Beau lies on the creaky bed, not moving, hardly breathing. His hands are folded neatly on his protruding ribs. His eyes roam the blank ceiling of his grandmother’s bed. His late grandmother.
He hears muffled sobs coming from outside the door. There is a funeral going on outside, but he does not seem to be fit for the occasion. He tries to draw tears to his eyes, but they only end up dry. Sometimes he wonders if he has a heart at all. He remembers that time he pushed his sister off the balcony out of pure curiosity. She ended up with a broken leg and nothing more.
There is a knock at the door, but he ignores it. The billowy curtains behind the bed rustle ever so slightly. He ignores that, too.
He cannot comprehend why people wear black on funerals. If the dead go to a so-called “better place”, then shouldn’t funeral-goers be celebrating that? Why can’t they wear white or all the colors of the rainbow? He finds that it is an outrage to be forced into such a limited choice of wardrobe.
He hears someone calling his name. It’s his mother. She’s knocking at the door. A few more moments and she gives up.
Beau bolts up all of a sudden. The cat. He looks under the bed and spots a hint of gray fur. He kneels down and reaches under to take hold of the animal. It’s Pebbles, his grandmother’s beloved cat.
It meows sleepily and gives him a look that says Who the hell are you? The adolescent tightens his grip on the cat. Pebbles meows in protest, squirming to be free of his hands. He stands up, Pebbles still in his hands, and sets the feline down on the bed. In seemingly robotic movements, he grabs a frilly pillow and forcefully brings it down onto the animal.
Beau hears muffled meows and feels erratic movement under his hands. He notes the thin layer of dust that had settled on top of the pillow.
What a shame to let such quality pillows go to waste.
By the time he’s finished estimating the pillow’s thread count, there is no more movement or sound. His hands run over the still lump, caressing it gently. He inhales the scent of fresh meat.
Later, his mother will have to pry the dead animal out of his firm hands. She’s screaming at him to let go, but he cannot. He has already marked the animal as his own. A part of its flesh, a part of Pebbles now resides inside his stomach.
At the burial, he will fling the corpse of Pebbles into his dead grandmother’s grave. No-one will have the heart to jump in and retrieve it. No one will question why there is a bite mark on its side. He will rejoice at the gory sound—such a sweet delight to his ears!—of Pebbles’ body being pulverized under the weight of his dead grandmother’s coffin.
He will almost cry tears of joy.
Patricia P. is a student-slash-poet who hails from the Philippines. Her work has been published in Insert Lit Mag Here, The Wait Poetry Anthology, COE Review, Hypertrophic Literary, and several online magazines.