. In these visions, Artyom sees vague pictures. His mother is left alone … both the cat and the son disappeared … Sicillius screams in the darkness alone, and there is no hope of helping him. The lights begin to take shape and a figure woven from the night sky appears in front of Artyom. “Who are you?” the guy asks full of creeping fear. “Your cat…” The ghostly figure approaches step by step, step by step. Artyom notices how the shadows in her hands turn gradually into claws. “Now mine”! Artyom shouts backing away. The shadow rushes at him. The guy draws his sword and sparks fly into the darkness of the basement. Man and Darkness start fighting on equal terms, steel fights against the sharp mist.

In the heat of the battle, Artyom feels that he gets weakening. The knee wound is aching and the guy feels like losing ground while the Shadow hatches. Those same visions… the visions of nightmare darkness stab right into his eyes. Suddenly, from the stone darkness comes a battle cry belonging to his cat. Sicillius appears right behind him. He leaps at Shadow, scratching his eyes. The darkness roars backward. Taking advantage of the moment, Artyom grabs the cat on the fly, splitting the darkness with his sword.

Embracing Sicillius, Artyom hurries upstairs, jumping over the steps. The darkness behind them stirs, coming to its senses. The ghostly shadow rises up in pursuit. Artyom accelerates too. A little more… he pats the cat as he walks up, and the hands of his mother hug both of them.

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