A fuzzy shadow, forsaken, condemned to be swallowed by the darkness of the corner of her abandoned home -- apartment 51B.
The name populated my mind without thought. I stared at the wilting body perched atop the cat tree to the side of the couch; a lone sapling wrapped with ruffled carpet material, steadfast in the face of disaster. Her eyes weakly returned my gaze; a glint of hesitant optimism; a flash of recognition. Her jaw unhinged and she released a faint meow, a cry for help.
You don't realize, do you? Of course not, how could you...?
I tentatively approached, hand extended. She arched her neck, her nose tapping lightly against my finger. Another meow, gravelly and pained. Her tail twitched rhythmically from side to side as if counting down her remaining seconds of life.
Do you remember me? Is there any part of me that is familiar?
Our eyes locked. Trust. Blissful ignorance.
Shilah, I'm so sorry. This is all my fault.
I brushed the fur on her forehead with my fingers; a wavering purr. Her eyes fluttered shut and she lowered her head, and for a moment, however brief, she appeared to be at peace. I looked over my shoulder toward the closet in the hallway. It would seem unlikely that whoever may have scavenged this complex would take a bag of cat food, right?
Don't worry, I will make things right.