Another cat appeared from the darkness—a silvery gray with fur that turned darker on his paws and the tips of his ears. He padded over to Cory and rubbed his head against her cheek. A shaft of moonlight sliced across his face, illuminating his pale eyes. He sat so close she could smell his damp breath. He stared at her with his blind-looking eyes, just like those of her mother that night. Looking but not seeing. Watching her without emotion, letting her leave the house without a word of protest. Cory squeezed hers shut to block out the memory. A wail, long held back and pressing on her chest, wound out like a long, thick snake into the frigid air. She gulped, sucking in the cold air, hurting her throat. Tears slid down her face but she didn’t bother brushing them away. The silvery cat meowed once and licked her face with a raspy tongue.
More cats appeared from the corners of the loft, kneaded at the blankets, and surrounded her in a furry cocoon. They curled up against her body and sent a dozen small pools of warmth against her frozen limbs. The silver cat settled last beside her head. Cory finally slept.
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