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Peanut This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I watched as my reflection mimicked me in the foggy bathroom mirror. I took deep heavy breaths as I combed my fingers through my hair. The air was warm and heavy, sticking in my lungs. It should've been cold with the January wind coming from the open window. Something didn't feel right.

I finished dressing before I heard it. We all heard it, that bloodcurdling scream that will forever haunt my memories. It belonged to my little sister, Adriana.

For a moment, I wanted to ignore her. After all, she fakes this kind of s*** all the time. But this scream seemed so real. There was real panic in it. I flung the bathroom door open and ran into the kitchen where I heard the scream. They were all there, Jarred, Brandy, Becky, and my Uncle Lynn. They surrounded her. When I finally saw her, she was covered in blood. So much blood.

It took a second to see that the blood wasn't hers. It was what she was holding, our little black furball, Peanut. He was still a kitten, almost full grown. This couldn't be happening. Not now. Not when I had finally accepted him.

Thinking back on it now, it was stupid of me. I had always put him in the garbage can, stuck him in the fridge for a couple seconds, and acted like I hated him. I always knew I loved him, even though I acted like I didn't. I think he knew, too. Last night, he slept on my belly as if we've always been bestfriends and I never was an ass to him. I just couldn't believe it. It was obvious he was going to die.

"He just... He jumped. He just jumped," Adri was sobbing. She couldn't stop crying.

Everything went in a blur. I'm not sure what happened until my parents came home. My mom screamed, probably thinking Adriana was hurt. She started crying when she saw it was Peanut, crying "My baby!" My dad didn't say anything but I knew he was upset. He loved that cat as much as any of us.

He took them downstairs and into the basement. All of us except Lynn followed. His drunk ass didn't care. He probably found this enjoyable.

On the stairs, Adri told us he jumped from the top of the stairs and hit the brick corner sticking out. I looked up and saw Sunshine, our German Shepard, sitting there like she always does. A flashback of Brandy holding our rabbit when Sunshine came along and bit his head flashed through my mind. Did she do it? Every time someone asked about Sunshine doing it, Adri denied it. She kept saying Peanut jumped.

My dad set Peanut in the shower, blocking it of with wood. We all stood around watching him. He attempted to meow but it came out as some sort of choked plea for help.

My dad started yelling for all of us to go to bed since we had school in the morning. He had to be kidding. We all knew we weren't going to school the next day. Brandy even complained about it. After a few minutes, they went upstairs. Me, being who I am, went into my parents room instead. I sat on the bed, next to my parents. "Can't we put him down? He's miserable," I asked. My mom said no, because it costed money.

I went back to the shower and sat on a milkcrate next to Peanut. I was pissed off at my mom. She was going to let him suffer so she could save a few bucks. At the moment, that seemed the stupidest reason ever. It reminded me of how upset I was when they told me they put down Snickers, my lifelong companion and bestfriend. I never got to say goodbye to her.

Peanut got up. For a split second, I thought he might be okay. He started walking around, into walls, where he scratched, leaving bloody streaks. His eyes were fogging up. He could no longer see.

I wanted to cry but couldn't. Peanut…I hated his name. I wanted to name him something cooler like Jet or Midnight. But they named him Peanut because he kept eating their peanut cookies. I was upset about that but not as upset about the current situation.

They kept coming down, first Jarred, then Brandy, then JJ when he finally got home. I sat there looking at him, regretting the things I had done to him. Eventually, he lied down, his breathing shallow. My dad came back in. He put Peanut in the milkcrate I was sitting on and carried him upstairs. He sat him in the kitchen floor. Everyone surrounded him. A few minutes later, my dad yelled. They all went to bed, waiting for him to die. I didn't.

I looked around the kitchen. The floor was soaked in blood. No one was going to clean it up. I sighed and grabbed the mop.




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