Black Cat was everything to Calico - brother, teacher, saviour... and traitor? Calico couldn't accept that the one person she could remember trusting would betray so brazenly. But now she was on the run, and as she searched for a safe haven, she would have to come to terms with the terrible, awful betrayal Black Cat had saddled her with. An entry for "The Fault in Our Stars" competition.


2. Dreams

Black Cat was never satisfied with his place in the current order. Whenever we were back in our hideout, he would fondle some of the nicer things from our raids that day and sigh wistfully. Then he would turn to me and say the same thing he always did.


“One day, I’m going to be part of the Palace.”


The Palace was the sole remnant of luxury in our ruined city. Frequented by those who still had money, it was the kind of place that aroused far-fetched dreams in the heads of people like me. Shining marble floors that reflected bright ornate chandeliers. Gentlemen who wore impeccable black suits and snowy white shirts. Women in glittering dresses with pinched waists, whose faces were made up in pinks and reds, and whose feet were clad in exquisite jeweled shoes, always high heels in my day dreams. I could see myself in a deep red gown, fluttering a fan as I talked with the other ladies, giggling as a dashing young man asked me for a dance. I liked to dance, though Black Cat didn’t know that. It was so easy, the twirling and rising and falling and the feeling of flying. To dance in the Palace was my dream, but as enraptured as I was by it, I knew it was only a dream. And dreams never came true in this city of ours. But Black Cat held onto his dream with such conviction that I couldn’t help but be infected by it. Maybe that was why he had held me so long. His unshakable ambition. As he stroked the fur coat I had stolen, he smiled.


“I will be part of the Palace. I’ll be the biggest there. I’ll marry the richest, most beautiful lady there and I’ll never have to return to this dump again. I’ll be the biggest this city’s ever seen!”


And he would stand at the window, staring at the faint lights of the Palace in the distance, conscious of the suave silhouette he made against the dimming sky. He would keep still for a few moments, as though savoring the images this fantasy conjured. Even though he did it every day, I was always spell-bound by Black Cat’s drama. He was everything to me, he was everything I wanted to be.


When Black Cat saw fit to break the enchantment, he would turn to me and trap me with his bright green eyes and ask, “What about you Calico? Will you come with me?” Dazed, I would only nod. He would smile briefly, then push past me to his room, and that would be the last of him I saw for the day. The window was mine, and I took my turn to stare at the Palace and dream. I could almost believe I was there, twirling through the room with a handsome young man as my partner, while everyone stopped to watch. There was a smile on my lips, enhanced by my bright red lipstick, and nobody could help but watch me. I was beautiful. And at some point, my partner would become Black Cat, laughing and smiling like I had never seen him before.


The sirens were louder now. The buildings seemed to be thinning out now and I knew I was running out of time. Black Cat... Hate and love rose in me and clashed, leaving a dull ache in my heart. Instead of dreams, Black Cat now brought pain.

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