The sooty silhouette of a lone cat sat in the street, watching house number 13 of Estoria Lane. It was a beautiful, old gray and lavender Victorian where three young witches lived inside, the Minx sisters.

The unique energy of these particular witches sang to the cat as he watched them moving past the windows, lighting candles with cheerful chatter and laughter after having come home from their evening walk. The cat watched the sisters for many nights as the moon waxed and waned in the midnight sky. Then, on the evening of a dark moon, he finally approached the house, only a little wary, but confidant that this was the right one. This was the house that had called to him.

So, he chose a window, claimed his perch with effortless grace and waited.

He didn’t have to wait very long.

“Amina, Lavinia!”, Petra called to her sisters as the cat in the window held her gaze, unblinking.

The one witch became three as the other two entered the room, equally surprised by the black cat that had perched on their window sill. Yellow eyes stared back at three sets of witchy blue eyes and spoke silently, his magic to their magic. He decided then that he would most definitely stay, at least for while. And the three witches decided the same, agreeing that this cat was meant for them in some way. They sealed the deal by placing a beautiful silver collar around his neck, speaking his name– “Salem”; and he agreed to the arrangement by circling their ankles affectionately.

The black cat made quick friends with his new housemates, showing them that he was a true witchy cat. He pawed at the tarot deck as it was laid out, pulling forth the card that spoke of good fortune. He carefully maneuvered the window sills full of crystals without disturbing a single one. He lay every night on the legs of the eldest witch, Lavinia, guarding her in her sleep without moving an inch. And his favorite place to lie down was, oddly, on the brim of one of the witch’s costume hats. This is not something witches actually wear except for on halloween, but it was a very clear statement every time Salem lay on this symbol of the craft.

He had proved himself quite special… And quite witchy.

He stayed for as long as was needed, about 3 months, to wake up the sleeping souls of the witches, to stir up the energies in their house and to bless them with another 13 years of good luck, youth and magic. And when his time was finished in the house of the Minx Witches, he made it known that he would now like to leave.

He would lie in wait of the door, ready to go when next it opened, but his escape was always thwarted by his keepers. “No, no,” Lavinia Minx would chastise him, shooing him away. Salem would meow at this, a long distressing yowl to show his grave displeasure at being detained from his next position.

He tried and tried, but could not leave. So, he began with a new approach. He would make them want to be rid of him.

His respect for the window crystals remained, but other objects became fair game. He would sit in the window sill of Lavinia’s room, look her dead in the eye and swat the little Batman figurines from the ledge. There was nothing magical about Batman and so he could do this without breaking any of the unspoken laws that bind… And he knew how she loved those figurines. He smiled imperceptibly at his triumph, when she would jump up to retrieve the fallen hero and shoo her feline friend away. Each time he hoped that she would tire of him and cast him out so that he could move on to his next charge. But she did not.

He tried and tried, every way that he could think of. Mischievous behavior and unearthly yowling at all hours of the night… but nothing worked.  The three witches felt his pleas deep in their bones but they did not seem to understand… Or maybe they just didn’t want to. Perhaps he had done his job too well in befriending them. That was all well and good, in fact he liked them as well and felt terrible for leaving them, but it was his job after all. He was the black cat of all the witches, not just to this one small coven.

So, against house rules and the unspoken laws (cats are forbidden to use magic unless it is to aid his witch) he decided that the only way he would be able to leave was by using a link-key. Two same objects, one inside the house and one outside the house, that created a pathway straight through any door. He didn’t have a set on him, of course; where would he keep them? But he did know where the witch Petra kept a pair of two identical moonstones, and that would do just fine.

So, he put his plan into motion early one morning as Petra slept like a rock, as she always did. He very carefully picked one of the stones up in his mouth and dropped it into her rainbow unicorn bag. He knew that this mini backpack was the one that she took everywhere, so now all he had to do was wait. However, Salem hadn’t accounted for Petra’s ability to effortlessly sleep the day away. Salem grumbled and paced the house, his patience growing thinner as the next home beckoned to him ever-stronger and half the day was already gone.

Finally, Petra awoke and, after a time, the three witches decided that they would all go for their evening walk. The weather was so fine and the leaves were just starting to change, beckoning them outside, as Autumn does to all witchy souls. So, they set out merrily for an evening stroll and Salem went to work on his plan. As soon as the unicorn bag had crossed the home’s threshold, he ran to collect the sister stone to the pair that lie in Petra’s room. Carefully picking the stone up in his mouth and going back to the door they had left by, Salem easily passed through the door as if it were only a patch of fog, rather than solid wood. He was finally free! and on his way to the next charge. He purred with satisfaction as he slipped through a bush and shook the silver collar off in a place that it would not soon be found.

Later that evening, Petra, Amina and Lavinia Minx returned to their little home on Estoria Lane, singing their way up the lane. They opened the front door and Lavina called out to Salem as she stepped inside, ready for a cup of tea and a cuddle with her little friend. But he did not answer.

“What’s this?” Amina had picked up a stone from the ground in front of the door.

“That’s my moonstone,” Petra said curiously, having no idea how it could have gotten outside. She shrugged, “I must have dropped it.”

“Salem?” Lavinia called out again, looking in all of his favorite hiding places. “Where are you, silly cat?” But he was no where to be found.

“He’s not here,” Petra finally said. “I can’t sense him anywhere.”

“Neither can I,” Lavinia agreed with a frown.

Amina nodded, affirming that she had felt his absence as well. “He must have slipped out with us. But how did we not see him?”

It was a puzzle that would never be answered. For while the three witches contemplated his disappearance, Salem was long gone. He had already traveled a full town over and now sat on the sidewalk just outside of a small house on Evers Street. He watched one lonely old witch as she sipped her cup of tea, gazing out the window. He met her faded gray eyes with bright yellow eyes and the old witch smiled knowingly as she went to meet him at the door.

Copyright © 2019 Davina Rush

All rights reserved. This work may not be copied or duplicated in any way without written and notarized permission from the author. All work here is dated and searchable in the plagiarism databases thanks to the lovely magic of the internet.

** inspired by Salem, the kitty who adopted us for a little while and then vanished lol