No one knows how ridiculous this sounds more than I do. Trust me, I’ve tried every avenue to explain my situation in a more concise and less outlandish method, but I got nothing. And yes, I’m well aware that my post may remind you of a certain documentary that has been making the rounds recently, but I promise you my situation has nothing to do with that.

My husband Dave is a crop farmer – corn specifically, and for the last fifteen years he and I have run our farm here in southern Nebraska. When we first got married, being the housewife of a farmer where we could raise our kids in the sort of small-town American lifestyle sort of way was a dream come true. Little did I know that dream would one day become a nightmare.

In the last few years our particular slice of Nebraska has suffered a great deal of hardship. It seems like every year God has just decided to pick one ball out of his apocalyptic lottery and unleash it upon us. There were the wildfires over this past summer, the torrential floods from a few years ago that swamped our fields and an outbreak of Cutworms before that that devastated the harvest. Add to that is the recent influx of personal tragedy such as the passing of Dave’s mother and overdose of a close friend; and not to mention the current pandemic sweeping the land.

These events have put immense strain on our financial stability, as well as our marriage. Each year of the past five our annual earnings have dipped lower and lower. We’ve debated about selling the farm before, but with the current market at an all-time low even that may not be enough to save us. Plus, me and my husband have put everything into this farm, and I know selling would break his heart. I’ve prayed my heart out about all of this, but so far, my prayers seem to have gone unanswered. I’m not normally one to complain, but holy crap, can we just get a break please?

Dave works his butt off, and although we may have our disputes, one thing I would NEVER say about him is that he’s not a hard worker. He gets up at 4AM every day, 7 days a week, 365 a year and tends to the farm for between 10 and 18 hours a day. I help him out as much as I can, but between house duties, cooking and now homeschooling our two children whose schools have been closed indefinitely due to this pandemic I can only do so much.

Dave did have a few farmhands that he hired to help, but the reduction of profit has forced him to lay them off for now. Our two sons; Jacob who is 10 and Christopher who is 8 do their part around the farm to, but both are obviously limited by their age. It’s been a struggle, no doubt about it, but before I delve too deep into a sob-story about my whole life let’s just move on to what I’m really here to write about.

I was out a few days ago walking our two golden retrievers; Hudson and Bailey when my nose was accosted by a foul stench. It smelled like rotted flesh, and when I rounded the spires of corn, I found that’s exactly what it was. A pile of mush and entrails just dumped on the ground a couple hundred yards away from the house.

I gagged as the rancid smell grew more intense and Hudson began to bark. There was a mangey, grey tabby cat next to the pile who had been nibbling on the disgusting morsels. It took off running as soon as Hudson and Bailey began to bark, and rapidly vanished into the field of corn.

I didn’t really think a whole lot of it, assuming it was just the remains of some unfortunate animal who succumbed to coyotes. I thought about cleaning it up, but once more the overwhelming smell warded me off. The rest of that day was pretty much standard, but it didn’t stay that way.

The next night I caught another familiar unpleasant whiff as I was checking on our little spice garden. Three cats then suddenly darted away as I got near, leaving behind yet another pile of slop. Once again, I simply couldn’t stomach the thought of cleaning it up, hoping the local scavengers would eventually take care of the mess.

I mentioned it to Dave later that night, but he assuaged my concerns pretty quick. He said he’d intentionally dumped it out to try and attract more stray cats around the area. Cats are actually pretty useful on a farm, as they eat a lot of the local pests like rats that like to try and nibble away at the stockpile in the silos. Dave said he’d seen a lot of rats in the area lately, and since we didn’t really have a whole lot to spend on an exterminator, he decided the next best thing was to call upon the local feline army to quell the infestation.

That explanation was good enough for me, and I simply asked him to place the piles of meat a little further away from the house next time. He agreed, and that was the end of it. At least I thought that was the end of it, but that was only the beginning.

The next day after dinner I was sitting on the porch reading a book to try and unwind. Dave was finishing up out in the fields, and our sons were inside playing on their computers. I looked up from my book to take a sip of tea, when I saw a pair of eyes staring back at me.

Nestled just within the cornstalks was a small white cat sitting motionless. It’s coat was an immaculate pearly-white; something not easily achieved by a stray. I put the book down and stared, and noticed something unusual. It’s eyes were different to other cats I’d seen, looking almost entirely black. It was a good distance away so I figured I just couldn’t see it’s eye coloration properly, but the contrast between it’s white fur was undeniable. It’s eyes were entirely black.

I thought maybe the poor thing had contracted some kind of disease, but before Dave returned so I could show him it was gone. I didn’t see it move or hear it, I just looked away for a few seconds and it was suddenly gone. It was quite unnerving, but I didn’t still didn’t mention it. Dave and I actually had a pretty bad fight that night on things mostly unrelated, but regardless, I knew bringing up the sighting of some cryptid feline was not going to go over well.

I went to bed alone that night. I assumed Dave was going to just sleep on the couch, but as I was laying in bed I heard an engine suddenly surge to life outside. It had to have been around midnight, and I was in a sleepy daze when I saw headlights illuminate the driveway outside. I sat up in bed, and saw my husband’s Ford F-250 rumble away from the house. There was a tarp slung over what looked like a crate in the bed, but I couldn’t tell what it was.

I grabbed my phone from the nightstand and dialed him, but he didn’t answer. I figured he was just taking a trip down into town, so I decided to just go back to sleep. A little while later and another noise stirred me from my slumber. It was much quieter than the truck, and sounded like a cat’s meow.

Once again, this was something which was not at all uncommon, but after it kept going for several minutes straight it really started to annoy me. With an irritated grumble I finally dragged myself out of my fluffy sarcophagus and approached the window. Once I looked out, my heart skipped a beat.

Down on the ground outside, a familiar pair of black eyes was staring directly back up at me. It was that same white cat I had seen earlier, but something was different. It was huge, at least by cat standards; appearing much larger than any stray tomcat I’d ever seen. It looked like it was almost the size of our dogs. I thought maybe it was a puma or enormous bobcat, but I’ve never seen one that’s pure white like that. Whatever the case, it’s motionless black-eyed stare really unnerved me for some reason. It felt like it knew I was up there, and it wanted to get my attention.

I finally pulled myself away from the window and went downstairs to ensure all the doors were locked. Of course, by the time I reached the ground floor and looked out the window to the same spot the cat had been sitting, it was gone. I checked all the windows and saw no sign of it. I thought about contacting animal control, but it was a bit late for that, so eventually after I ensured the house was secure, I returned to my bed.

Things really got strange from there. The next day I was out in the yard in the early morning with both our dogs for their routine potty break. I was sipping coffee from the porch while the dogs sniffed around the yard looking for a suitable spot to do their business.

All of the sudden there was a random large gust of wind that rustled the stalks. Both dogs then suddenly lifted their heads and their ears bent back like they do when they sense danger. Immediately after both dogs went absolutely ballistic, barking, snarling and whining like I’d never seen before.

Bailey tends to be a frequent barker, but Hudson has always been more subdued. I had never seen either of them act so frantic before. I tried calming them, but they just going. I looked over to the stalks where both dogs were staring, but I saw nothing there.

Eventually they both calmed down a few minutes later, panting and whining heavily as exhaustion took over. I ushered them both back inside, but the event really left me unnerved. That was when I noticed something far stranger.

On the side of the house by the garage was some kind of symbol written in black. It was in the shape of a double X with 8 arms, with each arm bearing symmetric glyphs. It was quite ornate and hard to describe in detail, but by initial reaction was anger.

Our two sons are obsessed with those video games involving magic and demons, and my first thought was that they had drawn it. I confronted them both about it, but both swore up and down that they hadn’t done it. Once my husband came back in for a bathroom break, I showed it to him as well.

He was equally annoyed by it, but after our boys promised him as well that they hadn’t done it, he reasoned it was the work of a local vandal. He thought that some kid had just spray painted it to be a dick, and told me he’d take care of it later. We were still a bit miffed at each other from the night before so I didn’t push the topic. The symbol didn’t look like spray paint to me though; it looked like it had been burned on.

I finally did decide it was time to tell Dave about the weird cat I had seen though, as I was worried it could be dangerous. After assuring him several times that no, I wasn’t dreaming and no, I didn’t imagine it, his veil of skepticism lifted a bit.

“Probably a puma.” He reasoned. He said he’d call animal control, and wouldn’t hear any more about it. When pushed he became angry, shouting back at me that he had mor important things to worry about than dumb kids and imaginary cats. Once again, I decided not to push him on it.

The rest of that day was actually pretty normal. No more sightings of that white cat or incidents of unexplained graffiti. Dave tended to the fields, the boys did their schoolwork and I performed my usual routine. I thought maybe things were actually simmering down, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Later that night I caught Dave trying to slip out the house once more. He was acting strange lately. When you’re married to someone for fifteen years you start to recognize changes in their demeanor. Little mannerisms and things I can’t even accurately describe start to give them away. I could tell Dave was acting nervous as of late, but even through our financial troubles he had always kept a steady head. This was different, and although he tried to hide it, he couldn’t.

For a while I’ve suspected that he may be having an affair, but rather than confront him directly I decided to spy on him. I know that may not be the best or most honest thing to do, but at least I would know the truth.

He crept out the back door, and I heard him rummaging around outside for a moment as I tiptoed down to the kitchen. Before I got a chance to peek out the window, I suddenly heard a chorus of meows. It sounded like there were dozens of cats outside, but I saw no sign of them when I looked.

Dave’s truck once again had the tarp slung over something square-shaped in the bed. Dave then sauntered back from the garage a moment later and I ducked out of sight. I heard his car door open, and a moment later the truck roared to life. He then stepped back out and made his way to the bed.

He fastened down the cargo, and I made an odd discovery. The meows were coming from underneath the tarp. I realized then that the square object had to have been a kennel, but I didn’t know why he had so many cats in there.

My first thought was that maybe he was removing them from the farm because there were too many, but that didn’t make sense considering he’d left bait out to lure them in the first place. An odd chill swept down my spine as I watched my husband back his truck out of the driveway.

Once his headlights were no longer visible down the road, I snuck out into the garage where he’d last been. There wasn’t really anything in there aside from the usual. Just a bunch of old farm equipment, tools and old parts. The only thing that seemed out of place were two cans of spray paint; one green and one orange. The pieces of cardboard underneath bore a few stains of paint, meaning he’d used them recently.

I didn’t know what to make of it, and the cold night air quickly drove me back towards the warmth of the house. After shutting off the lights and locking the garage, I stepped out onto the driveway and froze mid-stride. All the blood in my body seemed to ice over as I met the black-eyed stare leering back at me. It’s brilliant coat of white fur gently bristled in the night breeze, and almost seemed to glow in the moonlight.

It just stared at me, but it wasn’t like it was before. Last time I saw it, it may have been the size of our two dogs, but this time it was much larger. This thing was massive, much larger than any puma or indigenous cat I’ve ever seen.

The only creature I can think to compare it too would be a tiger, but that’s obviously ridiculous for rural Nebraska. It’s shoulders were hunched with paws nearing the size of dinner plates, but it’s neck was slender and face not nearly as bulky as a tiger.

The most unsettling part was definitely it’s eyes. It was near enough by that point for me to say with absolute certainty that it’s eyes had no color at all. They were just dark pits of obsidian lodged in deep in it’s ravenous skull.

It began to pace around me, and I was absolutely frozen by terror. I’ve never been so scared in all my life. At any moment that thing could’ve ripped me apart with ease, but it didn’t. It just slowly circled me like a shark, but unlike a shark, there wasn’t just hunger in it’s eyes. I don’t know how to explain the feeling it gave me, but it was something more primal. It felt like the beast was judging the very essence of my soul, and it hated what it saw.

I must’ve stood there for close to an hour at least before headlights emerged in the distance. The cat noticed them too, and as they drew nearer and nearer it did something that I don’t know how to explain. It just sat down beside me, as if it were patiently awaiting it’s masters return.

The headlights rolled into the driveway, coming to a stop directly on me. The lights shown oppressively in my face, feeling like I was about to be abducted by aliens or something. The driver door opened, and a familiar voice called out.

“Alli? What are you doing out here?” My husband’s voice called out.

“Dave…” I muttered, hearing the fear resonate in my own words. He stepped towards me and eyed me in confusion.

“Alli what’s going on? Why are you out here?” My initial response upon hearing that was anger. Did he not see the hulking albino tiger sitting directly beside me? That anger all but vanished in an instant and turned to utter confusion as I realized the cat was suddenly gone. I looked around, but I didn’t see it anywhere.

“I was just… um…” I couldn’t even think up an excuse. The unsettling thought had suddenly seeped in that I may not be right in the head. Had I only imagined the beast?

“Where were you?” I asked, finally managing to spit out the words. Dave looked at me concerned.

“I just went into town for some things.” His response struck me as odd.

“At 11 at night?” I asked. Dave shifted on his feet, obviously uncomfortable.

“Yeah I had to get a few things.” It wasn’t unusual for Dave to take unannounced trips into town, but the fact he had left so late at night threw me off. I’m pretty sure none of the local stores he’d usually frequent weren’t even open that late. The subtle scent of liquor on his breath confirmed he wasn’t being honest.

“Why are you lying to me?” Dave groaned as I asked the question.

“Jesus Alli fine, I was at the bar okay? Am I allowed to go to the bar anymore?” Of course he is, but the fact he lied to me about it was off-putting. I wouldn’t have thought twice if he told me that from the beginning, except for one crucial detail. As everyone knows by now, we’re in a damn pandemic, and all the bars in town are closed.

Rather than fight more I decided to just go back inside. I thought maybe my lack of sleep lately had caused me to hallucinate the things I saw, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I got back inside and plunked myself down in bed, angry and exhausted. Despite knowing it probably wouldn’t happen, I just wanted to get a good night sleep. Dave stayed outside for a while, and that decision proved to be the worst of his life.

I finally managed to fall asleep, but it was not a peaceful rest. I had this horrible nightmare. I saw a bunch of cats in a pit. They were mewing and crying out as onlookers cheered and cackled from above. I was watching the scene unfold, but it’s like I wasn’t actually present. I had no ability to intervene in the dream.

Suddenly a pack of ravenous creatures descended into the pit. In absolute horror, I watched as the hideous things attacked the poor kitties and tore them apart. It became a bloodbath, and the crowd around hooted and hollered like a cabal of demons laughing at the plight of some innocent creatures.

I lurched awake in bed, heart pounding and tears flowing from my eyes. I’d never had such a horrible dream before, and the things I saw broke me. I had finally begun to calm myself a bit several minutes later, when a scream pierced the night air from outside.

I jumped out of bed and dashed down the stairs as quick as I was able. The screaming continued outside, accompanied by the sounds of an altercation. The  horrible recognition of my husband’s pain-stricken voice sent waves of terror through me as I ran.

I grabbed the shotgun from the cabinet, and flung the front door open. It was dark, but through the fog I immediately saw him. He was laying on the ground, crawling on all fours towards the house. His face was bloodied, and eyes wide as he looked to me in sheer terror.

“Alli…” He called in a voice that was barely a croak. His eyes quivered, and an ill-defined white shape emerged behind him. I raised the shotgun, but I was too late, and both of us seemed to realize it.

“I’m sorry…” His words broke my heart, but I wasn’t given time to respond. With a sudden shriek I watched my husband as he was dragged out of sight behind the garage. He screamed, and his voice turned to a gurgled wail of agony between the sounds of tearing flesh and snapping bone. I ran towards him, desperate to help, although I knew I was too late.

I rounded the corner and froze. My husband was not there, reduced to a pile of slop and spackling of blood on the ground and side of the garage. There was something else there, something abhorrently familiar that finished slurping a severed arm down it’s gullet as I confronted it. It’s obsidian eyes gleamed back at me, almost as if it were waiting for me to arrive. From it’s bloodied maw dangled ribbons of flesh, and it’s once pearly-white coat of fur stained a sinister hue of crimson.

I lifted the shotgun, prepared to end the beast that stole my husband from me. I tried to pull the trigger; I really did, but something wouldn’t let me. Something I don’t know how to explain. Some feeling that swirled within my gut that wouldn’t allow me to do it. I doubt it would have even done anything anyways, as the cat’s glare was more than that of an animal. There was a cunning and sinister intelligence behind it.

The cat just stared at me for a few moments, before slowly slinking away with a full belly. I watched it disappear into the shadowy stalks a moment later, leaving me alone once more. It was then I noticed that on the wall was a freshly-scrolled symbol. A symbol identical to the one I’d seen on the side of our house a day before.

I ran back inside and called the police. Once they arrived, I tried telling them what had happened between a flurry of sobs and mumbles. I showed them the spot where Dave had been, and they began an investigation.

It went on for days, and each discovery seemed to lead them further from a logical answer. They began a search for him, but found no trace aside from the blood where he had last been. I knew they’d never find him, but at the same time, how could I possibly tell them what I’d seen?

I told them I heard what sounded like an animal attack, but the time I got out there it was too late. I’m sure they maybe even suspected me of having something to do with Dave’s disappearance, but of course, they didn’t tell me that. I just felt it every time they asked me a question.

Eventually they reasoned that it must’ve been an animal attack of some kind. They thought maybe a cougar or pack of coyotes, despite nothing like that ever being reported in our area before. Apparently, a lot of pets belonging to people in town had been reported missing lately, and at first it was assumed that whatever devoured Dave was responsible for that as well. That was until a few days later when a much more horrifying discovery was made.

Police received a noise complaint around midnight and were dispatched to deal with it. They arrived at the house of a local mechanic, and were immediately met by a worrying sight. A bloodied man missing his left arm came running out of the house, frantic and on the verge of bleeding out. An ambulance was called and the two officers attempted to tourniquet his wound while they waited. The man was near psychotic, and kept rambling about the white cat.

“It broke in man, it killed everyone. We shot it, but it didn’t do no good. It just kept attacking, it’s still out there.” The man then began to cry, and the two officers were confused beyond words. They radioed for backup as the ambulance arrived to attend to the wounded man. Once backup arrived, the officers discovered the grisly scene awaiting them inside.

It was a massacre, with blood and various entrails scattered all over the garage. A few severed limbs and even a human head lay in the wake of brutality. Apparently, the smell was the worst part, and one officer had to rush outside to vomit.

Police also found six cats in a large crate, and four pitbulls locked in separate cages. The animals were all thankfully unharmed, but the dogs were shaking uncontrollably. The cats were clearly agitated as well, with puffed-up tails and wide eyes. It was obvious they had seen something which terrified them.

The wounded man recovered while the police continued to clean up and investigate the morbid event. Once the man in question was finally stable, he told the investigators everything. He confessed through a stream of tears and groveling that he and his cohorts had been conducting a dog-fighting ring. They had been the ones abducting people’s pets to use them as bait for videos they produced to sell online. I don’t know what kind of sick person would pay to watch that, but the depravity of the world never ceases to amaze me.

He apologized profusely, and said he had only agreed due to his desperate financial situation. I have no sympathy for him, and apparently, whatever it was that killed his partners didn’t either. A few days later as he was stewing in his jail cell, a commotion was heard by the nightshift guard.

She was cowering in a corner when police found her the next morning, muttering over and over about the ‘cat-shaped demon with eyes of hatred’. All that was found of the man was a pile of blood and a few patches of shredded skin. No one has been able to explain what exactly happened to him.

A friend of mine is the wife of the sheriff, and she’s the one that told me about all of this. She didn’t tell me the most horrifying aspect of all of this, but she didn’t need to. I had long since begun to suspect that my husband was the one collecting animals for the ring. The spray paint I found in the garage seemed to further cement this horrible realization. One of the common practices used in animal fights is to spray paint the bait animals and bet on which one will survive the longest. Words just cannot describe my level of hatred for people like that.

I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think now. Dave’s life insurance policy has kicked in, so at least our finances are a little more stable. I don’t know whether to hate him or mourn him. If he was a part of this, then I don’t know if I can ever forgive that. But I do know that my sons have lost their father, and that truly breaks my heart. Despite that, it appears my prayers have finally been answered.

I never meant for this to happen, really I didn’t, but it would be a lie for me to claim I had nothing to do with it. The nightmares, the symbols, it’s more than just coincidence. You may remember that earlier I mentioned I’ve been praying a lot lately, what I probably should’ve clarified is who I’ve been praying to.

At first yeah, it was the ‘god’ which everyone knows best, Jesus Christ and the trinity and all that but… I got no answer. So, I started praying to others. I didn’t think any of it would work, but when I saw that symbol, I knew something had answered my call.

There’s an old Welsh deity, one of many which my grandmother used to tell me about. She used to read me bedtime stories about them, and insisted they were more than just fables. She knew they were real, and she wanted me to know.

Ceridwen is the Celtic goddess of wisdom. Some say she is also a guardian of nature, a purveyor of natural growth and a vengeful spirit that exacts her wrath upon those who abuse nature. It is said that on earth her servants take the form of white cats that do her bidding. That symbol I keep finding painted everywhere is hers, and once I saw that cat, I knew it was she who had heard my call.

No one gives much credence to the old gods anymore; like the forces that ruled the lives of our ancestors just suddenly faded from existence. Like they haven’t been watching and lurking from the shadows for eons. Nothing could be further from the truth, and now my eyes are opened to that truth.

She has taken pity on me, answered my prayers and exacted vengeance on the wretched people who sinned against her. I am hers now, and you should be too. The animals and people sing her name, and those who oppose her shall not prosper. My one hope is that everyone reading this has a clear conscience, for her servants are always watching, and they are always hungry.

shadow cat