I'm having more trouble taking everything as seriously as I'd like. Blame the reality mind-fuck if you will. I certainly do.
It's actually really dangerous to sit here at night, the pain in my leg a worsening ache, hearing that fucking cat scuttling around downstairs and snarling in rhythmic cycles. Then the almost-silence suddenly being broken by a terrifying primal scream - a human-Freak entering the building; entering the Cat's territory.
I understand the danger - life or death, the line between being stay the fuck out of a Freaks way come night time. I've lived it for about a month. Morning to noon, and nightmare to dawn. And aside from my little escape from reality, I'd say I came out of the fucking apocalypse relatively sane.
Peace of mind, peace of mind.
So it's a problem when I take a deadly situation and put it between a rock and a suicidal place.
I started laughing.
The middle of the night - I can't say exactly when, but not too early and not too late - I sat there awake listening to the cat snarl and snarl, when a new sound broke the monotone of the still night. A bestial scream; a human-Freak.
Anna was asleep at the foot of the bed, lying curled up like a little kid. The scream changed that.
She swung up alertly, although her sagging and weary eyes betrayed just how tired she must really be. Still, her moment of wild awareness ceased when she took in that the room was empty. Her attention turned to the candle, which bathed the room in a pale glow, and then to me.
Where she was calm, I was almost pissing my pants. And I think I might have to, I'm having trouble controlling my bladder recently. Blame the bullets.
I guess she must be used to it, she's been conscious these last six days. I can't say the same. She told me the cat wasn't a hunter, it was a waiter. Skulking the building's hallways, it waited for food to come to it, not the other way around.
The scream startled me, but Anna cued me in fast enough.
The Cat's snarls ceased as soon as the human-Freak's scream echoed through the walls. I guess then all that was left was to wait around a corner or something. It uses the snarl to lure others in - and then waits to jump them while they search for it.
With a single ghostly finger resting between her lips, she told me to wait for it - for the Cat to earn its meal.
A few minutes went pass, with us sitting uncomfortably, our ears strained to pick up the faintest of sounds. Below us something was knocked over. Something scraping against something else. Another wild scream reeking of rage and hunger.
And then finally a particularly loud crunch. A quiet yelp in the dark. And the most blood-curdling shriek I'd ever want to hear. It bounced around the walls in tumultuous waves and before long it was impossible to tell from which direction it originally came. The pitch rose and fell from ear popping levels to pathetic whispers, only aiding the overall brick shitting effect.
Something large crashed against something else. Sounded a lot like a body. Although I suppose it might have been a tray. The smash was barely discernible between the skull-rattling shriek, but more unsettling all the same simply because it could be heard at all.
We stared at each other, Anna and me. I couldn't see it on my own face, but I saw raw fear and displacement swirling across her features. She was here and yet not completely.
I reckon cracked panic was molded on mine.
Then the silence was broken by the clunky sounds of movement. Something large moving slowly and yet urgently downstairs.
"The Cat'll take the carcass downstairs - to the basement. It's probably in two pieces by now. Once I found the upper half of a dead human-Freak stuck between the stairs."
I stared at Anna - at her explanation really - her words calmly articulating insanity. It just sort of struck me then, seeing the terror in her eyes yet hearing her placid tone, how retardedly silly this all was.
Being stuck here, in the dark, while a gigantic hairless cat pulled its feast into the basement.
No, it was beyond silly. It was absurd.
So I started laughing - laughing at the absurdity of the situation. At the impossibility that had befallen the world. And mostly at the thought of a giant fat cat moving around a hospital at night.
Anna stared at me in horror, and moved to silence me. Her hands covered my mouth, muffling my laughter but not silencing it.
I couldn't help it. Her actions did nothing to placate me, in fact, her urgent stricken expression just made the situation all the more hilarious, and spasms of laughter just flew forth.
"No! Please, shut up. Please!"
The sounds of movement from downstairs had ceased. Now the situation was beyond dire. It was life threatening. A single snarl sounded in the building. Curious, no doubt.
Something strange was happening. My laughter was causing my body to shake; spasms I guess you could say, except a searing pain was starting to churn. Like a dagger at my side, the more my body struggled against Anna's attempts to silence me, the more the pain bit.
The laughter was out of my control. The pain was starting to seriously hurt; a piercing white hot ache. And the Cat was not returning to its basement.
Anna kissed me.
In a simple movement of her hand, she removed her fingers from my mouth - my laughter rocking boisterously then for a terribly loud second in the quiet of the building - and then her lips were on mine.
My eyes nearly popped. And the laughter stopped right away. The contorting spasms ceased, the ache more than already fading but long forgotten.
My entire body went rigid, and I might have crapped myself a bit, I can't remember.
And when her lips were gone, all I could do was sit there panting like an idiot.
She indicated quiet with a long finger, gracefully climbed from the bed, reached for her gun, and marched to the door. And there she waited - waited in case the worst happened, and the Cat really came for us.
Had I cracked? I didn't feel insane. Although I guess I didn't feel a lot else. Maybe that's what insanity was? Feeling nothing and not being able to help yourself?
If it was, the kiss had been just what the doctor ordered. For the first time in a long time - maybe since I left the house a month ago - I had felt a really powerful emotion.
And suddenly, nothing was funny. And I could help myself.
Five or so minutes went by like that, Anna at the door and me trying desperately to mask the noise of my panting, before the resurgent shuffling reemerged. We feared the worst - but the noises grew gradual, and eventually disappeared.
The Cat had returned to its den. It had chosen to not pursue its curiosity.
And so curiosity did not kill the cat?
I guess this cat would kick the hell out of curiosity.
Anna returned to my side, dropping the gun into the open bag. She checked my wraps and wasn't surprised to find fresh blood staining the bandages around my abdomen. She clucked in disapproval while she added new cloth.
All the while all I could do was be a tense awkward mess.
Afterward, she climbed back on the bed, and curled up near the foot, just as she had been before awakening, and told me to sleep.
And before long, her breaths turned relaxed, deep, and rhythmic.
And all I could do was stare at her dark lumped figure as she slept. Suddenly, sleep seemed out of reach.