At one time in her young life she had feared the darkness. Her childhood imagination had run rampant, giving her horrible ideas of monsters that thrived in the shadows. Now she was the one that haunted the midnight hours. She crept through the trees silently, stalking a small rabbit as it fled for its life. Though she preferred a life on four paws, seventeen years with the things had made her more than capable of moving with them, she was still capable of walking upright. Her facial muscles still worked similar to that of the young woman she once was, enabling her to smile or speak without difficulty. Not that she chose to, but at least she had the option.
Arabella was just about to devour her helpless victim when the unmistakable crunch of fallen leaves met her sensitive ears. The whiskers on her cheeks twitched slightly and her tail grew rigid. The rabbit, eager for escape, vanished from sight. Though the fur covering her long, lithe body was entirely white she had no problem hiding from view. As the footsteps neared her she leaped up into the nearest tree, scrambling for purchase on the thickest branch she could find. Her tail swayed hypnotically as her bright yellow eyes took in the sight below with gleeful anticipation.
A fully grown man! Now that was a meal far more satisfying that a silly bunny. The beam of a flashlight swept across the forest floor and she held herself still. He was searching for something. The sudden thought that he was searching for one of the girls she had spirited away to her manor brought a strange, sick feeling to her gut. What if he found his way to the Manor? She certainly didn't want an unenchantable man stalking around her home! Who knew if the curse would trap him there as it had so helpfully done with the young women? The most recent catch was a little, dark haired girl currently forced to reside in the wine cellar. The transformations were never pretty, but once their ears and tails sprouted they seemed to be much more obedient.
Arabella jumped from the tree with a snarl, hoping to frighten the man away, then dashed towards the manor. She ignored silence for speed. The trees were a blur in the darkness, and she very nearly crashed headlong into one as she pushed through the tree line and into the vineyards that had fallen into a chaotic mess of grapevines and weeds. The heavy purple fruit squashed beneath her heavy paws, staining the coloring of her fur as she made a mad dash into the Manor.
"Paola! Gisella! Both of you, get the younger girls together and hide them. Now!" The two small black cats that had come to greet her hurried away without question. She hurried to and fro, bolting what doors she could. Several of them were broken beyond repair - she hoped he would not find them.