When i was a child of about eight, i had many nighttime dreams, not wish dreams, of living in a faraway forest. I’m in a faraway forest. I’ve been here for five days as far as i can tell. I’ve had my cat, Lyle, and Agent Dante de Seckcee for company. I had a high fever until yesterday, and Dante and Lyle took care of me.
This is a lovely place. A gorgeous ten room house in the middle of nowhere in a place named Thirteen Spruce Months Three. I keep telling myself i’m dreaming, like when i was eight, but i can’t wake myself up. I’m thirty seven, and this is real. I think. Or maybe not. Dante found a map in a desk drawer of a place named Ten Rose Years One, that we are supposed to find. He says he contacted Venus. He says.. Fifteen minutes ago, he went out to get supplies for our journey. At least that’s where he said he was going. What supplies and where he plans to get them, i’ve no idea. Lyle, my kitty, stayed here with me.
I want to get rid of the sapphire ring that brought me here and caused me to be ill. But then if i hide it or dispose of it, will Lyle and i ever get home?
I take the ring off my nightstand and stare at it. I will not put it back on my hand. I will not. I debate what to do. Lyle is curled up, sleeping in the big oak rocker next to the bed. I make a decision and head toward the kitchen. Lyle wakes right up and leaps out of the chair to follow me. I think he must have been observing me the whole time. Cats can be sneaky. That makes me smile.
On my way down the narrow hall, i make quick turn left into the bath. I’ll do this fast before i change my mind. When Dante gets back, i’ll tell him the ring disappeared.. or something. I lift the toilet cover and toss the ring in. Plop!
You might regret this, Alicia. But i won’t try to change your mind. I turn and Lyle is watching me from the doorway. I forgot that the fact that i have the ring means he can speak.
I say, i’m sorry, sweet Lyle. Will this take away your voice?
Well, a.. i’m not really that sweet, and b.. my voice is back for good. When you’re done here, we should sit in the living room and have a chat before Dante returns. I have a confession to make.
I look at the ring in the toilet. I put my hand on the handle and prepare to flush. I almost want to ask it if it has any last words. Then, i think, what will Fate think? Will Lena or Isabelle, or Stephanie be even more angry? I think it was Lena who sent Lyle and i to this place.
I flush quickly, close the cover and run down the hall to the living room. That’s that. The hideous jewel is gone. I hope.
I sit in the black leather armchair by the bookcase. Lyle jumps up on its right arm.
Let’s get right down to brass tacks, Alicia. I’m your cat, Lyle, but i was once human. I was turned into a cat by a scorned lover. I’m glad you’re sitting.
I figure i’m dreaming, so what the hell? How ridiculous can it be? This house, the way we got here.. on a couch.. an angry ring, a sexy secret agent taking care of me? What could possibly be next?
My real name, Alicia, is Daire de Seckcee. I’m one of Dante’s big brothers. That’s the reason i don’t talk when he’s in the room. He might recognize my voice…
I merely smile and roll my eyes. Yup. I’ve gone completely over the edge. I pat Lyle on his furry tuxedo head and say, so tell me your whole story, Daire. I can’t wait to hear it!