The light is fading as I enter my apartment. I sling my backpack off my shoulder as I kick the door shut behind me. Glowing yellow eyes appear in the dim room as Pounce trots over, her sleek black fur blending with the dark.
I fumble for matches on my counter as she rubs against my legs, purring. Pretty soon her purring will change to demands for food, but first she must establish how glad she is that I’m home. I strike a match, and Pounce starts changing her tune while I light the first candle.
“Patience is a virtue.” I mutter to her as I go on to light another.
I don’t think my cat cares so much for virtue.
She weaves in and out of my legs, practically begging for me to step on her as I light up the apartment with candles. Of course, if I did ever step on her she would become the most insulted cat that ever lived, which is saying a lot when it comes to cats.
I push open the curtains, revealing the windows behind them half-covered in vines. It should be a full moon tonight.
Returning to the kitchen, I set down the matches and pull out my can opener. Pounce sits silently now, her tail flicking back and forth as she watches intently. The cranking sound of the opener fills the room, settling me into this late evening.
I miss the noise of people living around me.
The closest thing I have to neighbors is a colony of bees that took over room 3. They like to keep to themselves, and I don’t try to convince them otherwise. I dump the can into Pounce’s food bowl, wrinkling my nose at what she sees as a delicacy. She starts gulping it down in a very unladylike manner and I return to the kitchen to get my own food.
The cranking of a can opener starts again.
I glance over at my backpack as I work, slouched on the floor where I dropped it. I’ll go through it tomorrow, when the sun is up and I don’t have to worry about wasting candlelight. Grabbing a spoon, I plunge it into the can and walk into the living room. There’s a radio on the coffee table, and I try the dials to see if it will pick up anything tonight.
There’s still at least two stations that have something playing, which tells me there’s someone else still out there, playing music for a scattered and lonely civilization.
One is a classical station, the other plays rather dated pop music. Sometimes they say things in between songs, but I can never really understand them among all the static. Still, it’s nice to hear another voice.
The classical station is the one I can find this evening, fading in and out of the ever-present static.
“Trees are growing like crazy.” I tell Pounce. “I found some walnuts on the ground. You’ll hate them, but that just means all the more for me.”
I look out the window, between the reaching vines. They’ve nearly covered the window now. Beyond them is just green leaves and brown wood and the darkening shadows.
This used to be a city.
Pounce has finished her meal and she leaps onto my lap, sniffing at mine. Moonlight starts to filter through the branches and leaves and vines, adding a soft blue light to my candlelight room. I scratch Pounce’s head in between bites, listening to her rumbling purr mixed with faint violins and static.
I can feel it settle into my bones.
Tonight will be a good night.