54 million Americans suffer from mental health issues and disorders. I am one of them. It is something I have struggled with most of my life and continue to battle. I decided to use my experience as inspiration for a short story; The Cat and the Companion. It is a tale of fantasy centering around a magical cat named Dinah and a young girl named Kell, who is loosing her battle with depression. This story was originally published in my debut ebook, Realm of Lore. I am making The Cat and the Companion public in the hopes that it may help others who are struggling with mental illness. I hope this story can give you hope and comfort. I pray that you find peace. Please feel free to share it.
The Cat and the Companion and all stories in Realm of Lore, has been registered with the Copyright Office in accordance with title 17. It is copyright protected by the United States Copyright Office. Registration number: TXu 2-061-773
|Photo by Victoria Avalor|
The Cat and the Companion
The realm was a peaceful one. The land was green with plants and food. The birds sang sweetly with the rising sun. Water flowed, the moon shined bright and all manner of living creatures lived in harmony. The most fascinating of all was that all diseases and sickness were cured. Gratitude was due to the one who healed those who had fallen sick. Some called her a healer. Others referred to her as a deity but to the naked eye, she didn’t appear to be any of those things. She was in fact, a cat. The black haired feline was called Dinah. No one knew how she possessed the ability to heal. Was it magic? Was she a god? In the end the truth did not matter. What mattered was that she could cure any aliment. Although she never requested payment, those who lived in the realm showed their appreciation by building her a magnificent temple. Dinah was awarded offerings of food and gifts. Her temple was immaculate thanks to the many volunteers who cleaned every surface.
Dinah awoke one morning and leapt from her cushioned throne. She made her way outside of the temple for her morning walk. She was greeted by fairies, humans, rabbits and everyone whom she crossed paths with. Upon crossing a bridge, she heard a peculiar sound. It was coming from underneath the bridge. Dinah made her way down there, her silver collar glistening in the sun. It was dark under the bridge but through the darkness, she saw something. It was a girl. She was dressed in white and had straight ginger hair. She sat among the rocks and water.
“Hello,” Dinah greeted. “What is your name?” The girl looked up in surprise.
“Sorry.” She replied. “I was just-’’
“Don’t be sorry.” Dinah said. “I am Dinah. What is your name?”
“Keller.” The girl replied. “They call me Kell.”
“Do you live here? Have you no proper shelter or food?” The girl did not answer her. “Our realm is a rich and kind one. We have plenty of resources. You do not have to live like this.” Again the ginger haired girl did not answer. “Come with me.” Dinah said. Reluctantly Kell got to her feet and followed the black haired feline back to her temple.
Dinah could sense that this girl was suffering. She had a condition that could not be seen. Dinah fed Kell at the temple and permitted her to stay there. They began doing everything together. Kell was even present when Dinah helped and healed those who sought her aid. Although Kell now had everything she needed; food, a home and companionship, she never seemed truly happy. One evening, as Dinah and Kell ate their supper in the dining hall, Dinah approached the subject of her unhappiness.
“Kell, is something wrong?” Dinah asked.
“Mistress?” Kell replied.
“You seem to be unhappy. Are you unhappy, Kell?”
“I….I don’t know what you mean.”
“You have a home and plenty to eat. We spend our days together. You have more now than you did when I found you. Yet you do not smile. Your heart is not whole.” Dinah said.
“How do you know what is in my heart?” Kell asked. Dinah pushed away her bowl.
“I have the gift to recognize sickness and suffering. You are suffering, Kell. I can see it.” Dinah said.
“No one has ever been able to see it before.” Kell answered.
“Few can see a sickness of the heart and mind.” Kell sat still in her chair. Tears fell down her cheeks and dripped onto her dinner plate.
“I don’t know,” she began. “I don’t know what is wrong with me.”
“Does it hurt?” Dinah asked.
“It does. It does hurt. I want it to go away. I don’t like feeling like this.” Dinah made her way across the table and stopped in front of Kell.
“I have never cured an ailment like this before. I have tried to help you by giving you the things you need however it does not seem to be enough. Look at me.” Kell looked up at Dinah. She stared into the feline’s green eyes.
“Help me.” Kell whispered. “I want the sadness to stop.” Dinah took a deep breath.
“I cannot erase what happened to you in the past,” Dinah began. “But I can try to heal you from the pain.” Kell nodded. “Keep your eyes on me.” Dinah said. “The eyes are the window to the soul.” Dinah’s green eyes began to glow. Kell’s eyes began to glow as well. The cat and the companion were now synced. Dinah saw the sadness. It was a dark cloud located deep inside Kell’s heart. She pulled at it, tugged at it. The cat ripped the darkness from the girls body. The dark cloud hung between them in the dining hall. It hovered in the air.
“What is that?” Kell asked, in alarm.
“This is what is taking away your happiness.” Dinah said. Suddenly a rumbling sound came from the dark cloud.
“What’s it doing? Why is it making that noise?’
“I don’t know.” Dinah replied. “Normally the ailment evaporates once it is removed from the body.” Without warning, the dark cloud reached down and grabbed Kell by the throat. “No!” Dinah exclaimed. Kell grasped at the darkness around her throat with her hands.
“Get it off of me!” She pleaded. “Help me, Dinah!” The darkness was growing larger.
“Kell you have to listen to me very carefully.” Dinah said as a strong wind began to blow throughout the temple. “I cannot cure this. I cannot be rid of this. Only you can defeat it.” The black cloud moved out of the dining hall towards the main door, dragging Kell behind it.
“DINAH, PLEASE! HELP ME!”
“KELL!” Dinah leaped off of the table and chased after the darkness. She ran ahead of it and blocked the entrance to the temple. Her silver collar began to glow. The magic from her collar casted a shield around the doorway. “KELL LISTEN TO ME!” Dinah began. “I have blocked it from leaving and taking you with it but I cannot hold it forever.”
“DINAH!” Kell screamed.
“You have to focus! You have to accept the pain and all of the bad things that have happened to you. Accepting it doesn’t mean what happened to you was okay. It wasn’t okay. It was wrong and you did not deserve it. But it happened and you must accept that. Accept that you did not deserve it. Know that you can and will move on. You are worthy, Kell. You are loved by me. Stay. Stay and fight the sadness. I know it doesn’t feel like it but you are so much stronger than it is. You can do this.” The wind blew harder as thunder crashed. The shield was beginning to tremble and crack. Kell cried out. She screamed. She struggled to break free.
“I-,” she began. “I…” The dark cloud tightened its grip around her throat. “I. Am. Worthy!” Kell gasped. “Damn those who have hurt me! They did not deserve me. I did not deserve their brutal treatment.” The darkness began to loosen its grip. “You’re not taking me.” Kell yelled. “DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU’RE NOT TAKING ME. I WON’T LET YOU!” She broke free from the restraining grip. Kell turned to face the darkness. “I’m tired. I’m tired of the sadness eating me up. I’m tired of you! I am stronger than those who hurt me. I am ready to move on.”
Slowly, the cloud began to dissolve. Dinah relaxed as her shield disappeared. Sunlight trickled in through the doorway. Kell watched as all of her pain and suffering literally vanished before her eyes. Dinah made her way over to her.
“I knew you could do it.” Kell took Dinah into her arms.
“Thank you.” She sobbed. “Thank you for believing in me.”
Realm of Lore features 10 original short stories and poems, including The Cat and the Companion. Order your ebook on Amazon HERE.
Email Victoria Avalor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Mental Health America for help: 1-800-273-8255