There was a puffball of white fur on my chest.
It was moving around. It felt like it stabbed me multiple times with each small step it took.
I pulled the struggling ball of fur off my chest as I sat up.
The voice was gone. I stared at the furball. The furball stared back at me with unsettling bright green eyes.
“Put me down.”
I dropped the furball.
The furball had just said something. The way it moved its little catlike jowls to form words that I could comprehend seemed unnatural. There was no way that the ball of fur was a cat. Although it looked like one.
“Cat got your tongue?” It purred loudly as it jumped down from the bed.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
I just needed a moment.
“Take your time. It’s not like the world is ending or anything.”
My eyes flashed open. Was the world ending? Is that why…my eyes started to water. I fought off the memories of the cats I had loved being eaten by a monster. Something that had not seemed real.
“So, the world is ending?”
The furball shuddered and grew until it was towering over me. The creature was more like a cat person. It was still covered in white fur, just bigger and more humanlike. The cat creature doubled over in what I thought was pain, at first, until I realized it was laughing.
“No, the world is not ending.”
I went to get off the bed. I wanted to walk. I wanted to get away from what was happening and the things that I did not understand.
As soon as I swung my legs off the bed, I noticed that I was missing something. Missing something rather important.
The cat creature was watching me with an unnerving intensity now. I liked it better when it was laughing.
“It couldn’t be avoided. We had to remove most of your leg to prevent further infection. If Sam had gotten there just a few minutes later, you would not be here right now.”
I felt the tears burn my eyes. I didn’t want to cry, not now and not here in front of the weird cat creature.
“You couldn’t wait to freak out our young guest, Jessie?”
I don’t know when he came into the room. I had not seen or heard a door or the sound of feet stomping towards me.
I looked up and held my breath.
The man was tall and broad like a statue.
His eyes were red with blue pupils.
“I know, we can be…” He froze for a moment.
I wanted to say something, but words failed me.
“We can be a bit off-putting, at first, believe me when I say we mean you no harm. We just want to help you survive. It will take time for you to accept what has happened.”
“You mean, accept the fact that you cut off my leg.” I did not want to look down at it anymore, at the blank space where my leg should have been. I never thought to check anything else out.
He pushed his large calloused hand through his choppy silver hair.
“It will take time to accept that we had no other choice but to amputate your leg. You are lucky that I got to you in time. Before the infection spread into your bloodstream.”
Infection? What infection? Was there some new mystery outbreak that I hadn’t heard about?
“Jessie would you please put some clothes on?” The man rolled his eyes as he sat down onto the floor.
“Sure, whatever floats your boat, Sir James.” Jessie mockingly bowed before leaving the room.
The silence was running a mile a minute and there was nothing to fill its void. The questions I wanted to ask, but didn’t want to be answered, bounced around my mind. I laid back onto the flat pillow in defeat.
By Ashley Houston
This is a work in progress. I will post as I write it. 🙂
I took the photo a few years ago at an old cemetery. I feel like it embodies the ongoing struggle of what it means to be human.