Title: In the Wind
Words: Apple, Monster & Love
Type: Short Story
Penn stood upright, her eyes narrowed, focused on a small black spot in the world beyond her window. Then, she brought a hand the side of her face and gave it a good, thorough scratch. Her nails where gone, but her knuckles still managed to do the job well enough. May as well look nice for the day, she thought to herself as she stretched out her arms in a yawn.
As she turned her mirror around on her nightstand, she took a quick look at her appearance and then swiftly turned it back around again. She always kept it turned at night, because if she was to wake and look at her own reflection, she was scared she would do something stupid because, let's face it, Penn wasn't the best when it came to being taken by surprise, and she did her best, as always, to avoid it.
Normally, somebody would have called for her by this time. But, her life was no longer normal. Save us, her mother had commanded, Penn, please, you can do it! Penn laughed at the thought of her mothers frightened face as she, accompanied by that retched man her mother had married after calling it off with Penn's own father, fell to her death.
It was an accident, sir, I didn't know what to do! She also remembered what she had told the police officer who had been called to the house shortly after. Penn laughed at that too, she was always good at lying, and that day it had worked a treat. She took on a fake, childish appearance and, as she lied, she cried fake tears, a smear of her mother's blood on her chin. Only, it hadn't got there while she'd tried oh so desperately to help them.
Monster, monster, Penn's a monster, if you scare her she will munch ya. The lines of an old school rhyme that was sung to Penn many times reigned true, for the first time in, how many years had it been? Penn scrunched her face up in thought, but then laughed, too many to count. Was she proud of what she had done? Well, for once, Penn was unsure, but she'd managed to convince herself as much as anybody that she had done well. She was Penn the monster, and during these times, she was finally living up to her name.
"Apples," she cooed, but scowled when the mangy old tabby cat didn't reply right away. He had never liked her. He would scratch her and claw at her whenever he had the chance. He had always been more a fan of Penn's late mother, Felicity, and Penn hated the cat for that simple reason. "Apples!" she squealed, "come out now you tabby scat!"
As her mother didn't approve of her daughter using cuss words, Penn was left to be rather creative with what she used. Scat was by far her more preferred word, and as the mangy old tabby seemed to realise that she wasn't trying to be nice, she used it rather often.
A pathetic mewl reached her sharply tuned ears as none other than Apples, the ginger tabby with a flea problem, rounded the corner and peeked his head around the wall, through the door.
"To be loved," Penn spat at the poor, thinned tabby. Since the others had died at her own hands, Penn hadn't bothered to feed the cat, and she looked down at him as he mewled pathetically. "To be loved," she repeated, the words leaving a sour taste in her mouth. Love? She was past that. Hate was what she always felt. It wasn't just an emotion. No, it was her emotion, for her and nobody else.
She had to admit that she hadn't really noticed that everybody else had disappeared. No, she had no time for noticing such. But, they had. Every other house in the town stood empty, still, the wind never blowing and the rain never falling. It was dry, and hot, and the land was parched. Penn didn't care.
It was like she was in a world of her own, just her mind and her, at peace.
Penn ran her tongue across her teeth, and felt the blood seep into her mouth as she bit down firmly on it. Did it hurt? No. Did she feel pain? Well, she had once, it was unpleasant, emotions other than of hate crowding her mind. So, once she'd decided this, it just stopped.
Then she'd let them fall.
Penn took her hand again and rubbed the side of her face, and as she pulled it back to where her eyes could see it, she flattened out her palm and simply stared. She was different now. She smiled at that. She balled her hand into a fist and threw a few, quick blows at the wall beside her door. Apples mewed pathetically in fright, but as Penn drew her hand back from the now demolished drywall, she no longer cared.
Strong monster Penn, she told herself, smiling once again as the drywall flaked away. Strong, forever.
As she looked down at Apples, who was no longer mewling pathetically or trying to evade the presence of the once human he had cared for not long ago, she noticed a change in him too.
His amber eyes glowed with a faint hint of green. "Good boy Apples," she told the mangy old tabby cat as he stared up at her in question, "you listened to her, didn't you?"
The cat meowed in reply, though Penn had her doubts that the cat had understood a word. If it had been three days ago, then maybe, but these days her words slurred together, and even though she couldn't hear that they had, she somehow knew that it was happening. It's because you changed, she told herself, but change is good. She stared down at her hands. Change makes Penn faster, stronger and better than before. She was pleased by it.
She heard the wind change, and with that came excitement. "Apples!" she said, trying her best to say just the one word, "she's coming! You should listen! She tells you good things!"
Apples looked up at her in askance, but as his amber eyes glowed a stronger green, he understood.
"She'll take you home, Apples," Penn promised the mangy old tabby that, had it been fifteen minutes ago, she wouldn't have liked. But now that Penn knew that Apples had listened too… maybe it wasn't going to be so bad after all.
They could make it, just the two of them. Miss Penn and Apples.
Never loving always hating.