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The cat walked up to the police officer, meowing. The sounds resolved into words in Officer Savannah Leahy’s mind. “There is something sinister going on in this neighborhood. The dead are screaming for justice.”

The police officer hooked her fingers in her belt, then frowned down at the cat. “Isn’t that kind of like an over-dramatic movie cliché?”

The cat twitched her tail. “Cliché or not, it’s true. Savannah, they are disturbing my dreams.”

Savannah crouched down and held out her hand for the cat to sniff, as if this were a normal stray. “So, what are they saying?”

“There’s no words, just screaming.” The cat twitched her tail, as if the human were being particularly dense.

“Look, I know you’ve brought me useful information in the past, but I don’t know what I can do with this—this complaint.” Savannah stared at the cat, trying to figure out which neighborhood woman this might be, when she wasn’t clad in tabby fur.

“Find and punish the killers!” The cat sounded stressed-out.

Savannah sighed. That was easier said than done. “I need more than that. I can’t just catch murderers like magic, you know, Cat.”

“Don’t call me Cat.” The tabby’s tail lashed.

“Then tell me your name.” Savannah asked every time the cat approached her.

“You know better.”

“Well, Cat, I can’t exactly fill out a citizen complaint that the dead are unhappy. I have a caseload, and paperwork, and a life.” More accurately, Savannah had the first two in abundance, and a thus-far ignored New Year’s resolution to work on the third. “Look, I’m not unsympathetic, but I’m just a cop.”

The tabby twisted to lick the tip of her tail. “You are a police officer, but you are not ‘just’ a police officer. A crime is being committed, and you will investigate.”

“I can’t investigate something I can’t see, hear, or touch.”

The cat nodded. “I knew you would say that. Here—this is the best I can do.” The cat flicked her tail to the side and revealed a set of earbugs nestled between two protruding tree roots.

Savannah bent to look at them. The earbugs were made of some exotic wood, golden with a remarkably red grain. They were carved into detailed butterflies, and linked with a braided silk cord. Their tiny carved eyes gleamed at her, and somehow the carved wings shimmered with iridescence. They were beautiful. Savannah reached to pick them up, to examine them more closely. She had very little magical talent, but these—they made her fingers tingle. She stood there, staring at what she realized was at least a powerful magical tool, more powerful than anything she’d ever hoped to hold in her hand. She longed to keep it, but found herself thinking about putting it down and walking away. Magic was never free.

The cat’s tail twitched. “They’re for your ears.”

“I couldn’t tell.” Savannah’s sarcasm was reflexive.

The tabby’s tail continued to twitch.

Cautiously Savannah raised one exquisitely carved butterfly toward her left ear, then jerked it away again as a raucous, dissonant howling invaded her consciousness. She tried to drop them on the ground again, but the cord caught in her fingers. “What is that?”

“Don’t play dumb. And don’t lose the earbugs.” The cat turned and vanished into the bushes.

Savannah tucked the earbugs safely into a pocket. She could return them, perhaps, if she could find the cat again, but it would be a dangerous insult to throw them away. For the moment, she was off-shift and hungry. This would have to wait at least until after dinner.

______________

Thank you to moon_fox for the prompt. (queenoftheskies I haven't forgotten you.)

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
seekerval
Apr. 3rd, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
Interesting....verrry interesting.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 4th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
Good to see you here, and to know you're reading!
seekerval
Apr. 4th, 2014 02:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's so good to read your excellent creations.
lb_lee
Apr. 3rd, 2014 06:53 pm (UTC)
I am intrigued!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 4th, 2014 03:12 am (UTC)
Thank you!
shamshir_tin
Apr. 3rd, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
Kitties!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 4th, 2014 03:11 am (UTC)
I did promise kitties.
kelkyag
Apr. 4th, 2014 04:56 am (UTC)
Pretty artifact ... lots of trouble.
shamshir_tin
Apr. 5th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC)
Every time I have a pair of earbuds last me more than a year I feel like they're magic.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 5th, 2014 03:07 am (UTC)
I always thought it was magic when my daughter's earbuds lasted more than a month!

Hmm...I should change this to earbuds. It's a closer fit. Thanks!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 5th, 2014 07:33 am (UTC)
That remains to be seen.

(But of course, that's the fun of it.)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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