by a.m. moscoso
Inspired by The Soul Food Cafe Prompt
Insanity Jones was a cat whose real name was Wolfgang and he belonged to a woman named Rose Hunter.
Rose was an old lady who never seemed to have been a young lady and for as long as anyone could remember she wrote ghost stories and towards the end of her very long old life she wrote horror stories that contained astronomically high body counts that ended up becoming video games.
Everyone in Rose’s neighborhood liked her and they liked her brick house with the stained glass windows and they didn’t mind that she had a genuine human skeleton in her writing room and these part monkey part fish creatures floating in jars in her study and a big heavy oak chair that someone later figured out was an electric chair in the foyer because hands down they were all much more unverved by Wolfgang aka Insanity Jones.
The cat, they decided, was stranger then Mrs Hunter or her collection of dead things in jars.
Insanity Jones bit the mailman ( twice ) he attacked the fire fighters that come through every single Fourth of July to put out the little fires that start in the Evergreen trees because no one living on 51st Street has learned that bottle rockets with strings of firecrackers tied to them are a really bad idea.
Once Insanity Jones even sat in the middle of the road during rush hour and backed the traffic all the way up to the Lost Bay Road and caused three hour traffic jam on the highway.
Why didn’t the people in those first few cars get out and move Insanity Jones?
Well, that would mean touching him.
So why didn’t they just run him over you ask?
Because if you knew Insanity Jones you probably knew that would make him really angry and very dead and that was the stuff nightmares are made of.
Really though, no one hurt Insanity Jones because they really liked Mrs Hunter and it was sort of sweet the way she’d pick Insanity up and hold him like a baby and tell him how sweet and precious he was.
Plus, if Insanity had ever torn apart birds on your lawn during an Easter Egg Hunt in front of a bunch of 3-8 year olds all dressed in their Sunday Best or popped your dog’s eye out of it’s head you’d have to admitt that it was sort of satisfying to watch Insanity Jones sitting in an old fashioned baby carriage while Mrs Hunter cut flowers.
Occasionally she’d bring them over stick them under his nose and say, ” Isn’t that nice my Sweet Baby? ”
The only thing better then seeing that was having Insanity know you were watching.
Thinking back on it, Insanity didn’t seem to mind at all- because when that demonic man eating beast was anywhere near Mrs Hunter he would act almost human. And when she would lift him up and kiss his battle scared nose ( which was missing a tiny chunk on the right ) and say, ” Never leave me Wolfgang, it would kill me for sure if I ever lost you. ” he almost looked like a real cat.
It was a sad day when Mrs Hunter died, and in the town of Abandon her funeral was huge. Along with her friends people like writers and actors and artists who did special effects makeup showed up to say goodbye.
Insanity Jones was there too and when he found his way into the chapel and sat on one of the back pews nobody tried to move him. No one sat anywhere near him but everyone remembers seeing him there and when he jumped down and walked out after the service he was limping a little.
Nobody was really surprised that Insanity Jones disappeared shortly after Rose’s Funeral- everyone in town figured he just went completely over the line and took off for one of the inner circles of Hades where he had earned his own little forest full of flightless birds and Fireman with exposed ankles.
In a way they hoped so- Mrs. Hunter would have wanted her Sweet Baby to be happy.
It was about two years after Rose had died that her house was turned into a museum and it drew a lot of visitors on Halloween- and even after it was passed people who looked like they didn’t know it wasn’t Halloween showed up and along with the curious and they all wanted to know the same thing.
Was it true that Roses’s Grandmother was Slumber Boneset- the famous Cemetery Baby? Was it true Rose spent two years living with Head Hunters and Witch Doctors on those little Islands in the South Pacific where soldiers during the war chose to die on sinking ships or ditched their planes in the shark infested waters rather then set foot on those dark little islands that Rose Hunter called home.
Rose’s friends would look from left to right and say, ” Well, she was a writer you know…” and then they’d say a little defensively ” Rose lived in a lot of places but she liked her house here in Abandon the best.”
As the years went on the Museum People started to notice little things around Rose’s House- things that made them not want to be alone in her rooms that smelled like nutmeg and gardenias.
Sometimes there’d be fresh cut flowers on Insanity’s little bed by the fireplace, sometimes the skeleton out in the living room would standing in one corner and you’d come back in a few minutes later and he’d be in another.
And sometimes the things in Rose’s Jars would have their eyes closed and sometimes those eyes would all be open and looking in the same direction.
They told themselves that in life Rose had a weird cat and she traveled to weird places and she had dead things floating in jars all over her house and she had a machete collection stored with bolts of fabric that were probably intended to be used as death shrouds- so of course you were going to see weird things in the house she called home.
As sad as it was they knew Rose was dead and gone and she was never going to come back and neither was Insanity Jones. The world, the people in Abandon would tell you, got a little smaller and duller when they accepted that cold little bit of reality.
It was a bright Spring morning the day Carmen Stark’s turn to open the museum came up- and like the other times she had to work alone in Rose’s House she prided herself on the fact that it didn’t bother her to work on her own for a little while the way it bothered the other volunteers.
She looked up into the bright blue sky as she popped the key into the lock and as she started to turn the key she saw that the trees were full of singing birds- all except for Rose’s trees and Carmen thought how right that was considering how hard Insanity worked to rid the world of anything that had wings.
Only the birds had been nesting in the trees since Rose had died so…
Carmen pulled her hand away from the key and she looked over her shoulder and up into the empty trees in Rose’s yard and then she looked down and looking back up at her was Insanity Jones.
Insanity was looking straight into her face and then he winked at her.
” You’re back ” she said and if you’re here…”
” Rose? ” she whispered hoping no one would answer.
And from the other side of the door somebody turned the lock and the door swung open.
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