http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-kitten-68838991 titled A Kitten by Ultrakitten
Eight-year-old Breanne huddled in the back corner of her closet, kitten, Smoke, cuddled in her arms. The sound of her father screaming at her mother drifted up the stairs from the kitchen. Breanne flinched at the crash of dishes.
“I wish daddy would stop yelling,” the girl whispered into the kitten’s neck. The kitten growled, then the last dish crashed and the back door slammed. Breanne wiped away tears. She crept from the closet and down the stairs. Peeking around the kitchen door jamb, she could see her mother, Mary, sweeping up the broken crockery.
Mary set the broom against the counter and dashed her hands across her eyes. She turned. “Hey, baby.”
Breanne ran to her mother. “Where’s Daddy?”
They hugged. “He went out. Sweetheart. Did you hide in the closet like I told you?”
Breanne nodded, blue eyes solemn. “Smoke hid with me.” The kitten rubbed up against Mary’s ankle. Mary picked up the kitten and included her in the hug. “Good girls.”
Every night Daddy screamed at Mommy. Breanne trembled in the closet. Sometimes Daddy hit Mommy, and Breanne cried into Smoke’s soft gray fur. “Please, Daddy, stop,” Breanne whispered into the kitten’s back each time. Each time, Daddy would storm out of the door.
One night after she turned nine, she gathered up her courage and inched down the stairs to hide under the dining room table, Smoke clutched in her arms. She watched her father storm around the kitchen, Mary huddled in the corner of the counter and the sink, arms around herself, head bowed. He yelled things at Mary that Breanne had been told never to say. Breanne began to sob and just as he raised his hand to strike his wife, Breanne whispered, “Stop, Daddy. Go out the door.”
Smoke looked into the kitchen like she’d spotted a bird a few feet away. Halfway through her father’s strike, his arm dropped and he slammed out of the back door. Breanne ran out to the kitchen where her mother stood sobbing and shaking.
“Breanne, you shouldn’t be here, baby.” She pulled a paper towel from the roll and wiped her eyes and blew her nose.
Breanne hugged her mother around the hips. “Smoke sent Daddy away.”
Mary dropped to one knee and hugged her daughter. “I don’t think so, honey.”
Breanne looked her mother in the eyes. “Oh, yes, Mama. I saw.”
Mary half-laughed and hugged Breanne again. “If you say so, sweetie.”
After that Breanne tested Smoke. She held the kitten close and crept downstairs to watch through the kitchen door. At first she waited until her father started to strike, then she’d wish her daddy would stop. Each time he’d stop and leave.
She grew bolder, stopping him earlier and earlier. One day before her father came home from work she asked, “Mama, doesn’t Daddy love us?”
Mary, her back to Breanne, stopped stirring the spaghetti sauce. It took a moment for her to set the spoon in the rest and turn to Breanne. “He loves you very much.”
“He said you trapped him. That I was a bastard.”
Mary hurried to the table, pulled out a chair and sat down. She took Breanne’s hand. “He’s upset, that’s all.”
“Why doesn’t he just go away? When my friend Jimmy’s being mean, I just go away.”
Smoke jumped up into Breanne’s lap. Now a year old, the kitten looked at Mary with wide green eyes. Mary’s hands twisted on the table top. She couldn’t hold the kitten’s gaze and stared at the far wall. “It’s a kind of pride. He doesn’t want to look weak.”
“He hits you, Mama. Hard.”
Mary nodded, her hand creeping up to her cheek where her make-up was wearing thin. The nearly permanent bruise was beginning to show. “Not like that. Different.” She whispered, “I wish he would leave forever.”
Breanne’d never heard her mother say anything like that before. “Smoke can make that happen. She’s been stopping Daddy every night.”
Mary shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
“So why does he stop like that. Right in the middle.” Breanne glared with defiance.
“What?” Mary’s gaze lifted.
“Every night I wish Daddy would stop and Smoke makes it happen.” She stroked the kitten who began to purr, staring at Mary with half closed eyes. “I’ll just wish he goes away forever.”
Mary’s eyes went wide. “You’d make him disappear?”
Smoke head-butted Breanne’s hand when she stopped petting. The girl stroked her cat’s head. “Just send him away, forget us.”
Mary rose and went to the stove where she stirred the sauce. She stirred and stirred then turned back to the table. “Not dead?”
Breanne and the cat stared into each other’s eyes. Smoke purred.
“Not dead, Mama. Just not here.”
Mary turned back to the stove, shoulder’s slumped. “Only if he gets angry again.”
After supper it began again. Breanne sat on the top stair and cried. If only Daddy wouldn’t be so mad!
Smoke drifted from Breanne’s bedroom and eased into the girl’s lap. She stroked the cat. “He’s doing it again, Smoke.”
Smoke flowed from her lap and down the stairs. She stopped in the kitchen door and sat, front feet together and stared into the kitchen. Breanne followed and stood beside the cat.
On a rampage around the kitchen her father jerked Mary from her chair by the hair. He caught sight of them. “Watta you starin’ at?” He slurred his words, empty beer bottles evident on the counter.
“I wish you would go away, Daddy. Go away forever.”
Mary’s hands flew to her mouth as her husband shouted curses at Breanne. He took a step.
Breanne watched as her daddy began to fade.
By the time her daddy would have reached her, he was gone.
The police came when Mary reported her husband missing.
When Breanne was seventeen, she stood as maid of honor at her mother’s wedding. Smoke never did do any more magic.