I Put a Camera on My Cat

📅 Published on December 19, 2021

“I Put a Camera on My Cat”

Written by Ryan Peacock
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 16 minutes

Rating: 9.83/10. From 6 votes.
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Ever since my wife Adalyn disappeared, it’s been just Charlie and me all alone.  I don’t mind it.  I’ve never much cared for company.  If I’d wanted visitors, I wouldn’t have tried to get as far away from civilization as I could now, would I?  Charlie’s pit stops back at the house for food, sleep and depositing the presents he sometimes brings back are enough for me.  In the meanwhile, I occupy my time with books and occasionally television.  Adalyn left behind more than her fair share of the former.  She had a thing for mystery novels.  I never used to take any interest in them, but nowadays…well, I suppose reading the ones I knew she enjoyed lets me feel close to her again.

My daughter says I’m going crazy up here.  I tell her that I’ve never been happier.  I don’t want to go back to the city and rot away in some old folks’ home with a condescending nurse talking to me like I’m a child.  I’m eighty-five, and I’m as sharp as I ever was.  Not quite as spry, no.  But if anything really needs fixing, I have a telephone, and I have the internet.  I can call for help if I need it.  I intend to live out my days here in this house, with the woods stretching endlessly on behind me.  I’ll breathe fresh air, relax in solitude and wait for the Lord to tell me that my time is done.  Until then, I will do all I can to enjoy the time I have left on my terms.

Of course, that said, my daughter Sarah still worries after me more than she ought to.  I suppose I should find it sweet, but really, it’s a little annoying.  I love her dearly, and I’m glad we raised her right, yadda yadda, but when I’m trying to read, I don’t need her knocking on my door to fuss over me.  I’m sitting in my chair on the porch.  I have coffee and a sandwich.  I’m not going anywhere, and even if I was, I’m hardly feeble!

Regardless, she insists that I need the company.  I gave up fighting her on that.  I figure she’s doing it more for her own peace of mind than anything else.  I was never there for my father in his twilight years.  He and I weren’t on speaking terms, and after he passed…well, I suppose I’d wished one of us had had the balls to say one last nice thing, and I suppose I wish that it had been me.  Besides, sometimes she brings me gifts.  Not quite as fancy as the ones Charlie sometimes brings.  But fancy in their own way.  Cameras to monitor the outside so I can see who’s coming from my tablet computer, and I suppose the tablet computer herself.  I’ve adapted well enough to it all, I suppose.  I’d like to think I’ve done so better than most my age, and if I’m being honest, I like how easy the technology has made some things.  Even if they were things I didn’t really ask for in the first place.

The other day, Sarah asked me if Charlie’s long absences bothered me.  I told her they didn’t.  Charlie has always been an outdoor cat.  He’s as much a creature of the forest as the birds and the squirrels.  Adalyn used to worry after him since there were coyotes and bears out there.  But I don’t.  I reckon that if Charlie’s made it this long without running into trouble, he knows what he’s doing and judging by the things he sometimes brought home, I got the impression he wasn’t exactly in danger.  It wasn’t often, but every now and then when Charlie came back, he’d have some sort of trinket with him.  Sometimes it was junk: bottle caps, pieces of old cans and whatnot.  Sometimes he’d have coins, usually just small change.  But every now and then, he’d have something a little more valuable: jewelry and whatnot.  Some of it was fake; a few pieces looked pretty real.  I always kept the real-looking ones in a drawer in case anyone ever came looking for them.  It didn’t seem right to sell them.  I figured that they’d probably been dropped somewhere in the woods by hikers, and Charlie had found them.  Either that or he was raiding some kind of garbage pile.  It was hard to say for sure.  Regardless, I got the vibe that he was staying out of trouble.  Some cats are dumb.  Charlie isn’t.  I’ve got more faith in that cat than I’ve had in most people.

Still, Sarah had her question to ask.

“You don’t wonder where he’s going at all?” she asked.  I got the impression that she asked more out of genuine curiosity than anything else, and that told me she was trying to work her way up towards some kind of point.

“What that cat does is his business,” I said.

“And you’re not in the least bit curious, huh?”

“Alright, what did you buy?” The sales pitch was getting a little annoying, and Sarah just smiled sheepishly.

“Okay…well, I just thought it might be fun, y’know?  But they’ve got these cameras.  People wear them when biking and stuff.  You can attach them right to your body!  Isn’t that neat?”

“I suppose.” I didn’t really see the point to it, but I was playing along.

“It might be cool.  It’ll give you something to look at when he gets back!”

Truth be told, I thought the whole idea was a little stupid…ah, but she had gotten my attention, I suppose.  Something in my gut told me that this was the sort of question that was going to keep me up.  Besides, Sarah seemed pretty interested in it, and as much as my daughter can annoy me sometimes, I’ve never once been able to say no to my little girl, and I wasn’t about to start now that she’d hit fifty.

“I suppose…” I repeated, “Charlie put up with those ridiculous sweaters your mother always put on him around Christmastime.  He’ll probably tolerate this too, and I don’t imagine it’ll do him any harm.”

“It won’t!  Trust me!  This’ll be fun!  I promise!” I could hear the years melting away in her voice, and beneath the lines of age and grey at her temples, I could see that same two-year-old I’d not so begrudgingly sat and had imaginary tea with once upon a time.  She split into a full grin and reached into her purse to take out the camera, which looked like a small, grey box.  She’d even bought a harness.

“The kids are gonna love this too.  They always ask about you and Charlie, y’know.”

“Oh, I’m sure they do,” I replied.  The kids must’ve been at least pushing twenty by now.  I doubt they spared much thought towards what I was up to.  But it was nice of her to lie to me, I guess.

Looking at that harness and camera, the first thing that came to mind was: Charlie is not gonna be happy about this.’ But I kept that thought to myself.  Aside from moderately annoying the poor cat a little bit, the whole idea seemed harmless enough.  Besides, maybe we’d actually see something interesting when we looked back at the footage.

Sarah, of course, showed me how to set everything up.  She showed me how to access the video by myself, and I’d say I got the hang of it moderately quickly.  I knew the steps, at least, and if I got stuck, I could always call her.  Then after chatting for a while longer, she went home and let me return to my solitude.

Charlie hadn’t come back home yet, although he usually didn’t show up until sundown.  So, I set everything aside and sat down to read a book, and at some point, I fell asleep in my chair.

When I woke up, it was dawn, and I could see Charlie sitting on the banister of the porch, right outside the window, so I’d know he was there when I woke up.  As soon as he saw me moving, he started mewling and pacing around.  I picked myself up, stretched and shuffled over to the door to let him in.  He scurried indoors and went straight for the food bowl, and as he did, I noticed that he’d left me something on the deck.

It gleamed brightly in the morning sun, and I slowly bent down to pick it up.  It was a necklace.  Judging by the tarnish on it, it was real silver.  The chain looked broken, but the charm looked alright.  It depicted a little heart.  Nothing fancy, but it was something good for a lady, I suppose.  No engravings on it.  No sign of who it belonged to.  It was likely that nobody would come looking for this, but I still took it to the sink to wash it off before I put it in the drawer with the rest.  That drawer rattled with old rings, necklaces, earrings, and rare coins that Charlie had brought over the years.

The old cat himself was going to town on his dry food bowl as if he’d never seen food before in his life.  I honestly felt a little bad for him and hoped he hadn’t been waiting too long.  I went to fetch some wet food for him, partially as an apology and partially because I knew he’d start to get mouthy with me if I didn’t give him a proper breakfast.  I was too tired to listen to that old man bitch.

Charlie’s a good cat, despite his attitude.  He’s a greying Maine coon with a mean face, although he always melted like butter in Adalyn’s hands.  She was always inclined to baby him, but I always saw him as a fellow curmudgeon to pass the days with.  I’ve never actually told anyone this, but I always imagined he’d have a bit of a southern drawl if he could talk and that he’d sound a little bit like John Wayne.

As soon as he heard me opening up the wet food, he was right at my ankles expectantly, mewing and demanding his breakfast.  I figured it wasn’t wise to keep him waiting.  I set the bowl down on the kitchen table and let him jump up to eat his fill while I started on my own breakfast.  Charlie had a nap while I ate, sleeping in the armchair Adalyn had once liked to sit in.  I didn’t bother him until around noon when I remembered that camera that Sarah had brought.

I’d left it in the living room, and while I hadn’t put too much thought into putting it on Charlie, the memory of the necklace I’d found that morning had gotten me thinking.  Where was my old friend getting all that junk?  Was he finding it, stealing it?  What?  I supposed the camera was likely to answer that.  Sarah had already piqued my curiosity as to where he went.  But that posed a question that required a more immediate answer.

Charlie was out cold, with that contented look cats have when they sleep, and he paid me no mind as I got up to fetch the camera.  I read over the instructions again and played with it for a bit before I actually tried to set it up.  I recorded a little snippet of footage of Charlie napping there on the couch and popped that into my computer to review.  The quality of the camera seemed fairly nice.  It was easy enough to access the files.  Might we well go and make sure the harness fit.

Charlie only gave some slight protest when I bothered him to put the harness on.  I’d committed the sin of awakening him, although he gave me a pass despite clearly being grumpy.

“Sorry, old-timer,” I said before scratching him under his chin.  I fastened the harness around him, then fitted the camera onto the chest.  “Guess I’ll be along for your next adventure, huh?”

He just chirped at me and sniffed my fingers, then flopped back down to continue his rest.  He didn’t stay that way for long.  Within the next ten minutes or so, he was at the back door stretching and pacing, ready to set out on the road again.

I checked to make sure his camera was on before setting him loose.

“Happy trails, pilgrim,” I said under my breath as he scampered outside and bounded down the stairs.  He stopped to look back at me briefly before he took off into the forest, and I knew I probably wouldn’t see him again until nightfall.

Normally I’d have been in bed by nine, considering I was up so early.  But thinking about Charlie and what I’d find on his camera kept me up, and I couldn’t help but feel the house was a little too quiet for a change.  I put the TV on to try and distract myself since reading hadn’t quite done the trick.  I poured myself a hard drink as well.  No harm in that, I figured.  It’d been a while since I’d indulged, not since…well, not since Adalyn’s funeral…

We’d buried an empty casket.  There hadn’t been a body.  After two months of looking, there wasn’t much point in pretending as if she was ever coming back.  My mind stayed sharp over the years.  Adalyn wasn’t quite as lucky.  Dementia ran in her family.  We’d seen it happen to her mother…a slow, cruel decline.  We’d both feared for years that it would happen to her too.  Then, when we started seeing the signs neither of us acknowledged it, even when they became too large to ignore.

Sarah was over constantly back then, doing what she could to help us out.  Adalyn was a strong-willed woman up until the end, though.  Sarah suggested retirement homes; neither of us wanted to go.  She wasn’t feeble.  She and I had taken care of ourselves.  We’d kept our health into our old age.  We even went on walks through the trails out behind the house!  Going into some home, where they’d infantilize her, treat her as if she was less of a person just because she was old and sick – take her out of the home she’d known for years – I couldn’t do that to her!  I didn’t want to watch her go through that, and I would’ve been damned if I let her go without me.  No, she was my wife.  In sickness and in health, until death do us part!  Those were the vows, and I would honor them until death.

Death…

When I was a young man, in my twenties and looking to propose, the prospect of growing old together terrified me.  I wouldn’t give back the memories we made together.  Not for anything.  But back then, the idea of one day losing her, or of knowing the pain she might feel if she lost me…that thought would sometimes creep into the back of my mind.  I’d always banish it, dismissing it as something to worry about in the future.

Then, when one morning I woke up to find the spot in the bed beside me empty when I never saw her again…then I had to accept that eventually had come.

The Police suggested that she’d gone on a hike alone.  She’d done that before when we were younger.  I didn’t argue with them… I imagine that’s just what she did.  She woke up, forgetting the years that had passed, looked out into the crisp morning air, and decided to enjoy it.  She walked out, and she never came back in.

Maybe she’d forgotten the trail, got turned around, and wandered deeper into the woods.  Maybe she’d fallen, hurt herself, and never been found…whatever ending had befallen her, I preferred not to think about it.  It was better that I did not know, even if not knowing was the cruelest thing in the world.

Sarah was there for me, of course.  I suppose it’s why she’s doted on me so much in the year or so since.  I wonder if, deep down, she fears that one day I’ll follow Adalyn into those woods, and she’ll never see me again either.

The scotch sat in my hand as I stared blankly at the TV, not really watching the infomercial on the screen.  A flash of movement from the corner of my eye drew my attention and tore me away from my thoughts.  Charlie paced on the back porch outside; the camera harness on him looked unharmed.  I set my glass down and stood up to let him in.

“Have a nice adventure, old-timer?” I asked.  He just went straight for his food bowl.  Dinnertime.  I let him gorge himself on dry food while I got a tin of wet food for him.  That got his attention, and he hopped up onto the kitchen table to await his feast.

“You’re a spoiled cat, aren’t you?” I asked.  I’ll bet if he could’ve responded, he’d have said something like:

“You bet yer ass, pilgrim.”

As he ate, I took the camera off his chest and undid the harness.  He seemed happy to have it off.

The camera was a little bit dirtier and had stopped recording some time ago.  I vaguely recalled Sarah said something about the camera not having a hell of a lot of battery life.  A couple of hours or something.  I probably wouldn’t have gotten the full adventure, but that was fine by me.  I doubt I’d have missed anything that interesting.

I was tired and wanted to sleep, but the camera called to me.  I can’t quite explain the sense of urgency I felt about looking at that footage.  Maybe I was more bored with my routine than I thought, and at the very least, the footage might be somewhat interesting.  I gave Charlie a pat on the head before deciding a cup of tea might give me the boost I needed to go through that footage.

When all was said and done, Charlie had gotten comfortable in his favorite chair and I’d retired with my hot tea to the office.  I plugged the camera into my computer and took a sip of my drink.

There were only a couple of videos stored on the camera.  I recognized a few as the test videos I’d taken by the thumbnails.  The last one, though…it must’ve taken its thumbnail from a random point in the video.  It looked almost pitch black, as if something were obscuring the camera.  I frowned at the sight of it and hoped like hell the file wasn’t messed up somehow.  I’d have needed to call Sarah if it was, and who knew when she could make it out to see me?

I clicked the video anyway just to see what happened.  I didn’t expect it to start, but it did.  I could see part of Charlie’s head and my own jean-clad legs as I turned the camera on.  I remembered this.  This was just before I’d let him out.

“Happy trails, pilgrim,” I heard myself say before the back door opened and Charlie was set loose upon the forest.

What followed was some rather neat-looking footage as Charlie skulked around some bushes and tall grass.  But I can’t really say it was all that interesting.  He climbed some fallen branches and made his way into one of the neighbors’ yards.  He watched them for a little while and even ate some treats they’d left out that seemed to be for him (the little glutton).  Then he went back off into the woods.

I’m sure at one point I saw him pass the hiking trail that Adalyn and I used to walk.  I recognized a little creek that he walked along as he moved deeper into the forest.  There was a familiar rustle of grass and water as he walked along, although the sound quickly became annoying, so I lowered the volume.  I couldn’t help but wonder just where the hell he was going out there, but I imagined he was probably just hunting.  Maybe he’d kill a mouse or something.

The canopy above him seemed to get a few shades darker as he climbed up onto a fallen birch tree.  The loose bark crinkled under his paws.  The tree seemed to lead up to another, taller tree.  The canopy above was thick enough that it almost seemed like nighttime, despite it still being fairly early in the day.  Looking at the timestamp of the video, he’d only been out for an hour and a bit.  He moved along the branch of the taller tree, walking as if he knew where he was going.

I could’ve sworn I caught a glimpse of something ahead of him.  At a glance, it looked a bit like a bird’s nest, although it seemed rather large.  That said, I knew some birds liked large nests.  The longer I watched, the more glimpses I caught of the thing.  It was definitely a nest of some sort.  Twigs and leaves had been deliberately put together to form something.  Although this was bigger than any bird’s nest I’d seen before.

It seemed to completely dominate the top of one tree, and Charlie kept climbing as if he hadn’t quite reached the top yet.  Hell, I couldn’t even see the sides of this thing.  It seemed less like a nest and more like a wall of branches that seemed too big and too thick for a regular bird to lift.

After a while, one of the branches that Charlie had climbed seemed to turn towards the nest.  Getting closer, I could’ve sworn I saw bits of rope holding some of the larger sticks, or perhaps it would be more apt to call them branches together…I didn’t get that good of a look, though.

Charlie seemed to weave his way through a gap in the nest, creeping in as if he owned the place.  The inside seemed pitch black.  Charlie moved slowly, carefully choosing each step as he drew closer.  It was over a minute until there was any light again…long enough to make me check and see if the video had ended, but there was still about a half-hour left.

At last, he seemed to emerge onto the other side of whatever wall he’d just passed through.  The light inside the nest was scarce.  The interior was scattered with large black feathers, and I could see the sunlight glinting off bits of shiny things.  Tin cans, children’s toys, pocket watches, hood ornaments…jewelry…

Was this where he was getting all that?  What the hell was this?  Some kind of massive crow’s nest?  I was hardly an expert on crows, but I couldn’t imagine they’d ever make a nest that large.  Charlie paused as if looking or listening for something before he continued.  He paused to sniff a few pieces of discarded junk before casually making his way over to the far side of the nest.

As he walked, I noticed the shapes of things that didn’t quite look like branches or sticks…they were brownish in color and seemed to blend in easily.  But the shape of them was all wrong.  Branches don’t have those smooth edges.  Branches don’t curve inwards on themselves…and branches don’t have eye sockets.

I could see the skull of some sort of animal, a large rodent of some kind staring emptily from the interwoven branches.  I could see bones with smaller twigs wrapped around them, used almost as additional support for the structure of the nest, and as Charlie walked, I saw something that made my heart begin to beat faster as a sick sensation filled my stomach…

I’ve seen human skulls on TV, but never in real life…had it not been for the matted black hair that still clung to the scalp, I might have been able to dismiss the idea that it was anyone else.  But I knew that hair.  I’d kissed that head a thousand times over a lifetime together.  I remembered the laughing eyes in those now empty sockets.  Even in death, I recognized my Adalyn!

Or…what was left of my Adalyn…

How many of her bones had been added to this nest?  Her body alone couldn’t have been what became its foundation!  How many others had been claimed as construction materials for this nest?  Oh, God…oh, dear God…

Charlie sat reverently before Adalyn’s skull, and I knew that he recognized her too.  He’d almost certainly come there to mourn, to pay his respects or simply to be with her, even if she was long gone.

I could only pray that whatever had done this to her had only taken her after she’d died.  But from the gashes in the bone, I feared that wasn’t the case.  But what could have done something like this?  What could’ve taken her?  What could’ve…Charlie had been sitting quietly for almost ten minutes as I placed my hands to my mouth, stifling my own cries of grief.

Then, he moved.  Suddenly, as if something had startled him.  From the speakers, I heard a raspy sound.  An inhuman hiss that sounded like a cross between a sadistic cackle, and the chattering of some large bird.  Charlie scurried out of sight, moving between another gap in the branches of the nest before positioning himself to look back.

Through the gaps in the branches and bones, I could see something else had entered the nest, although I could not fully see what it was.  All I could see was two scaled legs that each ended with a four-toed claw, just like a bird of prey.

It chittered and cackled as it approached the spot where Charlie had been, moving awkwardly as it hopped closer.  I could see long black feathers trailing down from the creature’s body as it continued to chitter.  It seemed to inspect the spot where Charlie had been, and I heard him hiss.  It didn’t do much to deter the creature that was hunting for him…the creature that had likely killed my wife…

I could hear the rustling of sticks, and the camera blurred as Charlie moved again to crawl out of the nest.  He moved through the gaps in the branches as if he’d done this a thousand times and found his way onto a long branch that led down.  Then he ran for freedom, and the very last shot I saw in that video was the blur of the ground beneath him.

As the video ended, I couldn’t help but notice Charlie in the doorway of my office.  His eyes were wide and alert; his ears were raised as if the sounds of whatever creature he’d encountered had frightened him.

With a shaking hand, I coaxed him over to me, and he jumped up onto my desk.  I’m not sure if he was there to protect me or if he wanted me to protect him…either way, I was glad to have his company.  I pulled the old man into my lap to hold him tight, and it took a few minutes before he seemed to relax again.  Lucky cat… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relax again.

I’ve rewatched the footage countless times by now.  I haven’t told Sarah anything.  When she asked if I’d put the camera on Charlie yet, I told her I’d get around to it.  She can never see what I’ve seen…she can never know what happened to her mother, never!

But I’m not foolish enough to delete that footage…if ever proof is needed, it needs to be accessible.  To Sarah, or to anyone else who may need it should I not return from the woods today.

I haven’t hunted in years, but I dusted off my old rifle from the garage.  It still works fine, and I’ve got bullets.  I don’t know if I’m half the shot I used to be.  It’s one thing to hit a few tin cans out in the backyard; it’s another to hit a moving target.  But I’m sure I’ll manage one way or another.

I’m sure I can follow the path that Charlie took…not exactly, but close enough.  I’m sure that if I go out into the woods, I can find the nest.  I can find whatever horrible thing lives there.  And when I do…when I do, by God, I will kill it.  For Adalyn.

For Adalyn…

Rating: 9.83/10. From 6 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Ryan Peacock
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Ryan Peacock


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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