NOTE: This is part of the new novel I am writing. I am posting it here as a diversion for readers who may be living under shelter-in-place policies while the world waits for the coronavirus pandemic to pass. For an explanation of this project, please click here. To read the chapters I’ve posted in order, click here.
Coldwater High School ~ Coldwater, N.M.
A scrawny gray tabby with a notched ear and unkempt fur crouched under a school Suburban parked near the end of the alley, watching as a 15-year-old Volvo station wagon rolled to a stop nearby, and the Morrígan whelp and her mother jumped out and ran toward the one called Kavanaugh.
The cat purred softly as the Morrígan burst into tears at the sight of the Kavanaugh woman. Her unfortunate accident was an unexpected delight. She wasn’t dead. The little bean sidhe would have been screaming bloody murder. But she’d been startled enough to make a mistake, and her misstep had revealed a weakness. How very serendipitous.
The old man picked Kavanaugh up and loaded her into the back of the station wagon. The Morrígan scrambled into the vehicle with her, and the Morrígan’s mother backed out of the alley and peeled out as she drove away.
When they had gone, the cat sauntered out from under the SUV and into the middle of the alley, where it sat, grooming itself calmly, as if there hadn’t just been a commotion less than thirty feet away. The old man fixed it with a suspicious stare. It returned his stare, never breaking eye contact as it licked itself. Keep staring, old man. You know who I am. The question is: What do you think you’re big enough to do about it?
The staredown continued for a long moment until the old man’s companion whispered something to him, and the two of them walked away.
The cat yawned, stretched luxuriantly, and disappeared into the shadows.