Chapter 4:

The Beginning

"Nekofurenzu" (Feline Friends)


The next morning, I got up early. It was Sunday, another good day to relax. I’d get some emails to attend to, but nothing that strenuous. I’d just keep my monitor open to alert me if anything new came in, then just sat back and relaxed. But, this morning, I had a little work to do. After setting out some food for Mewsy, I started looking through my cupboard for ingredients. Cookie ingredients. Unfortunately, I didn’t have flour. I scratched my head in confusion as I moodily looked up into my shelves. Maybe if I stared at the shelf long enough, some would appear.
Mewsy appeared behind me, looking inquiringly at me.
“What are you looking for?”
I whirled around. “Flour. I need flour. I have to make some cookies for Natalie and I don’t have any flour.” I walked past her, reached for the door, then realized I was still in my boxers and my T-shirt from yesterday. I quickly switched to do my daily routine, just much more quickly than I usually did. I took a quick shower, got dressed, then brushed my teeth.
Mewsy joined me by the sink, instead of grabbing a toothbrush, took one of those cleaning chews cats nibbled on to clean their teeth, and gnawed on that in front of the mirror. I laughed, finding it surprisingly adorable. Then, with my wallet and keys in my pocket, threw myself down the hallway. I ran to the parking garage and leapt into my car. The store was about half an hour away.
Did I really want to drive all the way to the store to buy flour? Wouldn’t I be wasting gas? Was Mewsy going to be ok all by herself? I really didn’t expect it to take this long to make some simple cookies. If I knew I missed crucial ingredients I might have waited for awhile. But maybe I figured that, even with work ahead of me, getting it done now would be a better choice. I had to pull over and calm myself before realizing it’d be better if I parked the car and walked to the store. I stepped out onto the street, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells, and started to trek past the parking meters and shops on either side of the sidewalk.
Now that I had rationalized that getting the flour was a good idea after all, something else came to mind. What was Mewsy going to help me with? What happened when her eyes turned into a cat’s and said those things? What did I need help with? I had a job, a home, a place in the city, and was just about to make an acquaintance with one of the fellow apartment tenants with a peace offering of cookies. I wondered about the latter. Maybe Mewsy was going to help me with making friends? That thought struck me as odd, but interesting. Maybe that was why Mewsy had been changed into a human. Sometimes pet-to-human interaction only went so far. Clear, spoken word did wonders to help communicate.
I stepped past an alleyway and paused when I heard something inside it. I turned and looked inside and saw what looked like a cat looking through garbage. I could only see the back of its head, and smiled before walking on. There were lots of cats in the city, some strays, some house cats that wandered, sorta’ like Mewsy. Then it stood up. I froze, amazed. It looked like another girl! What was this?! I turned and left the alley quickly, my sneakers scraping up gravel as I continued on down the street. I didn’t get very far, until I heard a voice calling me.
“Hey!”
I turned, and a black-haired girl in a dark blue dress stood before me, smiling knowingly. I hesitated, figuring I somehow knew who this woman was, but I asked anyway.
“Who are you?”
The girl chuckled. “I live in the alley.” I knew what that meant. She was a cat too.
“Why is this happening?” I asked before I even thought about what I was saying.
“Let’s talk.” The girl said.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. “Let’s eat someplace.”Bookmark here

As we sat in a downtown café, my errand of getting flour forgotten, I stared intently at the girl across the table from me. She was another cat who was turned into a full blown human. She said she lived in the alley way. Did that mean cat people like her turned back into cats during the night? Was she in charge of helping someone else too?
“I don’t understand any of this.” I began, stirring my coffee moodily.
“You have a cat of your own?” The girl asked.
I looked up. “Yes, a tortoise-shell named Mewsy. She’s the only friend I’ve really had since I’ve moved here. One morning I woke up and she was a girl like you.”
“Did she say anything about why she’s human?” The girl asked.
“Yeah, she told me it was to help me. Not sure what that meant.”
The girl chuckled again like she knew and leaned across the table. “Maybe she’ll help you find another friend.”
I cocked my head, confused. “What do you mean by that?”
“Well, you just said, Mewsy’s your only friend. Maybe she’ll help you find another one.” With that, our conversation kind of dissolved. Finally a question came to mind.
“You seem to know a lot. Who are you? You’ve got a name?”
The girl looked up. “I travel the streets all the time. I see and hear things. I don’t have an owner, though, so, no name.” She smiled sweetly.
“I don’t want to keep you,” the girl said, “I hope you see this gift for what it is. I don’t know why I’m this way, nor your cat, but you’d do well to try to find out what Mewsy wants to help you with. Now, make sure you get some flour.” She rose as she finished, smiling down at me.
I was rocked by the girl reminding me of my errand. I leapt up from the booth and angled my stance, ready to charge out the door.
“T-that’s right! I’m late! Thanks kitty.” I said this without thinking, then bolted for the door before retracting my words. Unbeknownst to me, the girl chuckled to herself as I left the building, watching me run down the street.Bookmark here


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