03-GodsAndMonsters-MJKerr

He had done this before when the day had been bad and drink had been his salve. A year ago, it had been a ‘rare’ occurrence. Six months ago, it became a weekly one. Now, as Bethany curled up in the bathroom, listening to her boyfriend yelling and screaming through their small two-bedroom rancher she lamented over the fact this had become daily.

He would come home angry from his job at the hospital. He would immediately open whatever bottle was the first to touch his finger tips, and whatever liquid it was into a glass and being thrown into his mouth before she could even come out to greet him. Over the past months the house was never clean enough, the food never warm enough and now he was screaming about how she was not good enough.

He rarely struck her, but today he had happened to be especially rageful and walked into their room to find something to throw. He had decided to throw her small marble statute that she kept on a side table with some flowers and crystals. She supposed you could call it a pagan altar, nothing serious, but he knew that statuette of the nondescript female body, arms outstretched to the heavens holding a large orb, was heavy.

When it had hit her head, he had only shown a glimmer of drunken surprise before she had run for the bathroom, blood running down into her eyes. He had reacted by threatening to come in there, believing she had brought her phone, begging and screaming at once.

She had not let him in.

Something about his rage, the screaming, the way he stormed to and from made her afraid for her life. One glance in the mirror had made her nauseated, some distant voice in her head casually thinking she might need stitches over that left eyebrow. If she got out of this bedroom.

“Please God. Please,” she prayed quietly, tucked on the floor against the grey bath and shower unit, the white shower curtain smeared with her blood from where she had rested her head. He threw something that shattered somewhere in the house, “any God. Please. Please help me. Please stop it PLEASE.”

She felt the sob in her throat as he banged on the bathroom door for another round of trying to get her to open it, truly believing this may be the time he came through it entirely. Bethany slapped her hands over her mouth to smother any sounds of fear she might emit, but then he roared at her.

“YOU BITCH, YOU CALLED THEM!”

She felt another wavy of wooziness overtake her, but he stopped pounding. Called? He obviously had not seen her phone yet, left on her bedside table. She hadn’t called anyone. The house became quiet, quiet enough that Bethany crawled to the bathroom door, hands trembling, and unlocked it so she could crack it open.

She was still on her knees, viewing the hallway from the floor. She could hear Ryan talking to someone. No raised voice, but his tone was clipped, irritated even if she could not make out the words. She could not hear who he was speaking to, but suddenly that clipped tone turned into yells. Not the ones of anger from moments ago, but fear.

One eye still plastered to the crack in the door, her breathing sped up as she saw him stumbled into the hall. A figure followed – no, stalked – after him. Lean, tall dressed in black.

Bethany could make out a red amulet hanging around the figures neck, but before she could take in any other details the figure lunged and drove Ryan onto his back, kneeling over him with an arm perched up to strike.

The cry that came out of Ryan was cut off with a gurgle, the sound of his voice turning wet. He was trying to splutter, but all Bethany could see in the dim hall light was shining sharp knives coming down to slash at Ryan. The hissing gargle stopped as Ryan went still, then the figure shifted and all Bethany saw were glowing eyes. Cat eyes.

She couldn’t scream as the figure stood, and flicked those sharp objects clean of blood. Bethany went to slam the door but the figure moved with inhuman speed and put their foot in it and shoved through to look down at Bethany on the floor.

The figure was a woman, but not. Her smile curled to reveal sharp teeth, canines almost too big to hide behind full lips, her petite nose pressed up slightly. Her eyes were cat-like, green and bright, and she crouched with feline grace as she reached out with what Bethany now realized were not knives but slender fingers tipped with claws.

“What-.. what are…you…”

The woman-cat purred, and when she spoke her voice was rich in tone and her breath hot, like the heat of the sun came from her core. Bethany for a moment swore she could smell fire and smoke on the woman’s skin as her hands reached towards her.

“My child, you called for me, and I have answered to rid you of your monster,” she answered as the clawed fingers brushed aside hair from Bethany’s face to expose the wound from the goddess statuette, “I am Ra’s justice.”

Bethany blinked as the world began to go fuzzy, whether from adrenaline, blood loss or concussion. She could hear the purr still, so loud it seemed to vibrate right into her bones, the room feeling suddenly too warm as the women’s already feline face shifted further into that of a lioness. An eye appeared behind the cat-headed woman on the far wall of the hall above Ryan’s remains, bright and angry, before she passed out entirely.

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