A tremor ran through me as I stared up at the building, getting drenched. Lit by a towering sexual advertisement above and behind me, its derelict and candied presence weighed heavy.
This is where he died.
I cut my eyes down. The rain was picking up massively and it was sapping every ounce of heat.
I was going to be sick. I already felt it. All this because I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t envision a future to love. To hell with hope.
What but disgust is there?
My teeth grit.
I’m asking the right questions, you Bastard.
“What!?” The phone crackled in my metal hand. I threw my eyes in every direction, searching. “What am I supposed to do!?”
I chucked Wally’s phone.
I kicked over my bike, the headlight cracking and snuffing out on the flooded asphalt.
Every muscle in my body was taut, the shivers becoming almost violent.
“Fuck!” I yelled, realizing.
I’d fucked up my bike. The water nearly submerged it. I had to snap out of my stupid fit, rushing to stand her back up. I managed, breathlessly.
I needed to get out of the rain.
Rolling up to the derelict building’s front and kicking in the weak ply-board door revealed a dingy interior. Black mold and clear sight lines three stories into the crumbled ceilings.
The dry wall formed cracks when I pushed my bike up to fall against it; antique patterning split by spider-webbing.
This whole place was falling apart.
There was a lone chair in the razed foyer. As I sat down, water began to drip from the seat. I took off my coat and threw it aside. I briefly considered getting naked, but I’d rather be cold than naked, with a complete certainty.
I’d rather be cold and soggy anyway.
Maybe that was all I wanted. To create problems I could solve?
I sighed shakily. The tension was passing.
I loved Delilah, but I was dying. Every heartbeat counted it for me with a definite number she would outlast. I could go look that number up. Christ. I genuinely didn’t know what other people did with themselves.
I don’t know.
All I wanted was to see it, black and white. I didn’t like what people told me, ‘be happy, you can’t know‘, it was bullshit. I wanted to be told what I was supposed to do, I didn’t believe that it couldn’t be known. I believed they were in denial of their stupidity.
“You’re tweaked…” I said, raising a tight smile. “You know that?”
I could never let it go. Skrimp had grown to hate me, I was the face of his problems. He could smell like a sewer and have hemorrhoids at twenty but I was his enemy for calling him out on it.
Dag wanted to move on. Just like that. I was a child for wanting more. He’d told me to watch my feet and I’d survive. That was the last thing he said before I told him to piss off.
Finally, there was just her. The dangerously singular star in my sky.
I had come to this city so long ago, but I still remembered green.
I could barely see my hands in the gloom of the room. My missing arm.
“It was all a mistake, Uriel.”
I looked around for anything.
“What was it for? Come on!”
The house said nothing.
Then, there came a response.
I watched as a skinny tabby cat, meowing at me from the other room, entered. It prowled slowly around the corner, eyeing me suspiciously. After stepping thoughtfully over strewn boards, the cat finally sat down by the other wall, its tail flicking.
My stomach turned.
The image of that poster had been burned into my brain by obsession. I refused to believe it. I leaned out to look closer.
Her shiny, curious gaze was intense. I froze.
It can’t be.
I know this cat.
The back legs of the chair had picked up as I stared in disbelief. I didn’t realize when the damp floor broke friction. The chair suddenly slipped, flipping and throwing me to the floor. My face bounced off.
The crash sent the cat bolting.
“No!” I said.
I pulled myself up, scrambling after her, snatching my jacket off the floor as I did.
The corner turned onto an old sitting area. The couches were covered in white tarps, dust pluming as the cat ran across them. Running after, I failed to hurdle an overturned chaise longue, catching my foot and hitting the floor again. I saw the cat escaping.
My arms strained to push me up as I scraped myself off the ground one more time.
When I entered the next room the cat was only an ascending sound up the staircase. Chasing it there, dodging missing boards, I caught a glimpse of it entering one of the rooms through a crack in the wall.
I threw open the door. The cat was running for another black hole in the wall, this one leading deep into the brick.
My spread open jacket clasped around the cat’s body at the full extension of my arms. I brought her in close to my chest, trying to contain the thrashing animal.
Wheezing, I pushed myself into a corner and held tight.
There was long wet hair in my eyes, blood in my mouth.
“Oh…” I coughed, “…sweet baby Jesus… it’s the cat.”