There is a cat at Bernard's window. The cat sits and stares at Bernard, waiting patiently. His right paw is raised, and when he lifts his other paw from time to time he looks to Bernard like a cat-sized squirrel. He is patient. He is actually a she, but that is unimportant.
Bernard knows the cat. She comes often for food and he feeds her, but not today. The window is just feet away; there is cat food by the window sill, but today the cat must wait. Bernard sits and stares back at her. She waits patiently. She wonders why he does not move to feed her.
She sits and stares, hoping for him to move towards her. Bernard stares right back. He can feel his face smiling, then grinning - knowing that the cat will not eat today. This thought feels good. It makes him warm.
Today he decides that this creature will have no food, and so it will not. The cat stays waiting and Bernard stays staring and he knows that the cat is confused - has come to rely on him and is now unable to understand why he just sits there staring, lounging, glaring.
Bernard should feel bad. On any other day he would feel guilty and cruel and pitiful and pained by the confusion and hunger of this staring squirrel-cat. But today he does not.
Today he is a master. Today he is powerful. Today the cat will go hungry and wonder why. The cat will stay staring for hours, and for hours Bernard will stare back and smile, smile, smile. He will sit there all day grinning at the cat, dashing her hopes... because today he feels warm. Today Bernard is a powerful master. Today Bernard is in control - and he likes it.
Chris Connolly writes from Dublin, Ireland. Allegedly he is not as dangerous as he reads. His first collection of short stories, 'Every Day I Atrophy' (the SideCartel) is available now. If you need to know more about Chris Connolly, he has an excellent and excellently informative website here chrisconnollywriter.com
Pogus Caesar rips up his work and starts again