by Steven Davenport

It's only illegal if you get caught. That's what my granny always said to me, and she was wise. She gave me lots of good advice, right up until she died, but that's the one that sticks in my mind. Every time she lit up her special cigarettes, she told me that it was only illegal if you got caught. Especially if you did it for the right reasons.

So I've done nothing wrong, right? Ok, I've not done it to help my arthritis, but I did it for the right reasons. All the reasons are good. And I've not been caught. So I've done nothing wrong.

Yes, that's right. Nothing wrong. I had to do it, she was going to hurt my babies. My loves. I adore them. I never thought I'd adore anything again. For along time after Galaxy I never thought I'd love anything again.

After the divorce I needed a love object. Something to make me feel again. I found galaxy in the local free paper. A small article in the bottom corner of page 56, saying that 7 kittens needed to be rehomed. I'd started my 2 weeks leave from work, and I had nothing to do, so I went down to take a look.

Galaxy stood out right away. The others were cute in the way all kittens were cute. Galaxy simply drew me to her with her gorgeousness. Her marbled grey fur was topped only by her green eyes, with wide pupils, that seemed to gaze deep into my soul. I paid 5 to cover some costs, and took her home. For two weeks I doted on her. She ate with me. If I had roast chicken, she had roast chicken. If I had casserole, she had casserole. If I only fancied a pot noodle, I'd cook her some chicken. I loved her, and she loved me. I was happier than I've ever been when I lived with Galaxy. Even better than when I first married Sue.

Of course my leave was soon over and I went back to work. A rubbish office job, I spent my lunch hour driving home to check on galaxy. Over the following month I became increasingly detached from my co-workers, whom I only really conversed with socially during my lunchbreak before Galaxy arrived, but I'd never really liked any of them anyway. Eric had an annoying voice, Sarah was your token dizzy blonde, Mark would mock my appearance. I never much cared for them, but I felt I should be integrated because it made my working environment more bearable. Now I didn't care. I would spend my day idly bashing figures into a computer, and watching the clock, waiting until I could go home, and hug Galaxy again. She was always there when I wanted her, I had installed a cat flap, but she rarely left the house while I was awake. Why would she? She had everything she wanted with me

I made a picture of Galaxy my desktop on my work computer, and I was thinking about setting up some kind of webcam link, so I could watch Galaxy during the day, when one Thursday, about a month after I got Galaxy, I arrived home and she had been sick on the carpet. She was asleep nearby, and when I gently woke her she gave me an apologetic look. The unpleasant looking brown vomit had stained the carpet, but that didn't bother me. She seemed upset that she'd done that, but I was furious with myself. I cooked her up a big plate of chicken and sat there stroking her as she ate it and purred happily. Once she'd finished she settled down on my lap, and rubbed her head against the corner of my glasses. A couple of my tears fell onto her head, and we both fell asleep there. I apologised to her over and over, but she'd already forgiven me. I just couldn't forgive myself for leaving her alone the way I had.

The next morning I phoned up the vet the very second office hours, and made an appointment. I phoned in sick to my work, explaining that I was sick with food poisoning I wanted to tell them the truth, but they wouldn't accept it. Those people there, just knew galaxy as a pet. Even when we spoke and I gushed over her, Mark got bored, and conversation moved back to Carmen Electra, or Rachel Stevens, or someone. Not that it mattered what I told them I mused, I would never go back there. I couldn't leave her alone again.

The vet told me there wasn't really anything wrong with her, that she'd probably eaten something that disagreed with her. He gave her an injection of something or other to be on the safe side, and she looked like it hurt her a little. I resisted the temptation to thump the vet, I understood he was only doing it to help her. I just prayed she understood too.

As with when we left for the vet, I had no trouble fitting galaxy into a small cage for the trip home. She trusted me thoroughly, and I have no doubt that she understood why I had to take her here. I still shed some tears though. I felt awful, locking her up, taking her on what must be a terrifying car journey, only or her to get humiliatingly examined and then pricked by a young girl in gloves (A rather pretty young girl I couldn't help but notice, with pretty blue eyes. The kind I may well have gone for in my pre-Galaxy days). The receptionist asked why I was crying, but I simply paid and ignored her. I couldn't afford to waste valuable time chatting idly to the woman (who was a blonde, unlike the brunette vet, but not quite as striking looks-wise), I had to get Galaxy home as fast as possible. I had a mackerel in the fridge, and I could cook it up, and get the meat off the bone, and put it all on a plate for her, and she'd be able to eat, and I'd hug her and everything would be fine again.

I did, and it was. For a couple of days I was fine. But I soon realised that they weren't going to keep on buying the food poisoning excuse. I had to go back to work.

I considered quitting, of course I did. But I couldn't do that. I had enough saved up from my life, to get me through a couple of years, but the dole wasn't going to feed Galaxy the way she needed to be fed forever, even with the money I got in the divorce. (Sue always made the most money, and I managed to come out of the divorce better financially, though she got custody of Gemma). So I went back, making sure that there was a plate of chicken down for Galaxy.

As I expected the boss called me into his office early. He wanted to know what was wrong with me on the preceeding days. He was suspicious.

I carefully checked that no-one would be able to see into the office, and I sat down. I conversed with the manager, and explained that I hadn't really been ill at all. I was, in fact, looking after Galaxy.

As I also expected, he wasn't best pleased, claiming that an ill cat, especially not a very ill one as he described mine, wasn't a reason for skipping work. He riled me, and I stood up. If I let him rant at Galaxy any longer I'd lose my temper and the entire plan would have been for nothing. So I thrust a fist into his stomach not too hard, I couldn't leave any marks. But it was enough to get me sacked. I stormed out dramatically, and went home, speeding to get back to Galaxy as quickly as I could. I fell asleep with a smile on my face that night, Galaxy at my side as always.

The next morning, I phoned the Citizens advice bureaux, and got advice on where to find legal advice. I found a good solicitor, and went to meet. I left a plate of beef down for Galaxy, and tried to keep the meeting as short as possible. While I was there I explained, crying slightly ( remembering my trip to the vet to get the tears flowing), how my boss had made a pass at me, and sacked me when I'd refused. I soon started legal proceedings against my former employers for sexual harassment and unfair dismissal.

After a painful month, where I regularly had to leave Galaxy alone to meet with my solicitor, I settled out of court for one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. There was no way I'd win in court, but the company paid out to avoid the bad publicity, just as I had planned. I put the money, minus the fees my legal advisors claimed, into a high interest saving account. I figured it would hold out while I lived out my savings. I managed to find a job writing articles for a local magazine from home. The money wasn't great, it wasn't even good, but it let me live my life the way I wanted. I ordered food from internet retailers, and I sent my articles away by post. I finally had the life I wanted, I could live forever at home with Galaxy. I lived like that for a year and a half, and was set to live forever like that.

But one morning, in mid October, I awoke, and after going downstairs, I found that Galaxy wasn't in the house. This was highly unusual, and I was immediately worried. I put her food down, as I did every morning, some sirloin steak today, and waited for an hour for her to return. When she didn't I left the house and wandered the neighbourhood for about half an hour, calling for her. She didn't come.

I went back home, and when I arrived I noticed that I had a message on my answer phone. This was unusual, but I assumed it was Sue, calling to arrange Gemma's visit to me that weekend. I clicked the button to listen after I'd checked the house for Galaxy again, but instead of Sue's usual whiney voice, I got the cold, clinical, emotionless voice of the blonde vet receptionist, asking if I could phone them back. I did so immediately, but I already knew what I was about to hear.

"I'm afraid we've found your cat Galaxy dead. She was hit by a car. I'm very sorry."

I managed to sob to them that I'd be right there, and I immediately left the house, not bothering to lock it, and I ran there. (I'd sold my car ages before, I had no need for it.) I asked if she could be stuffed, so she could stay with me forever, but I was told she was too mangled. I was asked if I wanted to see her, but I refused. The mangled Galaxy I'd have seen there wasn't the galaxy I wanted to remember. She wouldn't have been my Galaxy any more. I simply walked home, in tears.

For a month or so I lived by a simple routine. I would wake up, kill time for several hours, then go to sleep. Much of my time killing was spent crying. I ate every meal in tears, simply unable to believe I wasn't eating it with Galaxy, that her eyes would no longer look at me with the love they once did. I made a small shrine to Galaxy, but I didn't devote much energy into it. I contemplated suicide, but decided not to go through with it. I'd hoped that it would bring me and Galaxy together forever, but it might not. What if death is just, the end? I don't know if I could cope with no memory of Galaxy at all. If we're to be together forever It can happen at my natural death. I'm just not able to take the risk that she'll be lost forever.

It was about a month later that I took my moping outside. I hoped the fresh air would help my grieving. I walked around the town, when it happened. I saw a toy cat that looked just like galaxy. It was filled with beans. I bought it straight away, and I found that I had a purpose again. I devoted my life to finding things that looked like Galaxy.

I've managed quite a collection now. That original beanie is still the best, but I had a collection of pictures, soft toys, ornaments, figurines, and videos or DVDs that have a cat like Galaxy on them. They could never replace Galaxy of course, but they helped me. I could get through a meal without crying if I had one of my Galaxy toys with me. I finally felt I could have a normal life again. I'd never be happy. But I could live.

So you can see it's only natural that I did what I did. I mean, Gemma may only be three, but Galaxy was barely two. So when I saw her pulling at my beanie's head, it was only natural for me to want to protect my love. Of course I didn't mean to push her down the stairs, it was an accident. My only thoughts were to protect Galaxy.

Of course Sue knew something was up. I could hardly fob her off without giving her daughter back. And I couldn't give her the corpse now could I. So she came in. She was in my house, and she would see that our daughter was dead, and she would phone the police. I can't go to jail, don't you see? They wouldn't let me take my Galaxy collection with me. I couldn't do time, not without my collection. And even if they let me take one, what would happen if another prisoner got it? They're not nice in prison, I've seen films. I couldn't bear to lose Galaxy again, I just couldn't. I can't go to prison. I can't do it.

So I had to stop her. I stabbed her, and I killed her, and I threw her into the basement with Gemma. Tomorrow I'll bury their bodies. I'll take Galaxy with me. Little beanie Galaxy. I can leave the house now, because I can take them with me. What I did might seem wrong, but I did it for the right reasons. And I just might get away without being caught. So It's not illegal, like my Granny always said.

And if I am caught, then I won't go alive. If they try to take Galaxy away from me, I might just take that risk that I didn't before.

I'm going to sleep now. When I dream I'm with Galaxy. The real Galaxy. I'll sleep, and I'll dream, and I'll stroke her, and love her, and feed her a plate of chicken. She'll purr, and rub her head against me. And we'll be together again. At least for a little while

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