Picture Post – Burning

it followed me home...

I told her not to pick it up. I said “there’s no way in hell that thing’s a cat. I mean look at it, it’s got six fucking toes!”

Elise told me to shut up. She was cuddling it against her boobs, the way chicks do with tiny animals. I told her we should crush it with a cinderblock. She called me a fucking psychopath. Said she was totally shocked at how cruel I was being. I was too. I like animals. Why the hate? I couldn’t put it into words, so she took it home with her.

It was a nightmare, trying to spend time with her. That thing had this really long tail, really sinewy and strong, and it loved to slap you in the face with it. I swear that thing always aimed right for the eyes. And God help you if you were still for more than five minutes, because then it would come over and start chewing on you. I have no idea how it got such a strong grip, but it would grab you with both paws and just start gnawing on your hand. She would dismiss it as typical kitten behavior. The scars on my forearm say different.

She started complaining of headaches. I’d be on the phone with her, and all the sudden she’d have these white-hot pains on the back of her neck and she’d have to go lay down. The air in her apartment began to feel greasy and tasted like metal. I was begging her to move in with me, just for the time being. She had finally agreed the day of the fire.

Not arson. They said there was no gasoline, no evidence of foul play, nothing. They probably would’ve blamed it on the gas range, but the fire originated from her computer chair. From her.

I guess I was pretty broken up. The baseball bat was a little much, I’ll admit, but I wasn’t in the mood for rational thought just then. I just wanted to find It.  After they restrained me they told me nothing could’ve survived that fire. That bizarre, intense heat that burned her apartment to a crisp but left others in the building untouched. Like they could be sure of anything after that.

They let me go home after a while. I could pick up her things once they finished scraping them off the floor.

I saw lights in the darkness. Following me.

I couldn’t catch It, I couldn’t see where It went. I will. I know you’re out there, fucker.

The back of my neck hurts as I type this. Two white-hot points of heat.


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