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. ”
I could tell you a story about a baby who was stolen from her crib by fairies and in her place the fairies left a fairy child who grew up to be a fairy queen and between the time she was a baby and a young woman the changeling was responsible for things like-
the missing school teacher, the missing Minister- who technically wasn’t missing because they found parts of him in Mr Finlay’s Pumpkin patch and the missing Constable and the missing librarian.
I could even tell you her real name before she was flown in through the nursery window- her name was Gemina.
I could even tell you which window the Fairies brought the Changeling through.
But all of these little bits of my changeling story are neither here nor there because Gemina the changeling didn’t do any of those dark and devilish deeds.
On the night the Fairies snuck in through the window and before they could switch the babies, just as the full Moon’s cold silvery blue light filled the nursery –
Thomasine’s mother stormed into the nursery. She slammed the windows shut and quick as lightning she caught those wicked fairies and in the end she fed them all to her family for dinner on fancy bone and chine plates by candlelight.
Werewolves love slow roasted fairies, they taste just like chicken I’ve been told.
There’s a homeless guy who has taken up residence behind my warehouse.
Sometimes he sets up his sleeping bag between the cars and when he does this, it’s almost impossible for people to get into their cars and drive away.
But most of the time he walks back and forth and bellows like a bull- a bull that can suddenly launch into streams of profanity and threaten to kick my mother effing head in- or the heads of anyone who dares to ‘get in his face.’
When I hear the homeless guy mooing and bellowing and ranting and raving I don’t go out back to empty the trash. I just let it pile up and wait for him to go on a drug run or pass out.
Welcome to Pioneer Square in Seattle, Washington where crazy pops up in clusters like noxious weeds on almost every corner and it all seems normal now.