After | Part 1

When Cole wakes up, one of them is on his balcony again, perched on the railing.

The first time he saw one that close, he hyperventilated while urine stained the inside of his pant leg. Now he just rolls over and snugs the blanket around him on his futon. The way they shimmer uncomfortably in his vision, blurring somewhere between a vulture and a hunched, cloaked figure . . . well, it gives him a headache, but that’s about it. Even his cats chitter at them now, like they did with mockingbirds Before.

His cats are meowing at him now, reminding Cole that he’s out of cat food, so he heaves himself up, throws on some clothes and makes a weaving run out to his little hatchback.

He’s glad he traded his old one in for one with a sunroof – it makes dodging those tentacle-things that occasionally come spiraling out of the murk above a lot easier.

As he zips over to the store, past old wrecks and upended trees, he thinks to himself,
Well, Cole, whatcha wanna do today?
Why, anything, anything I want.

And smiles.

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