It all started a month ago, the first time I saw them. They were all so small, so fluffy and so cute. I even joked about how I would love to shelter and feed them inside my home. Now that I think about it, it all seems so naïve. How could I not have seen it, seen them for what they were?

The one that I saw the first was the cutest of the lot. Almost the same size as my shoes, those tiny paws, the solid light fur on its body and big round eyes that seemed to encompass the whole world in them. The second one was also covered almost wholly with light furs but striped irregularly with smudges of darkness. It was still almost as cute as Tim, a tiny little fellow with the same dark round eyes. I called him Tom.

They would come often to my balcony, playing together, fighting with each other but often with such innocence in their eyes that would melt even the heart of a butcher. I often gave them milk that they filled up on in a moment, their watery dark eyes always pleading for more. Whenever I went outside, I would buy pet food for them and keep it outside.

Things started to get strange in a few weeks. I was strolling outside on a clear night in my balcony. The wind was cold against my arms and I was cuddling them together to get some warmth when I saw it — their first kill. A smudgy mass of red meat, sparkling in the moonlight, almost wholly eaten except what I thought at that time was the beak and some parts of a pigeon’s head. My heart was racing like bullet headed for a wall, but it thankfully landed on a thick wall of sponge instead when I was able to convince myself that it was just something that the cats left after they were full. After all, cats killed pigeons, right? Even such small ones? I settled with the explanation that they were probably hungry and an injured one they could feed on.

From then on, I decided to always leave some pet food for them in my balcony. I wasn’t ready to keep them inside just yet. For one, I was of the opinion that keeping them inside would hinder their freedom. And they were already doing a pretty good job themselves and seemed happy enough.

It was calm for a few days, I saw the cats often, playing and fighting childishly around in the greenery. Their movements were swift, their bodies flowing, almost like dancing. Often, one would jump forward swiftly in an attempt to catch a flying insect or crawling rodent and it would be in their grasp within the blink of an eye. I was so happy it was all normal again after that little scare a few nights before.

Normalcy doesn’t last forever. Just a few nights after the previous event, I saw another thing that I think is important to this discussion. In my dreams, I was playing with the kittens. But in the dream, they were still small, like the first time I had seen them. Not all grown up as they were now. Tim was fighting with Tom on a moonless night. How I saw them, I have no idea for there was no light except a carpet of twinkling stars in the sky. I turned from them and saw me, sleeping in my bed. Even as I turned, I saw the smile on the sleeping version of me turn to a scared grim look. And then I was awake, looking towards the window where I was supposedly sitting in my dream. Two green dots were staring at me from the darkness outside.

I quickly fumbled form the bed and made a run to the switchboard to turn on the lights. If you have ever been afraid, you would know that you can find almost everything except a switchboard in dark. Falling over my shoes, following the contour of the wall, I finally managed to turn the lights on, only to find nothing outside.

An Idle Mind Is the Devil’s Playground, or so it is said. Was it just a dream and a play of the darkness? Were there no eyes staring at me that night? I am sitting here well into the night, trying to play everything in my head, again and again, trying to convince myself of my sanity.

I am a software developer with a focus on Elixir, Ruby and React. I build things and write stuff.