• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 05
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mouth of darkness

When he raised his nose to me it was clean - washed in the river - but I smelled the blood of my family in his whiskers. That same night he had roused us from our sleepy camp and feasted on those I loved. Me, I was waiting to be last, but his mouth remained closed with his eyes half-opened, dreamy, and heavy-lidded. I was in a squatted position unsure whether to run, play dead, or leap for the nearest tree but they say cats can climb. He was sated and I was orphaned. What was to be a family weekend of bonding in nature had turned me into a survivor and him into a creature that was ready to hibernate - working through the bones, cartilage and limbs of my family. I stuck to my runner’s position which made my joints creaky, my stomach growl. Beside me was my mother's broach - the one he'd coughed up - on the ground, the twisted ponytail of my sister, my father's glasses. Nothing else. My vision was tunnelled, my hearing overcome with pumping blood, pounding heart, every pore sweating fear. The cat was a clean and quick feeder and stretched out now, yawning, lying on his side, head crooked in his paw playing hide and seek. If I had a weapon, if I believed in weapons, I would shoot him in the head.


mouth of darkness

Instead I stared into his eyes daring him to take me in his jaws and chew me up. A soft growl came out of his wide mouth and playfully, he batted his paw on the ground. When I looked down at my own runner's stance, my stretched limbs and tired body I saw something odd. There was fur rising out of the fibres of my clothes, growing sleek and sheen from my ankles. I sat down, released from any chance of escape; felt my nose and it was wide, hairy and wet. A feline smile grew on the animal's face as he languidly picked up the bones of my relatives in his maul and dropped them at my feet.