The cat wandered through the courtyard at its own leisure. Rays of sunshine bounced off its black fur with a blinding glare. It was a moving beacon that left me powerless to its pull. I could not stop myself from following the shimmy of the hypnotic cat through the courtyard.
Drab concrete walls surrounded the bare courtyard and stretched to the heavens—making it an inescapable prison. Clouds of dust plumed up from under foot with each step on the dead yellow grass. The courtyard was in the shape of a perfect square and was at least a hundred yard walk to each wall. There were no other living things in this place except for the black cat and I. It was as if we were dropped into our own personal prison to die.
Twinges of panic crept into the corners of my mind, but the sight of the healthy cat relaxed me. It looked as if it were always here—as if this place were its home and it never thought of leaving the safety of the concrete walls. I followed the cat as it walked with purpose across the dead grass. I assumed if there was a way out this creature would lead me there. Its tail sashayed back and forth through the air like it was signaling me to follow, but the cat never stopped or looked back at me.
We walked at a slow, methodical pace until we finally reached a corner where two of the great walls met. There the cat stopped. We remained motionless and in silence for several minutes. Then I began to grow restless. What was this cat doing? Was there some significance to this spot?
I reached out to the black cat. My finger slid down the silk fur on its back, then the creature vanished in a puff of smoke. I was alone. I stepped forward and took the place of the vanished cat. There the heat of the sun funneled downward in the crevice of the corner and blasted me with a hot wind. I placed my hand on the concrete and it burned my palm with a scorching heat. Then a thick smoke exploded out of my hand and surrounded me with a suddenness I was unprepared for.
I tried to take a step back from the corner, but everything turned grey and a weightlessness pulled me out of the moment. A world of blackness enveloped me and I no longer felt anything physically or mentally. It was as if I no longer existed.
Without warning I was pulled once more; this time out of the darkness and back into the light. When my sight returned the world looked very different. I was still in the drab courtyard, but now the colors were less vivid and I was unusually low to the ground. My body felt so light it was as if I were walking on air. Then I looked down at my feet and was met with the two black paws of a cat. For some reason I couldn’t look back, but I felt the eyes of someone staring at me. I don’t know why but a strong urge pulled me in the direction of the courtyard’s corner. I began to walk towards it. I could hear the footsteps of a person following close behind.
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