"Well come in then if you want to" he grumbled, "you know how to do
The cat was meowing insistently from beyond the unlatched bedroom door,
the noise had woken him up. The bedside clock was showing three fifteen
in the morning.
The meowing continued, began to take on that human baby like intensity
that pokes at the conscience demanding immediate and undivided
"I'm not opening it for you Jasper, you can cry all night for
He turned over in a melo-dramatic show of rejection, as though somehow
the cat could see or even understand the jesture and immediately
regreted it as a large gulp of cold air was drawn into his warm space
under the duvet. Now there was no way he was going to brave the cold
beyond the bedsheet's just to satisfy his lazy cat.
The meowing stopped! Lifting his head from the pillow he cocked it back
in the direction of the door. A single beam of moonlight sliced into
the room through a crack in the curtains casting a pencil line across
the middle of the bed, the rest of the room was in total darkness. One
second, two three he lay propped up upon his shoulder looking in the
general direction of the door. Way off down the street a car engine was
cranked over, several of his neighbours worked the graveyard shift at
the nearby railway depot.
Flopping his head back into the pillow he heaved up the duvet to his
shoulder and closed his eyes. From the doorway there was a dull thump
from cushioned feet and a familiar rasp as the bottom of the door
dragged across the recently fitted carpet. Clearly having failed to
open the door wide enough, he heard the paws strike the door a second
time as the animal attempted to put sufficient energy into the action
to overcome the friction of the fibres.
'Come on Jasper, put some beef into it man, lord knows I feed you
There was a patter of quick feet entering the room and he could hear
the jangling of the bell upon its collar as it instinctively traced the
contours of the bed, navigating in the darkness with consummate ease.
The bell stopped at the foot of the bed and a rythmic purring
commenced, loud and imposing in the still hush of the room.
Threading an arm out of the duvet he patted the bed quickly as
encouragement to the animal and was shocked by how cold it was, the
duvet felt like it had acquired a film of ice.
'Hop up then' he said encouragingly.
The purring stopped as rapidly as it had begun, usually it would fade
out gradually the way a song does at the end of a record. Again there
"Well suit yourself" he muttered, "but it's a lot more comfy up here."
He began to drift back to sleep.
The bed suddenly lurched violently, the pine framed bedhead rose
momentarily from the floor and thumped back into the dents it had
formed in the carpet.
His eyes flew open, the room was still in total darkness but what had
leapt upon the bed was larger than the cat, much, much larger. He
froze, eyes wide with fear, unable to ascertain if what had just
happened was merely the residue of a dream that had been sufficiently
disturbing to have woken him up. But now in a most alert state he could
sense the thing in the blackness, heavy and formidable perched silently
upon the end of the bed, so near his feet. The room was freezing now,
he could feel his hot rapid breath upon his face and feel the thumping
of his heart in his chest.
The thing took a step toward him, inadvertently stood upon his foot and
the weight of it was dizzying, like a grown man, but he felt a light
but unmistakeable prick of claws upon his ankle as it momentarily lost
its balance and sought to steady itself. How could he possibly feel
claws through the thickness of his duvet!
The thing took another step, another, another, as he lay rigid with
fear his face flat against the pillow not even daring to breath
As it moved through the shaft of light he caught a fleeting glimpse of
it as it stepped upon his chest and drove the air from his lungs. In
the few remaining seconds he had, whilst he still had a head and a left
shoulder attached to his torso he was struck by the oddest thought. As
the sleek furless head had been visible and he had watched the red
mouth seem to split in two to an impossible diameter and seen the teeth
begin to spin around silently until they were just a blur, all he could
wonder was who had given this thing the pretty blue collar with the
golden bell that hung round its sinuous neck.