"King of the Cats"
Millie had chittered at the window, jumped in and out of Nevin’s lap, and finally came to lie upon the rug at his feet. The cat groomed herself with luxurious content.
“I swear,” Nevin said, “that cat’s got schizophrenia.”
“Sure,” said his wife, knitting. “Why not cats, too?”
Nevin paused. “You know, actually, that’s an interesting thought. Mental illness is something we attribute to humans.”
He reached down to stroke the white diamond patch of fur on Millie’s chest. She began to purr, but rolled away from him.
“Maybe that’s why cat’s act so weird,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “What do you thi—”
But his wife had gone.
The warm candles lighting the room had burned out long ago. Nevin saw his breath leaving him in white puffs. An inch of grime coated every item in the destroyed cottage.
“Oh, no,” he moaned, bringing his shaking, arthritic hands to his face. “Please…”
He rocked himself back and forth in silent prayer.
Then he heard the rumbling.
He took his hands from his eyes and saw that Millie had jumped back into his lap. Her purr was continuous and content—and her eyes were as distant and cold as ever.
“You all right, dear?” he heard his wife ask.
“Yes,” Nevin murmured.
“Alright then,” said his wife pleasantly.
Nevin realized that he, for the life of him, could not recall her face.
He stroked the cat silently, with the slightest of tremors in his hand.
248 Words (excluding title.)