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Warm breath from a heating vent,

Clean sheets and hot food.

The low rumble of daily life

Kept Catherine satisfied.


A sudden magnetic force

Pulled her gaze from her lifelong daydream

Into the dark slits of a stranger’s eyes.

His unblinking stare tugged at Catherine

From down on the asphalt,

Whispering an ancient truth

About the world beyond walls.


Catherine hesitated, then slipped through a crack

In her mother’s attention.

Greeted by a breeze,

She breathed deep of freedom

Amongst rustling leaves

Golden sunrays

Endless space.


But the wind brought night,

Haunted with industrial thunderclouds.

Cold headlights glanced off her shelter

Into the torrential rain,

Rotten redwood filled her lungs.

Catherine shuddered deep and awaited death,

When familiar hands swept her from the mud.


Homeward bound, her gratitude soared-

Then soured

As she glanced over her mother’s shoulder

And caught two glinting orbs under a dim streetlight.

Catherine felt her world crumple like yesterday’s news

Because the stranger in black reminded her

There's no such thing as an indoor cat.