Tom was woken by the distant wail of sirens. He stretched his entire body deliberately and wandered through to the kitchen to pick idly at the food that Mable had prepared. But there was blood in the air tonight and food held no interest for him.
Outside it was nearing midnight, the wind was up and a scatter of drizzle whipped between the dirty high rise blocks. It was a perfect summer’s night.
He stepped nimbly onto the rusty fire escape and tasted the wind. The sounds of loud drunken curses and a woman’s sobbing drifted up from the fourth floor. A clang caused him to sink deeper into the shadows but it was merely some teenagers in the alley below: their sweet, cloying cannabis smoke mingled with the smell of rotting garbage. There was nothing of interest down there so he headed upwards, to the roof.
He found the acrid signs of a challenger on the wall near the top stair: inwardly he shuddered with excitement. Adrenalin rising, he stalked, low to the ground, across the untidy roof space. He sensed his foe behind the old venting units and leapt silently onto them.
For one long moment he paused and pulled his lips back slowly, baring his teeth – it was the closest Tom got to a grin. Then he dropped down behind his startled opponent: back arched, claws unsheathed and hissed a vehement challenge.
It was time to tussle!