When I was sixteen, I accidentally ran over the cat with my first car, a sleek blue Ford Mustang.  I was going out on a date and all I could think of during the entire night was when that malignant animal would show itself again.  Jenny and I saw a double feature at the drive-in but I couldn't concentrate on her or the movies.  The thought of hearing the beast's evil mew plagued me, I don't even remember what we saw.

      Of course, when I returned home, it was waiting on the front stoop like nothing had occurred.  It stared at me with its evil eyes unblinking.  I didn't sleep well that night.

      A year later, in a fit of tormented rage, I tossed the cat into the wood chipper.  Bright red droplets and black fur and pieces of warm flesh covered the top of the wood chip pile.  It was so gruesome that I heaved chunks on the spot.  That night, I heard it mewing outside my window and I looked out into the darkness of the night.  All I could see was the oval movement of a blurry white paw as the cat cleaned its face and ears.  Then its jaded eyes looked up at me and sparkled.  Their tremendous evil held me until I collapsed in exhaustion.

      At eighteen I smashed the creature with a spade and immediately buried it.  Three weeks later, I set it afire with gasoline after I strapped two sticks of dynamite to it that I was supposed to be using on an old stump.  I was almost deaf for days after that but I swear I could still hear its evil mewing.

      When I was twenty-one, it somehow followed me to the beach for Spring Break.  I had too much to drink and distinctly remember drowning the cat with my bare hands in the ocean one night.  Two nights later, I buried it up to its neck in sand and paid three drunk frat boys to put it through the most tortuous time of its existence.  I heard later that they ended its life with a fifty yard field goal attempt.

      For my entire life, this evil beast had shadowed me and reveled in my subsequent misery.  I managed to marry and have children and they in turn had children.  I tried my best to live my life as I thought it should be and as I laid on my death bed, I confessed to my shortcomings and evil deeds.  A contrition of sorts to my maker.

      Was it wrong for me to try to rid my life of that amoral beast?  It surely was evil, its foulness was obvious to everyone who knew it.  What else but a minion of the devil himself could come back from the dead like this creature had and plague me so?

      My only consolation was that I would soon meet my God and finally leave the cat behind because it could not die.  As I laid there, ready for the soft white light at the end of the tunnel, the vile little beast leapt into my lap and curled up, as if he were mocking me with his eternal life.

      Suddenly the room grew cold and deathly quiet, I knew my time was close at hand.  My vision began to grow dark and my ears filled with the gravelly sound of the cat's evil purr.  It knew I was finally dying and it took simple pleasure in the fact.  I could feel the foul creature vibrating in my lap.

      In angered me to know that I would finally die while it would live on.  I had enough strength, I decided at the time, that I could take pleasure once more in its grisly death.  I wrapped my gnarled arthritic fingers around its furry body and squeezed with intensifying pressure.  I cut off its air and in one quick twist, broke its feline neck with a loud series of pops.

      Just then, while I was basking in my deed, my son and his wife entered the room.  She cried out, being faint of heart, and my boy, a chip off the old block, made a revolting humorous remark about the cat not having nine lives after all.  That's my boy!

      My vision completely blackened and the feeling ebbed from my fingers and then my arms and finally my entire body.  I felt as though I were floating and various odd aromas attacked me, none of them unpleasant but none of them sweet as apple pie either.

      Then, a single thought occurred in my fading fuzzy mind, and I wondered why I hadn't set on it before.  How many times had I killed that black cat?  One … two … three …

      I felt a pang of horror as I counted them out.  Could it be?  Had I?  I struggled to recount its deaths and settled on the same number again.  The evil thing had enjoyed nine lives and encountered nine deaths, counting the latest one only moments before.

      As my thoughts faded slowly into oblivion and I floated toward my fate in the blackness of the void that met me, I heard only one sound.  That of a sickly diesel engine filled with gravel and hate.