“wow. WOW. WOW.”
The crescendo woke me. I looked at the clock. 3am. Just as it had been yesterday and every day since Malkovich had come to live with us.
“WOW. WOW. WOW.”
Malkovich was running circles round the bedroom, crying loudly as he went. How unfair it was that our cat made so much noise when every other cat I had ever met said a quiet, polite “Meow”.
Malkovich leapt from the bed to the window-ledge then onto the Ottoman, the chest of drawers and back on to the bed then repeated the whole circuit again and again. In different circumstances I might have been impressed by his graceful athleticism. If only we could have reset him to a more civilised hour, he would have been the ideal alarm clock.
“WOW. WOW. WOW.”
I snuggled into Craig's back and pulled a pillow over my ears. I drifted into some sort of half sleep.
I lifted myself up from the warm duvet and stretched my handsome tabby legs in front of me, admiring my mismatched white socks.
“wow.” I said but no sound came out. “wow” I tried again but still no sound.
Something began to stir in my mind. Was I dreaming I was Malkovich? Or had I found a secret portal into our cat's brain?
I decided to make the most of being Malkovich. I leapt from the bed to the window-ledge then onto the Ottoman, the chest of drawers and back on to the bed, then repeated the whole circuit again and again.
“wow.” I shouted, silently. I was impressed by my own graceful athleticism.
A mouse scuttled in through the bedroom door. I jumped towards it, but had to watch as the rodent ducked into a small hole in the skirting board.
I ran over to the hole, bent down and stared inside. It was black and thick with heavy dust. I put my paw into the opening but my claws caught at the edges. I continued staring and the hole expanded around me. I began to feel sleepy and slipped down, falling into endless blackness. A mouse squeaked somewhere in the darkness.
I woke to Craig shifting his weight as he got out of bed. The alarm was buzzing. I stopped the alarm and then felt around the bed to find Malkovich who would normally be asleep between us by now, purring gently as though none of the commotion of the early morning hours had ever happened.
“Craig!” I said. “Where's Malkovich?”
“That's strange” Craig said “something must be wrong if he's not snuggling between us at this time in the morning!”
“Maybe he's in the kitchen.” I turned over to catch another few minutes of sleep before getting up myself.
A minute later Craig came back into the bedroom, looking worried.
“Lotte, get up! Malkovich isn't here!”
“What do you mean Malkovich isn't here?” I said, sitting up.
“He's not in the flat!”
“But he must be in the flat! He can't have escaped! The windows are all closed!” I said, getting up and pulling my dressing gown on. “I mean, no-one would break in and steal him would they?”
“I wouldn't have thought so.” Craig said as we walked into the kitchen “There's no sign of a break in.”
“Maybe he's in a cupboard?” I opened the kitchen cupboard where Malkovich liked to sit if the door was left open for long enough. He wasn't there, though one of his hairs hung from the cupboard door. I removed the hair and put it in the pocket of my dressing gown. I opened the other cupboard doors, but no sign of a cat. I opened the washing machine and the oven, still no Malkovich.
“Wow!” I said.
“You sound just like Malkovich!” Craig said “but yes, wow, how can a cat the size of Malkovich just disappear like that?”
We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders.
“I've got to go to work,” Craig said.
“Yeah, so do I. Maybe he'll be waiting for us when we get back.”
"Stranger things have happened!" Craig said.
We kissed and went our separate ways to work.
Malkovich wasn't waiting for us when we got home that evening. We carefully searched the whole flat, checking every possible place where he could have hidden, however unlikely. The airing cupboard, shoe boxes under the bed, the cutlery drawer. We even checked the back of the wardrobes, half expecting to find some sort of feline Narnia behind the clothes. He was nowhere.
We went to bed in a subdued mood.
“I feel sort of guilty” Craig said “but I'm looking forward to not being woken at three in the morning!”
“So am I!” I said as I snuggled into his back.
I was falling through an endless black tunnel. Sometimes, the moist, sticky walls of the tunnel closed in on me, other times I felt I was falling through deep space. A circle of light receded into the distance far above me, but never quite disappeared. The mouse continued squeaking, the sound getting closer and then fading, getting closer again. Something appeared in front of me, something hard and oblong, definitely not a mouse but squeaking like some sort of rodent. It faded out of focus before I could identify what it was. Then it slowly came back into focus and I realised it was a mobile phone. I shook it and it went silent.
“wow!” I said.
I woke to the sound of the phone ringing. 3am. I stared at the ceiling.
“We'd better answer it,” Craig said “It could be a family emergency!”
We looked at each other for a moment. I sighed as I picked the phone from the bedside cabinet.
“Hello?” I said.
“wow. WOW. WOW.”
“Malkovich?” I said “is that you?”
“Where are you Malkovich?”
The line went dead.
I woke to Craig shifting his weight as he got out of bed. The alarm was buzzing.
“Morning Lotte!” Craig kissed my hair “You want your usual few minutes in bed with Malkovich before you get up?”
“Malkovich?” I said, sitting up. My hand dropped towards the bed and landed on a warm, furry body in the middle of the bed.
“Yes, Craig, that would be lovely!” I said. “I had the strangest dream last night. Remind me to tell you about it later.”
Malkovich purred as he snuggled closer to me. I stroked the soft fur between his ears.