This is a bit after the fact, but it was a task for my writing group. This can also be seen on the group website.
Lost in thought, Ella walked down the road, making her way home. As she passed a house she noticed a black cat sitting in the front garden by the gate. She smiled at it, think how she should get round to getting herself a cat.
About 5 houses away from her own the sky suddenly grew dark. Ella shrugged and pulled out her umbrella with her free hand; this was London after all, you can never be without one. She held it ready but the rain didn’t come.
Ella looked up ahead and saw another black cat sitting by the front gate. She stopped and looked back but couldn’t see the other cat.
Frowning she carried on walking slowly. She got nearer the house with the cat, determined to see if it was the same cat.
Her phone buzzed in her hand and she looked down at it briefly before continuing on. When she looked back up, the cat was gone. Ella stopped again. She looked at the house and to either side, looking in the hedges. Nothing.
As she reached the corner of her property, she saw a shimmer near the gate. Ella caught a glimpse of a man making his way up the path. She sped up to try see who it was, but as she pushed open the gate, there was no one there. Frowning, Ella looked around at her neighbours’ houses, but there was nothing.
She opened her front door and walked through the house balancing the bag of groceries she had. There was a chill in the air. The thermostat must be too low.
Ella balanced her burdens as she adjusted the temperature. Looking out of the corner of her eye, she saw the shape of a person. Turning towards the kitchen there was still nothing. The light kept playing tricks on her mind. She heaved her bags on to the counter and started getting the bowls to put the sweets in for the children.
Standing in the kitchen, a chill descended again. The atmosphere, however, didn’t match the chill. It felt warm and secure. Huh! Ella couldn’t understand it.
Focusing on other matters, she carried on setting out the sweets for the trick-or-treaters. She quite enjoyed this time of year. The change of the season, the costumes, and the pageantry all added up to such a picturesque scene.
The evening passed in the usual fun and games that she took pleasure in every year.
As the streams of children died down, Ella collapsed into her armchair, satisfied. Looking around at her lounge, she considered her house. It was a total surprise when she found it. She had been looking at houses in a completely different area, but somehow she had found her way here. A nagging feeling had followed her around all day until she came to this street. It felt like something had guided her along. The beauty of the houses and the surrounding forest had captured her entirely.
Ella had strolled the street and felt guided along until she came across a house for sale. A board was on a post attached to the gate advertising the real estate agency. She phoned up to enquire and within in months she was the proud owner.
That was six months ago.
Smiling, Ella got up to go to bed but was distracted by the flickering of the lights. She whirled around to look at the lamp but just as suddenly the lights were normal. Slowly, she made her way to the stairs.
With one foot on the first step, Ella heard a whisper.
She looked up into the shimmering, transparent eyes of a man. He had curly hair and was smiling tenderly.
“It’s good to see you and be seen finally. I wish we had actually met as we were meant to.” A whoosh carried across the hallway. Ella gasped at the meaning of his words.
“Goodnight my love. Sleep tight.”
The light dimmed again and two black cats appeared at the man’s feet. See you next year, he echoed.
He gave her one last look and then he and the cats shimmered out of existence. The clock struck midnight. The heat of the house engulfed Ella and she almost couldn’t breathe.
She suddenly felt empty and lost. As if half of her soul had vanished.