An Unexpected Gift

Originally posted on my Ko-fi

There’s a sound of something clawing at the back door. 

Even after months of living on my own, I still jump at any unexpected noises. It’s stupid, but there’s no one to see me do it, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. 

It only takes a second for my brain to rationalise the noise: it’s Pepper, wanting back in after traversing through the neighbourhood. Trying to calm my racing heart which apparently assumed someone was here to murder me, I pause the animal documentary I’ve only been half-watching and cross over to the back door. 

Sure enough, as I turn the doorknob and let in the fresh summer air, Pepper trots right in, immediately plopping down in the middle of the kitchen to groom his grey-brown fur dusted with black. 

“Well, hi,” I say sarcastically. “No thanks for opening the door or anything?” As I turn to close the door, something catches my eye. 

A dead bird lying in the grass just by the door, dried blood around its neck. 

“Mow!” Pepper nudges against my leg and rumbles with a deep purr. 

I shut the door quickly, feeling a little nauseous. “Thanks, buddy,” I say, scratching Pepper’s arched back. “That’s a great present, but I’m not feeling too hungry right now.”

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