Near 500 words: TW goes home

Episode 15 of The Writer.

TW’s (aka The Writer) strategy had worked. TW suggested he might be having a mental breakdown. Dr. Hollings gave him a year‘s sabbatical at full salary. TW couldn’t believe his luck. And his sabbatical was to begin the next day.

First the appointment with Dr. Christine Baxter, then the sabbatical. TW was having a good day.

Sitting at his desk, staring at the computer screen, he got to thinking. Maybe he did have a nervous breakdown. Maybe he only dreamed he saw Sylvia standing in Timbuktu. Maybe he only thought he saw a white streak across the sky. Maybe he only imagined he passed out.

If he did imagine it, it was some vivid imagination he had. Then decided it was real.
He checked his email, answered a few that needed answwering, and shut down his computer. He reached into his drawer and grabbed several files and stuck  them in his briefcase. Every thing else was of no consequence.

“What’s going on?” Buddy said, coming up from behind TW.

“I’m taking a year-long sabbatical.”

“You are? But why?”

“I told Dr. Hollings I was having a mental breakdown. I needed to retire. He offered me the sabbatical instead.”

“Are you okay?”

“I have questions I need answers to.”

“Can I help?”

“Come to think of it. If I need you, will you take care of Cat?”

“Sure.

TW reached into his pocket and pulled out an extra set of keys. “These will get you into the house. Cat may be shy of you. Just come in and stick around until she gets used to you.”

The two shook hands. TW grabbed his briefcase and was off. He dropped off his desk keys with the receptionist, then stepped out into the afternoon. He went over to Human Resources to fill out the paperwork for the sabbatical. Since Dr. Hollings had contacted HR, everything went easy.

Twenty minutes later he pulled up into his driveway. He pulled out his house key to unlock the front door. The door was open a crack. He pushed it open and listened. No sound, not even of Cat.

“Did I leave the door open?” he whispered. He’d never done that before but it was possible. So many strange things happening lately. Maybe he’d been distracted.
His fingers tightened around his briefcase. Just in case someone was still in the house. The house was dark inside, except for the living room light he’d left on. He softly made his way into the kitchen. No one.

Then down the hall to his bedroom. No one. And no one under the bed or in the closet.
Next he checked his office and the bathroom. No one. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing missing.

Then he realized Cat was hiding. Usually she greeted him. Maybe she had gotten out if he left the front door open.

He heard a meow and a scratching at the front door. He breathed a deep sigh of relief, walked to the front door and opened it.

Cat stood on the Welcome mat, looking up at him. Then he realized she was bleeding.

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