Only Witches. . .
"Only witches have that many cats."
Following the voice, I glanced at the yard next door. A wrinkled crone was scowling in my direction. I smiled. Alarmed, she bustled back to her house.
When I caught her trying to poison my cats that afternoon, I took the tainted chicken away and made a sign in the air at her. She shrieked, backing away and crossing herself.
"Oh, please," I said softly. She yelped.
"You should be ashamed of yourself," I scolded. She babbled at me in Spanish.
“If you have something to say, go get a translator – a priest, perhaps?” As she stood, staring at me, eyes bulging, I tilted my head back and laughed the most evil cackle I could manage. She shrieked again and ran into her house.
“My grandmother asks that you not make evil signs at her.” A boy of about ten stood at the edge of their yard, not venturing into mine.
“Tell your grandmother that if she tries to hurt or poison my cats again, I’ll curse her dead.” I looked up and smiled at the stricken child. “I mean it. If she does anything to hurt them, or gets anyone else to, I’ll curse her. She'll be dead before dark. Got it?” He nodded gravely and trudged back to deliver the news.
Several weeks later, the grandmother gathered enough courage to try again. I watched from my daughter’s bedroom as the old woman crept out and laid out even more poisoned chicken! My cats were sniffing it and looking at it, but they wouldn't eat it. I slipped out the side door and surprised her.
“Trying to poison my cats AGAIN?” I hissed. She whirled around and looked like she was about to melt on the spot.
I spit in my hand to make the curse, and slammed my fist onto my open palm. Bits of spittle flew across and landed on the woman’s face and hair. The woman looked as if I’d slapped her.
I leaned forward to whisper, “I warned you. Leave us alone.”
I thought my performance would keep her away from my cats. But when she died three days later, nobody was more surprised than me!
Yes, this is indeed a true story of my adventures of the next door neighbor's grandmother from Mexico. From the moment she arrived, she was intent on killing my cats and ticking me off. Our interaction was much longer than the 400 words in my story, but the ending was the same - she died.
So I guess she was right about some things - I guess only witches do have this many cats.