She woke from her fevered sleep and looked around the room. All was dark. Still. Unfamiliar. Was she dreaming or awake? Always hard to tell in these early morning hours. Then she felt him beside her, his leg draped lightly across her thigh. For a minute there was something else, pushing against her as she lay on her side. She pushed back with her hips and met it, inviting it to penetrate her. She could feel herself opening to it, willing it to come inside. Now… just. there.
The light changed. She turned onto her back and opened her eyes. It was gone. He was gone. She was alone on her tiny mattress on the floor. The rats in the next room scratched and gnawed in their cage, crazy with the futility of struggling against the wheel that had been clamped immobile for the night so she could sleep without the constant screech of metal on metal as they bounded forever to nowhere. At the foot of the mattress the little dog’s paws trembled as he dreamed of running, chasing something he could never quite catch.
Throwing the covers off, she crawled to the coffee table and retrieved her cell phone to check the time. 3:40 am. It was a dream. She wanted more. Making her way back to the mattress she settled again on her side as the dog repositioned himself under the quilt at her feet, his warm breath against her toes. Her breath fell into rythm with his and she drifted off to sleep.