Hansel

It is a beautiful Sunday morning. The birds sing on the mango trees in their usual tune. The skies are clear and blue. The clouds hold proof of a rain-free day.

The first signs of Harmattan, I think, as I step out the front porch to the driveway and feet the slight chilling wind brush my fur.

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I stand, stretch and groom myself. I have accustomed myself to this new body I think between every brush of my tongue against my fur. I now have a routine and a diet plan.

I strut past the driveway to the back of the house. Hansel never forgets to set my milk out every morning. He still looks sad since my disappearance but I notice he's been seeing someone new. She spent the night with him last night and her soft moans hurt so bad I had to step out of the house and sleep on the porch.

I know you don't understand, so I'll take you back to the very beginning. Back to how it first started.

I used to be human. Not the cat lady kind of human, no. I used to be a young 23-year-old woman, at least that's the best I can remember. I had hair as black as coal, eyes as green as emeralds, and a body fit for a model.

I had just graduated from medical school. I had been dating the love of my life, Hansel, for 3 years. He proposed to me at my graduation party and I accepted immediately.

Well, my life seemed too perfect for the universe, so tragedy was inevitable. On the night my friends and I went dress fitting, we had gotten a bit too excited at the dressmakers and may be taken too much advantage of their free wine service.

We part ways at the entrance of the store and I checked my watch. It was 5 minutes past 9 pm. Hansel would be so pissed, he had warned me countless times about staying out so late.

I walked towards the parking lot by the side of the building and that's when I heard the van speeding through a red light at the intersection. I didn't think their motive concerned me, I just let myself believe they were driving drunk.

They pulled up in front of my black corolla and then I saw the door slide open and 3 men in dark masks step out at a fast pace towards me. That's when it clicked and the adrenaline picked up but I was a little too late and they caught up to me before I could make it back to the store.

They muffled the sounds of my screams with their gloves. It happened so quick, I was inside the van and the next thing I felt was a needle to my neck and I saw darkness.

I don't know what happened next. What I do know is that I woke up in a new body. A body that wasn't mine. The body of a feline.

My human body disappeared.

That was 6 months ago. I had walked about the city of Calabar searching for answers. This wasn't the safest city for a cat, I knew that. This wasn't the safest place for any animal.

I had to go where I knew I would be safe. I knew only one human who remained animal friendly, Hansel.

Getting through to him at first seemed impossible. He was so scared and confused. He had lost the love of his life without an explanation.

He had been cross with me that night. He begged me not to stay out so late. He reminded me that the city was filled with so many uncertainties but I didn't listen.

At first, he ignored me. I was a stray he said. His heart had become so bitter during the first month of my arrival. I had to survive on the leftovers he dropped in the trash.

The second month after my disappearance, he eased up a little. I could barely understand why until the day he let me into his home I heard him tell Charles, his best friend, that "it appeared a week after Daisy's disappearance". I felt his hands on me once again as he pets my fur.

He was so gentle, as gentle as I remembered. I wish I could communicate but every time the words became too heavy in my heart, all I heard was a sad "meow". He will never understand.


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