Saturday, October 30, 2010

Black Cat by Sandy Marshall

Hi Everyone,

Halloween is almost upon us, and I'm blogging about cats, specifically black cats. 

Did you know that a black cat crossing your path by moonlight means death in an epidemic?  This is an Irish superstition.  Dread of cats, especially black cats, first arose in Europe in the Middle Ages, particularly in England. 

One popular tale from British feline lore illustrates the thinking of the day.  In Lincolnshire in the 1560s, a father and his son were frightened one moonless night when a small creature darted across their path into a crawl space.  They hurled rocks into the opening, and then saw an injured black cat scurry out and limp into the home of a woman suspected of being a witch.  The next day, the father and son encountered the woman on the street.  Her face was bruised, her arm bandaged, and she walked with a limp.  From then on in Lincolnshire, all black cats were suspected of being witches in night disguise.

The notion of witches transforming themselves into black cats in order to prowl streets unobserved became a central belief in America during the Salem witch hunts.  Even though many societies tried to drive cats into extinction and France even burned thousands of black cats because they believed they were a witch by day and a black cat by night. 

There are others who believe a black cat brings good fortune.  On the Yorkshire coast of Britain, wives of fishermen believe their men will return safely if a black cat is kept in the house.  Some believe a black cat in the audience on opening night portends a successful play. 

Personally, I love black cats and all cats as well as other animals.  We have two cats, two little girls, and one is black.  Our wonderful long-haired black male cat, who died in February, was a masculine fellow, and I could imagine him being a man.  Grin!

Are you afraid of black cats?  Leave a comment answering this question, and you'll have a chance to win either a print or digital download of Addiction.  Below is a blurb.

Ring. Ring.
Her heart pounded frantically. Jolene pushed her covers off and jumped out of bed, her gaze on the clock. in the morning. She had a caller. Horror pulsed through her veins, and then she grabbed her purse.
It can’t possibly be him.
Come on, Jolene, answer it.
Her hands shaking, she dug in her purse pulling out the cell phone and flipping it open. “Hello.” He’d blocked the caller ID.
“What took you so long, Jolene?” a muffled voice asked.
She tightened her grip on the cell. No. How did he get this number?
“Come on, speak to me. I know you’re there,” the whisperer said in a low raspy voice. “Don’t make me come in there.”
“What do you want?” He knew where she was. How could he? “How did you get this number?” she demanded, rubbing her palm on the pale floral bed cover. Was he outside? She wanted to hang up, but that never worked. He’d call all night then.
“Jolene, I’m disappointed in you. You were around too many people tonight for me to get to you.”
She rose and walked to the window, feeling cold in spite of her olive green cotton pajamas. If only he’d talk in a normal tone, she might recognize the voice. “Why are you harassing me?” she asked, sliding the light green curtain aside so she could peek out. There weren’t any new cars parked on the street, but he could’ve parked anywhere and be outside the house.
“I thought we were friends. Don’t you like it when I tell you all the things I’m going to do to you?” He cackled loud and long.
His maniacal laughter sent shivers up her body, and she wrapped her free arm around her waist. Did she know this person? Surely, she didn’t know anyone like this except for Les. That guy was just downright crazy. Quiet.
She held her breath and listened. Was he still there? No sound. He must’ve hung up. Softly, she started to close her cell.
“Don’t hang up on me, Jolene.”
Startled, the phone slipped out of her grasp, but she scrambled to catch it. The darn thing hit the thick beige carpeted floor. Down on her knees, she grabbed the cell, putting it to her ear.
“Hello.” The buzzing told her she’d lost him. What would he do now? Call her back. She stared at the phone, her shoulders hunched, and the tendons in her neck tightening.
After a few moments, she rose, went to her bed and climbed in pulling the covers around her. She knew she wouldn’t sleep, but she didn’t want to wake her sister or call her brother to talk to him. This was her problem to take care of. She would call the police later this morning and make a report.
Ring. Ring.
Jolene grabbed the phone; she knew it was him again. She’d made him mad by hanging up on him even though it had happened accidentally. Without saying anything, she listened, hoping it wasn’t him.
“Don’t ever do that again.”
The loud click told her he was finally gone. Her hand shook so badly she could hardly reach the oak end table to lay her cell on it. She’d never sleep the rest of the night. She had to figure out who this person could be.
The only person she knew this crazy was Les, but she didn’t know how he could’ve gotten her numbers. She’d never met him before tonight.
Pulling the covers over her head, she burrowed deeper into the bed. She’d always been afraid of the boogie man, and now he was really after her.

There isn't a black cat in my story of Addiction, but I hope the excerpt is sufficiently scary for Halloween night.  Wink!




Jean P said...

Love cats, doesn't matter to me what color they are. Catless at the moment, but hopefully soon will be able to adopt one.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Carlie Angelus said...

I absolutely LOVE this blog post. Thanks for sharing the history and facts about the kitties. I've had 2 black cats and they were just lovely. So, no fear here. But I love a good superstition!


Carlie Angelus said...

Oops! Forgot my e-mail (just in case). :-)

Tabitha Blake said...

I am a cat lover and don"t believe in the black cat superstition. I have three cats and love them to death. Great blog!

elaing8 said...

Great blurb.
I am not a cat lover unless I'm reading about them :) I am not afraid of black cats,it doesn't bother me when they cross my path.

Jessica Subject said...

I love black cats, and actually used to have one as a child. I still miss her to this day and haven't owned a cat since. My mom currently has a black cat too.


Sandy said...


There are so many homeless cats out there looking for a good home. Be sure and visit the animal shelter nearest to you.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Carlie. If you want to learn more on black cats go to Romance Books R Us blog to read a different slant on blacks, and to my blog on Sunday with more on cats in general. lol

Sandy said...

Thank you, Tabitha. I'm definitely a cat lover too. In fact, Dora, my tortie is trying to get my attention now. lol

Thanks, Elain8. I hated them until we had Max. Smile.

Thanks, Jessica. It's never too late to have another, but you have one by proxy with your mom's.

D L Jackson said...

I myself have a black cat. I also find it interesting that not just black cats signify death, but there are legends of black hounds (hell hounds) and black horses from Germany that also served as harbingers of death. Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I have a black (basement) cat so no, no fear here. Black panthers, now, that would be a yes.

Sandy said...

Thank you, DL. I had heard that too.

LOL Thanks Leatherdykeuk. I would be afraid of a black panther.

Maria said...

Not afraid of black cats
Thanks for the contest


Sandy said...

Me neither, Maria. Thanks for coming by.

Margay said...

I certainly hope I'm not afraid of black cats - I have two of them!


Judy said...

I love all cats. I do not care what color they are!! I think they shine when they are black. We have had several in all our years of owning cats. All cats are a little bit "scary" at times. They can definitely look at you weird when they are not happy with you:)


Linda Henderson said...

I love cats, I don't care what color they are. We used to take care of one that the owner died and the daughter said it wasn't his so we started feeding it. It wouldn't come inside, she was used to roaming around. She was black and we called her midnight. She was the smartest cat I ever saw. She would stand at the edge of the street and look both ways before crossing. I came home from work one day and found that someone had practically drove up on the curb and ran over her. I'm not ashamed to say I stood out by the street and cried. It was a sad day.

seriousreader at live dot com

Kim S. said...

Happy Halloween everyone!

Great post Sandy! And nope, not afraid of black cats here. We have our second and third black cats now, and we actually are starting to think that the black ones we've had have been the best of all of them!! Loved ALL our furbabies, but the black ones must have special places in our hearts. ;)

thewildtwo @ gmail [dot] com

Jennifer Mathis said...

nope not scaried of black cats in fact I think my mom is partical to them. I myself ( please don't beat me ) am not a cat person

annalisa said...

I'm not scared of black cats either. I enjoy cats. We have three bengal cats in our house.


chelea_girl said...

I have 4 black cats, so no, I can't say I'm scared. Except for when the biggest guy sits on top of my computer desk and grabs me when I walk in through the bathroom door. If I could teach him that claws hurt we'd be okay!


*yadkny* said...

I actually saw a black cat just today:) Sounds like there are superstitions both good and bad ones about black cats. To me, I think they get a bad rap:)


Sandy said...

LOL You certainly aren't afraid of black cats, Margay.

Judy, I think cats are a bit mystical the way they can stare and see things we can't. I also believe they communicate somehow, maybe through telapathy. Also, some of them have loud voices. lol

Linda, I'm so sorry about your cat, Midnight. We have one with that name. You know people can be so cruel. Our Maxie was an indoor/outdoor cat, and he always watched for cars before crossing the street. He was so smart too.

Kim, I agree that black cats are so special and very smart. We have a Tortie, and she is very smart. She has what I call street smarts. She's so tiny, but she's a scrapper.

Jennifer, my hubby and I were not cat people until we had Max. Smile.

Annalisa, those are beautiful cats.

Chelea_Girl, believe it or not all cats are trainable. lol

Thanks, Yadkny. Black cats definitely get a bad rap.

ladydi6497 said...

I love the excerpt. I will definitely have to read the rest of it.

Thanks for sharing.


joder said...

I love all cats! I had a black cat as a child who was named Midnight. Shiny coat and bright eyes. He was a cool cat.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Lil said...

I love all cats. And yes, your story is very suitable for Halloween. Hope yours is a happy one.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Sandy said...

Thank you, Ladydi.

Joder, Midnight seems to be a common name for black cats. Smile.

Thank you, Lil.

Rae M. said...

Definitely not afraid of black cats! I have three black cats,(Cat, Pogo & Dapper) in addition to my others. So yeah, I guess you can say I'm a fan of cats. Or maybe just a sucker!


Annie Nicholas said...

contest is closed