Елена Вахненко

Black cats' attack

The English version of the story "Атака черных кошек"

The original version of the story (in Russian)
The Ukrainian version of the story

 

I was being late.

Hell, I was being very late! And, what's worse, I was late for the exam on philosophy! Oh god, how did I contrive to oversleep?! It was silly of me if knowing that our teacher could find fault with every little thing! And even more, he equated lateness to a crime (especially on such a day!). Probably he was going to check who of the students had come on time... I was definitely screwed.

I jumped out of the house entrance, buttoning a jacket and setting a handbag's strap on my shoulder. The face was pale, no makeup, disheveled hair reminded a nest — I had no time to comb my hair so I'd just pinned them together having created a sloppy tuft. Although I planned to dress up — our lecturer, Maxim V., was a sightly man, quite imposing, who should definitely appreciate a beautiful girl... But now there was no point in using my feminine charm: I looked like a real stuffed!

I was rounding a corner when a black cat darted under my feet. I mentally groaned. Well, of course! Now it's bad luck!..

After a few minutes, my path was crossed by another cat with the same color as the first "bad luck". This one was larger, with bright green eyes and a tail-whisk.

Stunned and puzzled, I looked after a swift shadow and shrugged my shoulders. Well, and what was that? Black cats' attack?

Yes, it really was! Anyway, I couldn't find a better rationale… judge for yourself: on my way to the University I had counted seven (!) representatives of the cat family, and they all had jet black cat hair and overly intelligent, slightly mocking look with a hellish light.

I'm not superstitious but seven black cats would be too much for anyone! Maybe I should have returned home?

Of course, I continued my way.... and had come almost on time!...

***

Ironically, I didn't fail my exam. Moreover, I had received "A", though hardly deserved it. Just a miracle, it's the only explanation!

I took the test-paper and went to prepare, really depressed. I had got very difficult questions; the second one which included my least favorite subject, dialectic, made me especially upset.

Half an hour later I sat at the desk near the staff table, cradling the sheet of paper with answers; my fingers were sweaty from excitement. Heart frantically pounding, hands shaking…

-So? - Maxim V. said gently. - What's your test-paper?

I straightened, took a deep breath... and suddenly calmed down.

-You can start, - Professor hastened me wearily. Our eyes met, and Maxim V. acted as if he had tripped. Blinking in surprise, he added hesitantly: - Yes... Yes... I'm listening…

I began to speak, extensively, going into details, which I had never known. And I couldn't know them because nobody had written such rare moments in the books I read.

I had been broadcasting the information almost half an hour… at last I stopped, being really exhausted and feeling the apathy and emptiness.

-Well, Afanasyeva. It's "A"... I guess.

Maxim V. tried to speak clearly, but still seemed a bit woozy. And when he was signing in the record book, his hand was slightly shaking.

Yeah, and one more thing... the cats had been escorting me home again... and this time I really liked them.

***

-She has already become one of us, - said a black cat, confidently. It was the same cat I'd met the first on my way this morning. - Haven't you noticed, Irene, her antics during the exam?

Irene, a plump black cat, lazily replied, opening one hot yellow eye:

-Stella, I noticed. Yeah...

Another black-tailed beast, - the smallest, nimble - pronounced joyfully:

-Oh, yes, yes, she is quite a gifted little witch!

-But she’s still a BEGINNER, Natalie, - Stella corrected her sternly. - She has never turned into... you know!

-She will this night! - uttered Natalie, unhesitatingly.

-So then we'll see... Not before this moment.

-But you should admit, she's talented! - obviously, the small cat couldn’t keep silence. - It was very smart of her to put the Professor into a trance! And then she managed to read the correct answers in his mind! And he did not notice anything!

-Well, it is true, -  Irene sighed, lifting up her big head. After a pause, she added acidly: - You're impossible to argue, Natalie!

 Natalie only chuckled blithely in response.

***

The night was coming. The air was being filled with a sleepy silence and prickly freshness. All around portended a Miracle.

The whole day I had been tortured with the unconscious anxiety. I was unable to focus, and there was nothing I could do…

That's why I went to bed early, though didn't fell asleep. I was just staring at the dark ceiling and waiting, waiting... for what? I didn't know!

When midnight had come, I suddenly got up (I literally jumped out of bed!), went to the window quickly and opened it wide.

The night had breathed coolness, unleashed a barrage of dim drowsy whisper... I smiled, spread my arms and almost took wing.

In the leap I jumped over the windowsill and landed in the street. Landed as a cat — a black one. And only in this moment realized that I had become a witch.

After all, we, witches, are turning into black cats at full moon... in order to be back to the world of men when the first rays of the sun returning.

Meowing, I walked slowly down the alley. They had been waiting for me…

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