Mr. Steel sat in his antique bed with its thick posts and ornately carved headboard. He smoothed the red velvet bedspread with one of his thin blue-veined hands. A Siamese cat propped up his other hand.
"Tabitha," said Mr. Steel to his blue-eyed friend. "You are my most loyal companion!"
The sleek cat purred steadily in agreement. Mr. Steel liked a friend that never talked back.
Mr. Steel had lived a long life, and he was tired. He was thin and wiry. His gray hair used to be flax-colored. His sharp brown eyes still missed nothing. However, in his old age Mr. Steel was content to simply watch the world rather than conquer it.
Mr. Steel had been a successful businessman. He had done well financially and had filled his home with valuable antiques and a beautiful art collection. His home was quiet and peaceful.
Mrs. Potts, the housekeeper, had taken care of him for years. Each morning, she brought him his hot black tea with cream and sugar. Her cheerful Irish face bloomed with a rosy blush as she greeted the old man.
"Here's your tea, sir," she said with a thick accent. She gently placed the tea tray on a table next to the bed.
The old man looked sick and pale. He also looked sad. He had no family that anyone knew of. Mrs. Potts tried to make cheerful conversation, but it got more difficult each day. Mr. Steel was getting more and more cranky! The only other person that Mr. Steel liked to talk to was his attorney about his will.