Red Rum
by Chapeau

He'd been expecting her to come by. Still, he couldn't figure out what would possibly be taking her so long. It'd been over an hour, hadn't it? Suddenly, the knock came at the door. There she stood, a wry grin on her face.

"Demeter," the red tom started, "What a pleasant surprise. Please, come in."

"Don't mind if I do," she came back, setting a bag down by the inside door frame. "Sorry it took me so long, I had some... business to take care of."

"You mean... he's gone?" Macavity was taken aback, and stood a little apart to get a better look at her; sure enough, there were still little blood stains under claws. She nodded smugly as he poured her a drink.

"No, thanks, I'm not in the mood; murder tends to have that affect on a cat." He laughed, and took it himself.

"That's funny, I always found it to be the opposite for me. Hold on just a minute; I'll be right back." He hated having to leave, but he had some business to take tend to himself. Money was tight, these days, even for a "mobster" type such as himself. Still, he'd promised to pay her, even though they'd be sharing much more than just money from now on.

He came back, finding Demeter just as he'd left her, standing with her hands behind her back, looking out the small window. Smiling, he toasted to new beginnings (perfectly dull, he thought), and downed the glass.

For some reason, it seemed to have an adverse response to his system. He staggered, trying to reach the chair, and passed out...

When he came to, Macavity found himself tied to the same chair he'd been trying to reach. His head was swimming and he was seeing double, although a very blurred double. There, sitting on the table in front of him, was Demeter.

"Well, look who decided to come back to the land of the living. How do you feel?"

"Decent..." he mumbled, shaking his head to relieve the dizzyness.

"That's good. Better remember what it feels like," said the grinning queen, pulling a small case out of her bag by the door. "You're going to be feeling a lot worse very soon."

"What the hell....?" Macavity squinted, trying to make out what she held. "What the hell are you doing with that?"

"I'm certainly not playing hopscotch." She fingered the blade, catching his reflection in it, and smiled. "Yeah, I got away from Munkustrap; no thanks to you, of course."

"This is crazy..."

"Oh, no it's not; you don't know what crazy is. I do. Crazy is being forced to mate with someone you don't love after the tom you *do* love has left. Crazy is plotting every time he comes near you to kill the one that left. Crazy is me."

"I'll agree with that statement..." She interrupted him; he could feel cold metal at his throat as she pulled his head back.

"You promised me you'd help me get away, but no. You told me every night I snuck away that you loved me, but you didn't kill him, did you? Year after year went by, and you said that you were coming for me, that this was it; but that day never came.

"Well, you know what? I'm sick of being promised to. I've had it with waiting; I'm not waiting any more. You didn't come for me, so now someone else is going to come for you..." She yanked his head back, hard, so that he was looking in her face. "'s called death, and I've got you a one-way ticket booked.

"I thought I needed you, but guess what?" Macavity was silent. "Answer me!"

"Wha-" She let go of his head and watched it slump forward onto his chest. The blood ran in little streams, matting his fur.

"I don't." Demeter picked up his tail and used it to wipe off the knife, smiling to herself as she did. It was all almost over, now.

Going back to the table, she put the knife back in its case, and checked the contents of the bottle; enough drug left for one more, she thought, capping it and returning them both to her bag. She left her bag on the table, then went back and untied her once-lover, positioning him in an obscure way on the floor, to look as though he had fallen. Demeter took the rope with her.

She went back to this cabinet, pulling out his knife, using it to cut places on the rope. Then she positioned it, too, this time on and around the chair. Using his knife again, she bit her lip and cut places on her arms and legs, to look like *she* was the one who'd been attacked.

She placed the knife on the floor next to Macavity in such a way to look as though it had been dropped. Looking at her bag, she decided to spill its contents on the table, just in case. Demeter washed the glass he'd drank out of and returned it and the bottle back into the cabinet, as well. Before she put it away, she read its label.

"Red rum," she whispered to no one in particular. "How predictable." Stowing it in the cabinet, she walked out the door, preparing her story. She'd be back for her bag soon enough.

"Demi, I missed you so much. I'm glad you're okay." Munkustrap held her close, petting her head as she cried. "He can't hurt you now, love... shhh, don't be afraid, you're safe now..."

"I was... scared... I called for you..... he said... he said he'd kill you...." She choked on her sobs, forcing them to surface. Finally, she slept. He laid her head down and went to go talk to Jellylorum; after all of this, he needed someone to reassure him. The door closed.

Demeter waited until she heard the door close before pulling a bag out from under the bed. Taking a small, plastic bottle and opening it, she tipped all of the powder into a glass of water on the table. Then, stowing the bag back where it belonged, she went to sleep. Her nightmare would be over soon..

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