I opened the solid, brown door of our old garage, and peered through the thinner screen door at the sight coming down the stairs. It had a vaguely canine body shape, and its face was that of a hyena, but a little darker. It stared me in the face and gave a low, warning roar. I fidgeted carefully with the screen door, unsure of whether to extend my hand to stroke this creature or keep it intact and un-bitten. It turned to the side, revealing a leopard-like coat with similar rosettes and a dark, slender tail that bushed out at the end. Several times, it turned its face to me and did an ominous growl-roar. I was still tentative.
Finally, my (real) cousin, who’s currently about 17 or 18, spontaneously appeared beside me as if she’d been there all along and explained candidly that this was her husband’s pet cheetah. I then remembered an earlier scene with my family talking about her getting married recently—something I’d been very surprised at at the time considering that she’s never kept a pet for more than two years. The thought of her having a child made me almost do one of those anime-style face exaggerations where the character gets blank circles for eyes and goes spinning into a dark void. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~~~~~~~~——-!
Compared with that, the “cheetah” was hardly a surprise at all.