The moon guards the deepest point of the night. Like a giant eye, it hovers over a lake so close, it seems, to the water that it is as if the Great Creator herself weeps in grief and mourning of what her magnificent gifts have to bear witness to in this wretched place.
By that sentiment, the giant moon-eye provides shadow and light, cover and exposure, aid and ousting, endorsement and indictment, friendliness and hostility. And so shrouded by the veils of overhangs, ledges, corners, and angles, a black cat makes her way unseen, unheard, and unnoticed through the village, street, compound, and second-story window of the moon-monitored Italian villa.
Catarin, for she is indeed the black Miss on a mission, treads with paws of the airiest touch along the walls of that room so mired in violent opulence and opulent violence for she knows any open space is a closing trap. With every step, she asks herself: “Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here?” She berates the shallow and vengeful selves desiring, nay, craving dead objects even at the cost of becoming those same dead objects. But her selves cannot hear the words for thirst. This is her last life, and her selves flock to give it up.
There is none, but one light in the room, the slight diamond shimmer of that grotesque chair drawing all attention to it. There is none, but one sound in the room, the snore of that grotesque primate upon said chair now clad in silk pajamas and clutching an Aurora doll to his chest. There is none, but one smell in the room, the stench of tens of pounds of fruit fermenting its way through said primate’s digestive system.
At the wall behind the chair, Catarin stops and checks that the hollowed-out claw with poison is still sealed and ready to scratch. Hedda Lettuce has assured her that any location is a good location but which exact location is of a personal nature to Catarin. She wants to look Dritch in the eyes when he dies.
In one jump, she is up on the monster and posed for a strike. She scores from the left eye to the right corner of the mouth to break the seal and from the right eye to the left corner of the mouth to seal the deal. The deed is done.
“Hello, Phlap,” says a voice from the undrawn curtains. “I see you have met the obnoxious hamster and her trite ways. What did she promise you as your reward, hmm? Ethereum, NFTs, synthetics?”
The light switches on, and Catarin sees that the body she thought was Dritch is just an empty shell attached to an air pump to make the sound and the movement and the smell. The Dritch who is talking to her is, in fact, a scorpion with its stinger en garde nearing the chair at worrying speed.
“Such a shame you forgot that supremacy comes in all shapes and sizes,” the scorpion Dritch says. “Or did you not know, hmm? Here, let me show you.”
Snap. He is a hissing black mamba. Snap. He is a towering polar bear. Snap. He is a snarling sabertoothed tiger. Snap. He is a lumbering saltwater crocodile. Snap. He is ever closer. Snap. Snap. Snap.