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Cat People

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The night was bathed in a flickering neon red. The heating was broken. She dragged a ragged, bitten fingernail through the frost crystallized on the window pane, she could only afford to leave marks that by morning would melt away. On the cramped, unkempt bed, her lover shivers in his sleep. Deep within the realms of dreamland, he must be running, fighting, restlessly he kicks away the covers and groans.

What lingered of her mothering instinct tugged the blankets to his chin. She placed a tender kiss to his damp forehead felt his fever on her lips. He turned over violently, and elbow soared like a spaceship and made contact, she sees stars. The blankets finding their home again on the stained brown carpet. She sighed, set her jaw in place, and decided to let him freeze.

Stepping out into the early dawn, the promise of sunrise tinting the sky the colour of the scorched Arizona earth. Four years nine months thirty-one days. Pumpkins don’t grow, wherever it was they were. Her mother had dressed them up like witches every year, she and her sister. Scully wondered if she’s out there now, if she just leaves out a bowl and switches off the lights, out of respect for the daughter she’d buried, and the daughter who ran.

Her breath turned to vapour, then to smoke. She hears Mulder stir, the buzz of static, the b-movie horrors chasing away the nightmares of bright lights and Duane Barry’s, of flukemen and fathers, cancer and lost sisters, lost sons.

“But I love silence, I love loneliness, and they… they are in me,

their strength, warmth.

They’re soft… they’re soft…”

Scully put out her cigarette, ashes falling to the ground, toxic snowflakes melting on the sidewalk. She’d long since stopped caring about the years it might shave away, long since stopped caring if the trickling copper from her nose was from the altitude. Her fingers numb, her heart even number. She returned to her husband, to the cat people, to her life now, as it was.