Moonlight penetrated the back windows, throwing bright, other-worldly patches onto the bare floor. Sitting on a pile of books, Kate stretched one bare foot into the light. Jason would be there soon. Her brother, the rock.
She could hear the clatter of the downstairs neighbors as they prepared their dinner. Quiet neighbors who knew nothing, who read about people like Kate in the newspaper. She pretended to forgive their ignorance, alternately despising and envying the softness in their speech, the banality of their arguments.
Avoiding the moon’s white squares, she crept to the darker front room, to the door with the caged window that gave onto the patio where Ben paced. She watched him from behind the thin curtain. Earlier, when she had pulled it back, there he had been, his face a blotching snarl that snapped at the glass, making her squeal and jump, her heart pumping adrenaline she didn’t need. She had phoned Jason then.
With long strides Ben crashed across the porch, fierce in every movement, arms jerking out as if to punctuate a lecture, or to knock out imaginary rivals. He turned, abruptly stopping, his arms crooked at his sides as he sniffed the night air. His head jerked up and to the right, his eyes blazing a hole through the glass into Kate’s throat. He ran at the door then, threw himself against the window grate, howling in pain before he struck.
Kate willed her breath back and opened the window.
Her voice was broken.
He limped off the porch and resumed his pacing. Headlights shot through the hedges and like a wild boar Ben froze.
‘Kate!” Jason called as he pulled the car up. He beeped. “Kate? You ready?”
He had been there before.
She watched Ben tear across the patio and out to the street. She heard the car’s horn again, then listened as Ben’s yawp faded away up the hill and became a labored, frothing pant.
Kate shouldered her bag and unlocked the door.
333 words for including ANIMAL (noun)3:a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational; also: this nature