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Eat or be Eaten
An icy wind rushed around the corners. There would be frost and snow soon. The trees held on sadly to their few still available leaves an now and then one of the dry red-brown leaves would fly through the air, whirled up by the wind. Beneath the trees was a littering of leaves which cracked and broke, as soon as one ran through them. A few houses where the icy wind resisted were unlit and quiet. The inhabitants of these cottages slept deep and firmly. Sometimes you could hear a baby shouting or a dog barking but most of the time at this late hour; one heard only the rushing of the wind.
Bit by bit the lighting on the street went out beginning precisely at midnight. Only the stars still shone as distant guards of the night. They were the only remained lights as there was no moon stood in the sky.
A cat's call broke through the piercing silence but nevertheless, silence fell fast. In one of the houses a light was on for a short time but this too was shortly lived. It seemed as if the time had stopped. No living being stirred at this cold autumn night.
A ragged cat that sat on a broken wall was the sole street observant. Every muscle in his body was tightened; the hair was raised in the nape. He smelt an intruder on this icy night and felt, with the arrival of this being, this quiet street would soon change.
A man went of quick step along the small alleyway. With every step some of the leaves broke under his feet. His short blond hair looked brown in the light of the stars. His clothes existed of a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts. His feet were in sandals. It seemed strange however, that he did not appear to freeze in spite of the strong wind.
The man headed for the small wall on which the still cat sat. The once content but curious cat jumped quickly when the man flung himself onto the wall. “It is better for you that you moved, little one“, murmured the man with a brief grin. The strange man lifted the head. If an inhabitant of one of the houses had now put their eyes to their windows, they would have probably been surprised by the man who was sitting on the wall as still a fireplace poker in its stand. To the perceived luck of the man, all inhabitants were still quiet, still deep and firmly sleeping.
The cat carefully looked around the corner to see whether his little piece of the wall was free again. No such luck. He withdrew, only to look a few minutes later once again. The cat made five more attempts at hinting to the strange man to move but the man made no motions and the cat became increasingly more impatient. This was too much for our four-legged friend. With highly upraised tail he swaggered towards the poor-stealing man and sat down beside him.
For a while nothing happened, however, than the man turned the head and looked at the cat. The cat meowed briefly and then turned again to consider a bird on a branch. The yellow eyes half closed, he pursued every movement of the bird and waited for a mistake of the little one. In the cold blue eyes which looked at him he did not seem to take exception.
The small bird was, in the meantime, in a difficult situation. He had of course noted the beast that patiently waited to consume him. He had however small children to feed and between the dry leaves on the street were the tastiest insects he could have ever imagined. “Why such a dilemma?” thought the bird. Everything was fine prior to about a month ago when she and her mate started heading south as they had always done. Her mate however, decided to lay the eggs here in this sleepy town and now it was getting cold and there was a cat ready to pounce. The bird was caught between two instincts – flee south to safety of protect my family.
His small brain rattled. Just under the tree he saw a thick worm crawling about. If he attacked now in a fall flight down, he could maybe catch the worm and escape the cat, and his family did not have to starve for the moment. Soon his companion on the hunt would already be able to go, but still it was obliged to warm the children. It was also difficult for her not to fly to the instinct after the south to give way.
The cat, blessed with above-average intelligence, observed the movements of the bird and noted, now with a grin that he would be probably not have to dig in garbage tonight.
With a skilful and calculated jump, the small bird swooped to the ground. The wings of the hand-sized bird fluttered and with eyes nearly closed and beak fully opened, he was ready to catch the morsel and fly away before the deadly monster could get him. Just he had spread out the wings to brake the fall and land softly; a big black shade appeared beside his right side. Quick like a flash the reddish-brown cat was already on him and bit into the small bird’s wing to hinder him his escape. The bird screamed and fluttered stronger with the other wing trying to escape from the deadly clutches of the cat but alas, he had no chance. Already he felt his life energy exiting his small body.
In the meanwhile, the strange man observed how the skillful cat managed to feed is fat, soft belly. The man noted the cat gets closer and in his face a few more red-speckled feathers flew. A brief grin darted over his face. “Now I may dine on who you were going to feed tonight.” he murmured as he gloating. It was the cat’s last thought as the man from the wall had stabbed the creature quicker than the cat’s paw caught the bird. The man fed himself because he was hungry too.
In the next morning a loud woman would step on the remains of the bird and then try, to clean her stiletto and to her then the skeleton of the cat would strike.
Nobody would know which being an animal could prepare so as it had happened with the cat, because nobody had looked at the icy autumn night from the window. Well, almost nobody. A small girl, maybe about 5 years old, would be able to tell that the being looked human. However, nobody would ask her, and also she would never become voluntarily mouth opened. The scene had shocked her and she would have to see it during the next years in returning Nightmares again and again.