My Hunting Partner

August 11, 2016 at 9:25 am (Sweet sticky things, That's not funny...)

“Neptune’s not doing so good.” Sister met me at the door. I went down the hallway and saw an all-too-familiar sight in the bathroom. One of our animals, curled up on the floor under a blanket.

Neptune

“What happened?” Nobody seemed to know. He was old, at least ten. He’d been getting skinny, to the point where Sis would buy him canned cat food, but mostly he mooched human food. The last few months he wanted a taste of everything. He’d be underfoot to the point of irritation, but so lovable about it I couldn’t just boot him out of the way.

We shared many moments in the hallway, or late at night in the kitchen, when he’d be on-point, waiting for a flicker of movement, then a pounce! He’d come out with a ball of fur and a tail, and after a couple hard bites, if the mouse was small enough, it would disappear. If it was too big? It ended up on Sister’s pillow as a token of affection.

I’m going to miss my buddy. When I saw him on the floor, I knew I couldn’t just hang out and watch. “I’ll see you around, buddy.” I stroked behind his ears the way he liked. He raised his head a little, gave me a mew, and laid back down. I walked under the overpass as nightfall approached, and the lights dimmed briefly. At that point I knew. When I got back home, Sister again met me at the door. “Neptune has moved on to greener pastures.” I didn’t need to hear more.

I got up at dawn. My niece was crying quietly. My sister was in the backyard, adding another stone to the Pet Sematary. I am grateful she took care of this one. I would have taken care of it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to.

It’s just gonna be weird not seeing him outside my door every night.

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