“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. “
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
That smell; that wonderful, intoxicating aroma was still on the tips of his whiskers.
As Tequila Kitty looked into the abyss of darkness floating high above his head, he wondered. He wondered if he was alive or dead. He wondered if there was an afterlife. He wondered if there was in fact an afterlife, would he be welcomed into its warm, heavenly glow. He wondered if he was alive where exactly he was. California? Mexico? Kansas?
This abyss; why did darkness have to be so dark? Could dark be light? Could something so black actually be white? Who thought of calling the darkness, dark? Could this abyss contain both light and dark? Why was there white in this abyss?
And as these alcohol infused thoughts swirled around the mind of Tequila Kitty a shooting star passed across his line of vision, and with it a shower of stars, as bright as the heavens Tequila Kitty envisioned above, began to explode into sight. Was this death and its glorious transition into the afterlife? How come no one ever mentioned the stinging, wet sensation one feels in their feet? How come no one mentioned the dog? Was this some kind of cruel, sick joke that the gods above play on those that are meant for eternal damnation?
Really funny, God! Tequila’s mind raced with anger.
Have a dog drag a cat into the flames of hell, oh how creative and original! Fuck you, God!
“I can’t believe you’re alive”
Tequila Kitty blinked his eyes and with that came into crystal clear vision a dog; a rather large dog to be exact. A giant black and grey Siberian husky now towered over the body of Tequila Kitty, and as its menacing face inched closer and closer to the twitching whiskers of Tequila, he sighed in exhaustion at the moment of clarity that blinded his eyes.
It all made sense now. The dark abyss above, the shower of exploding lights high above his head, the massive beast from hell about to devour every inch of his body, that smell. He knew it meant he was alive. It meant that he was still a part of this world, and about to be devoured into hell, but at this particular moment they were both the same thing.
Just kill me…
As the beasts piercing blue eyes descended upon Tequila its mouth opened to reveal what looked like thousands of sharp, jagged instruments of death. And just as Tequila braced, in complete acceptance and willing sacrifice to the afterlife, a giant, slobbering, and disgusting tongue scraped across his cheek?
This is hell…
“I seriously can’t believe you’re alive! Oh wow! I saved you! I actually saved you! I didn’t think I was going to be able to do anything, and it’s quite possible I didn’t do anything, but you don’t know that and I don’t know that…so I saved you! Hi, I’m Sarah. You should be more careful! I was just walking through the woods when I picked up a peculiar smell, and I thought to myself “Sarah, you better go and check that out, someone could be in trouble, and you’ll need to be the one that helps them all the way out here!”
Sarah continued to lick Tequila with a passion that he found refreshingly welcoming, but increasingly annoying.
Yea, this is definitely hell thought Tequila.
Why did it have to be a dog? What is she even talking about? And for the love of god why is she talking so fast!
“You’re in bad shape, but you should be O.K…. I think.” Sarah continued to talk. “You lost a lot of blood though that’s for sure. I found this note lying next to you on the ground, I didn’t read it of course, but you should know I found it!”
Note? Tequila felt a pain race through his spine creating an electric current that awoke every bone, muscle, nerve and cell in his body to the unrelenting pain that now engulfed each of them. He had hoped it was a dream. He was hoping it was a terrible nightmare, the kind that only haunts the dreams of children who believe in such things as devils, ghosts and demons.
“What happened to you? Where did you come from? I need to find something to wrap that leg in, or what’s left of it. Oh, where are my bed side manners? I shouldn’t have said that. Your leg is just fine” Sarah continued to ramble at an unflinching pace for what seemed, to Tequila, for hours. His mind was somewhere else. Somewhere far away from the horrific reality that was trying to set in. He knew that if he had managed to hold onto the note then certainly he had been able to hold onto the one other thing he held near to his heart.
As Sarah continued to rant and ramble about the condition of Tequila Kitty’s mangled body, particular smells, pools of blood and broken bones, Tequila slowly turned over. Tequila heard every rib in his chest creak and crack as he rolled over onto his side. Sarah was right. There was a lot of blood, his legs were badly mangled, and his body was ravaged with deep cuts, fractured bones and gaping holes where soft, yellow fur should be.
“You shouldn’t move!” yelled Sarah. “There’s an emergency animal hospital about a mile away. I’ll take you there. My owner use to take me there, well before I ran away. Anyways, they have just the most delightful doctor there. His name is James, or Jeff, or Robert, or something along those lines, but he always makes me feel better. I’m sure he’ll be able to help you as well! I always see your type in and out of there. I like to bark at them and scare them on purpose just to make me laugh, but don’t tell them that.”…
Tequila couldn’t decide what was worse: the blistering pain of his newly diagnosed wounds and the unfolding horror of the reality that was slowly starting to settle in, or the yammering of a dog that wouldn’t just shut the fuck up and help him, or at least let him die in peace. I guess it really didn’t matter because at this point Tequila knew he was dead. Even if this dog could manage to get him to safety, let alone alive, he knew he would still have to live with his nightmare; a nightmare that was quickly becoming worse than the growing pain in his body.
His eyes slowly surveyed his left arm, or what use to look like his left arm. He slowly ran his eyes through the carnage of shattered bone, bloody fur and up to his beaten and bruised paw, but there in all its glowing beauty, still attached to his gripping, limp paw was his best friend, his worst enemy and the fuel he had always needed to spark the rage, passion and energy throughout his life. The note may have brought Tequila Kitty back to the realities and horror that lay before him, but this beloved item would certainly take him back into the abyss. A place where in the deepest echoes of his soul, he knew he belonged.
With every ounce of strength he had left, Tequila lifted the bottle of Tequila off the ground, to his lips and passed away back into the abyss as Sarah leaned over whimpering something he could no longer understand. His mind drifted towards the beach, towards that note, towards Diablo, and especially towards that smell that still lingered on his whiskers.
A voice boomed over the roar of the crowded marketplace where Tequila stood. Holding onto a suitcase, his favorite bottle of imported Tequila and wearing a large sombrero, Tequila quickly tipped his sunglasses away from his eyes to scan the crowd for the location of the voice. Tequila knew that voice like it was his own. He’d heard it since the day he was born. His oldest brother Diablo suddenly appeared out of nowhere and embraced Tequila.
“Tequila you look fantastic! I see those city folk in Los Angeles have treated you well. I pray they won’t miss you for too long.”
Tequila dropped his suitcase, but never the bottle and embraced his brother back; Tequila’s black suitcase disappearing into the black fur that covered his brother. It had been ages, or probably months, since he’d last seen his brother. Separated shortly after birth to different humans in different locations, they had made a pact to find one another in this life or the next no matter the cost. Through an elaborate set of trail markings, hidden messages and some dumb luck they were able to find one another within two years of their separation.
Tequila, a natural outdoor cat, would disappear for up to five days at a time. Three days to traverse the unknown land around him and two to travel back to his city life in Los Angeles. Each trip he would travel farther out into the unknown, often dangerous lands, only returning when his supplies would run low. One day Tequila discovered a marking left by Diablo, using the same system they rehearsed as kittens at a young age. Within two more trips they had reunited. Tequila would now disappear for up to a week at a time, traversing a laid out course from the Hollywood hills of Los Angeles, south to the beaches of San Diego.
“Come, come my brother. We have many things to discuss. There is someone I want you to meet!”
Diablo led Tequila through a maze of humans, intoxicating aromas, vibrant colors and a whirlwind of foods, stray cats, rats and trash until they arrived at their destination. A towering hotel that overlooked the San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge, and the tall navy ships that spanned across the horizon.
“Unfortunately, Tequila, we don’t share the same luxuries as our human counterparts do. We’ll be staying in the sewer drain below the hotel, but I’m sure you’ll find the space to be quite comfortable.” Diablo’s voice trailed off as he entered into the open sewer drain. Tequila knew he lived a prized life with his current owner. He had a home, a warm bed, plenty of wet food, and an owner who shared his passion for the tequila bottle.
Diablo had been alone now for quite some time. His owner left him behind after she had to flee the country because, as Diablo described it, she was “some sort of alien invader from another country”…
Since then Diablo had made a pretty good life for himself. The proud leader of the Nips, a pack of cats that primarily dealt with the stealing, or as they so eloquently put it “the redistribution of rights” of human produced cat food. They would heist the trucks that were being unloaded into local stores. Using a rather archaic method, the pack would “run interference” by distracting the dock workers while Diablo and a fellow pack member would sneak into the open truck, pry open the shrink wrap packaging, and haul bag after bag of food off the truck and drop it into the sewer drains, where down below more pack members had rigged netting. They would take the bags back to the hideout below the towering hotel and distribute it to stray cats from San Diego to as far as a place called Tijuana.
This lifestyle had not only made Diablo a very wealthy, respected, and god like figure in the feline community of southern California, but also a sworn enemy of the Pet Control Department of San Diego, and the large faction of cats that followed the AristoCats party. A party dedicated to the domestication of all cats that followed the rules laid out by the superior race of humans. Tequila never bothered to follow politics; he loved his brother therefore he loved his brother’s cause even though he tried to distance himself from it.
Tequila found himself getting lost in the flowing waves of the bay water slamming into the cement barricade below the sewer entrance where Diablo had descended into. As he took a moment to take in the beauty of the architecture, smells, warmth, and sounds buzzing around him he felt a sudden sharp pain growing in his left arm…
“Wake up! Don’t die on me!”
Tequila’s eyes slowly opened to see Sarah dragging him, by the arm, on to a large plank of wood.
Where the hell did she get this piece of wood? Where Am I? And why is she dragging me by my dislocated arm!
Tequila lifted his head as far as his neck and muscles would allow him. He could see the pools of blood around him getting darker and thicker. He didn’t notice the blood as much as he noticed the excitement on Sarah’s face when she saw him lift his head.
“You’re still alive! Yes! You’re eyes are really glazed over, you should lie back down, but don’t close your eyes. I remember this one time when I ate one of my owners glazed donuts. He got really mad, and yelled at me. I got sick that same night and threw up all over him and his bed.”
Tequila stared blankly at Sarah’s face as she continued to recount why, how, and when she ran away from home. Tequila couldn’t have cared less. He watched Sarah pick up a piece of string in her mouth and as she pulled on it Tequila felt the ground below him spring to life. Gazing into the moving stars above him he once again lifted the arm that still gripped the bottle of tequila, pressed it to his lips, and fell once again into the abyss…
“Tequila, I want you to meet Noel” Diablo proudly proclaimed as he ushered his hand towards a red and white female cat that met them at the entrance to the hideout. “Noel, I want you to meet my closest friend, the cat’s whose same blood runs through my own, I want you to meet my brother, Tequila. Tequila, I want you to meet the love of my life; the one who gives meaning to my soul.”
And at that moment Tequila was lost. Lost from thoughts, space, time, reality, and especially words. She was the prettiest thing Tequila had ever laid eyes on. He knew he was staring into the eyes of a red and white angel, her white layers a glowing beacon of hope, happiness and life. Her red layers setting the essence of Tequila’s soul on fire.
“Don’t be shy Tequila, she doesn’t bite” Diablo said as he grasped Tequila’s paw and placed it in Noels already outreached paw. The electricity of the touch ushered in a wild river of emotions that sparked not only the eyes of Tequila, but to his surprise the eyes of Noel. And once the rush of energy filtered out of his body, he finally noticed it. He noticed the smell that radiated off her as if her aura had a natural perfume. He wished deep down to never lose that smell on the tips of his whiskers.
For the rest of the night Tequila would continue to steal glances of Noel as she did everything from help redistribute cat food to stray cats, serve the Nips their nightly feast, lick the face and neck of his brother Diablo, and participate in the “pre-heist” meeting by mapping out the location of the trucks and dock workers using old chicken bones and scraps of fast food paper. He felt alive every time she would steal a glance back. Tequila knew she felt it too; this current, this electric flow of radiating tension that filled the space between them.
He pictured the scene that would unfold if someone were to light a match in the room. He pictured the open flame connecting with the propane fueled tension causing the room to erupt into a million pieces of his heart.
“Tequila, you’ll be with me”. Diablo’s voice snapped him back into reality and far away from the images dancing around his head. He quickly blinked his eyes to notice that not only was Noel staring at him, but also Diablo and the entire Nips pack. Tequila quickly nodded his head in agreement while also mustering up a fake smile at the same time.
He knew that on this particular trip to visit his brother he was going to participate in one of their famous heists. The last one, according to his brother, had a couple of hiccups that cost the pack a member. They were short and Tequila offered his service in an act of brotherly kindness that he knew Diablo would have done for him if needed. However, His mind was now somewhere else.
Lost in the smell and beauty of the angel that was now walking towards him…
Noel, he thought, such a breathtaking name.
“How did you get your name” Tequila whispered to her as she slowly walked by and passed along a note as the other members of the pack slowly faded from the meeting that had just ended.
“I was given to my original owners on Christmas day” her voice echoed in his head.
You truly are an angel, he thought to himself, as she faded out of view; her smell still lingering on the tips of his whiskers.
Tequila couldn’t contain the joy building up in him as he quickly opened the note and read the words…
“I thought I told you to not close your eyes! How am I supposed to save you if you don’t listen to me?”
This fucking dog, Tequila thought, as he once again awoke from the dreams that filled the abyss between his life and his death.
Could they even be called dreams? The imaginary line between reality and the memories that echoed in and out of Tequila’s bloodied, battered and bruised body were starting to fade and intertwine together. His conscious continued to race with incoherent thoughts and images as his mind slowly tried to grip on to the last remaining moments of his life.
“The note” Tequila whispered to Sarah as she hovered over him continuing to lick his wounds. “I need the note”.
Sarah stumbled backwards muttering something under her breath before she reappeared into Tequila’s line of sight gripping the blood soaked note between her teeth. As Sarah lowered the note towards Tequila, Tequila heard a loud crash, a ferocious whimper from Sarah, and what felt like the weight of the entire world collapse on him. The impact of Sarah’s body onto Tequila’s caused the note to release from her mouth and float high into the air. Tequila’s glazed, dead eyes locked onto it.
Gone was the crushing sensation of the dog laid across his limp body. Gone was the stinging sensation of his ruptured muscles, tendons, and broken bones. Gone was the imaginary line between his dreams and reality, and gone was the need to still grip his trusty bottle of Tequila. The only thing that Tequila could focus on was the note softly starting to fall back to the Earth.
As Tequila reached his paw towards the heavens, towards the note, and towards whatever afterlife awaited him; all of his pain and all of the nightmares of his reality came crashing back down on him as he saw another paw intercept the note just inches away from his outstretched arm.
“Poor Tequila” he heard a voice proclaim. “Look how far we have come, my brother. How many more people do you intend to kill today?”
The End of the Middle
Tequila watched the wave’s crash onto the waiting sand as he gazed out into the abyss of the night. His head pounding in perfect rhythm with his heart as his head raced with what was about to happen.
This was crazy, he thought to himself. This was right.
“Hello, Tequila” he heard the voice of an angel whisper to him. As he turned around he was met, instantly, by noel jumping into his arms. The electricity, the shockwaves, the permanent ripples in his beating heart caused it to skip a couple beats and bring Tequila to his knees with Noel still gripping on to him tightly.
This is my heaven, this is my angel, Tequila thought. This is my forever…
The note was simple. The plan was simple. Tequila knew it meant he would never see his brother again. He knew it meant he would need to leave his current owner; for fear that his brother’s “brothers” would hunt for him. He knew that they would need to run, plot out a new life, in a new location with new pathways, smells and human patterns to memorize. He also knew that he was moments away from becoming the happiest feline in the world.
“Did you read it” Noel asked Tequila pointing to the note in Tequila’s paw. Tequila nodded his head as he lifted the note up for her to see. He wondered what she thought about all this. Tequila was too afraid to ask, fearing he would accidently make her change her mind. At this point there was no turning back anyhow; they had both already skipped the planned heist. Diablo was probably already cursing Tequila out in front of all the Nips as they scrambled to make last minute adjustments.
Perhaps we weren’t even needed, Tequila thought to himself, eager to find any excuse that would make him feel better about the situation.
Perhaps Diablo wasn’t the man he claimed to be. Why would such an angel want to run away from him on a whim with an absolute stranger? Perhaps Diablo had become just that, a devil. Tequila’s head raced with these thoughts that mingled with alcohol laced thoughts of regret, sadness, self loathe and love. As his head raced so did Noel and him as they began to sprint into the unknown.
“You know he killed him, right” Noel calmly said as the two sprinted side by side. Tequila froze in place. The two now sitting in an open field as the sun slowly began to disappear off in the horizon in a burst of orange, red, and purple.
“Killed who?” Tequila asked as he felt a wave of anxiety rush over him.
“That member of the Nips that was killed during the last raid, and to be honest I’m pretty positive he wasn’t the first. I’ve seen numerous members just randomly disappear in the past year, and that’s not even counting all the AristoCat members that stage protests near the local pet stores. Tequila, your brother is a monster with a heart of gold”
Tequila wasn’t sure if it was her words, or the black figure that darted across the brilliant sunset in the horizon, but he couldn’t comprehend either at the moment.
A monster? Diablo? A murderer?
Either way it didn’t matter. What mattered was their safety, and this wide open field, only a few miles away from the heist location, was about as unsafe as it got.
“We need to leave, now!” Tequila commanded as he grabbed Noel’s paw, propelling both of them into a full on sprint. As the ground beneath them raced at an unflinching speed, Tequila noticed it again; the black figure that he caught five minutes ago in the sunset was now on a collision course with Noel and him.
Some would call it cat like reflexes, some would call it feline instincts, but Tequila knew it was pure dumb luck that the instant he pushed Noel down to the ground he felt the black shadow crash into him, bringing them both tumbling across the field. With each rotation, which to Tequila seemed to be happening in slow motion, the shadows features became more outstanding to Tequila until they both stopped tumbling, and Tequila was looking into the eyes of his brother.
“It’s sad it’s come to this, Tequila!” Diablo hissed as he raised his outstretched claws high above his head and delivered a horrendously vicious blow to the head of Tequila. Tequila could taste the gushing river of blood that was building up in his mouth with each successful blow Diablo delivered.
I’m sorry brother… Forgive me…
“You son of a bitch!” Noel screamed as she leapt towards Diablo. Tequila, out of the corner of his eyes, saw her fly, like the angel he knew she was, towards Diablo. His spirit lifted as she seemed to float through the dark night sky to save him; his mind racing with love and adoration.
My hero, my angel, my savior, my love, my Noel
Diablo noticed the shift in Tequila’s eyes and quickly swiped a blind paw that connected with Noel. The blood rushed out of her throat spraying both Tequila and Diablo. They both watched as Noel slowly limped away, turned to look at both of them, and then drop to the blood stained grass below her; her lifeless body now glowing in the moonlit sky.
Tequila turned slowly back to Diablo, was still starring at Noel’s body completely in shock. With every ounce of strength he had remaining, Tequila lifted his free paw and jammed a claw into the side of Diablo’s head. The impact sent Diablo scampering off of Tequila who in a fit of blind rage was now pummeling his brother just as Diablo had done to him moments before he slaughtered Noel. Diablo was quick to recover, as he slashed dirt into Tequila’s eyes momentarily blinding him giving him enough time to pick up a nearby stick and spear his brother through the chest.
Tequila’s mind blacked out as he felt the sharp end of the stick puncture his skin. In an act of desperation, and with his eyes closed, he swiped an outreached paw and connected with Diablo’s face. Tequila instinctively removed the stick from his chest and began to slowly scamper away with the stick still in his possession.
He knew it wouldn’t be long until Diablo was right behind him again. Tequila knew he had one shot at beating his brother. He planned to slowly walk away, hiding the weapon he possessed. He would wait until he saw his brother’s shadow, quickly turn and shove the stick into him finally ending this nightmare. Tequila saw the shadow loom over him when he heard the heavy breathing of Diablo right behind him, Tequila closed his eyes, quickly turned and shoved the pointy end of the stick into the shadow that lurked behind him.
Tequila opened his eyes to look into the sad horror of Noels eyes as they slowly glazed over from confused pain to dead. Tequila quickly removed the stick as her body crumpled to the ground. As Tequila knelt over her he saw his brother disappear in the distance.
For all the tequila he had consumed, for all the women he had chased, for all the fights he was in and just nearly avoided; Tequila felt for the first time a wave of sadness and defeat wash over him like he had never experienced before. If he were to die he would prefer now because living with this feeling would be the greatest punishment of all.
As he starred into the eyes of Noel Tequila wiped the tears that were now streaming over his face. He knew that with his brother disappearing it wouldn’t be long until he returned with an army hell bent on not only killing him, but making sure he felt every inch and second of his death. He leaned down and slowly pressed his whiskers to Noels face taking in her wonderful smell one last time.
That smell; that wonderful, intoxicating aroma was the last thing Tequila remembered before he passed out in the open field about a mile away from Noel’s body.
He wished to never wake up…
Not only did Tequila wake up, but now he found himself trapped under this fucking dog with his brother about to replay his entire nightmare all over again.
“Tequila, I’m curious to know, brother.” Diablo calmly spoke from on top of Sarah as he unfolded the note. “What was the feeling you felt when you realized you were the one that killed Noel? I felt pretty bad when I thought I killed her, but I can only imagine how you must of felt stabbing her with that stick. That’s quite a brutal, personal and intimate way to end some one’s life, don’t you think? Let’s share together this note that was so important to the two of you”
Tequila placed his head on the ground submitting to whatever horror, tortures, and pain Diablo had in store for him. He knew he deserved it, but he felt an especially harsh sadness when he gazed upon the face of the lifeless Sarah. She certainly didn’t deserve any of this. She was just some dumb, lost, runaway dog with a love for glazed donuts that was trying to save him out of the goodness of her heart. As Tequila looked upon her face asking whatever gods existed for forgiveness he saw her eyes open and connect connect with his.
She’s alive! Holy shit you’re alive! His mind exploded.
Sarah slowly raised her eyes up to glance quickly at Diablo as he read the note out loud as if her standing on a soapbox preaching to invisible patrons around him. Then she glanced back at Tequila and gave him that sly, stupid, smug smile that Tequila only knew dogs could do.
This fucking dog, Tequila thought as he watched Sarah close her eyes again and continue to play dead.
“So let me get this straight, Tequila!” Diablo spoke as he jumped down off of Sarah and pressed his face up against Tequilas. “You were just going to come down to my home, eat my food, embrace my hospitality, desert your brother, but more importantly my friends, and then steal my fiancé?”
Well when you put it like that, I’d be pretty upset too, Tequila thought as he shrugged back at Diablo. Knowing who his brother was now he felt no remorse or empathy for his brother. The only thing he felt was the painful injection of regret, self-loathing and sadness for allowing himself to become the spitting image of this monster that was diabolically about to kill him and this dog.
“I just don’t understand you, Tequila” Diablo whispered to him as he pressed a claw up against Tequila’s throat. “Perhaps when I slit this throat I finish it this time”…
As Diablo lifted his paw high into the air to deliver the final, fatal blow to Tequila’s life he saw Sarah’s head rise with it too. Her teeth entangling the arm of Diablo, snapping it clean off.
Tequila lurched forward and dragged his claw across the throat of Diablo as the two crumpled simultaneously to the ground in a mixed pool of their blood. Tequila felt the unwelcomed warmth of Sarah’s slobbering mouth grab him by the collar and drag him back onto the plank of wood, and without skipping a beat proceeded to drag Tequila towards the hospital while muttering to her-self, fucking cats.
Tequila gazed at the night sky, its shifting clouds and stars, it’s soft, cool breeze, and the moon glowing in the distance. He felt is heart slowly beating with each star that crossed his line of sight, and as the stars became more and more spaced apart so did his heartbeat. He breathed in one last breath of air as he saw the stars disappear from the sky with no more in sight. He closed his eyes and fell into the abyss, felt his heart stop beating and focused on the one last sense that was still gripping to life; the smell on the tip of his whiskers.
Tequila awoke bathed in the warmth of the Los Angeles sun. His confused eyes quickly darted around to survey his surroundings, his body, and his wounds that were no longer there. He was home, it was early morning, and his owner was passed out in the hammock across from him still gripping a bottle of Tequila.
What a bender last night must have been. How much Tequila do you have to consume to have that kind of dream? Oh god and think of the hangover that’s on its way, Tequila thought as he slowly crept over to his owner, grabbed the bottle of Tequila and took a huge, satisfying swig of the magical elixir. He dropped the bottle, wiped his eyes and slowly took in the sounds, sights and smells of his peaceful backyard haven.
Tequila stretched and yawned his way over to his litter box where he relieved himself. As his claws dug through the litter he felt something buried deep down in the box. He reached and pulled out a piece of paper soaked in blood, inside were the words handwritten by Noel. He lifted the note to his nose and felt every emotion rush back into him as Noels scent poured into his nostrils and into his heart.
He knew it was too good to be true. In the back of his head he always knew it wasn’t a dream. It had been far too real for it to be some crazy mind bender fueled by an excessive night of women, drugs and alcohol. He knew the painful truth that not only did his nightmare occur in real life, but that he himself had died as a result.
He looked around, gazed at the four markings carved into the wall high above his litter box and added a fifth.
Four to go; Tequila thought as he began to scavenge for supplies. If he had four lives left then surely Noel had a lot more left then him.
Tequila grabbed the bottle of tequila from beneath his owner, tipped his sunglasses down to cover his eyes, pressed the note against his nose, and followed the one thing he knew would hopefully lead him to a happy ending…