My first memory would be that of my boy hood in the summer of 1995. When I was only 12 years old my mother, my brother, and I had recently moved in to a new home apartment. Which, now that I think about it, looked more like one of those haunted houses you see in old horror movies. However, this story is not of that genre, my friend. So do not delude yourself into thinking that it will, as it is not. My mother worked a full time job at a local college and my brother and me would usually be baby-sat by one of our neighbors when she was off at work. We used to hate this particular woman, whom we called Miss. Hickory, due to her old age and her strict demeanor – like a stereotypical librarian who would shush any person who was trying to speak in the library. She would always sit on her back porch in a rocking chair and stare out towards our house, due to the fact that we lived across the street from her. This served the duel purpose of also allowing her to watch for anyone getting near her vegetable garden, especially my brother and I – every time me and my brother would be playing outside, she would scowl at us for getting too close to her vegetable garden. She was damn convincing, because every time we got near it she would yell and scream at us not to or “else,” and, almost immediately, we would turn tail and run back home. I’ll tell ya when you’re five years old and you hear those words you really begin to think what she will do to you. I mean me and my brother would constantly try to come up with what she might do to use if we ever got near her garden, but despite this, we did heed her warning and did stay away from it.
Despite that woman’s constant nagging at my brother and I, we began to explore more and more of her house and progressively got braver and braver with each visit. Especially since all we did at her house was either read or just take naps in her living room. Her house wasn’t very large and by my guess I would say it would have been at least a two story with around five to six rooms in it. The living room was full of decorative cuckoo clocks, some bird nests, some old furniture that included a stretch sofa that began from the center of the room to the left most-window…Oh, and speaking of windows in the room, she had two large windows in the living room which one was behind the couch, and the other one was seated to the right of the couch which… oh – darn I forgot what this particular window gave view of. My apologies, please, allow me to continue. The room contained a medium-size TV that was at the center of the room, which, despite having a TV, this woman would not allow us to watch in her house., this was only one of the many reasons why I felt hatred towards her. However, both my brother and I had the curiosity of just what this particular woman held in the remainder of her little abode, so we began to come to the decision that we were going to investigate just what our dear old neighbor had in those 5 remaining rooms.
I think that it was after the third day of being baby sat by Ms. Hickory that we began our little escapade. My mother had just woken us up from our bed and we were getting dressed when my brother began to ask, “What exactly do you think she has in her house?” I paused for a moment since I was still trying to wake at this point and after slipping on my Batman t-shirt I looked over to my brother and shrugged
“I don’t maybe her witches’ broom stick or maybe even a cauldron?” I jokingly retorted.
We had always thought of Ms. Hickory as a witch since she was a very old woman and tended to look a little wicked in her rocking chair glowering at the rest of the denizens of our little neighborhood.
The morning went on with the daily routine with me heading to the kitchen to get some breakfast. My brother and I quietly ate our Coco-Puffs and my mom quietly busied herself with getting ready to go to work. Suddenly, she stopped amidst her routine and looked at us with a worried look.
“Are you two okay? You usually aren’t this quiet in the morning.”
I didn’t want to worry my mother so I simply looked up at her, and smiled. “Yeah we’re fine, mama, I guess we are still waking up.” I laughed a little bit at the thought but I felt a bad taste in my mouth, as I usually do when I lie even to this day, and kindly reassured my mother that everything was okay. She stared at us for a few minutes and cracked a smile and patted our heads
“I’d say you guys need more caffeine than I do!” she said jokingly. As she walked out of the kitchen I began to eat more of my cereal.
The last thing I wanted to do, at this point, was worry my mother because at this point in her life she should not have to worry about her children since she had so much to worry about already such as the bills or family issues. Furthermore, she already worried about us having to being baby sat by Ms. Hickory because of the way we would try to dissuade her from having Ms. Hickory babysit us, but as we began to complain my mother began to deal with more bills and stress from her workplace. So you can understand why I had to lie to my mother because if I were to tell her about my troubles then it would result in piling more stress on my mother, and she was already at her limit.
After breakfast my brother and I began to head out the door with my mother close behind us as we opened the door to our we saw one of the two cats we had standing at the front door waiting to be allowed inside. “Hey Patches!” I exclaimed as began petting her calico fur, and in response she began rubbing against my leg covering my blue jeans in some fur. After my petting, she dashed into the house as my mother began to close the door. I always loved those cats they always helped me through some hard times such as when Ms. Hickory upset me when I had done nothing wrong when I was only near her garden. Or what the other children had said to me at school such as nerd, freak, and many other names.
We walked across the street to her house whose front entrance was a single door in the middle of one huge window to the right of the door and a large porch with a hand rail that went around the house all the way to the back. There was also a large overhang over the porch in order to give the ones underneath it a proper oasis from the blaring sun. In front of the house laid an iron gate that separated the sidewalk from her outside garden. Also, yes that is where the damn thing was and I’m sorry for not mentioning it beforehand but I just remembered its location, okay, memory isn’t so easy when you have to remember when you were five years old. My mother followed us closely as if she was making sure we would actually knock on the door and go inside the house because, excluding the fact that my brother and I were extremely young, she knew that we’d probably just play at the neighborhood playground all day and ditch being baby sat by that witch, and I mean almost anything was better than that torture.
We walked up to the door with each step echoing through the wood and as we stepped on to the porch my heart literally felt inside my throat. My mother knocked at the white door and waited for a response. The curtain in the large window swished and I saw an old woman looking at us in that brief instance, but they then swished back to their original stillness. Then, almost a few seconds after the door swung open revealing a wrinkly old woman who was dressed in a worn out long sleeve shirt and jeans. Her hair looked like a gray perm on top of her wrinkly head, and her eyes, which glowered at my brother and I at a split second and then snapped up to my mother.
“Hello Ms. Hickory,” my mother said in a welcoming tone “I am just here to drop off the boys for the day.” The old woman simply gave a slight nod, and opened the door.
“Alright, come along boys. We have a lot of chores to do today and we musn’t dilly dally.” Ms. Hickory retorted to us. I looked up to my mom and hugged her and she hugged me back.
“Don’t worry, sweetie, I’ll be back at around 5.” She whispered as she crouched down to hug me.
I simply nodded and began to walk inside Ms. Hickory’s house. This was going to be a long day I just knew it. The door then closed behind me, and thus the day where we would find out just what kind of person Ms. Hickory was had begun.
I was standing in a medium hallway that led to the living room, and in this hallway were the occasional pictures and various cuckoo clocks. Leading upstairs was a long staircase with a railing to the right of the hallway. So I had to move to left of it to continue to the living room. I entered the room begrudgingly and sat down on the left of my brother on the couch and waited for Ms. Hickory to come back down from her room, which is where she made our daily chore list. Which could take about five or ten minutes depending on the day. During that time, my brother and I discussed how we would sneak a peak at the rooms that she kept us away from. Our plan was simple; while we came in and out of the house we would detour and open a slight crack in the door, and try to see what she had in each room. Then, shut the door when we spent at least a few seconds looking inside it. I would explore the first three doors in the hallway that were connected to the living room. My brother, since he was scared of going upstairs, would explore the door located underneath the staircase.
“Alright,” I said to my brother “Remember, only open the door a little bit but not too much. You only need to see what the room is like in the crack.” I instructed to my little brother.
He was about the same age that I was but he was still a year younger than me. So I still had to act like the more responsible one out of the two of us.
Ms. Hickory returned with the chore list and assigned me to clean the kitchen, which was located right behind the living room and wash the dishes as I cleaned. My brother was assigned to do laundry and not knowing where the room was Ms. Hickory directed him to the door underneath the staircase and opened the door revealing a staircase that twisted around to the darkness below.
“I will bring the clothes to you in baskets,” she said “Just take the detergent beside the washing machine, which is in the cabinet above the dryer”
She began to walk down the stairs with my brother in tow, and as I began to follow them she stopped me and said.
“Tyson, you have a kitchen to clean. So get to it.”
Knowing that she would probably yell at me I walked over to the kitchen and opened the door, which was located a few feet from the couch. The kitchen was not much to look at. Its flooring was a white tiled floor that looked like it had been recently cleaned. In the center of the room was a medium sized coffee table that had several wooden chairs. To the right of the coffee table was the countertop that stretched from the back of the room, where in the top right hand corner of the room was a door that led to the backyard. To the wall that was beside me, there were two windows in the room, one to the left of me that viewed our house and the street that separated the two houses. The other was located above the stove, which lay in the near center of the elongated counter, which viewed the backyard. In all honesty it was pretty much a boring little room, but I do remember being particularly disgusted of the coffee table because that was where Ms. Hickory cut her vegetables. Which already smelled horrible and their taste was widely varied from a weird sour tangy taste to a sort of sweet taste within each of the vegetable. It was really weird on how I would play a sort of guessing game at lunch. Other than that little nit bit of contempt that I had against the room, I was rather content with it.
While I cleaned the dishes I began to think about what my brother was experiencing in that supposed laundry room, and what he was taking in from that room and or what exactly was in that room. Despite this thought I finished my work and after putting away the dishes I walked over to the kitchen door and peeked out to see if Ms. Hickory was anywhere in sight.
Seeing that she wasn’t I quietly tip toed over to the hallway and began to make my way to the door that was right across from the staircase. I quickly looked back at the opened door to the so-called “Laundry Room” and saw that Ms. Hickory had still not returned from the room. With this in mind I slowly began to open the door until there was a crack in the doorway. Once I opened the door just enough to allow me to see in inside I peered in to the room. It was very hard to see due to the fact that that the light of the room had not been turned on, but what I could see was some sort of pile of sorts but I couldn’t see what it was and there were a variety of bags, which I quickly identified due to the silhouettes of circular dark bags that were revealed by a small window with the blinds shielded most of the sun’s rays out. All except for those few rays that aided me in revealing the very silhouettes that I saw before me. Then, as I began to try and reach for the light switch I heard the echoing of footsteps coming up the staircase of the laundry room. I quickly closed the door and managed to quickly, but quietly, stride over to the living room and pretend to be exiting the kitchen.
I saw that my brother was struggling to try and lift the huge load of clothes that seemed could be more of weights rather than a stack of clothing. Ms. Hickory looked at me and said,
“I have to take out the garbage but I’ll be right back to check on you before I go.”
She then looked toward my brother and then uttered another command directed towards him this time.
“Gavin, please go set down the clothes on the couch, and wait for me to get back.”
With that she walked away and after the sound of a nearby door closing my brother and I set the clothes down on to the couch, and once we had set everything down he began to detail the room that he went in to.
Apparently the room floor was concrete and the walls were red brick laden with plaster linking each individual brick to one another. The room itself contained a variety of boxes and assortments of different antiques that my brother could not recall since the room was very dark. Furthermore, the only sources of illumination were a single flickering light bulb that dangled from a thread and a medium sized window. Which viewed only the grass of the front yard and some of the street. From that window’s streamline of sunlight, it revealed the white washing machine or as my brother put it a “Washer Machiney,” and a white dryer. It seemed pretty much the same as the kitchen, meaning that it was a pretty ordinary if not cliché type of room that an elderly person would have; now that I think about it.
“Was there anything, else?” I asked him. He shook his head and said “Nothin’ big brother.” He said reassuringly.
I simply sighed and nodded my head, and after a few minutes Ms. Hickory returned with a garbage bag in hand. Which looked like
“Tyson,” she said “You and Gavin help vacuum the living room while I throw away some trash ”
I looked at the bag for a second and recognized it almost instantly as she raised it above her hip. It was the same sort of bag that resemble the same shape, and size of the bags that I saw in that room that I peeked into just a few moments ago! ‘Yes!’ I thought to myself in triumph that I might discover what exactly was in those bags. Perhaps from that discovery I might be able to discover what exactly she was hiding. But, I would have wait because if I began digging through the garbage bin in the middle of the day she might discover what I was up to so I would wait until the end of the day. After she walked away, I told my brother about my plan. He reluctantly agreed, after I had told him that all we were going to do was sneak out of our bed room window, sneak around to the back of neighborhood dump. Which is where she dumps most of her garbage and it was conveniently, just at the end of the street. Which would take only a few minutes to walk, or in our case, sneak over to. With our plan set we continued on with our chores and day as usual, and I began to think about what she had in that garbage bag. The other idea was to sneak another peek at the room that the bag originally was in. However, knowing that she would be back at any second. Also, adding the fact that I was extremely nervous at this point I just could not take the risk of entering that room with that over my head.
At lunch time Ms. Hickory fixed us some vegetable stew with some fried squash that might add tasted quite good for once, and, for once, I was relieved not to play the sour or sweet guessing game with the meal she had made for me and my brother. I wonder what she done differently to this batch of vegetables that she hadn’t done before? Maybe she finally learned how to cook the vegetables just right, and not leave the cooking just to chance. However, I didn’t have the guts to ask her though. I didn’t want to make her despise me even more from my rude comments on her cooking. However, in order to lighten the mood in the room I began to chat with Ms. Hickory.
“Ms. Hickory,” I began after swallowing a mouthful of soup. “Why do you collect so many cuckoo clocks?” I asked.
“Well,” she began “My father collected them when I was young girl and I guess I like the way they remind me of him.”
She began to tell us about how she grew up and what she went through as a child. I listened intently at what she had to say but my brother was only paying attention to his soup either out of apathy for the old woman. Or, he just didn’t want to listen to an elder ramble on about their life in the past. Either way, I began to see that this old woman wasn’t just some crazy old lady, but just a lonely old woman who had endured the torment of time. During the time that we used for lunch, which was from 12:00 to 1:30, she told me tales of her youth. One of my favorites was the tale that she told me of when she married a charming young man who swooned her off her feet when she was only seventeen. Also, she told me that they had married one another right after her high school graduation. She would go on and on about how much she loved her husband and how much he loved her.
“His name was Jonathan,” she said dreamily “he was a wonderful man who would make me feel so warm on the inside, as love does to a young girl’s heart. He used to wake up every morning, make me breakfast, and tell me how I reminded him of the sparkling morning sun. I just wish…that I could still feel that sort of love as before.”
I looked up to Ms. Hickory and she looked as though she was on the edge of tears so, being as young as I was, I asked.
“Do you miss him?”
She didn’t even look back at me but simply nodded then got up from the coffee table and placed her plate in to the sink and began washing it. While washing the dishes she asked me.
“Tyson, have you ever felt what love feels like?”
The question itself baffled me a little and I was taken back by what she had said. I looked down at my soup and began to think of when was the last time that I had felt love. I then remembered that I had loved my cat, Patches. She would always comfort me whenever I got home. She would rub up against me and I would pick her up and hug her. That sort of “love” felt so warm to me.
“I love my cat, Patches!” I chirped happily. “I love her because she always helped me get through my worst days at school.”
I saw her face change a little bit, but only just a little bit. I began to feel a little unsettled. Why exactly had she asked me that question? As I sat there in the chair I began to think about what love, besides the feelings I had felt for my mom and my most beloved cat, really felt like.
Luckily, I heard the clock chime and I thanked God that it was 1:30. Because, at this point I felt that I had offended and hurt Ms. Hickory from my insensitive retort. I quickly went back to my daily chores, which was, at this point, to help my brother fold up the clothes in the living room. ‘Maybe we had it all wrong about Ms. Hickory,’ I thought to myself as I began folding clothes ‘However, we still have three more rooms to go since we can’t go into the one with the garbage bags.’ My brother and I concluded that while one of us was going to the bathroom, which was upstairs to the left, which was conveniently placed to the left of her main bedroom. So the plan was while I was going up to the bathroom I would peak in to the bedroom to see what secrets it potentially held.
After I had folded the last of the clothes I looked over to my brother and he simply nodded, and I walked in to the kitchen once more where Ms. Hickory appeared to finish up washing the dishes and heard me come in through the door. I told her that I needed to use the restroom, and asked for her permission and she simply nodded and said.
“Be sure to clean up after yourself.”
I simply retorted a thank you and strode over to the staircase and as I began climbing the stairs, and admittedly, I was beginning to become nervous as I neared the door. The hallway that led to both rooms was of medium length that allowed for only for a dozen steps at least with the bathroom only a few steps away from the master bedroom, which was a straight shot from the staircase.
I was at the door, and looking behind me I made sure that no one was around and slowly twisted the old doorknob. The door protested with a slight squeak as I began to open it. The room was nothing special. It just contained mostly old furniture. With a huge wardrobe at the leftmost end of the room, and the bed that was queen sized with an assortment of pillows. The covers were dyed a faded crimson with what looked like an oversized doily to add a certain touch of antique décor. There were two huge windows adjacent to the bed that were clothed by white opaque curtains that blocked out the majority of sunlight, but still illuminated the room perfectly and added a sense of calming.
I walked in to the room a little bit where I was to the left of the bed, and simply began to rethink everything that I had ever said or thought about Ms. Hickory. ‘Maybe we were wrong.’ I thought to myself ‘Maybe, Ms. Hickory is just an old woman who is just lonely.’ Suddenly, as I began to make my way out of the room I heard footsteps and in a panic I ran over to the wardrobe and hid inside. But allowed a crack in between the doors to see what was happening. I saw Ms. Hickory in the doorway, and while I could barely see her out of the little crack I saw that she approached the wardrobe and my heart began to beat faster and faster. However, she turned and knelt down beside the bed. I then saw that she pulled out a black chest from underneath her bed. After opening it, I saw what appeared to be a full set of black tinted bottles. However, what drew my attention was the piece of paper that she pulled out of her pocket. Then, gradually checked off what appeared to be names on a list after pointing to each bottle as if it matched the name. After going through the list the old woman quickly took the case out from out under the bed, and quickly hurried out of the room. However, she stopped out in front of the bathroom and knocked on the door.
“Tyson?” she asked “ Are you okay? You’ve been in the bathroom for a little while.”
She then motioned to the doorknob and just as I thought that she would find out that I was not in the room I heard my brother’s voice echo throughout the house.
“Ms. Hickory!!!!!” he exclaimed, “I forgot where do you get the paper towels? I accidently spilled some water!”
She withdrew her hand from the doorknob and uttered a quick curse. She quickly went away from the room and I heard the dull echoing of each step that she took down the stairs. Knowing that I was safe I quickly exited the room with the utmost quickness, and went in to the bathroom. I breathed a sigh of relief and leaned against the wood of the door. After that experience, and due to the fact that I had explored the last room in her house, I decided that I had enough adventuring for one day. However, I couldn’t help but think about what exactly what that list was and what exactly was in those bottles. ‘Maybe our plan to look threw the garbage will have the answers I want.’ I had a feeling that those bags could possibly be linked to those bottles.
I had told my brother about the events upstairs and he began to become increasingly nervous about the plan to go dumpster diving to find the answers we, more me than my brother at this point, wanted. However, he still wanted to discover what lied in the garbage. He said that if anyone comes near the two of us at any point we were to run straight back home, and I reluctantly agreed to his terms. After the clock turned five, my brother and I began to get ready for our mother to pick us up from this torment. My mother entered the abode and thanked Ms. Hickory for taking care of us in which the old woman returned the thank you with:
“It was my pleasure. Oh by the way I want you to take some of the left overs that we had from lunch. I already have enough of it to feed a family at thanksgiving.”
My mother simply chuckled at her retort and kindly accepted the box of leftovers, which contained the stew from our earlier lunch. As we left the house I began to plot out our little night escapade. However, at this point I had already my doubts and concerns about what this little adventure might bring about in the end. However, I didn’t worry too much about the end result, rather the answers that we will receive from what was in those bags.
After we entered our house, with one of our two cats, Patches, scampering out of the house. We each took our own shower and redressed ourselves in comfortable clothing. My outfit was in the form of a blue jacket, due to the fact that it was going to be cold tonight, and jeans. My brother wore a long sleeve shirt and some of the hand me down blackish baggy pants. My brother and I agreed that once we had dinner we would sneak out our room window at 12 at night. Because, our mother falls asleep around 11, but just to make sure we wanted to wait until we knew for sure that she was asleep. Especially, due to the fact that her room was just down the hall from our own bedroom. With this in mind, we had to make sure she wouldn’t be awakened by out late night antics.
As we sat at the dinner table, my brother and me simply eyed the pot that our mom was cooking our supper in, and boy did it smell divine! The only thing on our mind, at that point, was food. My mother simply kept stirring the pot, and as she was doing so she asked us how our day went. Gavin told her about how Ms. Hickory was very angry that he had spilled some of the water in the kitchen but, as he said, it was because he didn’t “see” the coffee table. Of course, both my mother and I thought it was hilarious so we both laughed at Gavin’s supposed excuse for being a klutz.
Once dinner was served, which were the leftovers that Ms. Hickory gave us earlier in the evening. While we ate the soup, I began asking my mother how her day was and such. She told me that her day was very good, but I could tell that one of her sexist co-workers had said something to her. The way that I saw it was due to the fact that she was slouching, and her eyes looked gloomy with her mascara hastily reapplied to cover up the black streaks around her eyes. So, being the happy one out of the three of us, I told her how Gavin had pronounced washing machine. I got her laugh and smile a little bit, which made me feel better that I can still cheer her up.
My alarm went off, beside my bed and I hit the snooze button to stop it from continuing its repetitive tone. The time had finally come to find out what exactly those bags held. I, still dressed in what I put on when I got back from Ms. Hickory’s house, woke up Gavin and quickly opened the window. Due to the reason our house was only one story the window only showed our backyard, and the fence that separated our house from the run down factory right across from us. We each got out of the window, bringing our flashlights with us. We then closed the window just enough so there was a crack in the seal so that we could fit our fingers under it in order to get back in the house. With everything set, we nodded in agreement and headed down the street to the neighborhood dumpster.
The dump was nothing special it was just a large blue container that had two black flap-doors, which served as its opening. The entire container was surrounded by a concrete wall, which helped to keep garbage from flying out. As we neared it, the perfume of garbage intoxicated the air and made Gavin nearly gag. But we had a mission to accomplish so he quickly covered his nose with his shirt and nodded. The top of the container was too tall for either of us to reach so Gavin, who was more athletic out of the two of us, gave me a boost. I grabbed the filthy rim of the container opening. It felt disgusting as if all of the most putrid and unholy elements of nastiness into a single object. I pulled myself into the garbage container, but I lost my grip as I tried to climb over to the other side. Landing on my back on top of a literal pool of filth. I nearly gaged at the smell, and the sheer feeling of the garbage liquid seeping into my jacket felt even more repugnant. I got up and dusted myself off and after pulling out my flashlight I began to dig through the cesspool.
“Tyson,” my brother called out to me suddenly “someone’s coming!” he exclaimed through his whisper.
Knowing that I couldn’t possibly get out of the container I had only one option. Hide in the garbage, and hope that they don’t discover me. I piled at least two trash bags on top of myself, but I didn’t cover my eyes so that I could see outside. The person turned out to be Ms. Hickory. She peered into the garbage container, and appeared to be oblivious of my presence. ‘What’s she doing here?” I thought. It honestly didn’t make any sense why she was here since she had already thrown away whatever was in that bag. ‘Why did she come back?’ I thought as her head disappeared for a quick instance. She then brought up and set a black case onto the rim of the container. I knew that case…it was the one that contained those bottles. I saw the old woman whip out a piece of paper from her shirt and crumpled it up and threw it into the container and, conveniently, landed near where I was hiding. After she had thrown the piece of paper in, she then began to take out one bottle that had something written on it. But, it was too dark out to see what exactly it was. She then took off the top of the bottle and dumped out with what looked like a black liquid. The liquid splattered on to my face, and I thanked god that I had covered my mouth with a bit of my jacket. However, the liquid stung my eyes and began to blacken out my vision from the pure intensity of it. She then dropped the bottle down in to the container, which I could hear the shattering of glass near my hiding spot. I still could not see but I then felt something hit me in the stomach. It felt like something slightly heavy but slightly flexible. I then heard Ms. Hickory say.
“Thank you for all the love that you had to give.”
I then heard her walk away until all I could hear were the buzzing of the street lamps. I then quickly began to get up out of the garbage and began rubbing my eyes to get rid of the stinging sensation that the liquid had given me. As I got up I then fell over whatever was previously on my stomach. Falling on top of it I began to see slightly, and my god I wished that I hadn’t. There…right in front of me…was a skinned cat. It’s muscles all pinkish-gray, and its eyes were locked on me in what looked like a horrified stare. With panic overwhelming me I kicked the body away and slid to the back of the container. That’s when something stabbed me in the back. I reached back and pulled out whatever was stabbing me, and it was a piece of the bottle. However, now that I could see I could finally make out what the letters bottle. They were L-O-V-E. I threw the piece as soon as I read it because as I looked up I saw that the corpse, that was now upside down, revealed a gaping hole in its chest where its heart would be. That liquid…was blood from that cat. Now that I thought about it I had seen Ms. Hickory add some of this into the soup that she had made days before. I began to scream. But, all that could be heard was a sickening gargling sounds as I tried to scream out to the world at what I had just experienced. But the blood that seeped in to my mouth forbade me from doing so. That cat, in my sudden realization, was my cat, Patches. The reason I knew because as I screamed I tasted the blood…and it was not a bad taste…for the love I had given her.