When I was little my Filipina Grandmother told me about the Batibat- she also told me that the only way to keep Batibat out of your home was to have a cat for protection.
The cat wasn’t a part of the traditional folklore- on the other hand we never had trouble with Batibat when other people did so maybe she was on to something,
Shadow, 1954 Boris Petrovich Sveshnikov ( 1928 – 1998 )
Let’s talk about the shadow that the cat saw on the door just after sunset.
The cat heard, from it’s uncomfortable but necessary perch in the drafty part of the kitchen, the black oily shadow slither out from inside of the dead tree that had fallen over night in the storm.
The cat smelled dead mice and bird innards as it slid up the walkway to the backdoor.
He watched the shadow’s figure grow taller and fuller against the door and he even heard the floorboards under the shadow groan and creak.
The Cat didn’t twitch a single whisker, he didn’t blink and eye, he kept his tail quiet and still.
He saw the shadow waver, as if it were about to knock and ask to be let in, but it stepped back from the door and then it moved forward, just a little again.
The cat held it’s breath, the shadow filled the doorway and then it raised it’s dark hand in front of it’s face and just before it was about to step in, the cat opened it’s mouth and it hissed.
The shadow at the door turned towards the cat, and it hissed back at the cat and then it growled at the cat and in a puff of smoke it was gone, flying as if the Devil himself were after it, to the dead tree in the backyard.
The cat blinked his eyes, he moved his ears from front to back, he let his tail stretch and curl around his body and then
from down the hall his human came, her face lit up when she saw him sitting at the table.
” What have you been doing all day? ” she asked ” Have you been waiting for me to come home and give you dinner?”
There was no way for his Human to know this, but when she smiled at him the darkest corners of the Cat’s world sparkled with sunlight.
She swept him up in her arms and he rubbed his face against her chin and when she turned around and he was facing the door, he looked for the shadow and dared for it to come in.
” I love you more then there are stars and moons in the entire universe. ” she told him.
He fell against her chest, he looked up into her eyes and if he could have said ” and I would make a meal out of anything that tried to take you away from me. ”
The green house on Fletcher and Grand has a mudroom.
You would think that a mudroom would be dark and maybe a little dank or moldy, but I’ve been told by a few people this mudroom is none of those things.
The window in the mudroom catches the morning sun and at night the street lights cast a pale orange glow through the small panes of glass and when you open the door there is always a nice sweet smelling breeze that blows into the little room and it hangs in the air for a few seconds before it disappears.
Mrs. Longmuir, the lady who owns the green house on Fletcher and Grand dresses a little frowzy on her dusting days, but for the rest of the week she is a lot like her mudroom- she looks simple, neat and when she walks she has a little bounce in her step which is surprising because she is well into her 70’s.
I used to walk my dog by her place just after 6:00 and she was usually out in her yard then, puttering around her rose bushes. She wore one of those big gardening hats and her gloves matched the fabric around the brim of her hat.
I would slow down and wave hello, my dog would always pull a little harder on his leash to get us going again and Mrs Longmuir would wave her pruning shears at us.
One evening I strolled by without my dog. He was at the groomers and I was taking a little walk to kill some time before I had to pick him up.
Mrs. Longmuir asked me if I would help her take some of the flowers she had just cut-
” Dear, ” she said ” would you mind helping me to take some of these flowers into my murder room? ”
I saw a bunch of cut roses at the door in a basket and in Mrs. Longmuir’s gloved hand she wasn’t holding her gardening shears. She was holding a pair of long gleaming scissors.
I stopped. I could not take my eyes off of the scissors.
She snapped them opened and close exactly two times.
” My dog.” I said, ” My dog got loose. I’m trying to find him. I’m sorry, I have to -”
” I see, ” she said with a bright and sunny smile and when she started to assure me maybe I could stop by later and help her take her flowers in she would say ‘ mudroom’ this time.
” That would be lovely, ” she said ” if you could help me take my roses into my murder room. That room needs a little cheering up and I’d like to feed sooner rather then later.
She opened and snapped her scissors closed twice and I never walked by the Green House on Fletcher and Grand again.