An aberrant thing began to grow in Nicole’s mind, blinking and twisted, shapeless as yet but still forming, coalescing, rolling softly until its fingers scratched the delicate peaks of her mind.

Meanwhile there was the problem of the cat.

The cat had begun building something. Not often. But occasionally it would place a small piece of torn paper atop a chair or drag one of her slippers over into the next room. Next to an empty glass. Then it would spend the day idly finding reasons to slink into the room and tap the glass until it rang. And by the end of the day the little slice of paper was joined by curiously similar scraps leading under the chair’s legs. It was weird and not indicative of any constructive plan on the cat’s part but it still struck Nicole as highly suspicious.

The thing in her mind continued to plague her with its ambiguous dread.

Now and then she went out with Ryan, a friend she’d met in college and who may or may not have been interested in pursuing something more serious. She decided to leave it up to him. She was more worried about the cat. And the nefarious urge to howl at the moon.

One morning the cat was sitting at the foot of her bed. It was semi-curled into a ball and watching her with its drowsy green eyes. It hopped off the quilt when she sat up and she followed it into the living room. There, sparkling under the dusty sunlight of the front window, was a city of sorts, built entirely from bottle caps, wine glasses and candlesticks. The cat looked pleased with itself.

The wild thing in her mind escaped then into her ear canal and whispered that, well, there were worse things than being mad. She sighed and nodded to herself and the cat, deciding to hell with the diet, tonight they were eating Ryan.

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