by Jonathan R. Carr - copyright 2018
It's such a hard decision. I've been mulling it over for weeks — months — weighing all the arguments, but I just can't bring myself to do it. It seems so cruel. Would she know that I was only acting out of love? would she know that I would rather live with her memory than see her suffer so?
But what right do I have to decide whether she lives or dies? She's God's creature. He should judge when her time has come; not me.
She's been here longer than I have. She was sitting on the porch the day I arrived, acting as if she owned the place, and I didn't argue. She sauntered right in, curled up on the sofa, and made herself at home. We've been together ever since; an old woman and a cat, passing the days in quiet contentment.
She used to be so pretty; bright blue eyes and such soft, silky grey hair. I decided to call her Silky, and if she had another name, she didn't seem to mind. She washed herself every day until she gleamed, and I loved the soft feel of her against my cheek as we lay curled up on the sofa each night; she with her yarn and I watching the flames lap at the logs in the fireplace.
Time passed so easily that I hardly noticed the stiffness creeping into her walk and the white film edging into her eyes, but they were there, slowly turning each day from an adventure to a struggle.
Now the poor thing can hardly make it up the porch steps when she comes in from doing her business, and she often gets sick and throws up on the floor. Sometimes she even soils the bed. Her silky grey hair is now matted and dull, and little clumps are falling out here and there. I know her teeth must hurt her terribly, for she barely touches her food and her ribs are painfully clear.
She has her good days, though; days when she seems to take an interest in the world passing outside the window, days when she seems almost to understand what I am trying to tell her. But they are outnumbered more and more by the days when she does little more than sit by the window and sleep, her ball of yarn forgotten at her side.
It's selfish, really, wanting to keep her here with me. I look into her rheumy, faded grey eyes, and I almost think I feel her pleading with me to help end the pain, but I can't. I don't want to be alone. When she is gone, I'll have no one, and that is more horrible than living with soiled bedding and vomit on the floor.
But as I reassure myself with all the rational arguments for my cowardice, one thought - more compelling than all the rest - refuses to be silenced. A thought expressed in one word.
Are we not entitled to end our life in the same manner in which we led it? If we choose to die before becoming a pitiable shell, is it not our right? The right of all creatures?
And even as she struggles up the stairs each night to our bed, refusing to relinquish her last illusions of independence, so should she be allowed the integrity of a dignified death.
It's decided, then. But how to help her? There aren't many options available. It has to be quick and as painless as possible, and plausible. I wouldn't want any lingering questions.
The stairs. She'll be getting up soon and coming downstairs for her breakfast. A fall down the stairs would work. What else can I do? I love her.
And after they've taken her body away, I'll be alone, but not for long. I'll miss her terribly, and it won't be the same, but I'm sure someone else will let me live with them.
After all, who could resist an orphaned cat?
Story entries for the January - February 2018 Sixpenceee Story Contest can be found here. Simply submit a story to enter. Stories don't necessarily have to be creepy, for example, thought provoking stories or stories with a twist are definitely acceptable.
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