Suddenly awake with a black furry demonically-horned face even with mine.
The “pad-pad-pad” sound of his feet on the mattress pounding into my brain microseconds after the visual impact.
I scream. “Startled” almost comically inadequate to describe the instantaneous jolt that seizes me top to bottom.
Then just as suddenly I realize it’s simply Smacky. I’m in bed. He’s sticking his nose into my face. I reach up and chuck him under the chin. He purrs.
And even though adrenaline had shot through my body just now, and there’s a tightness in my chest, my heart… is not pounding. My breath does not come in gasps.
The quickness of the total transition, from sleep, to startled, to post-startled, taking far longer to describe than it actually happened.