Oh thank God! Francine relaxed. It was only Tufty. Tufty the Tiger. A large full-of-attitude mongrel ginger cat who lived in Francine’s neighbourhood. He appeared to have been in her bed for some time, forming a warm lumpen shape under the covers. She wondered how he got in.
No one knew how old Tufty was, just that he had been around forever. He didn’t appear to belong to anyone and let himself in and out of the various local establishments at whim. Sometimes he hid and, as Francine learned, if you went out and accidentally trapped him inside, he ripped up your pot-plants and shat in them. Goodness only knew what he did in the less green-thumbed households. Either way, Francine had started leaving a litter tray in the laundry. Which he never used, dammit.
Everyone in the apartment block knew Tufty and Francine had always been envious of his freedom and smug confidence – though he’d certainly never deigned to sleep in her bed before. That she knew of. The local kids insisted he had magical powers.
She absently patted his patchy square head and gave him a nudge. He opened his eyes and stretched and yawned, granting Francine a puff of stale cat breath. He then sat up, pointed a hind leg to the ceiling and proceeded to energetically lick his anus.
Ewwww! Francine pushed him off the bed. Tufty landed on all fours, looked at her disdainfully, then stuck his leg back in the air and continued what he started.
Right, Francine thought, leaving him to it. She’d better get ready for work. She dragged herself out of bed and towards the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Tufty looked up from his business and thought to himself…
Go to next chapter…