Kristine Kathryn Rusch
We found the cat just as we were about to seal off the house. Its throat had been slit, and its coat was matted with blood. Some instinct made me crouch down to touch it. Its skin was warm, and its body struggled with shallow breaths. Life among the carnage.
I snapped my fingers for the paramedics. They glanced at each other and didn’t move.
“Gentlemen, kindly get your asses over here,” I said.
“But sir, it’s a cat.”
“And it’s still breathing. Get over here.”
They crouched over the cat, placed a bandage over its neck, and did something to ease its breathing. I directed them to the veterinarian down the street, then returned my attention to the bloodbath before me. In the kitchen, a woman’s body, curled in a fetal hug, clutching a knife in what appeared to have been self-defense. In the bedroom, two children, slaughtered. And in the master bathroom, a man collapsed over the bathtub, also dead. In the living room, the TV stand was empty. The door to the empty stereo cabinet in the dining room stood open, and pictures were missing from the walls.
It looked like a desperate act of a startled burglar. But the cat was the clue. Sliced on the way out for the sheer pleasure of the act. Cats don’t bark. They don’t threaten killers. Cats hide from frightening circumstances. The killer flushed the cat and slit its throat just to see the blood.