Prompt: #49. coming home. Characters: NDU Pitch and his cat Purradox. Please and thank you.
Coming home, NDU Pitch and his cat Purradox. (I’m sorry this is a little depressing.)
Every night when a lanky ghost, dressed in dull blacks and greys with pale skin and tired dark eyes, wanders into his room, heavy straps cutting into narrow shoulders slumped from overwork and exhaustion, black eyes bored into the blank face rise, sweeping the bare room.
It’s a barren space, the only fine furniture being a hunched wardrobe that shimmers with ebony gloss in the faded light slanting in from the gaps in the thick curtains; a bed, the covers rumpled back and stinking of the sweat of lonely nightmares endured alone, a scratched music stand hanging limply like a broken skeleton left on gruesome display, a meticulously clean laptop on a well-worn desk.
And a cat, sitting primly with its paws tucked underneath its body, half-lidded eyes and twitching ears, a tail that swishes noncommittally in greeting.
The hollow ghost stumbles to the bed, all dragging feet and slack neck, trembling addict fingers fumbling numbly for the warm bundle of the cat. Roughly, the ghost pats soft fur, hairs clinging to a black sleeve, hand gentling as if memory returns to the muscles. A thrumming underneath his stained, translucent fingertips, heat and soft purring that brings a lipless, cracking smile to the gaunt face.
“You like me better don’t you?” The ghost whispers, like a secret screamed out by the admiring eyes of everyone who steps half a second behind the ghost’s brother, perfect, sardonic, talented, intelligent Piki, who wasn’t half as faded and forgotten as his brother, who seemed to fade from people’s eyes like the last vapours of a toxic nightmare charred away by sunlight.
He slumps over the bed, hand twitching for the laptop, but running out of energy halfway. Bruised pale lids close over echoing, empty eyes. He has work to do - plays to write, but what’s the point, if he knows it won’t turn out as well as it would if Piki wrote it?
Coffee and spite fill the shades under the sacklike skin, a boogeyman of ragged persistence who rises again and again to beaten back, firmer than before each time.
Is it too much to ask for just one person to smile when they see him? Is it so much to ask for just one person to believe in Pitch? Is it too much to ask for one person to miss him when he is not there?
He’ll prove he’s as good as Piki, even if it’s the last thing he does, even if he collapses in doing it, even if he runs himself into the ground and digs his way into hell.
The cat purrs softly and nudges his human’s head, rubbing a bony thumb against velvet fine ears.
Pitch smiles the quiet little smile that is more pained grimace than pleased. It doesn’t matter. Purradox understands.
“I suppose you just have better taste, Purradox,” Pitch mutters hoarsely.