Jul 10, 2005

HR, 8

Chapter 2: in which Harlequin finds the Urban Oasis and meets a human

Harlequin awoke in the same spot he was knocked unconscious. His head throbbed a little and his stomach felt queasy. He didn't feel the rest of sleep; rather, he was exhausted and ached all over.

He started suddenly and looked around for the cat. He stepped forward to look around the dumpster: nothing. He stepped back and took a deep breath; perhaps it all had been a dream. A gleam caught his eye and he saw a black claw on the ground; he remembered the snap as the cat's paw hit the door. It was shiny black, the color of the obsidian arrowheads he used to collect in the forest.

He scooped it into his paw and examined it thoughtfully. It seemed the cat had gotten the worse of the door collision. But, Harlequin wondered, why had the door opened in the first place? He stared at the door, now closed, and muttered a bewildered "thank you" in case anyone was listening on the other side.

He noticed a white trash bag that wasn't there in his previous state of consciousness. It smelled of freshly discarded chop sui. He grasped the broken claw and used the sharp end to shred the bag, loosing a styrofoam box; he shuddered at the idea of the claw in contact with his belly.

He punched through the flimsy styrofoam and extracted a still warm pawful of noodles. Without ado, he devoured as much as he could hold in and stuffed the rest in his cheeks for later. Feeling fatter and much happier, he set off down the alley looking for a good place to nap.

The wall opposite the dumpsters opened up into a narrow passageway just ahead of him, and he saw, long grass poking its tips out onto the alley. Harlequin ambled sleepily towards it, eyes drooping, falling asleep on a soft patch without so much as looking around.

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