It's just her luck that she got stuck in the middle of a graveyard on Friday the 13th.
In October, for that matter.
Her flashlight flickered across the chipped headstones. Something white crunched under her feet as she treaded carefully. She thought she spotted a bone somewhere, but she didn’t bother to check again.
She heard the sound again, the one she heard while she was studying on her patio. It was clearer this time, and seemed to be coming from a worn pathway that branched away from the main graveyard, illuminated faintly by candles sprinkled in circles.
There was a smaller graveyard at the end of this path, with bright white headstones that reflected her flashlight's beam. The noise was so much louder now - insistent. It came from the furthest headstone she could see. She shuffled forward, shivering at the gust of cold wind that whipped past.
This headstone was the newest one she had seen. There was barely a scratch on its surface. The dirt covering the grave was still soft, and smelled like roses. There was something about it that made her want to stay there forever, but she didn’t know why.
A noise shook her out of her trance. Loud meowing.
She stepped silently around the headstone, and her flashlight flickered before her.
Bright green eyes stared back at her.
She jumped a bit. The cat copied, and eyed her warily.
"Hey," she said softly, "What are you doing here?"
The cat just stared at her, and shivered. Poor thing, stuck outside in the cold.
She crouched down and slowly held out her hand. The cat looked at it, before carefully sniffing it.
"See?" She said, "I won't hurt you." She lifted her hand and patted the cat's head. It jumped away and scratched her hand. She winced at the pain.
"Sheesh," she mumbled. The cat hissed at her.
There was a howl coming from the path behind her - piercing and loud. She looked behind her. Was there a dog stuck here as well?
It wasn't a dog. It was a monster.
At least, that's what it looked like. It looked like a hybrid between a wolf and a human, like a werewolf, and it's skin was green. There were patches of matted fur on its body, and there was a scratch across its face. It stared at her for a second, before looking at the cat behind her. It's eyes narrowed, and it growled.
The beast headed forward. The cat meowed, still shivering from the cold.
Scratch or no scratch, she wasn't going to let a cat and dog fight happen.
She got up and put herself between them, glaring at the dog right in it's beady black eyes. It glared right back. She tried to make herself look confident. Fear wormed in her gut. Dogs have always scared her, and now she was very close to a rather large one.
It eyed her one more time. Against all instinct, she stood her ground.
Then it began barrelling itself right at her.
She could see every single detail about it - mainly its mouth. The sharp teeth, the rough tongue, the opaque saliva. She couldn't even manage a scream. If she had to guess, she was probably at the "killed" part of that famous saying.
At least the cat won't be the one going.
All of a sudden, something collided with the dog, tackling it to the ground. She backed away quickly, and watched the pile of fur in front of her. There was a series of growls and hisses. The wind shrieked. In the dimly lit night, all she could see was a blur of dark colour.
Then there was the faint sound of a bark, and the figure moved away, revealing the beast lying down on it's back, looking more like a dog. It whimpered before disintegrating into dust. Some of it fluttered into her face, and it smelled like roses.
She looked over at the figure that had saved her. The best way to describe it would be a very large cat. It's green eyes stared down at her, before it began to shrink, back down into the orange cat that she had found behind the headstone.
She looked at the cat and blinked. "What just happened?" She asked, laughing shakily.
The cat walked down the path. It had understood her? Curious, she followed.
They reached the main graveyard and the cat stopped in front of a headstone. Candles illuminated the words.
Beloved dog and companion, Mathew
She looked down at the cat, who meowed. "So..." she began, "That dog was dead, but then it came back to life?" It felt weird to say out loud - she sounded crazy.
The cat meowed in agreement.
"And then you killed it?"
The cat meowed in disagreement.
She stared at it, trying to make her confusion clear on her face. The cat walked up to her and craned it's neck back, revealing a collar. She crouched down and read what was on the metal.
Member of the Protectors of the Overworld, Returner of Souls
"Fancy," she joked, "So I'm guessing you're some kind of gatekeeper?"
The cat meowed.
The sound of another howl came from nearby. The sound of a hiss came as well. The cat meowed at her insistently. Guess it was time for her to leave.
She was about to get up. Then she noticed the cat shivering.
"Hey," she said, "It's cold right now. Do you want to stay at my place? It's in that apartment building over there-" she pointed "-and it's got a fireplace."
The cat was silent for a moment, staring around at the graveyard in thought, before meowing in agreement. It jumped into her lap and nestled into the thick cloth of her sweater. She wrapped her hands around it and got up. It tucked it's face under her chin.
"I'm guessing we're friends now?" She said, half-laughing. The cat meowed.
She walked home, salt crunching beneath her feet.