By Jon Michael Bell
He rang the doorbell. It was winter, and with his thick gloves he could barely feel the button.
He waited. A cat, caught like him on this cold night outside, walked along the porch rail. Toward him.
He watched it.
In the street behind them a solitary car passed. Like urban sleigh bells, the chains on its tires chimed rhythmic into the pounded street snow.
No one was home. The cat. Was rubbing against his leg.
He set the candy down and picked it up. It purred. And purred more when he tucked it under his warm arm. Like a football. Against his thick coat.
He could see into its eyes. Up close. He liked it that way.
When he wrapped his thick fingers round its tiny neck...
Pinning its legs against his side, he slowly squeezed, watching the eyes widen in alarm. Feeling it push against him. Desperately struggle. For a long time struggle.
The lids droop slowly down. The light pass from the eyes.
He let go. Another car rattled metal links by in the snow.
Watching the light return. The animal terror that followed. Flooding the look in those helpless eyes. It pierced his soul.
A shock wave of remorse flamed hot. In all his cells he could feel it.
Or was it love. Yes, warm love for this tiny being.
I want to do it. Again. Now.
Yes, I want to know what it's like once more.
He squeezed the cat's thin neck. And when it has succumbed, he felt the same pity again warm flooding him.
And only horror at himself. As he did it once more.
And when it was over he...
But this time the cat mustered the last of its tiny animal ferocity and writhed free.
He felt...watching it streak away...he felt jarred awake somehow...as it ran from him...yes, he was awake now...
Had anyone seen him? Would they know?
In a panic he ran
Home to his father's house...