And now the fallen monster was apparent, Annette thought, as Terence let himself out and her husband emerged from the kitchen, where he had been the whole time. It was him. Or maybe it was her. Or maybe Terence. Someone here was clearly the monster.

Harry was writing about it already. She could hear the keys clicking.

As she dressed again the cat clambered up into her lap with force. It started to knead her and purr. Whose dream was this? she wondered as it stared at her possessively, its eyes half moons, inches from her face. It hurt, she admitted, as its claws worried through the fabric, but it was warm. It was possibly thinking about eating her whole. She hadn’t considered this before.

So this nightmare had been released and was out in the world. And had she enjoyed it? If so, it would serve him right, wouldn’t it? As it had been his idea. He had hoped to—what? Get some ideas for his half-birthed novel? Develop his sense of loathing further? Finely tune his own self-laceration? The cat’s breath was in her face: not as bad as she’d thought, she guessed. She didn’t know what to say about it now. At least there hadn’t been a camera.





(Originally published, in a significantly different form, in Witness.)