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H is for Helpful

With thanks to ankewehner, for the prompt, here is another Catkin ficlet. I am also posting this as my #flashfriday story. I'm hoping to do this more often, though I've been focusing on finishing a novel, whose working title is Clockwork Dragon.

H is for Helpful

Bindi walked the frozen alleys restlessly, changing from human to cat form when the moon rose. Sean followed, his sleek black pelt letting him hide in the shadows. As they drew near to her apartment, he came over to her, rubbing against her brown-furred shoulder with his own. He looked pointedly at the open window.

Bindi stood, her dark tail twitching. The neighborhood felt wrong, as if cold air was emanating from the beaches, though it was early in the winter, and the weather maps showed that the lakeside was, as always before midwinter, warmer than the rest of the city.

She jumped to a wall, and murmured the cantrip that tucked her clothes neatly around her skin as she changed to human form again. The black cat jumped to her lap, and waited. Sean was fun in bed, but lacked either the magical talent or the will to practice even such minor spells. Changing back would have left him naked in the snow.

“There’s something wrong,” she told him.

He rolled his eyes, a very human gesture on his slender feline face.

“Yes, I know I’ve said that before. I just wish I knew what it was, or at least where it’s coming from.”
He looked east. From here, they could see Lake Michigan, or at least the part near enough to the shore to have been turned into a frozen wasteland by the unseasonable cold.

“Yeah, the feeling is worse the further east we go, but there’s nothing out there but ice. When we drove up to Waukee and then all the way to Manistee, the bad feeling was clearly coming from the Chicaugwa area, not someplace in the middle of the great lake.”

Sean purred, remembering the pleasantries on the trip, and rubbed against her, looking again at the window.

“I’m really worried,” she said, not reacting to his invitation at all.

He stood on her lap and shimmied, running a dramatic shiver down his body, and looked again at the window.
“You think it’s the cold? I don’t think so. Weatherworking takes a lot of power…but then, tying magic in to the weather isn’t as hard as shaping it.” She petted his head absently, thinking hard. “It still takes more power than one person is likely to have. If some group is casting a spell, tying it into the cold somehow, that could account for me feeling things are getting more ominous every day.” Bindi shivered for real. “They’re not predicting a thaw for weeks. I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.” She lifted the black cat up to her face and kissed him. “Thanks, Sean, you’ve been very helpful.” She rubbed his head. “I’ve got to talk to some people about this. See you later.”

Bindi put him down on the windowsill and shifted, her clothes vanishing magically only a moment before she disappeared in the normal feline fashion.

Behind her the tomcat jumped into the window and packed his meagre belongings into his backpack. He left a figurine, a black cat windsurfing, on her dresser to thank her for her hospitality and let her know he was headed to warmer climes. He hesitated, then left a bottle of subtle perfume next to the figurine. The bottle was tied shut with a twist of his own black hair. He would happily take Bindi with him, but Chicaugwa was her territory, and female catkin were as bound to their territory as toms were to wandering. He knew she wouldn’t leave—they never did—but he would be very happy to see her again. And maybe, if this impending doom was bad enough, Bindi would track him down.

He murmured the one cantrip he had mastered, and the enchanted pack shrunk down into a battered-looking collar around his neck. He prowled through the small apartment one last time before leaping to the windowsill and pushing it closed from the outside. He leapt lightly to the alley, and set off. He felt lonely already, but even so, it felt good to be on the road, headed away from whatever doom was aimed at Chicaugwa.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
ellenmillion
Nov. 22nd, 2014 07:28 am (UTC)
Oo, tantalizing!
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 23rd, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
I'm having fun with this low-pressure worldbuilding and gettig to know the story. Eventually, I'll have to decide which character's (or characters') stories to focus on. Oh, well, I can only do so much at a time.
seekerval
Nov. 22nd, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
Interesting set-up. I look forward to reading more.

The current 2-month-early type weather have any influence on this story, by any chance? ;~} Evil intentioned magic would certainly fit in with our January-in-November weather.
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 23rd, 2014 12:36 am (UTC)
Thank you.

Actually, it was last year's winter that inspired the curse: http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com/233471.html
seekerval
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes. Last year lingers in our memories and attitudes. And this year will likely build on that much like Beaver's spells........Um, have YOU been swimming in cold waters lately?
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:13 pm (UTC)
I keep wanting to go swimming, but being too busy at cons and haven't gotten a membership anywhere with a pool either. Gosh, that sounds good!
seekerval
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:23 pm (UTC)
Gosh, "too busy at cons" sounds so rough. Poor baby. Hah! :~)
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
I always pack my swim suit--and always bring it home dry. I do try to sell anthologies and attend & speak on panels and use my musical instruments and eat and even sleep, however.
seekerval
Nov. 24th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
It sounds like a healthy mix of business and pleasure. Despite missing the swimming.
mdlbear
Nov. 22nd, 2014 06:50 pm (UTC)
Very nice.
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 23rd, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
thank you!
ankewehner
Nov. 22nd, 2014 09:31 pm (UTC)
prrr? :3
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 23rd, 2014 12:37 am (UTC)
Thank you for the prompt!
(Deleted comment)
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 23rd, 2014 01:55 am (UTC)
I'm glad!
kelkyag
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Places to go! Looking forward to more.
wyld_dandelyon
Nov. 24th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
Thank you!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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