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Norwich Bulletin - 10/24/2010

The Black Cat

Itís almost Halloween and the night that departed souls, both human and anmal, find it the easiest time to come and visit those of us who are still here on earth. It is the night we set dinner places for those who have passed in the previous year and invite them to join us for dinner and to visit whenever they would like to. It is a night of magic, of wonder and of the macabre.

Macabre. Itís a perfect word to describe the man who lived and wrote in his drug induced delusions and gave us unbelievably scary stories. Edgar Allan Poe. And this column is not so much about the author as it is about a ďbookĒ review of one of his scariest tales ever, The Black Cat.

In this story a man will murder his wife. He is sure that people will understand that something strange happened and he was not to blame for the event that was to result in his conviction and hanging. The story tells us that the manís background shows him to have been a tenderhearted and loving individual in his younger years. In fact he loved animals so much that he was often made fun of by his friends.

He married a woman who was just like him and brought many pets into their home, but one pet would stand out in particular. A very large black cat which possessed such a keen intelligence to the point his wife would wonder if the cat could possibly be a witch in disguise, or a familiar Ė as was the popular belief at that time. They named the cat Pluto and he was quite attached to the husband and tended to follow him everywhere.

As time went on the man became an alcoholic and he became moody and mean. At first he abused only the lesser pets such as the rabbits, but soon he was violent even towards his wife. The last one to feel his anger was Pluto as eventually the man cut an eye out of the catís head! The cat survived but of course, became wary of the cat. Eventually the man hung the poor cat.

That night the house and everything he owned was consumed in fire and there was only a piece of wall that survived with the imprint of a large cat hanging from a rope.

The man felt so guilty he went looking for another cat and found a large one eyed black cat with a speck of white on his chest that resembled gallows. The wife immediately loved the cat and the husband immediately loathed him. One day all three descended into cellar and the cat tripped the husband on the stairs. The man became so angry he lifted an axe to kill the cat but his wife stopped him and ended up with the axe in her. He walled his wife into the basement wall, brick by brick. The cat disappeared and he felt safe and at peace.

The story goes on about the manís life and eventually the police decide to reinvestigate the case Ė they searched the house and the basement. The husband was so sure of himself that he actually knocked on the wall where his wife was buried. Immediately there was an unhumanlike wail from within the walls. When the police tore down the wall they found the murdered wife and the cat sitting on her head, staring at the man.

Karma Ė itís always there and somehow it always strikes when you least expect it, whether good or bad. Happy Hallows Eve.

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