Daisy has wooden teeth and socks in her mouth. Her thirst is extreme, but the sequence of physical movements necessary to acquire fluids seems beyond the realms of human achievement. She shifts under the blankets and whimpers.
Last night was classic. There was gin, extravagant dancing, and a bout of weeping. Now, caked in stale make-up, still in sequins… Oh, at least the shoes made it off… What is this headache? She’s never had anything like it. It shifts, stabs, an immense weight pressing outwards from her skull. It feels… Warm, somehow. It seems to pulse, as if it’s… Breathing.
Daisy sits bolt upright. A cat! A bloody cat has sneaked in here! She heard the meow. Heard it? It’s reverberating around her skull. Which has started to feel oddly… Itchy? Her brain feels like it’s being nipped by a hundred insects. Her bloodshot gaze lurches about the room but can detect no furry movement. Little git must be outside, she thinks, uneasily.
Daisy gasps, blinded by pain, as a sudden white-hot stab arcs through her head. Then another. It feels like the hangover is trying to claw its way out. And why does her left ear feel ticklish? Her hangover pulsates, once, twice, sending something whooshing down her ear canal and out onto the pillow.
Daisy recoils violently and falls out of bed. When she is able to, she lifts her head from the safety of the floor and examines the small soft parcel that lies, oozing, on her pillowcase. A tiny piece of bone can be discerned, woven in.
Breathing hard, Daisy does some frantic googling. Not even the quack-libraries in the murkiest corners of the Internet know what to make of her symptoms. Actually the Internet seems to find the whole thing pretty funny. “Sounds like you’ve got a cat in your head lol” says X. “Feed it some cat food lol” advises Y. Z makes a comment featuring the word “pussy”.
“In German,” someone says eventually, “a hangover is sometimes called a tom-cat. Ich habe einen Kater.”
A light-bulb goes on. Bugger!
So not only is it a tom-cat, but a German tom-cat to boot. With fleas. Horror overwhelms her. Gasping, nauseous, Daisy reaches the kitchen and downs a pint of water. A movement outside catches her eye; next door’s fluffy Siamese, playing havoc with the geraniums. Before she knows what she’s doing, Daisy has dropped the glass – it smashes in the sink – and is running to the door.
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