His voice was drowned out by the smell of his cooking. It overrode her wariness of ending up on a missing persons poster. Phoebe shuffled over to a large oak table and sat down against her better judgement. It had been taken over by a laptop and stacks of binders, but there was room enough for both of them to eat. An ornate coptic cross hung on the wall, and a sliding glass door along with two windows showed that the sun was slow to rise.

“What if it comes out again?” Phoebe asked.

“Then we’ll handle it. We’ve got Julia and Yuli for that.” Cat said as he scrambled eggs.

Her breath quickened again, “No. No, there’s something wrong with me. I’m stuck here, and if I don’t go to school- but if it happens again- in a dorm-”

“You’ve got about two weeks, right?” Cat placed a plate of food in front of her with a warm smile. “That’s more than enough time for us to find a solution. Where are you attending?”

“Stern’s.” Phoebe dug in, helpless. She tried her best to not shovel food into her mouth, but the breakfast Cat prepared tasted like the first breakfast she’d ever had. It soothed her. The eggs were perfectly soft, and the bacon was flavorful and crunchy without smearing her mouth with grease.

“That preppy women’s college?”

“It’s close to the beach. And it was the only place that accepted my application.” It’s where she belonged. That’s what people had said, even if the idea felt almost as suffocating as the monster pushing her face into the earth.

Image: Phoebe and Cat sit at the cluttered table. Cat is focused, typing on his laptop. His brow is furrowed and his tongue is sticking out. Phoebe has a fork-full of food in her mouth. She is looking down at her plate, and there is a small heart above her head. On the left, behind Cat, is a framed illustration of a vine, and a decorative table with a small plant on it. End description.

Cat resigned to letting her eat in peace, and the longer Phoebe sat across from him, the less of a threat he seemed to pose. He was engrossed in his work. Typing away, then scribbling something down in a notebook, then returning to his laptop. When she got up for thirds he didn’t react at all. She guessed that she could have walked out of the house entirely and he wouldn’t have noticed until she was a mile down the road.



I'm getting back into the swing of producing art regularly, now that school's been out for a few weeks. But I put my pineapple plant outside for the season and I think I killed it :(