Tiger in a Suit: The Black Hole

by Chantelle Tibbs

read it in the correct order

 

It was raining. As I licked the blood off my paws it occurred to me how much easier it would be to let the rain wash me clean. But rain has a taste, one I didn’t much care for. And the work of licking that taste off of my fur seemed daunting. Cold and bored, my eyes wandered about the room. My most recent victim at the time had put up a calendar on his wall. I’d been to his home several times but it was the first time I got the chance to really look at it. It was open to the month of December. And the photo for December was of a man and a woman laughing together on a cozy brown couch. I looked away to check the time, but there was something about that calendar girl’s smile that pulled me back. I stepped off of my lover and moved closer to the image. I must have stared at that photo for an hour before I came to the conclusion that the two in the photo loved one another madly. It wasn’t some staged pose. It was life, captured, reprinted, and sold in a store for a price nowhere near its value. The room suddenly felt colder. As my lover lay asleep, for the first time in decades I let myself feel my loneliness. It could have burned a hole in me. After a few empty moments, it came to me. I was ready! I was ready for love. I stepped over my lover’s body fleeing into the night, blood stained and full of hope.

 

I ran fast through the forest past tall skinny white trees I couldn’t remember the name of. My fur was drenched but I hardly noticed or cared for that matter. Not practicing much awareness, I slipped and fell into a black hole. Her name was Linda. She lay underneath a tree, soaked in the night wearing the most spectacular white gown I’d ever seen. Her eyes were magnets. It had to be love, like I had seen in the calendar.

“Linda, I think I’m ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“Love.”

“Oh me too.”

“Maybe we could start a family.”

“I’ve always wanted a family.”

“Or perhaps not.”

“I never cared for children much.”

“Maybe I do want children though.”

“We could have three!”

“Or just go traveling.”

“I know just the place.”

“Sometimes I like to stay in one place.”

“Staying put is best.”

We were so in sync. A few months passed and I felt like spun gold. There was a night looking back now I do remember though. I awoke to relieve myself to find Linda pacing in the kitchen on the phone.

“Anything you say mother. Master.”

I interrupted.

“Who are you talking to?”

Linda jumped and gave me a wry smile.

“No one. Let’s go back to bed, beloved.”

Her eyes were wide and her skin sheet white.

 

Two weeks later I woke up to find Linda gone. She had taken her things. There was no trace of her. Not even a scent to follow. Cut into the bone, I sat in a bathtub full of a mixture of tap water and my own tears for three days. Soaked and finished, I looked down at my paws remembering my hands. I felt fur where there used to be skin. I was suddenly aware of everything that was taken from me and everything I had taken all in one pregnant moment. My chest felt heavy as I gasped for air. I pondered what it could take to make it back to zero. I made my way to a towel and began to dry off.

 

 

 

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