Even Death won't let me die.
|Snowflakes gently settled and entered my nightmares as icy shape-shifters. No, don't bother. Others had tried to tell me they weren't real. I felt their fangs, begged them to gnaw deeper.
I was never normal. Not this lifetime. Not the previous six either.
I was the wounded fox quivering in the dark forest waiting for the fog of oblivion, the seed wedged in a crack in the parched pavement waiting for the rain. And I was the golden child who didn't know he was fool's gold waiting for a hug he never received.
So there I was, waiting for the end of winter, hoping I would die before spring.
I survived, if survived was the word, on tea and chocolate. My lips favored bittersweet chocolate. I wasn't hungry, hadn't been for a long long time; but, the memory of chocolate-past soothed my nerves. I wanted to die quick. This wasting away was tedious and unnecessary. The end was known. Why, oh why, the delay?
I watched an icicle drip. It was slowly dying too.
Had my friend Death abandoned me? After centuries and cycles we knew each other well. He always showed up on time. His time. I never had a clue. It was better that way, he said.
This time he had promised I'd be spared the dread of fading away.
I lay on a stained mattress unable to move until a cock crowed and Pete bit my toe. She wasn't taking no for an answer. She'd been this way since she was a kitten, through all seven lives. She intended to outlive me. I was fine with that. She could go back to chasing her dinner. She had never liked what I chose. Fickle feline. I hoped she wouldn't abandon me before I died.
I'd died alone before. Too many times. Young and foolish, middle-aged and muddled, old and forgotten. Only Death had taken pity all those times and eventually befriended me. What was the delay?
Then I felt Pete shudder and a deep cold voice, "It isn't your time".
Obviously, I hadn't completed my earthly task yet... again.
So... I waited and slowly recovered. Pete kept me warm that week, wouldn't leave my side, kept biting me to make sure I was still alive until we ran out of Nibbles. Then she howled.
I managed to stumble to the store. It wasn't far. We had holed up in the shed by the dumpster next door.
Winter was weeping that day in all his muddy glory. I tried to stay dry.
The convenience store was on the corner of Sixth and Normal. What a joke. I'd been diagnosed as schizo... this time around... last time it was psycho, the time before that just plain deaf and dumb... literally. Couldn't hear, couldn't speak. Pete was my guide-kitty during that time.
Pete and me. What a pair. When we were both human... centuries ago... we had joked that we never wanted to be normal. Now I was just bored of living and wanted to die. Pete? I think she was just happy to be with me, my calico shadow; but...
Where's Death when you need him.
I heard a bell ring and then a soft voice in my mind. It still isn't time.