[PNU] 01. Judith Richter

It was upon a Summer's day
a lady would approach the lake
and in her wont to haste away
she carved an oath within the wake.
For words begin and end with breath,
and days with sunrise and sunset.
Lives don't end until their death
and even then sometimes not yet.

Little paws tapped out a message on her chest and legs, punctuation by an occasional chorus of high pitched pleas.

One dreary, bloodshot eye shot open and gazed harshly across the bed toward her phone. 09:00. Nine in the morning. And time for food. They silently added, voices only present inside her head.

Covers flew suddenly down, scattering the smaller cat to join her brother on the floor. Left in their place, their naked owner stretched the sleep from her bones quickly and (almost) silently. I guess 5 hours is enough. Her thoughts trying their hardest to drown out the still mewling cats beside her. Maybe I can take a walk before work.

Judith Richter swung her legs around, sitting up in the twin size bed placed just so in the corner of her basement. My Basement. She thought to herself, taking stock of everything for the 43rd time in the past week. Hard to believe I’m finally on my own. With this (and a finally-fed-up glare shot to the duo who roused her) she stood up, grabbed some unwrinkled clothes from her dresser, and began to trudge up the 23 steps to the ground floor.

With any luck, the Others might still be asleep.

She opened the door quietly, peeking her head out and around the bend in the wall. She heard nothing as she peered down its length, and the rancid smell of coffee did not accost her senses. That nearly assured her she was the first to wake. She shared a silent gratitude to the cats, and stepped through the door.

Food comes first! She heard them cry, using the voices she gave them in her head. Ignoring this command, she set the old, beaten up relic of a kettle on to boil first. Then, grabbing a can from the cupboard, she turned her eyes to her insistent charges, who reared up on their hind legs at the sight of it.

With the cats fed, she then placed a cautious hand on the handle of the kettle. The water inside was simmering, and well on its way to a nice boil. A nice boil, that is, if she had wanted one.

She poured the water into her travel mug, making sure to soak the white tea leaves in the basket as she did so. In the two minutes she was forced to wait, she triple checked the burner, cleaned up from the cats’ five-minute-food-fest, and grabbed her hat from the rack by the door.

In one very over practiced motion, the leaves were removed, disposed of, and washed out of the metal basket. To the bottle went the spoils: A scant ounce of milk and a few spoons of sugar. And, with a gentle rap on the top of the bottle, she set out for a brisk morning walk.

“Made it!” Judith’s voice, for the first time that morning, made its presence known- But not until the white-washed door was shut tightly behind her. Her honey beige skin sang its thanks to her as her face and arms were bathed in sunlight: A feeling she liked more than most others.

That warmth washed out the tension that had overtaken her upon leaving her room. She took a sip of her tea, silently thanking both of her sleeping housemates for their absence in this almost silent morning. Her steps bounced down the sidewalk and into the street with only the birds of the morning to hear them fade.

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