Jake strolled down the same street he did every night since he scored an internship at Polydor Japan. He spun a pen around between his fingers as his Converse All-Stars shuffled along the damp city streets. He smiled to himself as he ran his hand through his dirty blonde hair, pushing it back behind his ear. He couldn’t remember the last time he cut it.
In mid-thought, he spied a cat scrambling up a wooden telephone pole as if it’s life depended on it, but Jake didn’t see anything chasing the feline. Stupid cat.
Jake was a dog kind of guy through and through. Dogs were loyal. Dogs were trustworthy. Dogs didn’t leave claw marks on your face if you fell asleep or steal your breath like in that cheesy Stephen King movie. What was it? Cat’s Eye? Doesn’t matter. Stupid cats.
The cat’s eyes flashed in the moonlight as Jake looked up to the roof, following its path of escape. It hissed at him. He shifted his gaze backward but saw nothing but shadows flirting with the light of a dim street lamp. Stupid cat. Jake chuckled to himself and stomped in the direction of the animal, making a hissing sound of his own.
The cat stared at him, unfazed, then licked its paw.
Jake yelled at the tiny beast. “What’s the matter cat? You no likey Americans?” he said in what was possibly the worst Asian accent ever spoken. The cat looked up for a moment, then started kneading its paws as its eyes widened further. Jake felt his stomach sink, turning his entire body around toward the darkness this time. Still nothing. Stupid cat.
“You no likey Americans?” a gurgling voice warbled over his shoulder. Jake spun around and found himself face to face with the darkness. It had no face and no features; just a lithe, lanky form that extended its spindly arms toward Jake, and a stench that smelled of rotting meat emanating from where its head should’ve been.
Jake shrieked and fell back on his butt, scrambling away as he tried to escape the thing in the darkness. It caught him by the left heel and yanked, peeling his sneaker away. He tried to kick at it with his other foot, but it grabbed it too and dragged him back, regurgitating the same words over and over, “You no likey? You no likey?”
Jake screamed for help, but the back street was empty; save the shimmering light reflecting in the cat’s eyes. “Please!” Jake begged as the cat’s eyes disappeared. Sharp claws punctured his leg.
A confused shriek tore through the darkness. Hissing and angry growls followed.
The claws retracted and the incessant repetition of his own words by the dark stopped just as suddenly as they began.
The sounds of a scuffle, followed by a whimper and shuffling of feet reached Jake’s ears. He squinted and sat up, feeling blood trickle down his leg, but again, saw nothing. Nothing but a small black cat, mincing its way toward him, purring. The cat sat down and licked its paw.
Jake laughed through his tears.
“Good kitty. Good kitty.”