My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 17

The next morning, Molly took the party to her favorite place of refuge, a house in the center of four trees, its walls supported on the trunks. It was a wooden house, built well, and it kept out the rain. In it were three bunk beds, six sleeping places total.
Everyone got settled in, and Daniel and Molly set up the house; it hadn’t been used for a while, and they needed to replace Molly’s old stock of sleeping bags with the news ones Sophie had bought this morning.
“Why, exactly, do we keep getting just enough room for everyone?” Daniel asked.
“Someone is looking out for you,” Molly said quietly.
“You mean, like a guardian angel?”
“That too. But I meant, someone is looking for you. The plants tell me. Dandelions gossip like nothing else.”
“Don’t look surprised, Daniel,” Messenger said, hopping up to the windowsill. “It makes you look like you don’t know the magics. Part of having power and leadership is looking good.”
“A guardian cat!” Molly said. “You didn’t say anything about…”
“Shush! If you say anything, the others will think you’re crazy, too,” Daniel said.
“Craziness depends on point of view, Daniel. And point of view can be real or false. In this case, your accusation of being crazy is false.” She turned to Molly. “Hello, Molly. I haven’t seen you for quite a while now. Still running?”
“Yes, Messenger. I almost got caught again last night. Did away with him before he could say anything, though.”
“Another shapeshifter?”
“Yes. They’re always intruding. It’d be nice if it were an invasion of Shapees instead. All they’d do is try to sell us video games. They’re annoying, but at least they don’t threaten our existence.” She sighed, closed her eyes, and went back to sweeping the cabin and staring at the floor.
“So, you’ve decided not to kill him.”
Molly looked up. “Yes.”
“Because he’s an idiot.”
Messenger frowned, if a cat can frown. She seemed, to Daniel, to have more of an expression than most cats he’d seen before. Thin, gray, sleek Messenger, always with a secret. Always…
“Why do you think he’s an idiot?” Messenger said.
“Besides the obvious?”
“What’s the obvious?” said Messenger, now grinning as if she’d just figured something out and it was really, really funny. Daniel remembered the ice wall and the third universe, and remembered how Messenger always seemed to know exactly what he was thinking. His mouth fell open, and he shut it quickly before Molly thought of him as more of an idiot.
“Well,” Molly continued, “Gateguards attack him repeatedly and he doesn’t move on or use any magic at all to protect himself, and the Gateguards know exactly where he is! If he just sits there, the Gateguards are going to keep attacking until they kill him, and two more – no, more than two – books would be –!” Molly had to stop here, because Messenger had flung herself at her face, limbs flailing, claws bared. Molly instinctively dropped to the ground and rolled away, and Messenger almost instantly righted herself and landed gracefully on the floor, somehow. Daniel was impressed, though he had no clue why she’d done it. He got the hint that he didn’t want to know, but his curiosity overrode this and he got lost in thought again, mentally replaying the conversation. Books would be… books would be what? If…
Daniel, trying not to be noticed (successfully) slipped over to his backpack, which he grabbed, and out the door. Once he was out, he slipped into the forest cover and stepped quietly out of earshot. Once he was sure they couldn’t hear him, he ran, remembering how to run fast, and he didn’t care that he had to use magic, all he cared was that he got out of that place as fast as he could. Then he leaped, and hung in the air for, oh my…
He hunched his shoulders forward, put on his backpack, and simply flung his arms behind him, going fast, faster than ever…
…but not touching the ground.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 28th, 2009 at 7:28 pm and is filed under Mirrorworld. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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