The house was cold
after her departure. It had been like that for three months now, but Isaac didn't care. He'd quit his job, and spent his day in his house, in the cold emptiness, watching the wall. He used to watch the TV
, but after a while that had been too much, and so he'd taken to staring at the wall instead. When evening drew in, and things became even darker, he'd turn on a light in the kitchen, open a tin of beans
, and sit there staring at it. Sometimes he would eat some. Then he'd put the rest of the beans into the bin, turn off the light, and go up to his bed, where he would lie and watch the ceiling light up and then fade as the cars
drove past his window.
It was the squealing of brakes and the subsequent cacophony of metal that dragged him out of his light sleep. Isaac wouldn't have cared about that either, but he heard below his window a soft mewling. Peering out, he could see nothing in the dark, except the lights of the police car, out on the street. He lay back in his bed, and listened as the crackle of the police radio died down, and all the cars drove away, leaving his ceiling dark again. The mewling continued through the night.
The next morning, Isaac got up as usual, and walked downstairs. He sat in his couch, and stared at the wall, but the mewling continued to intrude on his blankness. Isaac got up, and went outside. The garden was a mess, the lawn was almost waist high, and the roses had become gargantuan and grasping.
He eventually found the kitten, stretched pathetically on a small patch of ground under his window. It was a pure white that shone in the brightness of the sun, even though it was so cold. The eyes were a piercing blue, that stared at Isaac in blind hope. Isaac stared at the kitten for a while, and then picked it up, and brought it inside, where he sat it on the table and stared at it uncertainly. The kitten still wouldn't stop mewling. Eventually Isaac got up and took the kitten to the kitchen, where he poured it a little milk that had not quite gone off yet. The kitten licked up every drop, and licked the saucer clean, before looking up at Isaac again. Isaac poured another saucer for the kitten, and sat there staring at it while it drank, tail whisking ever so slightly from side to side. After the kitten had finished another saucer, it padded back to Isaac, lay against his bare feet, and went to sleep. So Isaac sat in the kitchen, feeling the soft vibration of the kitten against his foot, and stared at the kitten and then out of the window, onto the garden. He watched as the sun reached it's peak and then began to subside, and then he watched it set, turning the sky slowly pink and gold and red, and then finally a deep, deep blue. Something buried deep inside Isaac finally began to move.
When the kitten woke up again, Isaac gave it some more milk, and then offered it some of his beans. The kitten turned up its nose at this, and affixed Isaac with a piercing glare. So Isaac went to the cupboard, where he found some tinned meat, and this he put on a saucer for it.
The kitten needed a name, he decided. And so he called the kitten Aidnu, because it sounded like something he had heard before. When he went upstairs to sleep, Aidnu followed him, and so he let it sleep on his bed, where it immediately, as all cats will, took up as much space as possible. So Isaac curled himself around the kitten, and dozed off watching its tail and paws twitching in its sleep.
When he awoke, Isaac felt much better than he had done in a long time. Even though it was still dark outside, he couldn't sleep any more, and so he stepped out of bed and padded over to his window. Watching out, he saw a small mouse run across the lawn. Quick as a flash, a white streak ran up behind it, and tossed it up into the air, catching the mouse neatly between its jaws, before turning to Isaac, and giving him what could only be described, even through a mouthful of mouse, as a grin. Isaac went downstairs, and poured out another saucer of milk for the Aidnu to have with her mouse. Then he went back upstairs, and showered. His hair was getting very long, but he decided not to shave. Looking into the mirror, his eyes seemed brighter than they had been in a long time.
After Aidnu had finished her mouse and milk, she went outside, and lay down in a patch of sun, where she slept. While she slept, Isaac started to clean up the house. He threw out all the garbage bags, and cleaned the floors. He cleaned the couch, and made his bed, and when he was finished he cooked a meal on the newly cleaned stove. It was delicious, and Aidnu, who had now woken up, ate some too. Even though he was now full, Isaac was still feeling awake, so he followed Aidnu to the garden, and watched her catch fireflies in the air that now felt to him quite warm.
Sitting outside, and watching Aidnu catch fireflies and drop them at his feet, something inside of Isaac that had been pent up for so long that it had almost become a part of him finally snapped free, and Isaac cried, huge weeping sobs that seemed to wrack him forever, until Aidnu jumped onto his chest and nuzzled his cheek, and Isaac lay there, holding Aidnu, wetting her fur with his tears. After the longest time, Isaac felt the wound inside him with a sharpness he had not felt before. But it was good, he knew - now that the wound was free, it would not fester anymore, and would heal, in time.
The next morning, when Isaac woke up, he went to shower again. He felt, at the base of his spine, something that had not been there before. It was a small knob, that felt quite comfortable, and somehow, natural. It didn't stop him from making himself a big breakfast, or from cleaning out the rest of the house, or while playing with Aidnu. The dinner he made for them was just as delicious, and when he slept, he slept far more soundly than ever before.
The next morning, the knob had grown a little more, and Isaac was sure his hair had gotten a little thicker. He could smell better too, and even in the halflight of the bathroom, could make out details he had not noticed before. Still, none of this interfered with his day, and Aidnu was just as friendly as ever - and that was all that mattered.
"It's disgusting", Isaac's neighbour told the policeman who had come over at her call. "We never see him, which is alright, but his garden is in an absolute state, and is positively overrun by cats."
"Cats, you say", said the policeman, feeling uncomfortable in the hot sun.
"Yes, cats! There were just the two, and now there's hordes of kittens running everywhere. I insist that you do something!"
"Unfortunately, ma'am, there isn't much I can do. There's no law against keeping cats, and they all appear to be well fed and cared for. I'll take a look though, and see if I can see anything."
The policeman walked round to the house, through the gate, and up through the garden, brushing through the grass that was now chest high. There, lying in a patch of sun, were two cats, one purest white, with sapphire blue eyes, and another, black cat, that fixed him with the most penetrating stare the policeman had ever seen. The grass around him rustled, and the policeman suddenly began to feel decidedly uncomfortable.
And so he left, noting later in his report that he had seen no violations, and that everything was in order. Back in the garden, that was now a verdant warm jungle, two cats lay back again, curled up against each other in the warm afternoon sun.