Leonis, 1:1, 2:13 - Part III - Cats...Actually, Just Cat

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Parker watched Broadway happily devouring the can of cat food. "Why are you still alive, huh? I don't get it."

The kitten stopped eating as if he were going to answer. He looked up at Parker with brown gravy covering its face, licked its whiskers, and then returned to devouring the wet morsels.

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking," Parker said with a grin. "Who cares, right? It only matters that we're both still here." The young man sat cross-legged, elbows on knees, and face in hands, watching the cat enjoying himself. Their chosen 'campsite' for the evening, an upscale hotel lobby, was very nice...and very elegant. It would have been well out of Parker's price range prior to his inheritance. He glanced around admiring the architecture and other fancy accouterments that abounded throughout the hotel. Had things been different, he would have actually found it humorous that someone would dare feed a stray cat in such a well-to-do establishment, especially when only the most affluent humans could even afford to enter.

Parker lifted his attention away from the kitten as a single ray of rainbow-laced light flickered across the bridge of his nose. Momentarily cross-eyed, he sat up. After a couple of blinks, he began to scan over the hotel lobby's open space until he located the source of the refracted beam. The afternoon sunlight was only just beginning to radiate in through the front entryway. Its rays were flickering over the rows of crystalline liquor bottles standing in formation along a handful of glass shelves rising from behind the bar.

Broadway, evidently too engrossed in his meal, ignored Parker's flurry of activity as the human suddenly rose to his feet.

"You and me kitty, we're both going to sleep well tonight..."

Parker cautiously stepped over the small animal and crossed the lobby toward the shelves of expensive alcohol. As he made his way around the end of the marble and wood bar, approaching the nirvana of liquor, Parker considered he deserved a night off for once. There was no threat here and from what he could gather from the moon's waxing movement, he still had at least a week to go before it was time to leave. Plus, he needed to find out more about where everyone and everything living disappeared to...minus little Broadway.

Parker's fingers happily danced along the tops of several bottles before stopping on one in particular. He lifted the bottle of French Oak Cask whisky from the shelf and paused mid-turn. "Oh, nah uh," Parker exclaimed as he sat his previous choice down next to something even more spectacular. A bottle of 40 year old single malt whisky with a $7,000 price tag on it stowed away behind the counter. He removed the container from its hiding place and exposed it to the fading afternoon light.

"Damn shame it would be to let you go to waste."

Broadway looked up at Parker and meowed as the human stepped over him and then sat down on a nearby, gold velour couch.

"You want up?"

"Mew," the kitten replied and began rubbing the length of its short body on Parkers' shin.

Parker laughed noting that not one speck of cat food remained in the can. "Time to go night night I imagine," he said and lifted the kitten up onto the sofa.

Broadway instantly produced a droning purr. It gave Parker a serious look and using a term the young man had heard a girlfriend of his say back in college, began kneading invisible biscuits on the expensive couch cushion with its small paws.

Parker opened his bottle of whisky and raised it in the air toward the cat. "Here's to us survivors."

"Mew."

<<*>>

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

"What the hell? A garbage truck!?!!" Parker sat upright on the couch, nearly launching little Broadway from where the kitten slept curled up on his chest. His head pounded as if his heart had moved into his skull.

The cat instantly buried its claws in Parker's skin to avoid being ejected into the air.

"Ow! Sorry bud!" the startled man said, wrapping his hands around the kitten. Parker wiped the drool from his face with a shirt sleeve and looked around for his bag. He stowed the ball of fur in the olive drab sack, trading the animal for the pistol.

A nervous, muffled meow emanated from inside.

"I know, I'm sorry little guy," the man whispered reassuringly. Then, with his head lowered, Parker jogged toward the front of the hotel. Upon arrival, he slid into the space between a pair of windows and held his bag in front of him.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

With a pair of fingers, Parker eased a silken panel away from the window and peeked out. A dozen or so armed, urban-camouflage-attired men and women surrounded a dump truck filled with all manner of supplies. The heavy machine sat in the street outside with its engine rumbling. It appeared to be waiting for something or someone. "What are they up to out there?"

Parker ducked as a handful of men in gray coveralls suddenly spilled from an adjacent building carrying boxes. They lugged the heavy items to the rear of the truck and heaved them up to more men waiting in its bed.

Parker quickly dropped the curtain as one of the soldiers nearest the hotel pointed in his direction. "Shit! Did they see me?" he wondered. Without a second thought, Parker dashed across the hotel lobby toward the rear of the building. Just as he managed to duck through a service door, he heard the front door slam open. The sound of its pretty glass panes shattering followed by voices and thumping boots only encouraged Parker to run harder.

Taking the next right, Parker darted down a dark corridor attempting to place even more distance between him and his pursuers. He skidded to a stop at the end of the dark hallway, listened for anyone that might be behind him, and then when he was satisfied, smacked the bar that ran horizontally across the metal exit door.

"Whoa!!!" Parker grabbed the frame to keep himself from falling through the doorway and down into a crevasse that spread out before him like the Grand Canyon. As he successfully backed away from his near brush with death, Parker could hear more doors slamming from somewhere else in the building. He quickly pulled the door to and slid back into the darkness.

"Mew."

"Shhh!"

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