Title: An Evening Stroll Rating: PG-13 Word Count: 100 Content Notes: No standard warnings apply.
I leap atop the fence and stalk my way across the narrow beams, graceful as an Olympic gymnast. The moon lights my way, but I see perfectly well in the dark. I stretch and drop soundlessly to the ground.
I pad around my territory, damp grass brushing my whiskers and wetting my paws. The evening’s scents tickle my nose. Eager to taste the aromas I open my mouth in what looks like a smile.
A moth flutters past. I chase it, partly for fun, mostly from instinct. It gets away. I yawn, languidly. I didn’t want to catch it anyway.
When Mike yelled at her, “Stop hugging that damn cat, it’ll never love you like I do!” while she held Cinnamon close and kissed his nose, his purrs reverberating against her chest, he sealed his fate.
Anyone that jealous of her affection, anyone that hateful towards Cinnamon, wasn’t someone she could trust or love, definitely a Mr Wrong.
When Ben first came to her house and greeted Cinnamon with a smile, and Cinnamon pawed at him, wanting to be picked up, she smiled as Ben scooped up the cat and cooed at him; this one might be Mr Right.
“I only kill monsters,” the Hunter says, refusing the handful of pennies the young girl in the faded dress is clutching.
Her eyes fill with tears and she persists that surely the reason he’s come to her village is to help her, reiterates that Mother’s new man is a monster, that he’s hurting Mother, that her eye is blackened and there are bruises on her neck like he was trying to choke her soul from her.
“I only kill monsters,” the Hunter repeats with a sigh as he walks away, but this much is true: neither he nor Mother’s new man were ever seen in the village again.
She’s tired of the usual New Year’s resolutions. They’re so predictable and boring, uninspiring and leaning towards self-denial (give up this, cut out that) or self-torture (get up at 5am and run 5 miles every morning, go to the gym 6 days a week).
January, cold and wet, with still more hours of dark than daylight – all the more obvious when the Christmas decorations are carefully packed away until next year – is a bad time for these things. Late spring is the time that a fruit smoothie and a walk by the river might win over a bar of chocolate eaten while huddled inside in an oversized jumper and fuzzy slippers.
Breaking these over enthusiastic resolutions just seems to make people more miserable.
So this year she’s choosing happiness. What that means she hasn’t fully decided. Sometimes it might mean staying home instead of going to a party she doesn’t want to attend, sometimes it will mean going to a party because seeing her friends and sharing a bottle of wine sounds fun. Sometimes it will mean drawing, however badly, because she enjoys sketching for the pleasure of it rather than as a means to any monetary end. Sometimes it will mean doing housework and then a long hot bath she feels she’s earned.
Choosing happiness is a goal she can happily work towards, not something she’ll be miserable over three weeks into January, and that’s a good start.
Romaine realises how important El’s companionship has become to him.
El made pasta, store brought ingredients though she added a handful of fresh herbs to the mix. Romaine laid the table, poured the drinks, lit a tealight on the ceramic coaster for some added atmosphere.
It still felt odd in some ways, after being alone for so long, to have this level of companionship. It also felt, paradoxically, utterly normal. It had become usual and he didn’t want to think too hard about it ceasing to be so. It wasn’t like he was a stranger to finding himself cut out of people’s lives or needing to cut them out.
“Isn’t it good?” El asked, frowning. He looked up from his meal.
“It’s wonderful,” he said sincerely, gaining a smile from her. “I was just thinking. About how nice it is to share meals like this.”
“I enjoy it too,” she said.
He changed the subject and soon they were laughing and talking about anything and everything. What he and El had was special and he’d cherish it.