Mary Ann sat on the couch and yawned while watching the late night show when she heard a small, muffled meow.
Probably just Winston wanting to go visit his friends for the night, she thought.
The meows grew louder but she could barely keep her eyes open. She was so tired. She had spent the last night and all day fixing the heater.
“Stay in tonight,” she said as her head snuggled under the blanket.
Winston was not going to tolerate being kept in, or being ignored and started angrily hissing and clawing frantically at the door.
“Fimmm,” she muttered.
She stumbled to the door and opened it. The sudden gust of cold air caught her off guard.
“Have fun,” she said and started to close the door when sounds of a cat fight filled the moonless night.
Fearing for Winston, she stepped out into the night and collapsed.
Bright lights hurt her eyes as she opened them.
“What? Where am I? What’s going on?”
“Calm down miss, it’s okay. You’re going to be okay.”
“What…what happened? Where am I?”
“Mercy General. Your neighbor was annoyed by your cat and went to tell you to put it inside. Found you on the ground and called 9-1-1. Good thing too, because you would have died last night.”
“Died? What are you talking about?”
“Carbon monoxide poisoning. Happens a lot this time of year. If it weren’t for your cat –”
“My cat died three years ago from cancer.”
The nurse and Mary Ann just looked at each other. Neither knew what to say.