Lullabies at Midnight

This story is about a man and his cat.

Chapter 1


The flashes of light penetrated his eyelids with sudden flares of red, waking him from his nap. He kept his eyes shut and tried to ignore it, but soon screams followed.

"Uncle Richard! Uncle Richard!"

Inwardly, he sighed. Outwardly, he opened his eyes.

"Smile, Uncle Richard!" His niece cried, holding up a pink Barbie camera. The light flashed again. Richard blinked tiredly, his eyes squinted against the flash. He yawned and his niece took a few more pictures while he did so.

"Okay, okay, that's enough." Richard waved her away, sitting up in his recliner.

"Do you want to see some of my pictures, Uncle Richard?" His niece asked excitedly.

"What time is it...?" Richard grumbled to himself, rubbing his face, feeling the pin-pricks of day-old facial hair. He blinked the sleep from his eyes and looked for his phone.

"Uncle Richaaaaard!"

"Sure, sure. Go get the pictures." Richard said dismissively.

"Yay!" His niece dashed out of the room.

Richard found his phone between the cusions in the chair, along with a quarter and a package of cheese and peanut butter crackers. He threw the crackers at the gray cat that laid on the coffee table. It missed, thumping into the carpet. The cat didn't even flinch. Richard looked at his phone. It was 6:32pm. He shut the leg rest on his recliner and pushed his bare toes into the old tan carpet.

"I found them! Here they are!" His niece called cheerfully, running back into the room.

"That's great, sweetie. Isn't your mother supposed to be here soon?" Richard asked, pretending to look at the colorful pages of incoherrent scribble and mess.

"I dunno. Look at this one! It's you and Moustache!" She pointed at a drawing of a stick man and a gray balloon-type creature with whiskers. Richard couldn't help but smile. He glanced up at the cat snoozing on the coffee table.

"It looks just like him," He commented.

"Uh-huh," His niece agreed. "I know. When Mommy gets here, I'm going to show her his trick. Remember? You said I could do it. Remember, Uncle Richard?"

"Yes, yes. I remember." Richard stood up. "Let's find all your things before she does get here, okay?"

"Okay!" His niece ran out of the room once more, her pictures flapping in the wind as she ran. Richard walked over to the coffee table and rubbed the cat with his knuckles.

"She'll be gone soon, Mous." Richard promised. The cat began to purr under his hand.

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