It was a light grey color, and short. Very soft, too. This hair that I’m holding. The hair that came out of my bed, but isn’t mine. I thought no one sleeps in this bed but me. Maybe I took that for granted?
I’m probably being dramatic. This isn’t hair, it’s fur. I took a quick sniff expecting to smell nothing, and smelled nothing anyways. I feverishly glanced around my bedroom, trying to spot the hypothetical home-invader wolf that shed its fur in my bed.
Good news: no signs of wolf presence. Bad news: pretty sure I heard footsteps downstairs. I stop everything I’m doing to listen attentively. Eventually there’s another tap of a foot on the hard floor downstairs. Then a cabinet opens. Shit. Let me send Rose a quick text first.
“If I die tonight you can have whatever stuff of mine you want, as long as you delete any sketchy files from my PC. XOXO”
I tuck my pajama shirt into my pajama pants for added dexterity and made my way towards the stairs. I slowly crept down with my weight on the handrail like I used to when spying on Christmas presents early. This time, instead of the glow of a Christmas tree lit with ornaments, I saw a mysterious white glow from the kitchen. My... refrigerator is open?
On the floor, there was a grey kitten sleeping in front of the open fridge door. It was beautiful, like a painting in a museum. The sight almost alleviated all my previous concerns, at least, until I saw the second figure.
It was Bunny.
Not a bunny, but “Bunny”. My friend. She’s short and has long baby-blue hair, dimly glowing in the reflection of my open fridge door. She’s wearing the same green camo jacket she always does. It looks like she’s eating saltine crackers. Wait, were those in my fridge? I could ask her what she’s doing here, but honestly, I know she’s not going to tell me. She’s just like this. “Like this” is a frustratingly vague descriptor, I know, but she’s a frustratingly vague person. Getting her to talk about anything at all is difficult. She’s not going to tell me why she’s in my house at 1 AM, but there is something I she probably will tell me:
“Bunny, how did you get inside my house?”
She looked at me not like a deer in headlights, but rather with the look of someone seeing a roommate they thought already went to bed.
“Your spare key was under the welcome mat” she said in a completely flat and monotone voice. Yeah, okay, I know putting my key there is obvious, but I always hoped potential criminals would find it a bit too easy and run away. Even with such a foolproof plan, mind games don’t work on her.
“I ate some of your crackers,” she said, while eating my crackers.
I almost forgot about my second guest until I felt its fuzzy little body cuddle up around my ankle and begin to purr. I closed the fridge and turned on the light above the sink, doing my best not to disturb it too much.
“Bunny, Is this your cat? It’s really cute.”
“It’s your cat. I found him outside and came here to return him to you.”
What? No. I don’t have a cat. I’ve never had a cat. Either way, I’m surprised she actually explained her motives for once.
“This isn’t my cat, Buns. You need to put him back where you found him.”
“He's your cat. You found him and brought him in. He lives here now."
Either that was the world's worst attempt at brainwashing, or that's just what she's going to tell anyone who asks her what happened. Not that anyone would, I don’t think.
Bunny's cell phone begins to ring. Without hesitation, she cancels the call without even taking it out of her pocket; never breaking eye contact with me. I guess... I won't mention it.
"Look. I can't take care of a cat. It's hard enough taking care of myself."
"Do you need help?"
The way Bunny said that made it feel genuine. There was no hint of emotion in her face or voice still, but it might have been the first time she’s ever asked me a question so blunt.
"Sorry, I was exaggerating. I'm okay, thanks for asking."
We stared at each other for a few more moments. Why did I consider her a friend, anyways? This girl standing in front of me, with sickly pale skin and bags under her eyes. It’s amazing the distance I feel when trying to talk to her. I don't know what's going on with her, but it doesn't seem like it's very good.
"Bunny, it's too late for you to go back to your house. Or, you know… wherever it is you go. You can sleep on my couch tonight."
"Okay," she replied immediately. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, she entered my house on her own terms, letting her stay is more of a formality than anything else. It’s not like I could kick her out, anyways.
I lent her one of my newly fur-covered blankets, an act of grace as her host for the night. I had her lay down on the couch and try to fall asleep. The kitten quickly climbed on top of her and snuggled in. After savoring the admittedly cute sight for just a moment, it was time for me to head back to my own bed.
"Mina." I heard Bunny’s voice echo from the living room. "Leo. That's what you named him. The cat."
"Okay. I named him Leo."