I had my cat, Fusion, since he was just a kitten. He was the first and only pet I've ever had, and he was the kind of cat who would rub against your shins when you got home, and play fetch with you, and even open doors. In general, he's an indoor cat, but sometimes he sneaks outside.
And that's what happened that afternoon. My mom went out shopping and when she opened the door, Fusion dashed out. She didn't think much of it at the time, since Fusion always comes back inside within a couple of hours, so that was that as far as she was concerned.
It wasn't until later that evening that we realized that he was still missing. We searched the house for him, and the backyard, but we couldn't find him. I was kind of pissed off at my mom--in fact, I kind of am right now--but it's not her fault. She couldn't have foreseen what happened. I'm just... trying to deal with what happened, I guess.
Anyway, my sister went out for a sleepover at a friend's house. She didn't want to go since Fusion was missing, but we told her that it was okay, that he'd probably come meowing at the door just when we were about to fall asleep, and she left. You could tell she was still upset about Fusion, and in fact, I kind of was too.
So I went out for a walk around midnight, just to see if he was somewhere out there. It was really dark out that night, and perfectly quiet, and it even had that late night smell that I can't describe. It was okay in the neighborhood, but my development is pretty small. I decided to check the next development, and the way to get there is a really narrow passage through a group of trees.
That passage has always freaked me out, and late at night, it's even worse. The trees block out any light, so you can't see very well, and there's a drain in the middle of the sidewalk, right at bend when you can't see more than ten feet.
And it had a weird smell that night. It wasn't the late night smell, it was like... sewage, I guess, but it was a lot worse than that. There was a weird feeling about the place. Every shadow was a shape and every sound was a footstep... but maybe Fusion was out there somewhere. So I went through, and nothing happened. As I walked by, I thought I heard a gurgling sound from under the drain, and maybe a muffled meow, but I figured it was nothing. I... guess I was wrong.
Fusion wasn't in the other neighborhood, not as far as I could see. And it was getting pretty late, so I figured I'd head home. I told myself, when I get there, Fusion will be waiting outside of the front door, we'll go inside, and that'll be that. So I turned around and headed back to my development.
On the way back, the passage was really quiet. There was absolutely no sound at all, and that sewage smell was a lot worse. And going through the passage the other way is a lot darker, so you can't see anything at all until you're out. The only thing to do is to get in, keep walking, and try not to look over your shoulder too much.
So I did that. But as I passed the drain--which I couldn't even see, but I know where it is--I felt terrified. Just terrified. There was something there. I didn't know what it was, or where it was, but there was something watching me. Maybe it was in the trees, or on the ground, or I don't know, but there was definitely something there.
I told myself that was I nuts and I tried to laugh. And I walked just a little faster.
But before I was out, I heard the gurgling sound again. But this time, it was louder, and I couldn't pretend that it wasn't there. It was this sucking, sloshing, gurgling sound, and it was coming from behind me. I turned around, and I couldn't see anything because it was so dark, but the drain and the area around it... it looked just a little darker.
Then, something hit me in the face. It didn't hurt or anything, but it made me jump out of my skin. I grabbed it, whatever it was, and I was angry and scared, so I shouted something like, "Hey, whoever you are, knock it off." That was when I realized what I was holding.
It was a cat head. Fusion's head. I recognized him, even in the darkness, even though half of his fur was missing. And I froze up, for I don't know how long, before I heard that sloshing sound again.
The sewage smell was so bad that I gagged. I saw something near the drain, that really dark patch... it was moving around, sloshing around like it was a puddle, but it started to get a lot bigger than a puddle. It started to lift itself up, somehow, and then it started to slosh towards me.
I ran. All the way back to my development, up to my front door, and then I got in, slammed the door and started to sob and shout for my parents.
They came downstairs and when they saw what had happened to Fusion, they started to cry too. We wanted to hold him, but we didn't, and I'm pretty sure my mom and my dad both threw up. In the end, we put Fusion's head into a bag, and that was when they asked me what had happened.
And I told them. At least I tried to. When I told them about the passage and what I saw there, I started to shake uncontrollably, so my mom got me a cup of tea and had me start again. When I was finished, my dad opened the bag to look at Fusion.
He told us that Fusion's fur was falling out, just like I said, but it wasn't because he'd been mangled. In fact, there wasn't any blunt trauma or lacerations on him at all. What happened to him... my dad said it was an acid burn. A huge acid burn all over the little guy's head. It made half of his fur fall out, and burned at his eyes, and his ears, and right through his neck.
My parents stayed up with me for hours while I calmed down. And we needed to figure out what to tell my sister. She's just a kid, and we didn't want to traumatize her with what had happened. I mean, she really loved that little cat.
So we couldn't tell anyone. No one would believe me, or else they'd chalk it up to animal abuse by some psycho. And either way, nothing can bring Fusion back, and nothing can find whatever killed him... whatever it was. As far as my sister's concerned, Fusion just vanished one day. She was sad about it, of course, but my mom told her that maybe he found another family, and she felt a little better.
Every time she tries to talk to me about Fusion, though, I have to shut her down. I can't bring myself to lie to her, not when I know what I saw, even if I don't know what it was.
Written by Alex Ross.