Trigger Warning: Descriptions of Death, Bodies and Decay.
Stop looking at me like that- I know you are hungry and I’m sorry, but can’t you see I’m a corpse?
One that is splayed at unnatural angles across the bathroom floor while you sit watching, poised on the cistern. The sun beam behind you makes you shimmer; it’s such a perfect Instagram shot! Oh, swish your tail all you like, it’s not like I can just get up and walk across the apartment to your food bowl. If I started walking then it’s the start of the zombie apocalypse, is it not?
How long have I been here, Puss? 3 days? 4? The rigor mortis was a while ago- my eye muscles are locked open forever. The bloat has started that’s for sure- I can feel my organs filling with gases, worse than I get when I have chickpeas. I wonder how long before purification starts in earnest. I remember hearing about decomposition on one of those true crime podcasts I like so much. Liked. Past tense. I’d sigh but the building ammonia and methane would probably soil your lovely, long, black fur.
The colour my legs are turning. I can see them quite clearly thanks to the angle of my broken bones. I slipped coming out of the shower. It was your fault really, getting under my feet like that when you knew the tiles were wet. You even drank the water afterwards! Bloody, cat. I’d be angrier but you are the only one I have to talk to. You’ve been such a comfort to me when I’ve been stressed out and are the only one, I really want to be around at the end of the day. Who else do I have? I’m not sure my family are expecting to see me before Christmas in a couple of months.
Will my family have to see me like this? My blonde hair is really clashing against my marbling skin, my chest is turning a sort of orange and purple. Must be the acid in me. I didn’t really spill any blood in the fall, I died on impact once my spine snapped, and it’s turning interesting if ugly colours as it stagnates in the veins it once rushed around.
Like the one I was in before all this happened. Yeah, yeah, I shouldn’t have been so lazy and should have just fetched a bathmat, but I was in a rush to get to my yoga class. I didn’t want to downward dog and shove my unbathed backside into someone’s face. Preferable to the smell coming off me now, I guess. Look at you now, Puss! Showing off, cleaning yourself so nonchalantly. I’d laugh and call you cute, but… you know.
Instead, I’ll think about my last day, the last one I was breathing. I fed you that morning, your normal wet pouch and topping up your biscuits. You finished them ages ago! You’re such a greedy gut. Didn’t you know that was supposed to last? Bet you regret wolfing it all down now. I don’t mean that, you know I would buy you a pack of treats every week, forever, just like I did when I was… well. You must be starving now. You turn to look at me, yes.
Yes, you are.
Let’s think, what else did I do that day? I had time off work. Still do, a few more days before anyone expects me in the office, I might have maggots crawling over me by then. I had planned to do so many wholesome things on my time off, all the things I didn’t have time for most other days. I wanted to call my mother and just find out how she is; I wanted to paint with my watercolours; I wanted to take an autumnal walk around the park and collect some leaves; I wanted to zen out with some yoga. Guess there is no part time rest for the wicked, it’s all or nothing.
Was I really wicked? I’ve had nothing but time to think about it. I’ve ghosted a few tinder dates, sure, and maybe parked in the disabled spaces when I was too lazy to walk in the rain but otherwise, I’m not convinced I was wicked. I paid my taxes, donated to charity, supported my friends even when I thought they were being stupid. I didn’t drink much and never tried drugs, tried to keep in shape and took my vitamins. I even did Veganuary once. I tried to look after you, Puss, does that not count for anything? Does death pick us based on our actions in life or is it truly random?
Oh Puss, I’m glad you are here with me. I’d be scared if you weren’t circling me and looking so calm. I’d be really alone, completely alone, but with you around all this doesn’t feel so strange. You have always been like that, Puss, you’ve always known when I needed you be it curled up like a little black hole at the end of my bed or acting like my shadow as I wander the apartment. I never begrudged money spent on you, even the expensive cat litter. You were always good to me.
Maybe I can still be good to you?
Yes, Puss, you understand. You jump down from the cistern and circle my ruined body, inspecting it from each angle as you do your toys. You stop, creep forward and sniff a little. You keep circling. Like a game, eh Puss? Like a game?
You come closer.
You block out the sun as you stand over me, Puss. Your long dark fur hangs around you like a robe- my very own grim reaper. You must be hungry, eh Puss? You’ve never had to go this long without food before. It’s ok, I understand you are a carnivore. If you were a tiger in the wild, this would all be very natural. Your little nose is wet against my twisted arm.
Puss, I have one last request if I may? Please not my face.