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7 Days in May


Crooning like a hurt animal, tears in her eyes, Sandra picked up her mangled pet and pushed it between the wires of
the fence, dropping its body on the far side. Clambering over after it, she picked her puppy up, struggling with the dead
weight. If she got it home and into the garden, her dad would never know it had been out here at all and she’d be okay.
A cloud drifted across the moon, blanketing the field in darkness.
The cat stood up, moving to the fence.
Sandra took a deep breath, gathering her courage as best she could and began walking across the field, her eyes set on
the dim glow from her house. She’d only taken a few steps when she heard a soft twang and knew that something had
come through the fence behind her.
Trying to push aside the fear threatening to close her throat and cut off her breathing, Sandra turned her head
centimetre by jerking centimetre until she was looking back over her shoulder.
Behind her stood an enormous cat, its teeth bared. It seemed as big as a pony, its canines the size of the sabre-toothed
tiger’s she’d once seen at a museum on a school trip.
Sandra turned to face it, then took a step backwards. “Bad cat! Go away!” she chastised the animal, her voice the
image of her mother when she scolded Clancy for pooping on the carpet.
Instead of running away the cat lowered its head and slunk nearer.
Sandra was terrified, her mouth so dry that she couldn’t scream, her knees almost buckling when the cat’s gaze fixed
on hers. She had an almost overwhelming desire to pee.
Driving herself to move, she threw the puppy at the cat, then turned and fled, screaming for her dad at the top of her
voice. Distracted by the puppy landing in front of it the cat took a moment to react, but then a fresh surge of rage flooded
its brain and it bounded across the field after the fleeing figure.
Sandra’s fear leant her speed, the adrenaline pumping through her small body moving her legs like she’d never run
before. She could see her house now, the wires of the fence black lines across the light escaping through the gap in the
curtains. Grabbing the top wire, she pulled herself over, ignoring the sharp barbs digging into her palms.
“Dad! Dad!” she called tumbling onto the hard surface of the road.
Looking back Sandra could see the cat close behind. She scrambled forwards on all fours, the rough surface of the
road tearing through her jeans, jabbing painful bits of stone into her skin.
The cat leapt at the fence, mouth wide, knowing its prey was escaping.
Sandra stood up, slipped on a patch of oil, lost her footing, her leg slipping under the bottom wire of the fence, her
jeans snagging on the barbs.
Screaming at the top of her voice, Sandra pulled at her jeans, glancing back at the house, hoping that her dad would
hear her.
“No,” she wailed, tears streaming down her face, her bloody hands tugging at the stubborn material in desperation.
“No! No! No!”
The cat cleared the fence, landing on the road, turning back towards her, hissing like a snake.
Sandra gave one last frantic tug and managed to free herself, but before she could move the cat was on her, thumping
into her chest, knocking her backwards against the barbed wire. Needle sharp teeth tore at her throat and barbs bit into
her back, the incredible pain taking away what little fight she had left.
As the small girl gave up her unequal struggle, she heard the sound of her dad’s voice calling, “Sandra, Sandra, where
are you?”
Running feet on the road, the bright lights of a car’s headlights. The cat left its kill, disappearing into the darkness of
the field.
A black stain spread its slow way across Sandra’s chest, frothing her life away. Her head fell sideways, neck torn open
in a bloody grin.
They found her a few moments later - her mother, her father, and the passing motorist whose headlights had picked
out her body draped across the wires.
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