The Cheshire

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You had already left, through my bedroom window and out into the cold. I asked you to stay, but you refused, telling me this was for the best; that I needed to learn to handle this by myself.

"I won't always be here, you know. I'll be back when the sun rises."

I closed my door, and locked it. My isolation as its signal, panic began to seep into my veins, diffusing throughout my body. I recoiled into the corner by the door, slamming my eyes shut.

The panic, much more like a disease, had reached my heart, for the effects were evident. My heart palpitated dangerously fast, threatening to rip open my chest. I could feel my pulse pounding right through the skin of my wrists and neck. And even though my eyelids were closed, swirling colours invaded the darkness. My fingertips prickled unmercifully, as did my spine.

I gasped for oxygen, clawing uselessly at the air. My head was light, yet just as heavy, unsure whether to float away, or sink into the ground.

"Breathe sweetness. Breathe."

My eyes tore open. Sitting upon my bed was a cat, clearly the voice's source.

"I very well can't." I wheezed, laboriously trying not to suffocate.

"Good. Breathing is irrelevant."

And with that in mind, the futile gasping settled out into not breathing at all. My heartbeat and pulse slowed until they were beating no more. I glanced up at the cat. He was lying on his back, head hanging over the edge of my bed, watching me.

"I bet you think you are dead," he sneered.

"Why would I think that?"

The cat rolled over onto his stomach, and a grin formed across his face. Menacingly, to the say the least.

"What do you want, cat?"

He continued to observe me, saying nothing. I was tired, and yet I still had over five hours to go. I attempted to get on my feet, but dizziness took over, and I was forced to sit back down. I was trapped in the corner, unable to set up proper defenses.

"Tell me," the cat spoke, "What do the walls tell you?"

I glared at him, and said, "To beware."

"As I though. Now tell me this, what do they really say?"

Eyes closed, I replied, "The walls tell me I will not survive."

Feeling his malicious smile bore against my face, I opened my eyes and looked up at him. He was floating, just above my bed, barely two inches from the sheets. His fur was long, and strangely black, a phenomenal contrast to his great, mischievous blue eyes. He smoothed his pompous tail, and looked back down at me, eyes brighter than before.

"Are you here as a friend, or a fiend?" I asked curtly.

He grinned, showing me both rows of blindingly white teeth. "Are you sure I'm even here at all?"

The cat vanished, right into the air. I stared at the spot he previously occupied, momentarily surprised. But I was none too impressed.

"Nice trick, cat. But you cannot convince me I'm losing my mind."

He reappeared, exactly where he had left only moments before. First his smile materialized into view, then the rest of his face, legs and body soon following.

"Can you lose what has already been lost?" He spoke knowingly, unknowingly, as if he did not know what he knew.

The cat began to fade again, slowly, until only his grin remained. Eventually, that too faded into the darkness. And I was left with only echoes of "...has already been lost..." Soon, they diminished quietly into nothing.

My heart ruptured, right through the skin. A dark void, the size of my fist, now adorned my chest, pumping out the blood that had seemed to stop flowing earlier. Panic had returned.





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