Saturday, April 26, 2014

“You would have to go through the woods to get here,” his host agreed soberly.

“What’s your name?” the first woman asked Christopher, and he said “Christopher” without effort and then, “What’s yours?”

“Phyllis,” the young woman said. “What’s your cat’s name?”

“I don’t know,” Christopher said. He smiled a little. “It’s not even my cat,” he went on, his voice gathering strength from the smell of the onions. “He just followed me here.”

“We’ll have to name him something,” Phyllis said. When she spoke she looked away from Christopher, turning her overlarge eyes on him again only when she stopped speaking. “Our cat’s named Grimalkin.”

“Grimalkin,” Christopher said.

“Her name,” Phyllis said, gesturing toward the cook with her head. “Her name’s Aunt Cissy.”

“Circe,” the older woman said doggedly to the stove. “Circe I was born and Circe I will have for my name till I die.”

- from a recently discovered short story by Shirley Jackson