Late Night Snack

by Anneliese Balfour

She waits.
I feel her icy gaze on my skin as clearly as the warm blankets that hold me.
But she listens.
To grasp the glass of water perched on my nightstand would surely be my undoing.
It is almost certain that she has sipped from that cup
and in so doing, tainted its contents.
Foolishly, I peek out from my fabric shelter
and survey my bedroom floor.
I see a graveyard of toys and curious feathered objects,
feeble attempts to appease her.
It is not play for which she hungers.
Moonlit masses of laundry dwell between these neglected instruments of distraction.
They morph into gruesome shapes in the night
but these malleable imps are not what concern me.
She lurks.
I shift my gaze to the right, and my fears are confirmed.
There, on the window sill, sits a dark figure.
She watches.
Hastily, I shut my eyes.
But alas, it is too late.
For she knows that I no longer slumber.

She arrives.
As she looms over me, the stench of dead mice scurries from her breath
to seek refuge in my nostrils.
She speaks,
Though I know defiance will not save me, I ignore her command.
She caresses my cheek
and utters more forcefully,
I resist one final time.
She presses her claws into my eyelid and echoes with her raspy, inhuman voice,
Mournfully, I rise from my bed to grant her wish.
She rushes down the stairs, footfalls far too heavy for her form
and urges me to release her from this house.
Time itself seems to hold its breath as I fumble with locks and bolts.
She demands again,
At last, the door is open.
Her delicate white whiskers graze the door frame,
her well-groomed tail brushes my leg,
and she thanks me with a squeaky, “Meow!”
as she vanishes into the night.

She has been unleashed on the world.

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