a tall tail
Every witch needs a familiar, but the familiar must choose her. He chose Lola three days before her thirtieth solar return began, and three days after her Saturn return ended.
She first saw him at approximately one in the afternoon—her time of birth. He stared at her through the french doors to her garden. He would not come in or allow her to pet him. He behaved like a feral. Yet, he was large, with a thick and glossy black coat. He was definitely being fed.
He came back the next day, and the day after that. Just watching Lola. She discovered that if she spoke to him, he attentively listened. He gazed into her soul with his golden yellow eyes. She took to calling him Big Black Tomcat, or Gran Gato Negro.
Her birthday made her particularly sad. She was supposed to be spending it with Ana, but Ana cruelly dumped her the week before. Everything went hazy. Lola no longer wanted to be fully present in the world, so she escaped to fantasies. However, on her birthday, reality smacked her upside the head. She was alone. Ana was never coming back. They wouldn’t even stay friends.
She was having a glass of whiskey with a scoop of coffee ice cream in it when the tears came. These were no ordinary tears. It felt like a lifetime of heartache came pouring out, all at once. Her abandonment issues with her mother. Her childhood best friend, Brooke, who outed her to the entire high school. Ana who said, “I never loved anyone like this before.” Lies!
She put the glass down. Her whole body shook with anger, longing, and grief. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She moved to Oregon for Ana. The local friends she had were actually Ana’s friends. The clothes she wore were clothes Ana liked her in. She fought to breathe, practically hyperventilating as she sobbed.
“Mama!” she cried. Not for her biological mother, but her spiritual mother. Her orisha.
Then she noticed him. The cat. He’d been there earlier in the day, left, and came back. She opened the door to speak to him. Might as well, she thought. This time he came inside. He brushed his body against her leg and let out a mournful meow.
Lola spent that evening and every following evening with him. Wherever he came from, he never went back. He was hers.
All cats understand humans. They learn what certain words mean. They grasp complex emotions that aren’t expressed with language. But only a witch can understand a cat, and only when that cat is her familiar spirit. Witches are sensual, earthy creatures. They’re connected to the elements, the flora and fauna of the natural world, the hidden realm, the moon, the dark of the night, and nocturnal beasts. Like the housecat, they’re a dichotomy of wild domesticity. A telepathy develops between a witch and her cat. The words aren’t heard with the ears. They’re felt in the heart.
It was Big Black Tomcat who urged her to cleanse her aura in the Sandy River and pray for Oshun to heal her heart. It was Big Black Tomcat who told her what offerings to make, and what rituals to perform to let go of old hurt and make room for new love. But it was Big Black Tomcat whom she ignored when she met Carmen six months later.
Carmen’s skin was burnished gold. Her juicy lips were the deep blush of plum flesh. Her large, soulful eyes were so dark. They reminded Lola of her favorite wildflower, the Black Eyed Susan. Her dreadlocks were champagne blonde. She had a diamond nose ring and a Black Moon Lilith glyph tattooed on her hand. She was an absolute goddess.
Her perfume smelled like patchouli and violets. The nectar that flowed down her legs smelled like musky butterscotch. Dark and wet, she was the very definition of yin and feminine. Yet, somehow she was androgynous too. Especially when she let out her deep belly laugh, or even better, her full bodied cackle. Lola would do anything to keep making her laugh.
She must be a bruja herself, Lola thought. Lola was under her spell. This was no black girl magic. She was a grown and sexy woman. And there was something different about her. Something besides her supernatural beauty. She touched Lola like she wanted to give her pleasure; others had only touched her like they wanted to take.
So enveloped in her love affair was Lola that she stopped talking to Big Black Tomcat. But, one morning before work, she was pulling tarot. She got the Knight of Swords, Ace of Swords, and Six of Swords.
“Is it safe to love Carmen? What do you think about her?”
She sat, expectantly. Big Black Tomcat gazed into her. She started to wonder if she’d hallucinated the whole thing, if it had been some kind of temporary psychosis triggered by pain. Psychotic depression, maybe. Or worse. Big Black Tomcat resented her now, he was giving her the silent treatment!
She was about to beg forgiveness when she felt his words.
I came to you to help you heal, so you could accept unconditional love.
“Will you be leaving, then?”
With that, he purred.
The image used for this story is by Eduardo Mallmann.
About the Creator
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Zero grammar & spelling mistakes
On-point and relevant
Writing reflected the title & theme
I resonated so deeply with Lola! I felt her her pain when Ana left her. I mourned and grieved with her. I hope Carmen is different. And I loved Big Black Tomcat!
If you don't mind Naomi, I'd like to recommend a (very) short little anime film I think you'd really enjoy called "She and Her Cat" by Makoto Shinkai. There are no plot similarities or anything else along those lines, it just creates a feeling you reminded me of with your piece. You certainly have a beautiful way with descriptive details that work on many levels. I wouldn't get wrapped up in anything the 'writing gurus' have to say, you're head-and-shoulders above that crowd.
Oh man, now it's my turn to say that I loved this story, and not just because it touches on some of my favorite things—astrology, pets as teachers of unconditional love—I enjoyed the story's awareness of Saturn return themes.
I love the direction you took this challenge! We do indeed think alike and I love it! I also love that yours is distinctly different from mine, you used a passion of yours to make it feel a lot of witchy and authentic! Which I appreciated so much, so clever! I found Lola to be such a relatable character. You did such a great job with your descriptive language, I found it to be something of a sensory experience as you described everything from feeling, to smell to sight. So well written! Such beautiful and engaging read!! Also appreciate the playlist at the end again!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautiful story about the bond between a witch and her familiar, and how love and healing can come in unexpected ways.🧡🧡🧡
So, is this the right woman?