Bonus

The morning cry of traffic and early commuters seeped through into the silent house. Golden rays of sunlight filtered through the drawn curtains and showered gentle warmth upon the sleeping figure. The slender young girl rose up into a seated position and wiped away at her eyes. A quiet little yawn escaped her and she slipped out from under the covers and moved to get dressed. Her exquisite golden hair shone in the weakening morning sun.

The girl glanced out the window at the bustling life in the world outside the peeling walls of her home. A smile crossed her face and she joyfully strode out into the hall. One of the doors was slightly ajar and she crept up towards it, peeking her head through the gap.

Sven lay sprawled on his bed, a blanket barely covering him. He was sound asleep. He used to take drugs to fall under the spell of slumber but now he was able to fall asleep normally. It was a weekend and the girl decided it was best to leave him be. He had done so much for her ever since their paths had crossed. He deserved a god rest.

Silently, she slid back out into the hall and headed downstairs. The living room was dark at first but as soon as the curtains were drawn back a flood of angelic light splayed across the large open room, bathing the young child in the soothing heat of a warm spring day.

She stood there in the centre of the room and let the warmth sink into her flesh, warming her soul. She closed her eyes and sighed, a contented sigh. Her life had been lacking many things before. She had lacked a caring father, an attentive mother, a life with purpose, a life with something more...She had found that in this place. Everything she had been searching for was right here, in this house...With Sven...

It had been a year since then, since they had first met. It was the anniversary of not only her meeting with Sven, but the tragic departure of her mother. She had vanished from her life in a violent storm of confusion. The world had made little sense back then. It still made little sense to her even now, but she felt reassured to have someone by her side. Sven had always cared, always cherished her. He had protected her from the evils of this violent world and she had saved his heart from fading away into the cold emotionless void that consumed those who had seen the worst. Sven was a broken man and she had been a lost child. Together they found something in the other, something to take their pain away, to give their lives meaning once again. They had saved each other from the darkness...

Eve could never thank him enough for what he had done and Sven felt the same with her. He still spoiled her with gifts and other niceties that she felt were undeserved, but she graciously accepted them, feeling something she never had with her first family...Love. Her father had been a brutish pig and her mother, despite her efforts to be a good mother, had been so preoccupied with work that she treated her child with the same objective and vacant care of her test subjects. Sven loved her. He had risked his life for her and he would do it again and again, forever.

She knew deep down in her heart that they would be together, always...Just as they had promised. And even her mother, would always be with her.

Eve opened the back door and stepped out into the golden sunlight. She closed her eyes and shielded her face from the blazing heat. She strolled slowly towards a small stone pushed up against a large tree in the backyard. The stone had been engraved with a message. Eve stopped a few paces away from it and kneeled down. She gazed sombrely at the stone, the stone that read: "Tearju Lunatique."

Eve wiped the stray tears from the corners of her eyes and sniffed softly. She closed her eyes and pictured her mother, her smiling face, her rare moments of motherly love. It brought a shaky, little smile to her features and made her heart at peace.

A light padding behind her caught her attention and the young girl craned her neck to see the little black ball of fur as it trotted across the fresh lawn towards her. It was a black cat...A stray...

It sat on its haunches and seemed to stare at the gravestone almost sympathetically. It stared long and hard for some time before it approached the girl and licked the back of her hand. Eve let out a shy giggle and reached out to stroke its back. The cat lurched back and scratched her finger. As Eve let out a light yelp the little black cat leapt up onto the fence. It was about to jump down into the next yard when it turned back to stare at Eve one last time.

And as their gazes met, Eve stared deep into those eyes, those beady, yellow little orbs...And words as clear as the surface of a lake drifted into the back of her mind, echoing softly, "I am no hero, I am no saint...But I am not the monster you think I am...I am merely a stray cat...Trying to survive in a cruel world..."

Eve sobbed...She was not sure why...She was not sure whether it was out of joy or sadness...But she felt numb all the same. And when she wiped away the tears and glanced back up at the fence, she realised with a sinking feeling...

The Black Cat was gone...