Cat and the Cryptid Summer by Raspberry | Content Warnings
Cat woke up to banging sounds. Again. She rolled out of bed, only remembering just in time to not pull her dagger. Her mom was half in the closet, practically ripping apart boxes as she piled their contents on the floor.
“Oh, sorry, hun, did I wake you?” Mom asked, glancing over. “I was just trying to organize things around here.”
Cat rolled over and checked the time. She buried her face in the pillow and groaned.
“At eight in the morning?” she asked. “In the summer?”
“Go back to sleep,” Mom said, returning to her boxes.
She pulled out clothes, utensils that looked like they had been passed down (and last polished) from Victorian times, and various knickknacks, tossing them into three piles on the floor and shaking each box.
“What are you doing?” Cat asked curiously.
“Just trying to sort some things,” Mom asked. “You know, stuff to keep, stuff to donate, and stuff to throw away.”
“Shouldn’t Gran be deciding that?”
“She can go through the other rooms.”
Cat got out of the bed and walked over to her mom. The closet looked like it had gone through a hurricane. Boxes that used to be haphazardly stacked in the small space were mangled in pieces, the contents strewn about on the bedroom floor. Mom casually ripped open another box.
“Are we in some sort of a rush?” Cat asked. “Why are you suddenly trying to sort through everything?”
Just yesterday, Cat had caught Mom with a trash can, trying to open the door to the library so she could clean out that room.
“I’d just like to get things organized so that we can go home,” Mom replied. “Who knows if your gran will be well enough to come back, and if we have to sell the house, I’d like to get a head start with cleaning.”
“Why wouldn’t she come back?”
Cat cleared her throat, trying to get rid of the panicked tone in her voice. Mom just gave her a sympathetic look before returning to the boxes. Cat shook her head and mumbled something about going for breakfast.
She found Gran in the kitchen scrambling some eggs. The kitchen looked like a tornado had blown through it, with emptied boxes of bran cereal, utensils that had yet to be washed (Cat had a sinking feeling one of them was her death fork from the other day), and a tub of melted ice cream next to the unplugged coffee maker (that was currently holding an oven mitt). Cat knew it was all part of Gran’s plan to look batty, but she wondered if it was going too far. Gran’s walker and cane were nearby, and she reached for them. Cat shook her head.
“She’s still in the room,” Cat replied. “Trying to clean everything out, apparently.”
“I suppose she’s going to try getting me out of here for good,” Gran said with a nod of her head. “I can’t say I’m completely surprised.”
Cat watched as Gran plated the eggs and threw some bread in the toaster. She let out a sigh.
“What should we do, Gran?”
“Well… I can throw a couple shells in here so she’ll really think I’m slipping,” Gran offered, offering some eggs to Cat.
“Then she’ll try carting you off faster.”
“I’d like to see her try,” Gran retorted. “I’m pretty stubborn, you know. No one but me can force me out of the house.”
Cat rolled her eyes.
“This is serious, Gran. We need a plan or something.”
“My plan is still the same,” Gran replied. “Find Silverfur and make a rug out of him, keep those scheming fairies in line, and hopefully not destroy the world or spill our family secret in the process.”
“With Mom around?”
“Her presence does put a damper on things,” Gran said with a sigh. “I’d rather have her as far away from here as possible, but…”
Cat looked over. She could tell Gran was thinking hard about something. She could practically hear the gears turning in her head.
“What is it?” Cat asked.
“What’s what?” Mom asked, walking into the kitchen.
“Did I… put salt or sugar in this?” Gran mused, with a distant look in her eyes.
Mom sighed and shook her head.
“Why don’t I cook something?” she asked, and then looked at Cat and whispered, “Don’t eat that.”
Cat pushed the plate away from her and gave Gran a questioning look as Mom peered into the fridge. Gran just shook her head slightly.
“How old is this bacon, Ma?” Mom asked, holding up a package and checking the expiration date.
“Oh, did you buy that?” Gran asked.
Mom sighed and tossed the package into the trash can. Her head disappeared into the fridge again.
“Well…” she said slowly. “Why don’t we go out for breakfast?”
Cat glanced at Gran.
“Oh, no, dear, I couldn’t possibly go out today,” Gran said. “My hip isn’t doing so well, you know. I think I must have slept wrong.”
“Okay… how about I go to the store then?” Mom offered. “Cat, wanna come with?”
“Not particularly,” Cat replied. “It’s hot outside.”
Mom gave Cat a pointed look, but Cat just shook her head. She tried to adopt an annoyed expression.
“I thought the whole reason I was here was to watch Gran,” she said. “Do you really wanna leave her alone?”
“Okay, then, why don’t you go to the store?” Mom asked.
“So you can show up at the store like you showed up here after forcing me to come?” Cat retorted.
Mom held her hands up in surrender and mumbled something about getting her purse. Cat gave Gran an apologetic look, but Gran just winked at her.
“I was trying to get her out of the house,” she whispered. “Did I take it too far?”
Gran shook her head, but Cat still felt guilty. She stood up and went towards the bedroom. Mom was still in the hallway, trying the door handle on one of the locked rooms.
“I don’t think your purse is in there,” Cat pointed out.
Mom jumped and motioned for Cat to come closer.
“Do you know why she’s locked all of these?” she whispered. “What’s inside?”
Cat just shrugged nonchalantly, but she studied her mother’s face. There was something different about her. Cat couldn’t quite place it, but something felt… off.
“Hey, Mom, why did you come down?” she asked slowly.
“I finished work,” Mom replied. “And since you were taking so long, I thought I’d come down and help. Plus, I realized we should be cleaning the house, just in case.” She patted Cat’s shoulder. “Anyway, I’ll get to the store. Anything special you want me to bring you?”
Cat shook her head and followed Mom into the bedroom. When Mom found her purse, Cat followed her to the front door and kept an eye on her until she had gotten in the car and pulled away from the house.
“You feel it too?” Gran guessed, appearing at her side.
Cat jumped, but she nodded slowly, watching Mom’s car disappear onto the road.
“I caught her trying to open a door just now,” Cat said. “And something feels… I don’t know… off.”
“Agreed,” Gran said. “Let’s keep a close eye on her, okay?”
Gran patted her shoulder and turned to walk away. She paused, casting another look out the front door window.
“I think it’d be best if we got her out as soon as possible, though,” she said. “Between a batty old lady and a moody teenager, I’m sure she won’t last… What do you think?”
Cat slowly smiled and nodded. Mom was stubborn, but she didn’t stand a chance between the two of them.
“Until she’s back, though, I still expect you to study,” Gran added. “I’m pretty sure I told you to finish that book on fairy mind tricks by today.”
Cat groaned. The worst part about Gran’s library collection was the fact that none of the books were on SparkNotes. She shuffled towards the library.
She had only made it about halfway through the book when she heard a car pull into the driveway. Cat sighed, standing up slowly. No doubt Mom would make her help with the groceries. Plus, the doors had to be locked before she had time to snoop.
It wasn’t Mom’s car, though. It was Cat’s.
Gran joined Cat on the porch and waved as Fiona stepped out. Fiona tapped on the hood of the car.
“Permission to approach?” she asked.
“Granted,” Gran replied. “Looks good as new, Fiona.”
Fiona walked up the porch steps as Mom’s car pulled in the driveway. Fiona handed Cat the keys and looked around with furrowed brows.
“Hi!” Mom called out. “Are you one of Ma’s friends?”
“Death,” Fiona muttered, stepping from the porch and looking up at the house.
“What?” Mom asked.
Cat glanced at Gran. Should they duct tape Fiona’s mouth, she wanted to ask.
“Death,” Fiona repeated. “There’s a cloud of death over this house.”
“I’m sorry, who are you?” Mom asked.
“I’ll help with the groceries!” Cat said loudly, bounding from the porch.
“I was just dropping off your daughter’s car,” Fiona replied, looking over Mom before returning her gaze to the house.
“Why did you have her car?” Mom asked.
“It had a scratch!” Cat said quickly.
“She hit a deer,” Gran said at almost the same time.
The two gave each other a look that was kind of like I thought I was the one making up the stories.
“I almost hit a deer,” Cat amended. “And I ended up… not.”
“She tapped the mailbox instead,” Gran said. “And so Fiona offered to fix it.”
Fiona glanced from Cat to Gran and just shrugged.
“You should be more careful,” Mom chided with a shake of her head.
“Yes, especially if that deer comes back,” Fiona added, tearing her eyes from above the house finally. “It’s hard to say, but it might be why I see the cloud.”
Gran gave Fiona a sharp look.
“Well, Ms. Peregrine offered me a ride back to town,” Fiona said. “So I’ll see you later, Ms. Betty. Cat,” she said with a nod. “Maria.”
Mom gave a confused look. Cat thrust some groceries into her arms.
“I’m not unloading the car by myself, Mom,” she said. “And you’re not gonna make Gran help, right?”
“Right,” Mom said slowly, watching Fiona walk down the driveway. “Her friend is a bit… odd. Don’t you think?”
“She… uh… is really into mysticism,” Cat said. “You know, auras of people… zodiac signs… karma… constellations… that sort of thing.”
“I see,” Mom said slowly.
She finally turned her attention from Fiona and helped Cat unload the groceries. Gran stationed herself in the kitchen, offering to help put things away. Cat watched as Gran put bread in the microwave, eggs in the freezer, and a box of cereal in the fridge.
“Ma, why don’t I do that?” Mom asked, rescuing the bacon from the sink. “You should sit and rest.”
“Yeah, Gran, why bother doing any work?” Cat asked. “Mom will just show up and do it anyway.”
Mom glared at her.
“Check the attitude, young lady,” she said.
Cat rolled her eyes. Behind Mom’s back, Gran winked at Cat.
“I just don’t see why you’re here,” Cat continued. “I’ve already used, like, weeks of my summer vacation, and you could’ve come here yourself?”
“No one asked you to spend weeks,” Mom snapped. “It was supposed to be a couple of days tops, remember?”
“Oh, so I was taking too long?” Cat demanded. “I thought I was spending quality family time with Gran. If you wanted us back so soon, why didn’t you just tell me?”
“If you didn’t want me down here, why’d you ask me?” Mom countered.
Mom walked over and leaned on the counter, facing Cat.
“You’re the one who called and asked me to come down,” she said.
“I never—” Cat started and then broke off. Mom’s eyes. That was what was different about her. They seemed distant, even though she was staring directly at Cat. And Cat remembered reading about this only minutes ago. It was a sign of mind control.
1 thought on “Cat and the Cryptid Summer Episode Fourteen: Omens”
O my goodness this is so good!! I wonder who is controlling the mom.