Through an open window, the cats moan rose from the back door patio. Dwayne rolled over, content to be sleeping in warm sheets with a soft pillow. His dream of the beautiful girl running started to grow foggy. He only glimpsed her face as she quickly looked over her shoulder at him. Why was she running away? He wanted her to run to him, but she looked so frightened. The dream grew foggier still, and he felt himself in limbo between sleeping and waking.
The loud animal spate again from outside the back door. He realized he was now fully awake and wishing he was a heavier sleeper. Allie had looked so lovely in his dream. Even running, withher hair flicking back and forth.The dreambut it had been cloudy though, and there had not been any sunlight to catch her red hair.
I need sleep was his first full, coherent thought. Finals were this morning at the college. It was bad enough that he wasn’t even a college student yet. Not only was he a glutton for punishing curriculum, the professor of his History class had a certain pleasure in harassing Running Start students. Being a high school student in college was great, free tuition, prettier girls, though it did have a setback or two.
“Go back to high school,” was the instructors warning, “Unless you want the next nine weeks to be your own personal hell,” the professor added. He seemed to think highly of himself, that his material was too advanced for a teenager to comprehend.
Dwayne had scoffed at the warning then, but now he had the horrific realization that if he got anything worse than a C on this final, he may very well fail the class. He’d received a D+ on the midterm test, harsh grading, and who knew how the Term paper he’d submitted would turn out; probably harsher grading.
Again he complained into his soft cotton pillow, trying to summon the image of Allie. It was easier on the mind.
The angry demand from outside repeated, drowning out his own moan for five minutes of sleep. Climbing out of bed and sitting down on the edge of his bed he rubbed his eyes with the back of his wrist. It was still mostly dark outside. The moon was nearly down but the sun was far from up. When Dwayne finally reached the back door his cat was inside before the door was half opened.
As he began to shut the door he stopped, looking out towards the hedges. There, sitting on the top of the fence above the greenery, barely illuminated by the back porch light, was the large demon cat that lived in the house on the other side of the alley behind them. As far as cats were concerned, that black cat was the, ‘jack-arse’, as his mother would put it. The cat was a decent mirror of the family it belonged to. He formed his hand into the shape of a gun and made a soft gunshot noise with his mouth at the animal.
He looked down at his own cat, “You could always become an indoor cat, Dog,” he lectured, “A life of milk, warm windows and all that cat heaven stuff.”
Sleep came to him more or less soundly for the rest of the night, Dog keeping his feet warm and purring loudly in the process. Allie did not return to his dreams, though. Instead he dreamt of a crowded classroom full of people in business suits who were all smarter than he was. His pencil was out of lead, he really had to pee, and the test was in another language.
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