By the time she finished her homework, evening had arrived and joined forces with the clouds looming overhead, sending everything into near-darkness. Tori could see her reflection in the glass of the door leading out to the back patio, a pale figure outlined in yellow light against a sea of black. She rose long enough to lower the blinds over the door and was heading to get a drink from the fridge when she heard a faint scratching sound coming from outside.
She returned, opened the lock and deadbolt, and cracked open the door a scant few inches, and a sleek furry body squeezed inside with a faint mew and gave an almighty shake, scattering water across the floor.
Tori crouched down and scooped the cat into her arms.
“You’re late,” she scolded. She buried her face in the soft, slightly damp fur of the cat’s neck and breathed, feeling muscles down her back relax for the first time since she had left the house that morning. The cat kneaded happily at her arm and ratcheted her purring up another notch.
She pulled away, met the green-gold eyes, and said, “You would not believe my day.”
The cat, a pale gray tabby who occasionally answered to Frost, chirped sympathetically and started to wash Tori’s arm. Tori shifted the cat around until she could hold her under one arm and went to close the door when the lights flickered, and something outside groaned.