The Peripheral

Peripheral: relating to or situated on the edge of something.


He saw them everywhere. In the open, out of the corner of his eye, on the bus.

And now this one cat, a black cat, was sat staring at him from the floor.

“How the fuck did you get in?” he asked it.

No response.

“Are you even breathing,” leaning forward from the couch. “Maybe not,” he leant back.

They never caused any trouble, they just liked to watch.

“I’m really not that interesting, you know?” scratching at the bone protruding from his forearm, dried blood collecting under his fingernail.

The cat continued to stare.

“What? This?” he smiled. “This is nothing.”

The cat’s tail traced an arc through the air.

“Okay,” he laughed, “maybe not nothing, but it’s not what you think.”

Did it… he… just purr?

“You are a he, right?”

No answer.

Of course.

“I guess it’s kind of a funny story, but then you know it already, surely? One of your furry little buddies must’ve told you, right?”

The cat cocked its head.

“That’s… interesting,” he grinned. They never normally stuck around this long. “So, yeah. It’s been growing a while. They thought it was a broken bone healing weirdly — I forget the term — but I hadn’t broken my arm, I told them. And that wouldn’t explain this, anyhow,” raising his other arm for the cat to see.

There was a knock on the door and he turned his head. When he looked back, the cat was gone.

“Figures,” he mumbled.

Standing up he looked down at his arms, the serrated edges flecked with dark specks.

“Should have had a shower,” as the knock came again.

“You in there?” the gruff voice demanded through the thin wood.

The man drew back his arm and reached for the handle, glimpsing the cat once more out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah, you’re not gonna want to miss this,” he smiled.

© JR Bryden, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from JR Bryden is strictly prohibited.

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