Deven breaks a couple of statues in a flea market and winds up cursed to be treated as a normal cat.
You Break It, You Cursed By It
Deven was in an antique store. Why was he in an antique store? He had no interest in old worn out junk. And yet here he was. Well, the reason was he was bored. He had come out to the flea market hoping to find something of interest. Some of these stores sold old video games, and sometimes at a pretty decent price. Sometimes he found something else of interest as well. Since anyone could open a stall at the flea market it meant that just about anyone could show up selling anything. Sadly, there were no curiosities or games being sold at the market today. Just a bunch of rusty old junk people were convinced was worth something just because it was old.
Deven gave a sigh. To think he had put on pants and a shirt for this. He might as well and have stayed home rather than bother to get up for this. Or… As he pushed his messy brown hair out of his eyes he considered he could have gone out to get a haircut instead. If he had done that, he might have seen small ceramic cat statue sitting on the floor. Deven tripped right over the thing, falling flat on his face as there was a shattering sound from near his feet.
After Deven got his bearings he looked at what had tripped him and saw the broken statue. For a brief moment he thought he saw some kind of blue wisp of smoke fly out from the thing. But then it was gone. Perhaps his mind playing tricks on him. However, one thing was certain, he was going to have to be forced to pay for that.
“Please don’t be expensive please don’t be expensive.” Deven begged as he picked up pieces of the statue trying to find a price tag. If he couldn’t find the marked price the stall owner could just make up whatever price they wanted. Deven frantically dug through the pieces, finding nothing resembling a tag. He could have kept trying to look but got distracted. There was something wrong with his hands. His nails, they were darker colored and looked far sharper than they should have.
As he froze and studied them, he noticed hair growing in over his hands. Then there were pink pads forming on his palms. His nails, or claws at this point were suddenly hidden within fur, easily retractable to come in and out. The hair meanwhile became so thick it could only be called fur and was spreading from his hands to his elbows.
“What’s happen-eooooow?” Deven stood up and backed away from broken statue. As he did he noticed that his speech was different. “Meoooow? Mroooow! Meoooow!” He couldn’t talk! His clothes started to loosen on him, and he felt a sharp pain on his toes. Looking down he saw fur climbing up from his ankles to his knees, his feet must have undergone a change similar to his hands. The new shape of his feet didn’t fit his shoes and were causing the pain. Thankfully, they soon slipped right out as he stepped back, due to the fact he was getting much smaller. He was soon smaller than any normal human, getting tangled up in his own clothing. “Mrooowl!” He still couldn’t talk to try to call for help. Deven’s pants fell down around his ankles, and his feet, or paws now free of shies shoes were clearly visible. He had a digitigrade stance, standing on the tips of his toes. For some reason the fur stopped spreading when it reached his knees and elbows. But he felt a strange sensation like his ears were being stretched out. Reaching up atop his head he could feel they were fuzzy and pyramid shaped, like a cat’s.
Deven stood in a shirt that fit him like a tent. He had the ears and paws of a cat, as well as seemed to have shrunk down to cat size. Deven took a few steps back and his shirt fell off of him leaving him naked. At the same time a long brown furred tail began to grow from the tip of his spine. As Deven backed further away from the cat statue he hadn’t noticed his new tail yet and tripped right over it falling backwards.
There was a crunching sound. Deven had landed on and broken something else. He rolled to his side to see what it was. It looked at what it was. It was another ceramic figure. This one was just of a baby, or child of some age. It was hard to tell with it smashed into pieces. Deven was less concerned about the price of it as much as he was about the changes occurring to him. He didn’t even notice the green wisp of smoke that escaped the broken pieces. After his tail had grown out they had stopped for a moment, then suddenly he began shrinking again.
The shrinking was less drastic. But his figure was changing. Muscles became less defined, and a lot of his body became rounder and chubbier in general. It was easy to tell what was happening. He was getting younger! His legs grew a little unsteady as he slowly finished shrinking. He could walk, but it was a little unstable. He was a toddler. Two, two and a half at the most.
“Mrow?” Deven sat on the store floor and looked over himself. Ears, tail, and paws of a cat. As well as the vocal chords it would seem since he couldn’t talk. And then only two years old on top of that. Oh, and he had broken two likely priceless antiques. What was going to happen when the store owner found him?
He got his answer soon enough.
“What? How did you get in here?” The shrill voice of the woman who ran this stall screeched when she saw Deven. She towered over him and gave him a disapproving glare.
“Meow?” Deven tried with a sheepish smile. It wasn’t as if he could try to come up with an explanation or excuse if he tried.
“Get out you mangy cat! This is no place for strays!” The woman grabbed a broom and whacked Deven with it. He hissed at her reflexively and got another whack. This woman was crazy! He decided to run for it! But his body wasn’t quite old enough to sprint. When he tried to run he fell down onto all fours.
And discovered that he could run on all fours perfectly fine. He was too happy to be able to move quickly to question it. He ran out of the stall as fast as possible and back out into the open-air market. The woman screeched at him a bit but didn’t follow outside her stall. Once Deven was sure he was safe he stopped running and sat on the ground. People walked all around the flea market, going in and out of different stalls. None of them seemed to be paying him any mind. You would think a naked baby that was part cat would cause people to freak out, or react in some manner.
“Meoooooow.” Deven again made the attempt to talk. A young boy, maybe eight, who towered over Deven approached him. “Look ma a kitty!” He reached down a hand and tried to pat Deven on the ears.
“No honey, don’t pet strays.” An older woman grabbed the boy by the arm and dragged him away from Deven. “You don’t know what kind of diseases they might have.”
“Meow?” Deven tilted his head in confusion. They acted like he was just a normal cat. Anyone with eyes could see he wasn’t! He began to walk through the market, walking on all fours since it was easier. People did occasionally react to him. Some of them wanted to pet him, and it did feel nice when a person scratched his years. Others tried to shoo him away. And at least one person tried to offer him a fish. Which Deven for some reason found the smell of intoxicating, realized he was hungry and so sat down to dig into it.
He was just about done eating the fish when suddenly two strong hands grabbed him from behind.
“Meoooow!” Deven protested and squirmed trying to let go.
“Got him!” A gruff voice the large man who now held him spoke. He put Deven inside a cat carrier and closed it on him then picked up a radio on his belt. “Yeah, we found the stray that was reported. Bringing it back to the shelter.”
“Meooooow!” Deven protested. The fact he could fit into a cat carrier made him realize how small he was. But… He wasn’t a cat! At least not completely. He knew how to open these. All he had to do was reach for the latch and-
And suddenly slide against the wall of the carrier as the gruff man picked it up and placed it in the back of a trunk. Deven was disoriented by the sudden movement just long enough for the man to start driving. Deven’s ears heard the engine turn on and then whatever vehicle he was in was moving.
Well, if they thought he was going to stick here and be taken to a pound they had another thing coming. Now without anything to interrupt him Deven carefully pushed his fingers through the cage. Because they now had a paw-like shape it was harder than he expected. But he was able to press down on the two latches and open the cat carrier. Now just one car door between him and freedom!
Deven examined the door. It was the type of door that opened into the back of the truck. It looked like there was a simple handle to open it. It was way out of reach… But everyone kept treating him like a cat… And he had cat legs if nothing else. Deven tried to jump up and grab the handle. Despite his difficulty walking he was a great jumper! And now he was hanging onto the lever. He pushed his foot paws against the door to help steady himself and tried to open the door. And ran into a new problem.
“MEOOOOOOOOW!” Deven dropped to the floor and crossed his arms and pouted. How could he be foiled by something so simple? He could do nothing but sit there and ride the rest of the way to the pound. But, they didn’t know he had gotten out of the carrier. Maybe he could make a break for it when they opened the door.
Deven waited for the vehicle to reach its destination. He perched on all fours right in front of the door, ears twitching for the slightest sound of someone about to open it. He heard footsteps, and then the door unlocking. The door opened. And Deven sprung out, leaping past the gruff man and running on all fours away. He had escaped!
“Hey where you think you’re going!” A second set of hands picked him up. This one belonging to an older woman. “You’re a tricky one, got out of your cage.” She tried to comfort Deven by petting his head while she held him. Despite his intentions to squirm and be as difficult as possible he found himself growing docile and leaning into them. “Oh you’re a little sweetheart aren’t you? A lil’ kitten like you will find a home in no time.” Deven was so taken in by the pets that he didn’t even noticed as he was carried inside a building. He only came to when he was put inside a large box, enough room for him to run around in, and suddenly the side of it slid close. He glanced around. One wall of the box was made of glass. He could see across the aisle to where there were other boxes like his with cats or dogs inside. The walls looked sturdy, and the door or whatever that had slid closed he could see no way to open it from this end.
He was in a cage, put on display for people to adopt.
“Meoooow!” Deven shouted in frustration. He noticed a ball of yarn had been left in the cage for him. He swatted it away to show he had no interest in it. But as the yarn rolled along, leaving a trail of string his eyes dilated and he couldn’t resist pouncing upon it, clawing at the ball of yarn and even chewing on it. He completely lost himself till he wore himself down enough to need a nap.
As the days passed and Deven slowly grew used to and accepted that he was a cat. Even if his body was mostly human. The statue or something must have cursed him, so if it could physically transform him who was to say it couldn’t make others perceive him as a normal cat. However, life in the pound wasn’t exactly exhilarating. Sure there was the ball of yarn. But he wanted to get out of the cage and be able to run free. He wound up with a roommate, a black and white kitten (assuming they weren’t also secretly a catboy but no one could see it) and that alleviated a bit of Deven’s boredom. Having someone to play with made a difference.
Then there was the day she appeared.
“Look mommy! That one sleeps on his back! Isn’t it silly?” A young girl’s voice rang out.
“Me-ow?” Deven had been asleep. The voice woke him up. It took him a few moments to process her words, and then a few moments more to realize she was pointing at him. Well, sleeping on your back as a human or catboy was normal!
A large part of him wondered what people saw when they looked at him. Did they see him as he was but their brain just processed it as cat? Or did they just see an ordinary cat?
Deven pushed these thoughts aside as he sat up, and then shifted positions to be on his knees. The girl watching him came up and pressed her hands against the glass as she brought her face closer trying to get a better look.
“He’s silly.” She giggled looking at him.
“Meow?” Deven asked offended. He put his paws against the glass where her hands were mimicking her, then stuck his tongue out.
“That one’s a spirited fellow.” A voice Deven recognized spoke. It was the woman who put him in here. “Got out of his carrier. You’ll have to watch him.”
“I want him!” The young girl replied.
“You like him that much?” An unknown voice, Deven couldn’t see its owner from inside his cage. She was too far away. But he guessed it to be the girl’s mom. “Sounds like he’s a troublemaker, you two would definitely get along.”
“So, we can take him home?” The young girl asked hopefully.
“It’s your birthday present.” The voice that was probably the mother spoke. “Choose whichever one you want.”
“Then I want this one!” She gestured at Deven.
Next thing Deven knew the back of his cage was slid open as he was put into a cardboard version of a cat carrier and handed to the girl. He was insulted they thought this could hold him. However, he realized that right now if he behaved the girl would walk him right out the front door and he would finally escape the pound. So, for now he lay on his stomach inside the carrier.
The other voice turned out to belong to a middle-aged woman who was indeed the mother. She was going over paperwork while the young girl that was adopting Deven babbling and staring down at him.
“You need a name. What’s a good name… Brown fur… Hmmm.” The girl looked like she was deep in thought.
“Meow!” Deven had a name. He didn’t need a new one. Of course, as usual no one understood his objections.
“There’s something weird about you.” The girl hummed. “I can’t really figure it out… But you’re different from other cats. And you need a name that reflects that.” She grew quiet for a few moments. Deven could guess as to why she thought he felt different. “Got it, I’ll call you Dragon! No, that sounds awkward. Oh, got it, Drake!”
“Mew.” Deven gave one last mew of protest just for the sake of it. Though, if he was going to be called by another name, Drake wasn’t too bad to go with.
After the mother finished the paperwork the girl carried Deven and his carrier out of the pound and to their car. It was a minivan. Over the course of this by listening to the girl and her mom talk Deven learned the girl’s name was Tiffany.
Tiffany got into a backseat and after the car door was shut opened up the cardboard carrier.
“Come on Drake, you can ride on my lap instead of in there.” She patted her lap trying to get Drake to come.
“Meow?” Deven gave her a look as if to ask if she thought he was stupid. He knew what she asked he didn’t need her to pat her lap. All things considered though, it was a lot better than being stuck in the carrier. He clambered out of the box and sat in her lap, again becoming aware of how small he was being kitten sized. And then Tiffany began to stroke his ears while he sat there, and he realized that maybe being this small wasn’t so bad. It was nice when everyone could reach down and give you a pat on the head or ear scritches.
Deven almost lost himself to the moment. He had to formulate his escape plan. He was out of the pound. Now he just needed to escape from this Tiffany girl. He was fairly certain that it’d be easy. Then once he escaped he’d just have to keep an eye out for anyone that looks like they might work at a pound or animal shelter. Should be easy to get around and then-
And then what? He pondered. He goes home? His keys were back with his pants in the antique store, or more likely sitting in a lost and found now. He couldn’t drive. There was no way he was going to be able to go to work or do any job. What was his plan after escaping?
And what was he escaping from?
Pets on demand, free room and board, being given toys, and likely given what he had seen of the girl so far, just pampered in general. The only downside he saw was having to live on feline crunchies. He had been eating them in the pound, and much to his surprise they didn’t taste vile, nor did they upset his stomach. But he still wanted real food. Maybe he could get them to put him on a meat diet. He’d have to come up with some way to force them into doing this.
“Meow.” Deven began to purr. He didn’t know he could do that. Perhaps, being a pet wouldn’t be so bad at all. It wasn’t as if he had been living a glamourous life before. And now he didn’t have to put on pants to go out, or ever again if everyone saw him as a cat. Yes, he could live with this.
Under one condition.
“MEOOOOOOW!” Drake let out a loud meow to let everyone know he had an important announcement to make.
“Mom he’s talking to me!” Tiffany giggled excitedly.
“Yes, he nearly put out one of my ear drums. A real set of vocal chords on that one.” The mother didn’t turn to look back at Tiffany and Drake. She was being responsible and watching the road as she started to drive hom.
“Meow.” Drake gave a nod. If the girl was going to change his name to Drake, then by extension it was only fair that he also got to change her name! And she said he was a strange cat? Well personally, he found her to be an odd girl! Probably. As an adult, well former adult man Drake didn’t exactly know what young kids acted like these days. It wasn’t like he had worked at a school or anyplace where he would have interacted with them. Only seen them when they were out with their parents.
He was declaring her strange, and therefore he needed to give her a new name to reflect that. Drake thought hard. He had only known her for about thirty minutes now, and that really wasn’t enough time to get to know her entire personality. Still, she had been able to name him pretty fast. And he wasn’t going to be outdone.
If he was Drake, and she owned him, then what did that make her? The owner of a dragon. Well, a dragon that was actually a kitten that was actually a toddler catboy but those details were unimportant. After careful consideration he came up with a name.
Warlock. Warlock sounded like someone who would have a pet dragon. Plus, it let Drake imagine her as some kind of mage and him as her familiar and he could pretend they were studying spells or something by batting at her papers when she did her homework.
“Mrowl.” Drake let everyone know that Tiffany was now Warlock.
“He’s pretty lively.” The mom spoke up. “Don’t let him run loose in the car Tiffany alright.”
“MEOW!” Drake tried to correct her that it was Warlock now. This was going to take some doing. He was pretty sure he had the dexterity with his paw hands to write. Maybe if he could find a nametag.
Drake, having accepted his new role, and taking a certain delight in being pet didn’t even think about trying to write down that he was actually meant to be a human. Instead, he was just thinking about how to manipulate his new humans into doing what he wanted. Getting him the right food, and calling people the right names. He had an advantage over normal cats if he could write! And they were bound to be impressed by that and give Drake fresh fish instead of crunchies and…
And Drake was starting to think like a cat. Probably. He didn’t know how cats thought. But, thinking of the humans as the ones that the cat owned and trying to manipulate them was probably pretty normal. He was pretty sure he had this cat thing down and could act like a normal cat whenever he needed to.
The drive continued and Drake curled up into a ball as he sat in Warlock’s lap. This was such a strange situation. He wondered if it was wrong that the more he thought about it the more he liked it. Either way he couldn’t wait to get to his new home. Regardless of if it was an apartment or house it was bound to be bigger than his old cage.
As it would turn out, it was indeed a house. And when Drake was dragged upstairs to Warlock’s bedroom as she started to show him where all her stuff is as if a cat would understand anything she was saying.
Except he did understand.
He noticed the window was open.
“Meow?” Drake jumped up onto the windowsill and stuck his head outside. It was a nice warm day.
“You want to play outside?” Warlock asked. “It’s probably safer to go through the door downstairs.”
“Mew!” Drake was confident he could manage the window no problem. But when Warlock moved to go downstairs, he followed at her heels, going out into the backyard with her. And so Drake’s life as a pet began.
It wasn’t long before he had a reputation for getting in trouble. Warlock left her window open a lot and Drake was pretty much allowed to go inside or outside as he pleased. He might have stolen a pack of fish from the local supermarket a few times… Enough times that there was a sign on the door warning not to let him in. There was a photograph too. In the photograph he still looked like a catboy.
As if a sign would stop him. And he was pretty sure the family was getting the idea and his diet would be a lot less crunchy soon.
Despite his mostly human body, Drake never tried to find clothes again. He did wear exactly one item. A collar with his name on it and a little bell. It took some getting used to at first… But he realized it would let people know he had a home and keep him from accidentally winding up in the pound again. And that meant he had the entire town to explore.
When Warlock went to school, Drake would go out to have fun and see what he could find. He always came home in time to be waiting for her at the door when she got home from school. And though he came and went a lot he always slept at the foot of her bed every night. It was a comfortable life. Warlock still hadn’t caught on that her name had been changed yet, despite how many new nametags Deven had left for her to find in the morning. But there was time to teach her that. After all, Drake was two years old, he was just a kitten. He had plenty of time to get better at training his humans so that they did what he wanted.
Drake enjoyed his new existence. Sometimes he even forgot he used to be human and that there had been anything before this. Maybe it had something to do with him being made younger and thus his brain becoming younger too. Or maybe it was just because he didn’t care enough about his old life to think about it too much. It didn’t matter.
He was content.