So, I wrote this in dedication to my cat, Mittens. She was my first pet and she was the best damn cat in the world, so smart and loyal. She was my rock, my best friend, but in February of 2019, I lost her. I’m still grieving nearly a year later and I wanted to write this. I hope it’s not trash.
CREDIT; The animal shelter I used in this story was created by 75Charlie75 on the gallery. It’s called “Vikkis Animal Shelter”.
WARNING; If you haven’t completed my “I’m A Black Widow Baby (IABWB)” series, then there is a spoiler for the ending of that series in this short story.
Mischief Westfall’Straud headed into the dining room where her son was sitting, working on his homework. She smiled, taking the chair beside him, “How was school, sweetheart?”
“It was good,” Vilbert returned the smile, tapping the end of his pencil on the paper. It was a habit he had picked up whenever he had something on his mind and Mischief knew it well.
“Did something happen at school?”
“Something…” he tilted his head back as he recalled his day.
“Today was show-n-tell, wasn’t it?” She wondered. “What was it you took again?”
“It was this weird seed me and Mikaela found on our walk yesterday! My teacher says it’s unlike anything he’s ever seen before.” He puffed out his chest proudly and she chuckled. “Everyone was super impressed! Until…”
His lips slid downward as he frowned. “Joseph brought in a pet frog. Everyone quickly forgot about the seed I found. It was so cool, though; really slimy and ice cold to touch! Most of the girls freaked out.” he was quiet for a moment. “Mama, can I get a pet frog?”
A bead of sweat rolled down her cheek as she thought about it. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, sweetheart…”
Vilbert frowned, his shoulders slumping. “But why not?”
“You know your father and I are both vampires,” she rested her hand on his shoulder. “Frogs are an important ingredient in making plasma. I don’t think your father would be able to resist the temptation…”
“Good point,” he huffed.
Mischief frowned as she watched her son’s expression change. Seeing the crestfallen look he was giving his homework tugged at her undead heart and she sighed. “What about a cat or a dog?”
“Would papa allow it?”
“Probably not, but you leave that to me, okay?” She winked at him. “Think it over, it’s a big responsibility owning a pet!”
Vilbert thought about his mother’s words as she left the room.
“Darling?” Mischief stepped into the bedroom that she shared with her husband, even though he sleeps in a coffin in the basement.
Vladislaus quirked a brow at the sheepish expression on his wife’s face. “Yes, my love?”
She smiled, taking his cold hands into her own, pressing her lips against his pale skin. “You’re up early, my darling. Did you have trouble sleeping?”
“Yes, well, the Springtime has always been… annoying for me. Too many smells,” he shook his head. “I know you did not come up here just to ask me how I slept.”
“Am I that obvious?”
“To me? Always,” he gently brushed his lips to her cheek before smiling softly.
“The thing is… Vilbert wants to get a pet.”
The smile instantly dropped as he pulled back, his eyes narrowed. “Absolutely not,”
“Come now, you could at least consider it.”
“I just did, and the answer is no. I’m not allowing a filthy animal to come into my home!”
Mischief chewed on her lip as her son’s sad expression popped into her mind. She hadn’t been a very good mother to her three girls and, even though they are still growing, they remember that time when their mother had no love for them. But things are different with Vilbert. She had already become a changed woman by the time she gave birth to him. He holds no resentment or distaste in his heart for her and she wanted to keep it that way.
“I’m sorry, my darling.” She whispered, causing him to pause. Just as he turned, she activated her vampric abilities, trying to sway his mind to her wills. The problem? Vladislaus is a master vampire and she is not.
He merely quirked a brow. “My love, surely you aren’t foolish enough to believe that you can overpower me?”
She winced at the pain shooting through her skull – her own power backfired against her. “It was… worth a shot…”
Vlad frowned. “Does it really mean that much to you?”
“Not to me,” she met his eyes. “To our son,”
His lips formed a thin line as he considered her words. He’s an evil man, cold and calculating, but there are two things in this world that he loves, adores even. That is his beautiful wife and the child that they created together. And, he supposed, the three girls that share the same DNA as his beloved.
As he heaved a heavy sigh, Mischief started to feel hopeful.
“Do not make me regret this, my love.”
She smiled brightly, her fangs glinting under the low candlelight that lit up the room. She threw her arms around her husband, “I assure you, you won’t! Thank you, Vlad.”
He merely hummed, his thin arms wrapping tight around her.
The next morning, Vilbert stifled a yawn as he entered the dining room, taking pause when he saw his mother sitting at the table, munching on a bowl of cheddar popcorn – his favorite. Next to her was another bowl, completely untouched.
“Mama, what are you doing?”
“Waiting for you!” She smiled, waving her hand toward the seat beside her. “Come, sit.”
He did as his mother commanded, falling into the cushioned chair. His grey eyes moved from her to the bowl and back again. Normally, she had breakfast made and ready for her children when they woke up, but today was different and his instincts told him that something was up. Should he ask? Did he even want to know?
“Well, what are you waiting for? Cheddar popcorn still is your favorite, isn’t it?” She tapped her chin, head tilted to the side.
“It is, but… you usually don’t let me eat it for breakfast.” He eyed her curiously before taking a few pieces between his slender fingers, popping them into his mouth.
“Today is a special day. We might be bringing home a new family member!”
He started to cough violently as he choked on a piece of popcorn. She smacked his back, giving him a worried look as he sputtered out, “A new – Mama, are you pregnant?!”
“Pregnant?” She laughed. “No no, no more children for me! I talked to your father last night and he agreed to let you adopt a pet.”
Mischief nodded her head before holding up her index finger. “There is a condition, though. This pet may be a member of this household, but it will be your pet. That means that you will need to feed it, bathe it, and clean up after it. You have to promise, Vilbert.”
“I promise, mama!” He chirped excitedly, nearly falling from his chair.
“Good. Now eat up. We’ll leave as soon as you’re done.”
“What’s with all this noise?” Vladislaus slinked into the dining room, his eyes half-lidded as sleep started to creep upon him.
“Papa!” Vilbert jumped from his chair and tackled his father in a hug, making his eyes grow wide in surprise. “I love you!”
His eyes met Mischief’s as she stayed seated at the table, still munching on popcorn. She gave him a bright smile and a thumbs up. Despite his undead heart, he felt warmth within his chest as he hugged his son back, resting his head atop the boy’s own. “I love you, too, son.”
Brindleton Bay was just one town over from Forgotten Hollow, a quick twenty-minute ride by train. Vilbert had been hopping in his seat the entire time while Mischief did her best to avoid the sunlight streaming through the window. She would have preferred to do this at night, but the woman that ran the adoption center couldn’t do meetings past five in the afternoon.
As they walked up to the center, the sound of barking reached her sensitive ears, making her wince. Even as a child, she had hated the sound of a dog barking, but now that she had supersonic hearing, it was even worse. She hoped her son wouldn’t choose a dog – or if he did, she hoped it would be a quiet one.
Three dogs came running up to greet them, their tails wagging as they panted. The smallest of the three nudged Vilbert’s ankle and he giggled, kneeling down to gently pat it on the head.
“Vilbert!” Mischief scolded, making the boy frown as he looked at her. “You should never touch a dog without permission, it could be dangerous. When you come across a dog, you should always hold your hand out, like this.” She demonstrated by holding the back of her hand out to the cream-colored dog.
It sniffed her hand, its cold black nose leaving a trail of wet across her skin.
“When you just reach for a dog, they can take it as an act of aggression and attack.” She continued. “You should always offer your hand first. It shows that you have no ill intent and you can gauge their reaction to see if they are aggressive.”
Vilbert’s eyes shined as he watched his mother. With a determined nod, he turned back to the small dog, its head tilted to the side. He did just as his mother had, offering his hand for the small creature to sniff, but the dog wasn’t having it. In the blink of an eye, the dog had tackled the boy, licking every inch of skin he could reach. Vilbert giggled as he fell back against the grass.
“Sam!” Came a woman’s voice as she stepped toward them. “How many times must I tell you not to tackle people?”
The woman smiled sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head. “I’m really sorry. Sam is a playful troublemaker that loves to lick people. He’s small but quite strong.”
“It’s alright, no harm done.” Mischief returned the smile.
“Are you Miss Westfall’Straud?” She questioned. “The woman I spoke with last night?”
“I am,” The redhead nodded, putting her arm around her son’s shoulders. “This is my son, Vilbert.”
“It’s nice to meet both of you,” she held her hand out. “I’m Britany Cole and I run this adoption center.”
Mischief held back an uncomfortable wince as she took the woman’s hand. The sun was rising higher and she was beginning to feel it quite strong without any cloud cover. Why did she have to forget her umbrella? “Would it be alright to come inside and meet everyone?”
“Oh, of course. Follow me!” Britany chirped, leading the two into the building.
While his mother conversed with the woman, Vilbert headed toward the rooms where the animals were kept at night and when she had to leave. Most of the animals were out wandering around, but a few were back here. He stopped at the first room, peering through the glass to see a cat lounging on a small pet bed. His eyes moved to the paper taped to the glass.
“Name: Belle. Breed: Mixed. Sex: Female. Skittish, Lazy, Free Spirit,” He tapped on the glass, but the cat’s ears didn’t even twitch as she continued to sleep. He moved on to the next room where a fat, orange cat laid atop a cat tree. “Name: Merlin. Breed: Mixed. Sex: Male. Mischevious, Spoiled, Talkative.”
The cat jumped down from the cat tree and turned it’s gaze to the door. Before he could move, another cat shot through his legs and into the room, rubbing its head against Merlin’s.
“That is too cute,” he muttered under his breath. Not wanting to disturb them, he moved on. There was only one other animal inside and it was a small kitten. His heart squeezed at the sheer adorableness that encompassed the small creature. “Name: Mittens. Breed: American Shorthair. Sex: Female. Clever, Affectionate, Talkative.”
He carefully entered the room, not wanting to startle the kitten. Remembering his mother’s words, he kneeled down and extended his hand to her. She blinked, her cold nose pressing against his skin as she sniffed him.
Carefully, he picked the kitten up, holding her in his arms. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt a connection to her and he knew instantly that he wanted to adopt this cat.
Mischief walked down the hall, peeking through the glass to locate her son. She had to hold back the squeal that threatened to escape her lips when she found her son cradling a small kitten to his cheek. ‘They look so cute together! Oh, please let him want that kitten!’ “Sweetheart, who have you got there?”
“Her name is Mittens,” He grinned, stepping out into the hallway. “Mama, I want her!”
“Are you sure? You can’t just change your mind, later. This is an important decision,” She responded sternly, hoping he didn’t see the excitement swimming in her hazel eyes.
“Positive!” Vilbert gently set the kitten down, leaning over with his hands on his knees. “Mittens, do you want to come home with us?”
Immediately, the cat started to sing a song of mrows and meows.
Both mother and son shared the same thought, ‘So cute!’
A chuckle made them turn. Brytani gave them a smile, “Looks like you’ve found your new friend.”
“I believe we have,” Mischief agreed. “We’d like to adopt her.”
Brytani turned her gaze to the small kitten and her smile turned a bit sad. “We always say that we choose our pets, but that’s not the case at all, you know? They choose us, not the other way around. It’s always such a sad thing to see my animals get adopted, but I feel so proud and happy to see when they choose their owners.”
Mischief rested her hand on her shoulder. “You’re doing a good thing here, Brytani. You should definitely feel proud.”
The woman laughed, swiping at her eyes to get rid of the tears that gathered there. “Come with me, I have some papers for you to sign and then she’s all yours!”
Mischief nodded, following the woman down the hall.
“We’re home~!” Mischief announced as she stepped through the door.
Vilbert chuckled at his mother as he climbed the steps. “Welcome to your new home, Mittens. I hope you like it here.”
The eldest of Mischief’s children, Mikaela, raised a brow as the pair entered the living room. “Where were you at all morning? You were gone by the time I woke up and Vlad was asleep.”
“We got a surprise for everyone~” She smiled, falling onto the sofa. “A new family member!”
Her eyes widened. “Mom, you were pregnant?!”
Mischief pouted. “Why does everyone jump to that assumption?”
The younger redhead scoffed. “Because there’s no way Vlad would ever allow… a pet…” Her eyes grew wide once more as the small Mittens ran by her legs toward Mischief. “A kitten?!”
Raven, the second eldest, was entering the room just as she exclaimed this and freaked out. “No way!” Rushing over, she squealed in delight as the small creature curled up on the rug in front of the TV. “How did you manage this? Does Vlad know…?”
“He does, don’t worry.” Mischief smiled. “It took a lot of convincing, but he finally caved.”
The pinkette shook her head. “I don’t know how you do it, ma. That guy’s, like, impossible to deal with.”
“But he’s totally whipped for mom,” Mikaela grinned, making her mother roll her eyes.
The bathroom door opened and closed as the third eldest, Sydney, appeared. As soon as her eyes landed on the cat, a loud scream filled the house, echoing off the high ceilings.
Mischief winced. “Sydney! You’re going to wake up Vlad!”
A cloud of black mist formed and, with a pop, the man in question appeared with a sour look on his face. “What have I told you about screaming like that?” he hissed.
Sydney, with a strong dislike of the man, just humphed and moved past him, plopping down beside the small kitten.
Mischief gave him a gentle smile as she stood to peck his cheek. “I believe we chose a good one, my darling.”
Vladislaus hummed as he regarded the kitten curiously. Mittens wasn’t just the kids’ first pet, she was also his. He had no idea how to treat the fragile little creature.
“Why don’t you go say hi?” She suggested, sliding something into his hand.
Curious, he lifted it up. It was a small brown treat in the shape of a fish. With a frown, the vampire cautiously approached the kitten, who had zeroed in on the treat in his hand. Kneeling down in front of her, he held out his hand. She didn’t hesitate to take it from him, mrowing in appreciation once it had been devoured.
Vlad felt his eye twitch. ‘Adorable…’ Clearing his throat, he stood tall, well aware of the eyes of his family watching him. “Perhaps… this creature isn’t so bad.” He didn’t miss his wife’s knowing smile as he teleported away.
The Straud household became much warmer after that, all thanks to Mittens the kitten.
Mittens was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was my child, my sibling, my best friend. Always there when no one else was. Because of her, I became a stronger person and I’ll keep living on, trying to make her proud.
Rest in Peace, Mittens.
February 25th, 2019.