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“You have to bury them.” He stated matter-of-factly, but not cold.
This killed whatever playfulness he had sparked a moment ago.
“Do you remember now?”
“No…” he hesitated, a sorrowful crease spreading between his eyebrows. “Not all of it… but… you know, enough.”
He sat back, sighing. “You were right.”
“I know.”
“No, you don’t. It’s… it’s weird… I like it… shit, I love it… but I also hate it.”
“I know.”
He looked up at me, tears standing in his eyes.
“What do I do? How do I keep from… from…”
“From feeding?”
He nodded.
“You don’t.”
The sides of his mouth turned downward at this, and his lower lip trembled. I kissed it, holding him close.
“Don’t worry, you’ll find it’s not as horrible as you think. You just need to get a bit more control…”
“Over the cat.”
“Yes, over the cat.”
He hugged back tightly, then chuckled through his tears.
“You’re naked.”
I sighed, pulling away and starting to climb out of the tub. He grabbed my arm and pulled me back in.
“One more time, then you can go.”
“Basil, no…”
“Baze, you call me Baze now.”
“I hate that.”
“I don’t care.”
He kissed me hungrily, thrusting his tongue between my lips, hiking my thighs up around his waist.
“Say my name.” he mumbled into my mouth.
“No, I hate it.” I murmured into his. He pulled away, rising to his knees and positioning himself…
“Say it.”
He pistoned with his hips, driving into me roughly. I bit back a cry, grinning.
“Say it.”
He thrust again, cutting me off, grinning himself. I gasped breathlessly, clinging to the sides of the tub.
His devilish grin spread, and I was surprised to see feline fangs in

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that Cheshire smile.
“It’s a stupid nickname.”
“Maybe… but it sounds great when you say it.” he shifted back in preparation to thrust again.
“I didn’t say you could stop saying it.”
I giggled, arching my back and flexing my claws against the bathtub’s cool lip.
As he entered me again, I said his name. I kept saying it till it no longer made sense, was just another nonsense utterance of encouragement. This lovemaking wasn’t as intense, but it was sweeter. It was more playful. More fun. More… dare I say, human. When he came, it was much gentler. Sweeter. And when he kissed me, his perspiration also smelled sweet. And for the first time in my many long years, all I wanted to do was cuddle.

My grim responsibility killed any joy lingering from that evening’s romp.
But… I completed the ritual.

The bodies were stacked on the alter to Themal, a flat place halfway down a rocky volcanic cliff. Away from prying human eyes. It was difficult going, carrying and dragging the useless lumps of spoiled mousemeat down that treacherously narrow footpath. But I was still in that refreshed state I had attained since waking. I felt stronger. I had more energy. I was not winded at any time during my chore.
The bodies now piled at the feet of Themal’s large silver likeness, I doused them with special pitch (kept in urns nearby for this purpose) and set them alight with my old, worn flint and steel.
My brothers and sisters should have been standing with me. We should have already quaffed our fill, and been feeling the effects of the drug-imbued lifeblood. The flames should have been flickering in brilliant, mesmerizing color before our dilated eyes as we held hands, chanting the feline praises.
Not so that eventide.
My siblings were all dead.
I saw no reason to linger. I trod the long, rocky path back to the house.

I gave my siblings a burial at sea. It’s what they would have wanted. Chamomile, sweet little Chamomile… her body ruined with blisters and charred red blotches… Poor, dear Columbine… it had been him, after all. His ribs were crushed. Their bodies I had wrapped carefully in my very best linens. Egyptian cotton was not fine enough for this purpose.