Rael tries to stay overnight at a witch’s house to prove he’s not a scaredy-cat. Might be hrader than he expects.
Rael took a deep breath. The entrance to the ‘witch’s house’ was right in front of him. He reminded himself it wasn’t a real haunted house. The old witch who lived in the house was just an old town legend, one that they used to bring in tourism around Halloween. During the day people could buy audio tour guides and walk through the house. During the day.
He was here at night, when the place was abandoned. But he reminded himself the witch wasn’t real, there was nothing to be scared of. And once he spent the night here he would complete his dare and prove he wasn’t a scaredy-cat to his colleagues. He was too old to be caring about dares. Why was he doing this? Did people thinking he was skittish bother him that much. He felt ridiculous, standing here in a Halloween costume of a witch’s outfit with some cat ears standing in front of the old house.
The house was by no means a mansion, but it was still quite large. Easily 3,000 square feet. The place was in good condition too, largely due to the town actively maintaining it to increase tourism. Rael walked up a set of wooden steps leading to the front door and realized how stupid this idea was. The house was going to be locked up at night, he couldn’t spend a night here if he wanted. He might as well head back now. But just to be sure, so he could say he tried, he reached for the doorknob.
And the door opened with a creaking noise before he even touched it.
“Gah! Okay… Someone just… Didn’t shut the door properly.” That made sense. Of course it meant Rael had no excuse not to go inside. He reminded himself it was just a tourist trap, a local legend that was made up and stepped through the door. Inside the wooden floor creaked with every step he took as he worked his way through the halls. There were signs posted for the tourist, showing the directions to different rooms and giving general descriptions. Rael suspected most of them were made up. It wasn’t long before he was in the potion’s lab, where it was said the witch met her demise boiled within her own cauldron. As Rael looked around the room, he couldn’t help but feel like it looked like a normal kitchen, just with a big giant black pot in the center of it. Rael approached the ‘cauldron’ and looked over the edge of it, only to discover a glowing green liquid inside the thing. Suddenly, a cloud in the shape of a skull erupted from the cauldron and Rael let out a yelp and fell backwards onto his bottom.
And then he hiccupped. He had never been so nervous he hiccuped before. That had scared him. Or at least it certainly shocked him, he felt like he had jumped out of his own skin. It was like every hair on his body was now standing on edge all over. He slowly got up and peaked into the cauldron again seeing it empty. Had he imagined it? He turned away from the cauldron deciding to look elsewhere in the house when he noticed the tail and ears from his costume laying on the floor where he had fallen. Which was weird because he was still wearing them. Like, he looked behind him seeing he had a black tail, a tail that was moving. What? He could feel the tail! It wasn’t a costume piece, it was real! And his ears, they felt all fuzzy! What was wrong.
Rael’s clothes loosened on him slightly and he looked down at himself. His entire body appeared to be covered in black fur. And his hands had pink little bean shapes on his fingertips and pads on his palms. He stumbled backwards, stepping out of his shoes as he found his feet were similarly animalistic with pink beans on the tips of his toes. Rael had to be imagining this. Just as he imagined the cloud of smoke. He quickly retreated from the potions lab and ran down the hall until he reached a room called the bedroom. If he was going to hang here all night, this was probably the least spookiest place to be.
Rael slowly walked up to the old antique bed in the center of the room and sat down on it. As he did he noticed his paws, which were still paws, dangled off the edge not quite reaching the floor. What he was seeing couldn’t be real could it?
He didn’t get a chance to process it much, when a rattling noise came from the nearby closet. There were the sounds of a ferocious animal on the other side, making terrifying growling noises as chains rattled each time it moved. The was a loud thud as something slammed against the door. And then repeated thuds of something trying to break through.
Terrified, Rael didn’t know what to do, and for some reason instead of leaving the room he chose to hide under the blankets on the bed, as if that might somehow keep him safe from whatever was attacking. And yet, it seemed to work, for soon it quieted down. Rael slowly peaked out from beneath the blankets and saw the closet door was unmoving and silent. He slipped out of the bed, not noticing as his pants and underwear fell down around his ankles and were left behind as he approached the closet. Shaking, he slowly opened the closet door and-
It was completely empty.
“Get it together Rael. You’re stuck inside your own head.” He told himself, though something sounded off about his voice. It was higher pitched. But, he wanted to get out of the bedroom before he thought about that. So he quickly left that area trying to find somewhere else to hide for the night to prove his courage. The house had a basement. Normally, that would be the spookiest place, but Rael had heard the basement was just storage space for the attraction now. It even had electrical lighting so he wouldn’t have to be in the dark. He headed to the back of the house where the door to the basement was. Opening it and looking down the stairs it didn’t look that bad. His eyes must have really adapted to the darkness as he could see all the way down. He crept down the stairs and clung to the wall looking for a light switch. He found it and flipped it on.
And a roar came from the other side of the basement. It lit up in red flames as shrill voices called out. The flames burned into the shape of a circle then the floor gave way beneath them. Skeletal hands reached out from the hole, grasping around, and Rael swore he heard them calling his name.
He ran as fast as he could up the stairs without looking back, nearly tripping over his shirt which was too big on him now. Once at the top, he slammed the door shut behind him and sat down on the floor with his back to the door. He reminded himself, this wasn’t real and he was just getting in his own head again. Then he slowly opened the basement door and peaked down again. The lights were on, and from what he could see from here it was just a normal storage room. No fire or skeletons. Rael shut the door again. His heart was going a mile a minute. And then… There was the fact that something was wrong with him.
He had a tail that moved! Fur! His pants were gone! His hat kept sliding over his eyes and now his shirt was trying to trip him everytime he walked. He took the chance to look over himself. A black cat, same as he had ‘imagined’ earlier. Except unlike the other things he had imagined this hadn’t gone away. And… He was so short, and small. Like a child.
As Rael hiccuped nervously again, he watched before his own eyes as his shirt grew even baggier on him. His shoulders slid through the neckhole and when he stood up it fell right off him. He was now naked except for the witch hat. Not that he felt naked, what with his body being completely fur covered. But what was going on? If all of this was in his head, why did he look like a cat still? Or… Actually, a tiny kitten! He looked like he belonged back in first grade, just for cats.
If he was really imagining this, would he really have abandoned his shoes, pants and now his shirt? It’s not like this could have just fallen off on their own unless he had actually changed… And that meant… That meant…
He was really a little black kitten! He shrunk even smaller, now not even old enough to be enrolled in school. Maybe preschool.
Rael was done. He didn’t understand what was going on or how. But maybe he was a bit of a scaredy-cat, and now it was a lot more literal. He wasn’t spending another minute in this house. He ran for the front door and as he did he swore he heard shrill voices calling for him again. He grabbed his triangular ears with his hands and held them down to deafen the noises as he ran and finally burst out the front door back into the open night sky.
Rael was panting heavily at this point. He turned behind him and looked at the house. It looked normal. The door was closed. Nothing seemed out of place. It looked like the usual tourist attraction, just closed down for the night. And yet, he looked at himself, he was definitely a kitten. Maybe four years old in human terms. Or… Since he was still kind of human shaped maybe he was actually four? He didn’t understand! Was the house calling him a scaredy-cat?
Okay maybe he was! But he had tried to face his fears! That had to count for something, right? But yes, he’d rather be out doing safe things like the trick or treating he did as a kid than running around haunted houses and…
And he -WAS- a kid again. A kitten of a kid, but still a kid. For the first time all night he gave a genuine smile. His costume was supposed to be a witch cat, and he still had the hat, so could still pull that off. And having actual fur and a twitching tail was likely to melt people’s hearts with how cute he had to be now. So… Since he was a kid again anyway, why not do the safer non-scary activity.
Rael began to purr as he walked away from the house. The further away he got the better he felt. Haunted houses weren’t his thing. Getting free candy was. He just had to find a bag and he was good to go! Of course… There was the problem that he wasn’t wearing a costume and was still a kitten, and would likely wake up as a kitten the next day.
But… It was strange. Rael looked down at his paw-like hands again studying his pink beans. As much as it scared him at the time he kind of liked what he had become. He was so cute that if he could he would have picked himself up and hugged him. He really wouldn’t mind staying like this. Might make things complicated. Would he have to go to school again since he was a little kid? Or would he be allowed to skip school since he was a cat? He didn’t really know how it worked with magical transformations and age reductions. Maybe he’d just wind up being someone’s pet. He almost hiccuped at the thought of being owned by someone then paused. Having his every need catered to while having to do nothing but provide affection and attention in exchange wasn’t that bad. But that was assuming that was how things went down. He really didn’t know how tomorrow or the rest of his life was going to go.
But he knew where it was going tonight. And that was towards the free candy that he couldn’t wait to gorge himself on. Oh, he supposed he should let his friends know he had lost the dare, though he wasn’t sure if they’d recognize him.
There was trick or treating to do, and if they wanted to find him they could go search the old witch’s house themselves and piece together what happened. Rael was going to spend the rest of the night enjoying himself.