There are moments between sleeping and being awake, where little visions creep through. You know you're looking at something, as you can feel your eyes are open, but you can see things that you know don't exist, like a pure-white cat sitting just outside your window.
The cat sits on the window ledge, haughty and self-important. Each hair on its body sitting just right, including the ones on its paws that mark out where the claws are. Something about that cat, sends something wrong-feeling onto my brain, niggling at me like a glass shard.
Oh, not again. Piss Off!
I'd recognise that cat anywhere. Mom sends it sometimes, when she's thinking about me and Dad. Usually I feel comforted by it, but this time it's not at all comforting.
"Prrrreeeoooowwww, prrrreeeoooowwww." Wake up Rio. Wake up.
I reluctantly sit up, noticing that Gran's quilt has slipped off my duvet. It's all red and white, with a pattern like mountains and sunrays. Plus it's the warmest quilt ever. Gran got it when she was in Japan, where she was told it's full of the fur of a Hibagon, Japan's version of Bigfoot, which is why it's so warm. Reaching down, I go to drag it back over me, when I feel soft, silky fur under my hand.
I look down, and see Mom's cat is sitting on my bedroom floor. It's big, golden eyes look up pleadingly at me, before it stretches out in a satisfying arc.
"Prrrreeeoooowwww." Come on, Rio. It says, still looking at me with its pleading eyes.
Ignoring Mom's cat I drag the quilt up onto my bed, lie back down with my face to the wall, and go back to sleep.