Excerpt from Carried Away:

 

We had just finished crossing the bridge when we both noticed a definite movement on the left side of the street. We both froze in place, looking at each other and then peering into the darkness to determine the source. It was a soft scrabbling sound; probably just a rat, but since it was the only sign of activity that we had seen in Vicenza so far, I guess we agreed it was worth checking out. Cruz pulled out his phone and turned on the flashlight feature, shining it toward the disturbance.

The light illuminated a small, overflowing dumpster. It looked like the garbage hadn’t been collected for quite some time. 

As Cruz shone the light on the dumpster, a furry black cat lifted its head out of a paper sack it had been investigating and turned to stare at us.

“Heh,” Cruz chuckled, nervously. “I wonder if it heard us talking about eating cats.”

Another cat poked its head up from the garbage at the sound of Cruz’s voice, this one with mottled gray fur. Four golden eyes reflected back at us, unblinking. I realized that the tiny golden lights I had seen in the playground had probably also been a pair of cat’s eyes, and I mentioned this to Cruz.

“I think,” he slowly began, not breaking eye contact with the dumpster cats, “we might have been stalked by cats ever since the bus station. I heard some small animals in the trees, also, that could have been cats.”

A third, and then a fourth cat climbed out of the garbage dumpster in front of us. All four of them just stared at us, steadily and unwavering.

Those glowing eyes were starting to unnerve me. “Hey… about that hostel,” I casually mentioned.

Cruz snapped out his hypnotized stare. “Yeah. Let’s keep moving.”

We took a few steps back and turned around, only to see three more cats who had snuck up behind us while our attention was on the dumpster.

“Fuck,” Cruz hissed through clenched teeth.

*****

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