If you read the Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales anthology, you are probably familiar with my short story, “The Witch’s Cat” (it’s okay if you’re not). Since writing that story, I’ve thought about the origins for Vivienne and Onyx. So this year for Halloween, I wrote the story when these two first met. I hope you enjoy seeing how these two characters met and if you would like to read more about them and other cat stories, consider picking up the anthology. I enjoyed coming back to these characters and am considering revisiting them next year for Halloween too! If you like that idea or enjoy the story, leave a comment below. Without further adieu (and reusing the beautiful mock cover made for my original story), here is “The Witch’s Cat: Origins”.
The black kitten prowled along the tree branch. The leaves were turning orange and yellow and the oaks were becoming sparse providing little cover for hunting. Still, the kitten crept quietly up behind the blue bird. Its bright coloring the perfect target. Inches behind its tail, the bird chirped and fluttered its wings as it took off. As the wings swung back, they battered the kitten in the face and knocked him from the branch. He fell into a pile of brown leaves, several of which shot up when the kitten landed.
Slowly lifting his head from the pile, a brown leaf delicately balanced on top, the kitten glares out at you as his green eyes seem to glow. Don’t laugh at me.
Shaking the leaf from his head, he sprang from the leaf pile and trotted farther into the forest, forgetting the indignity of falling.
A meaty scent wafted by his nose. His whiskers twitched. It was nothing like he had ever smelt before. Following the sent through the trees, he discovered an unusual structure. It was a small cottage made from four large trees growing and knitted together to form the walls while branches whose leaves were still green and full, created a tight, waterproof roof. The windows were still made of glass at least. It was nothing like he’d seen in the village.
Jumping up onto a pumpkin, the kitten peaked in through a window. On the other side sat three girls wearing pointed hats and long dresses, each one stirring a large, black cauldron. Small tables sat beside each girl which were filled with various bottles. The girls would occasionally pick through the bottles and pour its contents into the cauldron. A tall woman slowly walked around them, checking their work.
A corner was broken at the base of a window. The smell was strongest there so the kitten flattened himself out and stretched himself through. He came out on a shelf filled with more bottles just before one of the cauldrons. The steam from floated to him. It smelled heavenly.
“Well done, ladies,” the woman said and moved on to the tiniest of the girls who was just in front of him. Leaning over her cauldron, she breathed deeply. Then coughed. “Keep trying, Vivienne.”
The other two girls giggled. Vivienne picked up a book and flipped a page, glancing between the table and the book as she shifted through the bottles. Picking up a bottle, it slipped from her hand and shattered on the floor.
The other two girls stifled laughs behind their hands.
Vivienne stared at the broken remains as the liquid soaked into the dirt floor. When she glanced at the other girls, they turned their heads and continued to stir their cauldrons with smug grins.
The kitten twitched his tail. Crouching low, he wove his way around the bottles and over the other girls’ cauldrons. He sniff the scent wafting up to him before walking over to Vivienne’s. The scent was just a bit off. Poking his nose as each bottle, he examined each one. There it was. The missing scent stood in a tall bottle just in front of Vivienne’s cauldron. The bottles clinked as he moved forward.
Vivienne glanced and gasped as she caught sight of him.
With a swipe of his paw, the kitten knocked over the bottle, spilling the cap and all the contents into Vivienne’s cauldron.
Plumbs of smoke wafted up and out of her cauldron in waves, billowing down, obscuring the floor. Vivienne’s mouth dropped open as a smile spread across her face. The other two girls didn’t seem as pleased.
“Vivienne, I’m impressed.” The older woman walked over to her cauldron and examined the concoction. “Most witches take years to find the courage to create such a strong version of this potion.” She took a deep wife of it. “And to do it so well.”
The woman glanced at the other two girls’ cauldrons. “You could learn something from Vivienne.”
One of the girls tossed her spoon across the cauldron and sat back with her arms crossed.
Watching the older woman wondering off and seeing the other girls were distracted by their work, Vivienne leaned over to the shelf and picked up the kitten. Settling him in her lap and stroking his black fur, she leaned close to him. “Did you fix my potion?”
Vivienne lifted him up and turned him about. “Black as an onyx and eyes as green as emeralds. Hmm.” Then she smiled. “I think I will call you Onyx.” Placing him back in her lap, she stirred her potion.
Onyx purred as she petted him, the meaty fumes from the large, white puffs flowing from the cauldron surrounding them, he slightly closed his eyes and thought that this was going to be the start of a very interesting adventure.
That is the end of the story for now. If you enjoyed it or want to read more original stories, let me know in the comments. I hope to have another story up in November but I’m having a little trouble with it. I also want to post another original story here for December. Have a happy Halloween and I’ll see you next time.