It was for the best.
She was no longer happy or healthy.
I'm sure she will rule kitty heaven with an iron paw.
Back in the day, she was playful, had ear mites, and in general was just a strange and adorable all black short hair.
When we got her, I was on the look out for a fluffy white cat, so I could name him or her Gabriel like the cat in The Crow.
I was that kid.
But I found Jackie.
I had heard stories of an orange cat named Pumpkin from before I was born, and I decided that since when I draw Jack O' Lanterns, the eyes, mouth, and nose are black, this black cat would be named accordingly.
Basically, I named this cat after a cat I had never even met.
It didn't even occur to me that she was a "Halloween" cat, but that would have made significantly more sense.
There are three other things you should know for this story.
One, my sister loves all things snake related.
We always had a snake or two.
Being not a fan of worm like things, I was not particularly fond of snakes, but they didn't really bother me much at the time.
They were just creepy green worms with heads.
Between this day and the time when my mom got bitten on the face by one of them, I'm not so keen on snakes now.
My mom was fine.
I was bothered.
Years later, the Sandworms of Beetlejuice are fine... so that's a start, right?
Another thing you should know is that my bed was on the ground. I had a box spring, a mattress... and that was it.
This was my choice.
The idea was that my closet monsters were good, but my under-the-bed monsters wanted to eat my feet.
Eat my feet.
So, I had the bed right on the floor to keep the monsters at bay/suffocate them horribly.
Lastly, I had a lot of trouble speaking as a kid.
I had been almost entirely deaf until about four years old.
It was just fluid in my ears, but I needed tubes twice, because the first time didn't work.
So, a minor ailment that many people have did exactly what one would expect it to do to a child learning language early on.
One day, I was awakened by Jackie mewing.
It was kind of annoying as I was trying to sleep, so I got up, picked her up and took her out of my room.
After plopping her on the ground, I went back to bed.
A few moments later, she was back, mewing even louder. I tried to ignore her.
Finally, I got up to get her out of my room again, knowing that this time, I'd shut the damn door.
Then, I realized that my head felt rather heavy.
The snake had gotten out of her tank and wrapped herself in my hair.
She flew out of it when I ran the Hell out of my room screaming, "SNAKE IN HAIR! SNAKE IN ROOM! SNAKE IN HAIR!"
No one had any idea what I was talking about, understandably.
Still, I remember being quite frustrated.
Eventually, I took my mother by the hand and dragged her to my room to show her the snake, who was happily slithering all over everything I ever owned.
The snake's tank had velcro holding the top on from that day forward.
As for Barney, this was another case of my poor communication skills, coupled with my very loose grasp of reality as a child. Sure, having a vivid imagination is one thing, but not when it is horrifying.
I loved Barney. I had the doll and everything. I think I liked that he was purple and green. Years later, I developed a love for T-rexs, and I wonder how much of that is because of that dinosaur.
One day, Barney was drinking a glass of "milk".
I felt very smart, knowing that there was nothing actually in that cup.
It was only pretend milk.
Knowing this, somehow the next part was not rationalized in a better way.
In drinking, Barney tilted his head up towards the lights. You could see the person inside of Barney, through the black mesh of his mouth.
Instead of thinking, "Oh no! Barney is just a dude in a suit!! Childhood over!"
I ran around the house, frantic, believing that it was of the utmost importance that I let everyone know Barney's dark secret.
Barney eats human beings.
As though warning of the British arriving, I said "Barney ate somebody! Barney ate somebody!"
I was told not to watch that show anymore. I didn't argue.
I even got rid of my doll, because it was forever on creepy to me.
There was also an incident while watching the Ghostbusters cartoon.
I loved that show... but when I was just a hair too young, there was something about ...a giant... ghost... chicken?
Apparently, I was terrified of chickens.
I don't know.
All I know is that I wound up running around the house screaming "BIG SCARY CHICKEN! BIG SCARY CHICKEN!" because three word phrases are all I could ever muster whilst in a panic caused by television.
...Or snakes in my hair.
In all fairness, I still kinda hate chickens.