LXXXV | Megaphone

I reach a bus stop,

take a random bus

When I get off
the bus,

I see the cat
with scales

reptilian armour,

when we first met.

Its tail waves
a casual greeting.

My fists clench,
fire burns
in my chest.

‘Why are you here?’

It doesn’t reply.

Just pads away,
blindly confident I’ll follow.
I won’t.

But I do.

After what happened,
I dunno
how to face

Under the void deck,
there’s one light
that’s flickering.

The scaly cat
chooses to sit
under it.

It’s quiet.

At the playground,
there’s a
group of teenagers

talking and drinking.

‘You didn’t show up earlier,’
I accuse.

The cat’s glassy green eyes
at me.

‘If you didn’t like
‘what I was doing,
‘you should have
‘said so.

‘Don’t #*%&ing blame me now.’

A scale drops
from its body
like a white rowan petal.

Like a snowflake.

Another one
grows back
in its place.

‘You slammed the door
‘in my face,’
          it says.

‘You disappeared
‘on your own,’
          I say.

I’m not giving in.
I won’t.

The cat turns blurry.
So does the void deck.

My eyes are heavy.

Now they’re wet.

Something’s flowing down
my face.

The cat’s tail
lies like a dead snake
on the concrete.

It doesn’t speak.

I also

I can’t.

There’s a mothball
in my throat.

But someone’s making a sound.
A whining kind of cry.
A suppressed sob overflowing.

I wipe my hand across my face.

My chest heaving
in an effort to stay quiet.

There’s a bench
to sit on

but I crouch down
in front of the cat
and hide my head
in my hands.

I yelled at Rowan

even though I was trying to apologise.

Thinking about it

she didn’t do anything wrong.

But when I
look into those yellow eyes,

and feel that

I am 100% sure
I didn’t do anything wrong.

There’s a warm feeling
against my leg.

Through my fingers,
I see Mr. Ahmad

against my school pants.

until all its scales fall off.

until the cat is the colour
of my pants.

‘I want to live in both worlds,’
I say when I’ve calmed down.

‘I don’t want to give up
‘either one.’

‘You told her
‘you’d tell Shuhui to leave no matter what.’

I stare at the cat.

‘Rowan broke up with me.
‘I don’t want to be

‘alone tonight.’

‘You’re not alone.’

I narrow my eyes at it.
If you’re talking about yourself,

then #*%& it.

‘You can leave, it’s okay,’ I say.

The cat
begins to wave its tail


Its usual

‘Why should i leave?’

‘You left before.
‘Just disappear again.’

It blinks.

‘But you won’t let me.’

Hah? What the hell?
‘I just told you to leave.’

Tail wrapped around its paws.
‘It doesn’t work like that.

‘You can’t tell me what to do.’

‘You disappeared before,’
I repeat.

‘I did not.
‘You just ignored me.’

I don’t remember
such a thing.

But there’s no point
arguing this

is there?

‘So what?
‘You’re going to rub my sin in my face
‘for the rest of my life?’

The cat yawns.

‘If you choose to turn back
‘to the old real world,
‘that’s your choice.’

I stand up.

Drop my school bag on the ground.
It makes a heavy thud.

like my soul.

‘You’re making this my fault

‘It is your fault.’

‘What was I supposed to do?
‘Leave her alone?
‘I was trying to help her.’

‘You’re not supposed
‘to be a coward.’

‘I’m not a coward!’

‘You’re worried about
‘what others think of you.’

We both
glare at each other.

The light
continues flickering


‘You are all

‘What nonsense.’

‘That’s #*%&.’

I jab a finger at the cat.

‘#*%& you.
‘She broke up with me
‘even though I asked

‘for a second chance.’

The cat seems
to grow bigger
as it walks





It’s muzzle is at my face now.

brush my skin.

The smell of milk.

Where did it find milk?

It’s definitely
too big to carry around.

‘You are the one
‘who isn’t
‘giving Rowan
‘a chance.’

Now I have to
lift my chin up

to stare at the chameleon cat.




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