SurfacingMature

It was a quiet night where Genet was. The stars glittered in an empty and infinite sky, reminding Genet of when, as a child, he would turn his face to the heavens and gaze at those  bright stars, which would twinkle back at him comfortingly, so he didn't feel so alone in the world. Then, he'd shut his eyes and breathe in, deeply, and imagine he was inhaling the wisdom of ages...

The childish fantasy gave Genet a sad kind of comfort now, though he had been convinced that he was irreconcilable. He looked back at the lonely, dark road and saw the orange pools of light beneath each streetlamp, the places where the wet road, catching the light, glittered orange and white, and the quiet sigh of each passing car several streets away.

He had hastily buried Ramon and left, moving he knew not where across the city. He was considering leaving, but this suburban neighbourhood was a quiet place, and he needed peace, at least for tonight. Tomorrow, he knew he would be facing a colder life, one without his shield, his protection, his Ramon.

Genet sat down on the kerb and rested his elbows on his knees. A drain gurgled near him. He could hear the distant whine of sirens, and the running of rainwater. The air smelled clean and fresh, and was cold on his skin.

Genet took a while to take in the surroundings, to have his piece of tranquillity while he could. He was almost meditating when he heard a rustling in the bush behind him, and he turned round. He had hoped that a killer had not followed him from the site of Ramon's death. For a moment Genet thought that if it was, he would have to put up a fight, for he wanted what could be his last peace intact...

A cat wandered out of the bushes, a fluffy black-and-white thing, and looked at him, stopping at the kerb and licking its little paws complacently.

Genet became suddenly aware that he could have killed the cat. He could have chopped its head off, slashed it up and left it in the gutter, made a little muff out of its fluffy tail. But he could not, and it was this that struck him most about the Killer's Game. People were one thing, for people were cruel and selfish and hateful, but animals meant no harm to anybody, and to hurt one was to hurt a creature that hadn't the voice to object, as he had been as a child.

Genet observed the cat for a little while, and then looked out into the street. He would not survive tomorrow, he believed. He would miss these pockets of calm. He would miss Ramon too, but he couldn't think of that now.

He must have sat there for about half an hour, gazing up into space, before he heard a car coming up the way, and, looking over, realised the cat was gone. Picking himself up, he began to walk down the street, and the car passed him without a hesitation.

The End

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