Life was good, more or less. He never ran into Sap or Bark again. He didn't get closure, but he grew comfortable. Being cut off from the supply of drugs he had grown dependent on was tremendously painful at first, an unnecessary risk he wouldn’t have chosen for himself if he had more options[1], but after a month he was starting to recover.

Yet he never got any closer to understanding the horse. They crossed paths usually at least once a day, but Upset Tummy never spoke, merely regarded him with their big wet eyes and walked away. Sometimes they would stop to sniff him, on days that he had been playing in the field, but they would immediately move on and their paths would once again diverge.

He never learned much more about them, either. Marigold would spend time with them, sometimes even appearing to be talking to them, but only ever when he wasn't around. Once he would get home, they would immediately disperse in opposite directions, leaving him to wonder what they were up to.

  1. Don’t go cold turkey on your meds. Don’t be an outdoor cat either.