My eyes popped open, and there I was, all alone in a wide-open field. It was not an ordinary run of the mill field like I am used to seeing, no, this one opened into a vista of rolling hills, all verdant green and bathed in sunlight. Standing between myself and those pretty hills was a meadow covered in golden flowers, the kind we saw all over the place in the little flower gardens of New York City. Mommy called them tulipas, but Daddy, well, he just called them tulips. I am not sure why; they don’t look anything like lips. At any rate, I could not let this opportunity escape. I raised myself up onto my tips of my tippy toes and began to dance through the flowers.
“I am tip toeing through the tulips,” I giggled at the words as they escaped from my lips.
If only Mommy and Daddy were here, they would be so proud of me, their cute little chocolate lab with the floppy ears. I am just sure Daddy would be encouraging me if only he were … wait, where are Mommy and Daddy? I never go anyplace without them. I plopped my butt down on the ground, two of the flowers complained that I needed to go on a diet, and a third politely asked me to remove my butt from his face.
“Oh my, I am so sorry Mr. Tulip,” I felt horrified by my indiscretion. I know if somebody stuck their butt in my face I would think it was rude too. Ha, who am I kidding, I would love it, nothing better than sniffing a butt am I right?
Sorry, I digress. So, standing there amongst the beautiful flowers, I wondered where Mommy and Daddy were. My thoughts were quickly interrupted by a giant bee flying around my head. This was no ordinary bee though. This bee was a yellow balloon with black stripes drawn on by a sharpie. She had two big googly eyes, the kind like cookie monster, glued on her so she could see. She did not say anything, just flew around my head making a loud buzzing noise.
Bang! The bee exploded and sparkles flew everywhere.
I awoke just in time to see the night light pulse, then quickly fade away, leaving me in the dark, well mostly dark, there was still some light pouring in through the window from the moon outside. From my normal spot, sandwiched between Mommy and Daddy I peeked through the window. It was a beautiful night, the sky was black, covered with little tiny points of light and the moon was almost full. There were some clouds floating around, maybe floating is not the best word to use, let us say, they were flying around, because they were moving across the sky faster than usual.
The beauty outside added to the peaceful ambiance of the evening. The house was quiet as well, not a creature was stirring not even a cat. A closed my eyes and listened to the rhythmic sounds of Mommy and Daddy breathing. I could feel the warm fuzzies starting to message my brain and was just about back to sleepy world when I heard it.
A loud scratch came from downstairs. It made the hairs on my neck stand up, you know, kind of like the feeling you get when someone runs their nails on a chalkboard. It was followed by a series of baby scratches. I knew instinctively, this was not coming from any of the cats I share my home with. My brain flew to the most obvious conclusion.
“Monster!” I squeaked, then ducked under the covers.
I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath and found myself praying, which was soon interrupted by a thump and the bed shaking, as though a twenty-five-pound barbell and been dropped on it. The mattress continued to shimmy and tremble. I suppressed a scream when I felt the covers lift and a large furry creature begin to scurry along next to my body.
Using all my mental strength I willed my eyes open. Staring back at me were two green eyes glowing in the darkness under the blanket. I began to scream but stopped when the creature clamped its big paw over my mouth.
“Shhhhhh, you will give away our hiding spot,” the voice hissed. That voice, it had a familiar deep latin accent to it. I closed my eyes and inhaled. Tuna. There was the smell of tuna on the furry beast’s breath. My brain clicked into gear, providing me with an image, it was a vision of a large orange cat, with an even larger white tummy that had come from a Cuban neighborhood in Miami and had a penchant for tuna.
“Rapi! I am so glad you are here,” I whispered to the cat once he removed his paw from my mouth.
“I cannot think of anyone else I would rather be scared to death with,” he whispered with a giggle.
“What do we do now?”
“We wait until morning. Monster’s do not come out in the daylight do they,” his little body trembled against mine.
“I guess not,” I answered him, not so sure in my answer, I mean I am no monster expert. The extent of my monster experience is that I am afraid of them.
Rapi and I fell silent for a few moments. I could feel my heart booming in my chest and the whoosh whoosh sound of the blood in my ears. The noise in my head was interrupted by the sound of a deathly moan. I looked over at Rapi, his eyes were wide, and darted from left to right. My mind began to race, trying to find a natural cause for the sound, when it happened again, only louder this time.
“Psssssssssssssssst,” the noise started out quiet at first then grew louder.
“Is that a snake?” I asked.
“Oh no!” Rapi had begun to cough and wheeze, “did they have chili for dinner?” he asked.
My eyes were watery and had begun to burn a little.
“They did,” I choked out the words.
“We gotta get out of here,” he said between ragged breaths.
The bed shook and twitched a little when Mommy rolled over.
“Anjo, stop farting,” she begged Daddy.
“I didn’t,” he groaned, then rolled over.
Rapi and I looked at each other, then turned and climbed out of the bed as fast as we could.
“Whoa, that was close,” Rapi said, his hacking beginning to slow down. I noticed that the stinging in my own eyes had gone away.
“Sure was,” I giggled.
Our moment of lighthearted fun came to a screeching halt when the sound of the monster clawing at the door downstairs echoed throughout the house again. My head turned towards the sound then swung back to look at Rapi, but he had disappeared. I glanced around the bedroom, but all I saw was the moon peeking in through the window, watching Mommy and Daddy sleep.
“Rapi, where are you,” I whispered as loudly as I could without drawing too much attention to myself.
“Down here,” his voice called back.
I ducked down a little so I could have a better look under the dresser, but he was not there.
“What are you doing,” he asked. I turned to look behind me, but no orange cat back there either.
I felt a tug coming from the white tuft of hair on my chest. It was gentle at first, then more insistent. I looked down to see what was causing it, and that was when I spotted my chubby little friend hiding underneath me.
“C’mon, let’s go downstairs and see if we can find out what’s happening,” his voice cracked a little as he spoke.
“But the monster,” I reminded him.
“We have no place to hide, unless you want to go back under there,” he said nodding to the covers. I gulped, then thought about it for a moment, and decided it was probably safer downstairs with the monster.
Everything was quiet as we began our decent, inching our way slowly down one step at a time, stopping at each stair to listen. The wall that we had been creeping along ended halfway down. We had stopped at the very edge of that wall, then peered around the corner. I let out a yelp when I saw two pairs of eyes staring at me from across the room.
“Relax, that’s just our reflection in the mirror,” Rapi’s voice was calm and soothing. I took a deep breath, and together, Rapi and I slid down the rest of the staircase until we had one more step, which creaked loudly under our weight when we took it. The groan of the floorboard woke the beastly monster and he began to scratch and claw wildly.
The two of us wasted no time scrambling for the dining room and the safety that waited for us underneath the large farmhouse style table. I arrived first, then waited impatiently for Rapi’s arrival.
“What could be taking him so long,” I whispered under my breath, my tongue flopping around from side to side. I tried to squint around the wall into the darkness of the living room in hopes of spotting him when a giant ball of orange hair came rolling along the floor and crashed into me.
“You alright? What happened,” I bombarded the cat with questions.
“I am fine, just tripped over my tummy,” his voice had a hard edge to it.
“Did you see the monster?” I asked, staring over the orange cat’s shoulder and into the living room.
“No, I was too busy running,” he huffed.
I watched Rapi focus in on the sounds around us, his ears twitching with each new piece of information that they gleaned. Seeing him in action reminded me of my own super sniffer. I stuck my nose into the air and began to inhale the air around me, concentrating on identifying the different scents. I sucked in more air through my snoot and felt a tingling sensation, then my eyes began to water.
“Oh no,’ I whispered.
“Oh no,” I repeated. Rapi shifted his gaze to me, his little forehead scrunched up and his eyes narrowed.
“Achoooooo!” The sound bounced off the walls around us.
“Keep it down,” he was now clearly exasperated with me.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
The scratching had quieted down and it felt safe for us to take another look-see around the corner, especially now that the blue haze of dawn was starting to form in the windows, Nothing was out of place, and no sign of the monster. Maybe I should say no visible sign, there was still a very faint scraping noise, where it was coming from, we were not certain.
“Do you think the monster might be trying to escape from the basement,” I asked, the memory of the monster that chased Mommy up the basement stairs every time she tried to do laundry had come back to me.
“That’s a good thought Cindee,” the orange cat looked at me with pride in his eyes. I love it when he looks at me like that, it makes me feel so good inside.
“Let’s go check it out,” he whispered over his shoulder and began to tip toe towards the basement door.
“Maybe we should let sleeping monsters lie,” my tail had involuntarily begun to curl between my legs.
Rapi stopped in his tracks and turned around long enough to glare at me, then he resumed his carefully planned route to the dreaded cellar door.
“Oh heck,” I took a deep breath then let it out. I had convinced myself that I would go to the door. Only the door. No further.
We had arrived safely at the entryway and plopped down on our butts and stared at it. Rapi put a paw up to his lips indicating that I should be as quiet as possible. I took a deep breath in and held it. The orange cat leaned forward and delicately placed his ear against the cool wood of the door. At first, he just sat there listening, then he began to scrunch up his face because that helped him to be able to listen more intently. During all this, I was watching and hoping he would hurry up. I began to shift and dance in place, my cheeks all puffed out. Rapi moved his head away from the door and stared at me for a moment.
“What are you doing?” he half growled under his breath. I pointed to my cheeks, still dancing and wiggling as I did.
“Oh for crying out loud, you can breathe, just be quiet about it,” he hissed and was just about to place his ear against the door again when the loud clawing and scratching began anew. I blew out the air and leapt behind Rapi for protection.
We inched closer to the edge of the wall and poked our heads around the corner. The first true rays of the sun turned the window blinds a golden color. The hideous beast sprang in front of the window, his shadow projected against the blinds. I let out a loud yelp, and Rapi emitted an ear-splitting screech. Together we dashed for the protective shelter of the table. Once we were safe, we watched in horror as the creature swayed back and forth and violently flung its body against the window. Staring at the shadow we could see the beast was way taller than Daddy and its body was covered in hair. It looked like a giant version of Cousin It from the Adams Family.
On the second story, the bed creaked, and footsteps made their way across the ceiling. Judging by the thundering stomp stomp stomp we knew it was Mommy because she is the stomper and Daddy is the shuffler.
“No mommy, stay upstairs, save yourself,” I barked at her to no avail.
“What’s going on down here?” she looked at us like we had three eyeballs and horns on our heads.
“Monster! Look behind you it’s a Monster!”
Rapi squealed, then took off running diving under the sofa for cover leaving Mommy and I at the mercy of the hairy fiend that was trying to bust through our window.
“Uggggh,” Mommy moaned before doing the unthinkable.
She stumbled towards the window and grabbed the strings and pulled. The blinds began to slowly raise. I screamed then peed on the floor. Standing in front of me staring at me through the window was the meanest looking evergreen I have seen in my life.
Okay, so it was an innocent little tree being blown around in the wind scratching at the window and not a monster. My bad.
Thank goodness I have a good Mommy. She was a little upset about the pee on the floor thing, but after Rapi and I explained the whole story she just laughed and started her day.
As for Rapi and I, it had been a long night and we both dozed off on the sofa, where once again, I dreamed of tip toeing through a field of tulips, only this time, a certain orange cat with a big white belly was bounding around behind me, both us laughing and giggling as we went.