Thrift Store Scare

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“Meow?” My cat, Axton, wonders what I’ve got in the bag. He weaves between my legs and nuzzles my foot, at the disapproval of our other cat Leone, who Glares at him through the slats of the staircase before going back upstairs.

“It’s a megaphone for cheerleading practice, Mister, now those girls will finally be able to hear me.” I tell him, and he walks away, apparently satisfied. I turn to tell my roommate that I’m home “April! I’m home, come help me unload the groceries” I put the megaphone on the counter and go to the car. April comes running out.

“How has your day been?” I ask just to make conversation.

“Bad, actually, My paycheck has been delayed” she grunts as she picks up a particularly heavy box “due to a ‘Glitch in the banking system’ but I should get it by next week, but until then I’ve only got a hundred dollars, so no more Starbucks”

I open the door to let her in “That's terri-"My last word is cut off by an earsplitting meow from Axton, who proceeds to jump onto the counter, run over to the megaphone and headbutt it off the counter. It falls, and upon hitting the floor a small crack goes up the side.

Surprised at his behavior, I run to pick him up before he damages anything else.  But, he's shaking so hard that I could barely hold him, and he's cold “April, call the vet, Axton’s shaking.” I shout

“Really?” She looked at the poor trembling cat in my arms “Oh my god! Do you think he’s sick?”

“I think there might be something wrong with his heart!” Axton’s eyes closed and he hung his head down “Oh please, hurry and call the vet!”

April immediately ran to the phone, luckily, we had the vet on speed dial for Leones Diabetes. “Doctor Teirfre? Oh, Sylvia?” That must be the secretary “Can you put Doctor Teirfre on the line?” a long silence “Oh, he’s busy. Can you try and answer my question then? Oh, thank God.” She recounts all of Axton’s symptoms and then pauses to listen to Sylvia. From the way April's face is contorting, it’s not good. After a couple more seconds she hangs up the phone saying “Okay, thank you, we’ll be there right away.”

She turns to face me “we need to get there right away, Sylvia said that it seems like he’s either having a seizure, or he’s got a brain tumor”

My heart sank. “We can make it in five minutes if you help me find Axton's cat box.

We find the box and race to the vet. Doctor Teirfre tells us that he needs to stay overnight and that they’ll scan him for tumors as soon as he stops shaking.

*********

We finally got Axton back, and they said that he was perfectly fine, and might've just had a fluke sizure, but to keep him calm for a little bit jus in case. Unfortunately, April was visiting her parents today, so I was all alone in watching Axton. We dropped April off at the airport on the way home. When she got out, I put Axton's cat Carrier in the front seat and opened the door. He popped his head out and then laid down. He was quiet the whole way home.

**********

When we pulled into the driveway, he immediately started meowing. This was probably a side effect of the seizure. I lay him down next to the megaphone, and this time he doesn’t run away, in fact, he puts his head inside the megaphone. Then I sit down to watch the news

About five minutes in, the TV screen is reduced to static. Then suddenly, the whole house powers down. It is completely dark.

And then I'm drowning.

Still breathing air, but somehow underwater. Still in my living room, but completely unsafe. it feels like my lungs are about to burst.

I look at Axton, wondering if he’s drowning. He looks at me then purrs, as if nothings wrong, but before I can process that's it's only happening to me, then the water's temperature drops down, so suddenly it's like jumping into the arctic ocean from Florida. I can’t even feel my hands, it's like I have Pneumonia or Frostbite.

Suddenly, right next to me, there's a voice. Every word magnified by the megaphone. I can feel the vibrations in the water. But I couldn't fully understand her. I-I was glad because her voice sounded so awful that it felt like an Ice Cube had slipped down my throat and frozen my stomach. She felt dangerous, definitely evil. 

And I felt sick

The voice is whispering to me, right into my ear. "So, you're the one who brought home the megaphone, eh?"

I nod, just the slightest movement so that she knows I understand.

"Do you know the story behind that megaphone?" She pauses as if waiting for an answer, then continues. "Of course you don't, no one does. Two years ago, my friends bought me this megaphone as a joke. They told me that I was so quiet they needed a megaphone to hear me. But the next day, it started raining. I had taken the megaphone with me to humor my friends, but as you may not know some megaphones are electrical, and so was this one. So when I started talking into the megaphone a drop of rain got into the battery pack and electrocuted me. In a fluke accident, I died. The next day they took the electrical part of the megaphone off of the megaphone and donated it to a thrift store. I've followed the megaphone so that people can hear me because I don't want to be quiet." Then, as suddenly as she started talking she stops.

A giant gust of wind sweeps me off the the couch, and then the water disappears, and I can breathe again, but the room is still bone-chillingly cold that my hands are turning red. I'm shivering uncontrollably. Axton gives me a sideways look like nothing's wrong. And I don't think there is anything wrong, at least for him. Because this thing only wants me to hear her, and to do that she's decided to make my life miserable. 

And to this day, she follows me everywhere.






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