By Aaron Suranofsky
Traipsing tanned pine needles carpeting the woods around my lonely little farmhouse home, from behind a tree, a flash of grey, a kitty, for a moment sporting its slender frame, what luck! But like a silver bolt it streaked off toward the old barn, like a nudging wind it threaded into the grass and disappeared. Every day I sat by the stream that necklaced my house until the sun disappeared behind the jagged spine of the woods, shredded my fingertips trying to pry open the heavy doors of the barn until night began to swallow me, and I had to run home, lamenting my bad luck, abandoning the kitty. One day I set a dish of milk out where I first met the kitty, found a cramped tent of roots, wormed inside and disappeared. The sun crawled through the sky like a slow coin flip. I made a call, testing my luck, and as it landed on the edge of the horizon, a touch of grey peeked out from the woods. Stamping into the clearing, it seemed oddly homely, lapping at the milk. I noticed more fluff on its stomach before it trudged back to the barn. That night Dad woke me, mentioning noise in the barn. As we pried the doors open, darkness cried like a litter of kittens. Lifting a gas lantern we found its-her-home. Her distended stomach had disappeared, leaving eight damp clumps of fluff cuddled on the straw-matted wood. Flame glowed in her hazel eyes, her sharp pupils oozing a gentle look. They say black cats are bad luck, so of course, I chose him when the litter finally filed from the barn. With pets and a bit of milk, he snuggled against my ankles as we explored the woods. His mother often greeted us as she patrolled, accompanied by one or two other kittens, before leaping into a nearby shadow, where they’d disappear until they’d leave shredded moles and mice at the door of our home. Suddenly Mom invited strangers to our home, trading kittens for cash, oh she felt lucky. One by one they were packed in cars, disappearing. We watched the emptying barn, me, my unlucky little kitty, and his mother, leering from the woods. Eventually we closed the doors of the barn when only the wild cat I named Kitty remained as her final son faded into the shadows and disappeared.