She leans back, sinking deeper and deeper into the frayed cushion, not doing much of anything except breathing heavily. Naturally, it annoys me. Hell, it sucks the air out of my lungs. The danger of oxygen deprivation does not occur to me at first. But if there is one thing I have come to hate more than her breathing heavily, it is me, having to hold my breath.
So many months have passed since I smelled fresh air. Come to think of it, it must have been years since I crossed the threshold, since I stepped outside, into the sunlight, which—as I remember—is so warm, so gloriously magnificent. Yes, it must have been decades since I sunk my paws into the moist ground outside, or lifted my eyes to the blue sky, or chased birds. I remember how, having caught them, I would ruffle their feathers, and lick their throats ever so playfully.
Being locked here I have managed to squash these memories. I have grown quite resigned, somehow, to the stale perfume rising here, from these blankets, which she now gathers around her.
Trust me, I don’t miss the fresh air anymore. Out of boredom I have lost the urge to prowl around this place, from one room to another. All I do is groom my tail, which is a sorry sight, because the limp thing has lost most of its hair by now. There is only one small clump of fuzz, clinging by a thread to its very end. I brush around it ever so gently, then lick my fangs, which have become somewhat dull lately. I find the hairline cracks in them, polish them with my tongue, ponder the perils of old age, and try to stay calm, keeping my eye on her.
True, her scent is overwhelming, her heartbeat palpable, her presence inescapable. In spite of my best intentions, she makes me hate her. Yet, she draws me in. I am focused on her as if she were my prey, and she knows it.
I ignore the chirping of birds, drifting in through the windows—yet the taste of their flesh fills my mouth. They flap, flap, flap their wings out there... So darn free, so delectably fluffy! And here I am. I try to pay no attention to that immensely heavy key, hanging way out of reach up there on a rusty nail, by the main door. Why should I.
I never show weakness. And most certainly, I never meow.
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