Nursie Dear

"Are you comfortable?" Her voice was female, her chassis was human-shaped enough to be comforting while falling outside the 'uncanny valley'. "Can I get you anything?"

His voice was a whisper buried in loose gravel. "…Has anyone called?"

"No, I'm sorry. Is there someone I can call for you? Someone you want to see? I can ask them to—"

"No, no. I thought, maybe… but, no." He winced, shifted his weight, trying unsuccessfully to redistribute the pain.

She turned to the monitor display, took in all the information at a glance, and then began adjusting the life-support array, a little more here, a little less there, an increase of dosage, a decrease in light level. She reached for another control, but stopped, as if pausing to remember something, but stayed frozen there, a sudden statue.

"What is it?"

She didn't respond. He realized the low hum that usually came and went with her was gone.

"Broken down?" He coughed a wracking spasm, turning his head into the pillow until it was done. "Ran out of juice?"

The call button was out of his reach; in an emergency, she was supposed to hit it.

"Here I was sure I'd go first."

Three Line Thursday: "The Next Morning"

You've stolen away before dawn, before I could escape my slumber.
The sheets still own the languid curve of your body
More than I, for all my trying, ever did.

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

He was in the kitchen again this morning.

I locked both doors, front and back, before going to bed, and they're still locked. Windows have been painted shut since Thursday. The clothes dryer vent is hooked to the dryer, and the fireplace flue is closed. I even took a flashlight into the basement and checked for holes in the foundation, anything. There's simply no way to get into this house, but there he was. Still is. He's watching me right now.

I called animal control and they don't know how he escaped their holding room much less got all the way back here. They also said he acted normally while he was there, no cold unblinking stare, no claws out, ate their regular food, even purred. They actually suggested that I think about keeping him.

If I went to stay at my brother's place in Memphis, would he still be here when I got back? Or would he find me there? It's a three-hour flight, so I suppose if he appeared there that same day, then at least I'd know to be scared and stop feeling so foolish.

What does he want from me?

Maybe I should buy a gun.