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The Cat's Secret

Updated on October 31, 2014

Cat's Secret-- a Book with Many Authors

In January of 2012 our book club decided to try our hand at writing a book. We are always critiquing books from other authors so we thought it was time to try our hands at writing. We decided that we would each take our turn and write one chapter in the book. Our goal was to finish the book by the end of the year.

We started out without any outline, and Judy, our leader started with the first chapter. She then passed the chapter she wrote on to the next person, who wrote chapter two. This continued all year and we did a good job of not talking about what was written. Just like the "Cat's Secret" the book was a secret to all of us until the final chapter was written.

In all we ended up with11 chapters, written by 9 different members of the book club. Several people worked on the final product to edit it for grammar and spelling typos, but otherwise it was left in the same style as it was written by the separate authors.

I think we will all agree that it was much harder than we thought, and yet it was fun!

This photo is photo of our members at our December 2012 meeting.

thank you to Julie for photos of her cat Boo

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Chapter 1

by Judy

"What a beautiful day", thought Sarah, as she stepped out of her house to walk. Unlike most people she knew, or most people in general, Sarah liked to get up early and take a walk. She felt good afterward. She didn't start work at the dental office until 9:00 o'clock, so if she got up early, she had time to walk, shower, dress, fix her lunch and check her e-mail. Since she lived alone, this worked out just fine.

Sometimes she would call her mom in the early morning, knowing Mom was also probably awake. In fact, maybe that's where she got this "rise and shine" ritual. Whatever the root of it, she liked it. She was definitely a "morning person".

In the summer, Sarah often walked with her neighbor and friend, Joni McGraugh. Joni was several years older than Sarah and had two young children, Maggie and Timmy. When the kids were in school, Joni was too busy in the morning to walk, but come summer she had more free time. Her husband Patrick was a good guy who helped with the household chores and participated in the kids activities. Sometimes Joni invited Sarah to one of Maggie's or Timmy's events: sports, scouts, school, everything the kids did. They were always involved in something, and Joni and Pat were always right there.

Sarah went to a few of their games or school concerts and often recognized some of the other neighborhood families. Yes, this is what she wanted, having a family, being involved with her children, getting to know the other parents. That's what she dreamed about. Of course, she was still old-fashioned enough to want a husband first. She had boyfriends through high school and college, but no true, lasting ones. Many of her friends had one heartache after another, but for Sarah, the boyfriends came and went peacefully. Now that she really thought about it, that was odd, wasn't it? Had she been cold and unfeeling, or had the right guy just not come along? Until now, that is. Then along came Mark.

Mark Winters to be exact - handsome, interesting, and somewhat mysterious. She had been attempting to gas up her car at Quick Trip before work one morning this spring. For some reason the stupid pump wouldn't work. She had pumped her own gas for years, but couldn't figure out what was holding things up this time. While she was standing there, frustrated and confused, this good looking guy came along and offered to help. He looked at the pump and quickly sized up the situation. "They are probably changing something inside. I'm sure it will work in a minute," he said. "Oh thanks," Sarah replied, and started telling this stranger why she needed to get to work early in order to surprise one of her co-workers for her birthday. The stranger seemed interested in hearing everything Sarah had to say, but she hesitated when she realized that she was doing all the talking. "Oh, I'm so sorry for going on like that", she said. "I really enjoyed listening to you, Sarah", he said with a smile. Wait, how did he know her name? Then she remembered and felt for the grinning mouth of teeth name tag she wore for work. "Yes, I noticed your name tag. Where do you work?" "I'm a receptionist for Star Dental, not far from here. The whole place is decorated with sparkling stars. The young kids love it. In fact our dentists specialize in working with the little ones." Smiling again, he replied, "Well, I don't want to keep you here, now that your tank is filled," but before she knew it, he was asking her to meet him for dinner the next night. They met at a popular Mexican restaurant, several miles away. Since it just happened to be Cinco de Mayo, she could always remember their first date.

Now it was the first week in October and they were definitely "dating". They went to interesting places and did fun things, but curiously, they were generally a little ways out of town. Her mother and her friends at work would remark on the "field trips' because they were so far from town. Mark never stayed overnight and never invited her to his place, saying it was messy and his neighbors were loud and rude. He always had some reason for not inviting her to his place. Not one to be pushy, Sarah just went along with the program - Mark's program. Sometimes she didn't hear from him for over a week. If she called or texted, he didn't respond, so she just waited. Finally he would call, offering some excuse to explain why she hadn't heard from him.

When he did come to a family gathering, which wasn't often, he would excuse himself, saying he had an important call to make. He sometimes took out his laptop and found a secluded place for himself. Even with this odd behavior, she was very taken with Mark Winters. Sarah's mother and her friends, however, were very suspicious of Mark's guarded behavior. Her neighbor Joni tried to fix her up with her husband's cousin, Alex. Although Alex lived in another city, and only visited Pat and Joni occasionally, Sarah did meet him once. He seemed nice, but that was all. Maybe if she could have spent a little more time with Alex, they might have hit it off. Her mom talked about a very interesting young man at the market, but Sarah didn't have a chance to meet him. And her friend, Marsha, from the dental office, wanted her to meet a neighbor who she thought was available. Sarah wasn't sure she wanted to meet anyone else, at least not right now, not while Mark was still calling. All right, she thought, I'll give this relationship a little more time. By Christmas, Mark should be able to make a commitment. If not, then maybe she should end their relationship.

As Sarah was walking, intent on her plans for her relationship with Mark, her thoughts were interrupted by a faint cry. "Whoa, was that a baby out here by itself", she wondered. She kept walking slowly toward the crying, looking for someone. All she saw was a cardboard box by a few trees and bushes. As she cautiously crept nearer and peeked into the box, she saw that it wasn't a baby, but a cute little cat! Immediately she thought of her Fluffy Four Foot. She had brought Fluffy home from the animal shelter when she was a senior in high school. When she went away to college, she could hardly wait to get home to see him. When she moved into an apartment with her friend Gloria, her mother thought it would be best to leave Fluffy at home with her. Now it had been less than a year since she had lost Fluffy. She had always thought that she would get another kitty cat, especially since she had her own house, but a cat just hadn't crossed her path. "Who would leave this precious ball of fur out here," she thought what should she do? There was no one around to ask. Then a thought came to her, "I'll hurry home and drive back here. If this cute little thing is still here, I'll take it home. Yes, it's a sign, this will be my Fluffy - no, not another Fluffy. I can't give this new little one Fluffy's name."

She raced home, grabbed a sheet and a laundry basket, remembering how much Fluffy enjoyed getting in baskets and boxes, and tore back out to her car. She pulled into the parking lot and headed over to the spot where she had left the kitten. Sure enough, it was still there! "OK, I'm taking you home with me!" She lifted the cat carefully out of the box leaving the ratty, filthy blanket, and wrapped the cat in the sheet she had brought with her. The cat seemed happy to leave his box and snuggled into her. She made a stop at Quick Trip to get some cat food, and when she got home she got the litter box and half a bag of litter left from Fluffy and set it out in the basement. She made sure this kitty knew where the box was. She set out some food and water, and hurried to get ready for work.

Sarah thought it would be better not to say anything to anyone about her new treasure, until she knew what to do. Should she try to find the previous owner, even if they had abandoned it? Maybe that would be the right thing to do, but it didn't feel right. No, she wanted to keep this little guy. What should she call it? Let's see, not Fluffy, how about Figaro? Wasn't that a cartoon character? Or how about Figgy? Or Fuji, if it was a girl? Or maybe both Figgy-Fuji! That's cute she decided. Before she left for work, she took time to pet Figgy-Fuji and noticed it had a narrow collar with a small silver charm hanging from it. Now she was curious and picked up the cat to take a closer look. "What is this," she thought. It looked like some lettering or a symbol, but nothing she had ever seen, and certainly wasn't in the English language. "What mystery are you hiding Figgy-Fuji? Holy crap! Is this something like that Will Smith movie, where the charm on the cat's collar holds the secret to the survival of another universe?" Sarah pinched herself to make sure she wasn't in the middle of a weird dream. No, this was real! What secret are you hiding little Figgy-Fuji?

Chapter Two

Loretta

"What the Hell?!! What's happened? Oh, no!! I'm a fricken CAT!!"

Steve Savage's words came out as the pitiful cries of a small distressed kitten.

He looked at his surroundings and surmised he was in some kind of a dilapitated cardboard box and was lying on filthy rags.

"This place stinks. I stink!;" Steve, now a kitten thought. "Is this a nightmare? I sure don't feel like I'm having a bad dream. If this is real, how could this happen?"

As the fog of his brain began to clear his thoughts and cries resume, " Oh, yeah, I remember now. It must have been that wretched witch. Why did I go to that dark, depressing, crumbling area of the city and seek out that old hag? It was that idiot, Reggie. Why did I ever listen to him? He claimed there was this old broad on the desolate side of town who could bring back a person's youth." "She can make you look and feel twenty to thirty years younger," Reggie had said.

He had told Steve that a "friend of a friend" went to see a witch down there in shanty town. After he had slipped her a few bucks she had mixed up a potion.He drank it and fell asleep. When he woke up he had gone from 53 to 23, looked great, felt great and had all kinds of energy and stamina. Steve told Reggie he didn't believe in " that crap" but he convinced him by saying, "Whatta ya got to lose?"

"Well, that did it! I was never one to pass up a dare. I figure I could go down there, give her a little money and drink something she called a potion that, hopefully, would be twelve year old Scotch, get a little buzz and then go home. Good Scotch always made me feel younger!!"

His thoughts became agitated and angry as he realized his dilemma, "What do I have to lose, Reggie? How about hands, or the ability to speak, and skin without fur, you stupid imbicile!!"

More realistically accepting his predictament Steve thought "I'd better shut up the whining until I hear someone coming along that might rescue me from this cardboard jungle before a stray Rottweiler comes along and devours me. Anyway I feel the need for a sponge bath. "

As he proceeded to give himself a sponge bath, he observed, " Oh, wow!! I'm all over black. Damn that witch making me into a cat, but that would be the color a witch would choose, I suppose. Looks pretty good, nice shiny fur. But this collar is really in the way of a thorough bath. I darned near cut my tongue on that metal thing dangling there."

A few minutes later, somewhat damp and a lot colder, Steve Savage, former stock broker and lover of many women, looked up to see....

"Holy Shit!!!! 500 pounds of teeth with big ugly dog attached!"

Surprising himself, instead of cowering and wimpering in the corner of his box as he would have done as a human, he stood his ground against the big dog, who was a hundred times his size, and arched his little back, stared directly into the eyes of the beast and let out with a screech that was both human and animal and well beyond the volume of a normal small kitten.

Suddenly large ugly claws extended from soft tiny paws. With one mighty swipe of the blades blood gushed from the dog's nose and face. Howling and whining the big scruffy wild dog turned and ran off into the dimly lit dawn. "Ah Ha!! I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!! I wonder why that creature was scared of me. he must think I'm a werewolf or something...or a werecat. Could it be?"

The unusual cries attracted the attention of the beautiful Sarah and he was rescued when she returned with a soft warm snuggly sheet in a secure basket. Steve, while eyeng Sarah's ample assets, curled up and took a little cat nap on the ride to her home.

Over the next two years Steve, now called Figgy Fuji, a name he detested, grew rapidly into a surpisingly large cat. He slept on the bed next to Sarah each night and when he stretched out ot his full length his body was almost as long as Sarah's.

Sarah and Figgy-Steve lived happily together (although Steve would have been a lot happier if he wasn't a cat!) They were almost insepaable and even took baths together, which Sarah thought was most unique for a cat to enjoy a bath. Steve didn't think it was!

When a fellow she called Mark came to visit, however, Steve was put in the utility room because Mark was allergic to cats. Steve had mastered a variety of vocalizations by this time and would utter a garbled cry that sounded a lot like the work "Faggott" whenever Mark was there or was even mentioned. he hated him. He thought he was all wrong for Sarah. She needed an exciting energetic man of the world like himself, not a wimp with a pocket protector.

One evening, after their bath, while Sarah was searching through her jewelry box for a pair of favorite earrings to wear the next day she came upon the collar he was wearing when she rescued him.

"Oh look, Figgy" Sarah said while sitting down on the bed next to Steve and stroking his shiny black fur, "I found the pretty little collar you were wearing when I found you. I never did look closely at the unusual medal dangling from it. It appears to have some strange letters and symbols on it. I wonder if that was your name? What do you think?"

Steve looked at the medal. He'd never really gotten a good look at it before.

"Oh, Figgy, look at you so interested in what I'm talking about. Sometimes I think you actually know what I'm saying." Softly she began to pronounce the letters, "DIC_O_DIR_MIS."

As the word left her lips Steve hopped off the bed. His body began to shudder and twist. He stood up on his hind legs and made unusual howling noises.

"Figgy!! What's wrong? Are you sick?"

Then before Sarah's unbelieving eyes, Figgy, began to shape shift into a handsome, muscular, hard bodied, six foot four inch, naked human male with shine black hair and movements like a cat.

With a feline squint and a Cheshire cat grin, Steve looked at Sarah and said in a seductive baratone voice, "Now, baby, aren't you glad you didn't take me to the vet last year!!"

Sarah fainted.

Chapter Three

Mary Beth

Sarah woke up and found herself lying on the floor of her bedroom with Fuji-Figgy licking her face. She could hear someone pounding on the door to her apartment as she sat up in a daze. " Oh no, what has happened to me" she thought. She felt a knot beginning to form on her head where she had hit the corner of the bedpost. The pounding on the door continued. She knew she should answer it but she couldn't get herself out of her daze. She looked around and saw little Figgy looking up at her. He was such a cute little black cat. That's right, a cat she thought. Why am I thinking that, she thought? Of course he's a cat.

The pounding at the door got harder and now she could hear a voice. It sounded like Mark, yes it was Mark. "Sarah ! Sarah are you ok?" he was yelling. " Yes, just a minute and I'll be right there" Sarah answered as she slowly got up and made her way to the front door and let Mark inside.

"Oh honey, what happened to you?" Mark asked as he gently helped her over to the sofa. " I'm not sure" said Sarah. " I must have fallen in the bedroom and knocked myself out." Just then, Figgy came into the room. " I bet it was that darn cat" Said Mark. " He is always under foot, you probably tripped over him. I'll just put him in the utility room where he belongs. " As Mark picks up Figgy the cat reaches out to scratch him. ' That blasted cat" Mark exclaims. " Just leave him be" Sarah says, " I'll move him in a minute". "You are always sticking up for that blasted cat, I really don't see your fascination with him" Mark says. " Just leave me alone Mark, I'm fine now, I just need to rest" Sarah said. Mark could tell that Sarah wasn't her usual self and probably just needed time to herself. "Are you sure you will be alright? Is there anything I can get you before I leave?"Mark asked. " No I'll be fine, I just want to be alone right now" Sarah said. " Ok then, I'll give you a call later, " Mark said as he left.

"Oh Figgy" Sarah said to the cat" what did I do, I am so confused?" The cat was looking up at Sarah, almost as if he were grinning. Sarah looked at Figgy with a bewildered look. " I'm starting to remember now, " she said " I had the strangest dream while I was lying on the floor and you were a part of it. I wonder what it could mean. I think I'll give Joni a call. She always makes me feel better and maybe she can give me some insight into this crazy dream. If nothing else, hearing about her wonderfully normal life always makes me feel better. maybe someday it will be me. "

********************************************************************************************************

Sarah called Joni and brought her up to date on everything that had gone on during the day. Sarah now remembered everything about her dream in vivid details and she told Joni the whole story about how she must have fallen down and dreamt that Figgy turned into a man. They both had a great laugh together! "What on earth do you think it could mean"

Sarah asked Joni. ' I sure don't know, that was some crazy dream. What did Mark say when you told him?"

"Well that's the other thing. " Sarah said, " Mark kind of left in a hurry when Figgy started to scratch him so I thought it best not to tell him about the dream." "That sounds like a good move," Joni said " You know you really need to put Mark on the spot and find out about all his strange behavior. I just had a thought, maybe this dream is telling you it is time for another man in your life. " "Oh yeah" said Sarah laughing " one that turns into a cat!"

"Well, maybe not one that turns into a cat, but at least one that you know his history and have seen where he lives" Joni responded. Joni was usually reticent to criticize Mark to Sarah but since Sarah had asked for advice,Joni felt this opened the door for her to talk about the issues with Mark. Even after three years, Sarah had never seen where Mark lived or met anyone in his family. On top of that he was always called away to special meetings and phone calls. It sure seemed like he was hiding something. Joni didn't want to intrude, but she also knew how much her friend wanted to get married and have a family. She just didn't want Sarah to be stuck in a dead-end relationship.

"I know you are right Joni" Sarah said " when Mark is not around I always plan on what to say, but then when I'm with him it never seems like the time is ever right. I can't believe I sent him away today. I've never done that before. That knock on my head and the dream has really got me thinking.It was so strange, and then Mark was so sweet, banging on the door and worrying about me. Everything seemed great until Figgy showed up. Mark just doesn't care for that sweet cat. I just can't understand why he is so bothered by a little cat. They both seem to really hate each other, it is so strange."

"I agree, Sarah, it is rather strange.. It is almost as if Figgy knows something about Mark" Joni commented. "Well or at least Figgy is very jealous of Mark" said Sarah " he is such a gentle cat except when Mark is around. I do think it is time I took your advice and talked to Mark. If this relationship is going to go any further we need to be honest with each other."

Chapter Four - Pat

Yes, Fuji-Figgy was indeed more than a smart, affectionate cat. Figgy just had to show Sarah the true side of Mark. "Should I claw Mark's eyes out when he returns?" thought Figgy. "No, she would just pity him and I would lose my beautiful Sarah." "I must find out what Mark is up to" thought Figgy.

The next evening, the door bell rang, and Figgy could hardly contain himself. "It is Mark. I just know it is!" Mark glared at the tiny black cat as he entered through the foyer of Sarah's house. Figgy stood in the corner with his jet black hair standing straight up on his back as if an attack wouldn't be such a bad idea. Figgy was not going to be intimidated by this jerk! Mark seemed to shutter slightly as if he was afraid of the tiny cat. Just then, Sarah gently picked Figgy up and carried him to his dreaded utility room away from Mark. Mark glanced over his shoulder at the cat with a smirk on his face as if to say, "I'm first in this house you stupid cat."

As laughter came from the other room, Figgy sat in the utility room revising a plan. "I need to get out of here and follow Mark." "I need to know where he goes when he leaves here." Just then, Figgy saw the exhaust pipe from the dryer leading out to freedom. "Dam, I wish I had hands and a screwdriver to unhook the dryer vent!" Fortunately, Sarah had not declawed the cat. He worked feverously at the outside of the vent. Inch by inch, the small cat worked at the vent with determination until SNAP. The vent detached itself from the dryer. Figgy looked in the dark, black hole leading to the outside. "I don't know about this." "Looks pretty tight even for me." The lint infested dryer pipe wasn't going to be easy but Figgy was up for the challenge. A wiggle here and a wiggle there was a slow process but finally Figgy saw the shine of the gas lamp glowing brilliantly in the back yard. Luckily the flange on the end of the exhaust pipe was loose and with a few good head butts, Fuji-Figgy was able to pop it loose and jump to freedom. "Phew, phew." Figgy was no longer the luscious, silky, black cat. He was covered with lint from head to toe. He looked worse than the alley cats outside the Italian restaurant downtown after a busy Friday evening. Figgy ran and hid behind a bush in the front yard while he cleaned himself of the lint balls that hung from him like Christmas bulbs. Hours seemed to pass as Figgy thought about how to get into Mark's car unseen. He had to be patient and wait for the right moment. Figgy was glad that the sky was gray and overcast and the moon was a slight sliver of white hidden behind the clouds.

Finally the front door opened and he heard Sarah's sweet voice, "Can't you spend the night just once? Why do you have to hurry off?" Mark had his usual lame reply "I have to work in the morning and I have a lot of prep work to do for the client before I meet with him." Always an excuse thought Figgy. Sarah and Mark walked slowly, hand in hand, to Mark's car. Mark opened the door to the car and leaned into Sarah for a long, farewell kiss. It was now or never for Figgy to make his move. He jumped swiftly into the back seat of the car and hid as far as he could under the driver's seat so he wasn't seen. Mark swung into the driver's seat and the driver's door slammed with a jolt that caused -Figgy to jump. Figgy stayed as quiet as possible as the car proceeded down the dark streets and out of Sarah's neighborhood. Crouched into a tight ball under the seat, all he could do now was wait until the car stopped.

Chapter Five

Janet

As Mark was driving home he started thinking about Sarah and how much

he cared for her. Commitment was something he didn't want to think

about. Between his past relationships, which always ended in

heartbreak, and his secretive and dangerous line of work it was hard

to imagine the future. If by some miracle things do work out,

Figgy would definitely have to go. There's something about that

big black cat that freaks me out. It's almost like he's out to get

me. His jealousy is so strong that if he was human I'm sure he'd try

to kill me.

After several miles Mark started to sneeze, his eyes were watering and

he was having difficulty breathing. That's odd he thought, there's

nothing I should be allergic to in my own car.

To Figgy it seemed like the trip to Mark's home was taking

forever. He sure lives far away from Sarah, but soon I'll know all

his little secrets and his sneaky games will be over.

Finally, they were off the highway and Figgy could see the tall

buildings and lights of town.

Suddenly, Mark began to lose control of the car and was weaving back

and forth across the road. He bounced off several parked cars and

came to a crashing halt after hitting a dumpster. A man came running

over to the car and started banging on the window as he called 911.

Mark was slumped over the wheel and unresponsive.

Oh no Figgy thought - this can't be happening now.

All of a sudden police and emergency vehicles where surrounding the

car. When they put Mark in the ambulance he was hardly breathing. A

paramedic mentioned how lucky he was that someone immediately stopped

to help or he could have died. To bad thought Figgy.

With all the excitement Figgy decided he better make a run for it

before they tow the car away. Figgy wandered up and down the streets

and soon realized he had no idea where he was. Nothing looked

familiar. Figgy was hungry, lonely and tired. Why did I have to play

detective and follow Mark when I could be home in a cozy bed with

Sarah. This sure didn't work out the way I planned it. That stupid

Mark, it's all his fault.

As Figgy was walking by a store, out came a pretty young girl.

Wow, thought Figgy, I'd sure like to go home with her. Bet I can get

this sexy number to take me in. Figgy slowly starting walking toward

her meowing and then rubbed against her leg. She raised her foot,

kicked him as hard as she could, which sent him flying across the road

toward brothers Rob and Bob coming around the corner. Figgy hit the

pavement and was loudly howling in pain. Rob could not believe their

luck. Out of nowhere was a perfect specimen, right at their feet,

lying in front of them. The boys picked Figgy up and starting running

for home. Mom will be so excited, we found a black cat. Figgy was so

dazed and sore that he didn't really care at the moment what happened

to him.

When they opened the door they couldn't wait to tell their mom about

their new find. Mom, mom, surprise, we found just the perfect black

cat for your new experiment at the lab. See if you can change the

color of this one.

When Figgy finally came to, he was in a large cage in what he

thought looked like a science lab room. Looking out he saw 10 pair of

golden cats eyes staring back at him.

What the hell. How will I ever get out of this one.

I could have been a nice middle aged 53 year old overweight guy,

dating and having fun, but no I had to drink that fricken potion and

now all I am is a lab rat, I mean lab CAT!

Chapter Six - Mona

Marsha was nervous from the moment she recognized the collar on the black cat her

boys, Rob and Bob, brought home. She knew she had to get that cat with the metal medallion

out of her house and back to Sarah's house.

Rob and Bob, Marsha's sons, were rough wild boys with no manners. This wasn't the

first time they brought home a cat. As soon as Marsha learned Sarah's weakness for cats, she

had instructed her boys to bring home cats for "color experiments." They were young enough

to still believe anything she told them. Marsha had worked with Sarah for 4 years at the dental

office. She could not tolerate Sarah's naive syrupy personality and knew Sarah would never

understand how hard it was to be a single mother. Sarah's incessant talk about her neighbor's

kids, "little Maggie and Timmy McGraugh," winning awards and trophies was the last straw.

Marsha had tried to tempt Sarah with possible "dates" but Sarah wouldn't take the bait.

The idea to use a cat as bait was the perfect temptation. Marsha had access to the cats in the

lab and as predicted, Sarah immediately fell for the creature.

The chemicals in the cats' collar should have been taking affect on Sarah by now.

Experimenting with chemicals started out as a hobby for Marsha. She had access to a variety

of powerful chemicals at the dental office and complete control of the accounting books. If she

could just make this work with Sarah, she would have lots of potential buyers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mark woke up groggy, his mouth was dry, and his limbs seemed to weigh a ton. He

looked around the hospital room and stopped when his eyes rested on a lovely lady asleep

in the chair by his bed. Sarah looked so sweet and innocent that briefly he wondered if he

was dreaming. His eyes were locked on her when the doctor entered the room. Sarah woke

"Excuse me, Miss, but I need to speak with Mr. Winters privately," the doctor quickly

stated. Sarah politely left the room and waited in the hall.

"Mr. Winters, we ran routine blood tests when you were brought in and the lab results

indicate some unusual elements. " The doctor continued to speak quickly and seldom made eye contact.

Mark tried to focus but could only pick up key words such as, Nitrous oxide, benzocaine,

and Midazolam. His mind immediately began rolling the terms around searching for meaning,

point of entry, reasons, etc. He could feel his mind clearing and everything go alert and active.

He was thankful his training in criminal investigation was so instinctively ingrained.

Mark had been investigating Marsha for months. He knew she had dropped out of

college, had 2 boys (Rob and Bob), worked in the office for Star Dental, and had a fascination

with "magic." The case was almost too easy. Marsha set off every red flag imaginable. She

had taken numerous courses in chemistry but was expelled after two unusual incidents in

the chemistry lab. Now, she was responsible for purchasing/receiving supplies at the dental

office. Marks high level clearance gave him access to Marsha's college records and internet

activities. Electronically, he could see Marsha was placing office purchase orders to Gases,

Chemicals, & Compounds, Inc. However, the office statistics being reported to the Dental

Association were being placed by Sarah. Sarah's data for number of patients/procedures and

summarized quantities of yearly drugs and products used did not match Marsha's purchasing

records. Marsha's reports were significantly inflated. Sarah worked with the patients and kept

their database records up to date. Marsha used different accounting software for purchases so

they were unaware of each other's yearly reports. By law, the Dental Association audit must

notify authorities about such discrepancies. The addictive nature of the chemicals triggered an

immediate investigation. The Dental Association contacted Mark and confirmed no one in the

dental office was alerted of the situation. Hopefully, he would be able to capture all individuals

Mark knew the pediatric dental office regularly uses Nitrous oxide, also known as

laughing gas; benzocaine, a numbing agent; and Midazolam, a drug thought to potentially

repress memories of procedures. But how did those chemicals get into his system? These

are the very drugs he had been tracking. Before he passed out, he remembered sneezing

excessively, felt the tingling sensation in his throat, and his eyes were burning. He knew Figgy-

Fuji had to be in his car or he wouldn't have had an allergic reaction. Could those chemicals

be associated with the cat? If he hadn't had such a serious reaction to the cat, the lab would

never have found the chemicals in his system. Sarah always put the cat away when he was

around so he hadn't picked up on the cat's role in chemical distribution. He felt such a relief in

finding a break in the case. Exposure to the cat meant exposure to the chemicals. Could the

code on the cat collar "DIC-O-DIR-MIS" actually be a hint at endodermis (skin) contact? If the

cat came in contact with his legs in the car accident he could have easily picked up the

chemical contamination. He had to protect Sarah! SARAH! His head whipped around looking

for Sarah but she must have gone. He tried to keep his distance from her until this case was

closed but he seemed to be bumbling in this department.

When Mark saw Sarah for the first time at the gas station, all he saw was a beautiful

woman. When he went to help her, he cringed when he noticed her name tag for Star Dental.

It was so frustrating to be so close and know he couldn't seriously pursue her until this case

was closed. At first, he told himself it was just research, but that excuse wasn't going to fly

anymore. He had meticulously examined her reports and all her numbers were accurate for the

patient load they processed. He instinctively sensed her sweet gentle nature. She was so kind,

trusting, and great with kids. She had a record as clean as the beautiful white snow that started

to fall. Mark cringed. Christmas wasn't far off and this case needed to be wrapped up

before the years' end. He couldn't keep pulling back from Sarah, and he couldn't step

away from the case. Marks fingers rubbed the TV remote out of habit. Oh, dear God!

Maybe that's it,Sarah habitually rubbed the cats' collar medallion. It was like a magnet

to her.Christmas is coming. Marsha could be potentially working to develop a chemical

to put into next years' toys. What if they create a deeply addictive element to drive a top

selling toy? Kids would demand more and more of this line of toys and parents would

unknowingly be supplying their habit. This was so dangerous. Greed! Always greed.

Marsha was probably getting paid well to supply untraced chemicals and unsuspecting

people as secret test subjects. All he could prove was Sarah's

numbers were accurate, Marsha's numbers were inflated, and his blood was tainted with

unexpected chemicals. Maybe his mind was running down an absurd path. How could a gas,

like Nitrous oxide, become a solid element carried around by a cat? Oh, who cares? All he had

to do was prove who (Marsha?), and get evidence (the cat?), and let the lab take care of the

"Just stick to the numbers and facts, man," Mark softly whispered to himself. He was

never a man to believe in magic. Even love was a squishy ungraspable subject in his mind.

This case was really starting to get to him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah had stepped into Mark's hospital room right after the doctor exited. Mark was so

lost in thought. His mind was a million miles away, again. She was so tired of all the mental

distance and walls Mark kept erecting. Figgy had been missing and she had to go look for

him. While Mark stared off in space, deep in thought, Sarah quietly walked out of his hospital

room and headed home to search for the one creature she seemed unable to resist, Figgy-Fuji.

Chapter 7

Carol

Steve has been missing for two years. Reggie is feeling very guilty for

sending Steve to the witch in "shanty town" for a potion to make him

look and feel younger. Reggie called Steve's home twice and left a

message both times during the first month Steve was missing. Steve

never returned the phone call. Reggie even went to the police and filed

a missing persons report. The police did some follow up work, even

going to shantytown, but turned up nothing.

"Whatta ya got to lose?" Reggie regrets ever saying those words.

Two years ago Shane Savage knocked on his brother's door, no answer.

He went to see, Belle, the landlady. He met Belle when he was here

six months ago. Steve had offered Shane a room until he had a job and

found his own apartment after his retirement from the military. Belle

said, "Shane, Steve hasn't been home in two weeks. His mail is piling

up. This is unusual for Steve. He may be gone for a few days, but never

two weeks at a time without telling me where he is going ." Since

Belle had already met Shane and knew about Shane's moving in with

Steve, she went ahead and gave Shane a key to Steve's apartment.

Luckily, the rent and the other utilities are automatically taken from

Steve's checking account.

Belle had a key for Steve's mailbox; she opened the mailbox to give

Shane Steve's mail. Once in the apartment, Shane felt shaken that his

brother could be missing,. Steve was in the habit of letting Belle know

when he was going on a trip, even for the weekend.

Shane checked Steve's voice messages. The box was full. There were

a few females that were pissed off because Steve missed their date and

didn't even call to let them know he couldn't make it. Steve's office

called & the last message from his superior said if he did not call or

come in to work he would be fired. There were two messages from

a Reggie asking if Steve had gone to the witch in shanty town. Whoa,

what was this about? What has good ole Steve been doing lately! Or,

what has Steve gotten himself into this time. Shane would have to

look for an address book for Reggie's phone number. Shane called

Steve's company and found out he did not work there any longer.

First things first, Shane needed to get unpacked. Then he would have to

buy some groceries. Better check the refrig to throw out old food. The

two bottles of wine should still be good. Steve always had good taste in

wine.

Shane did not feel comfortable looking through Steve's personal things,

but he had to find the phone number for Reggie. Reggie held the key

to what happened to Steve. Just then the phone rang.

Shane answered the phone saying Steve Savage's residence, this is his

brother Shane. Shane, my name is Reggie, a friend of Steve's. I need

to know if Steve is there, I have been trying to get a hold of him for two

weeks now. I am really worried about him. Shane said he wanted to

meet with Reggie and get answers to his questions about this so called

witch. Shane wanted to know the complete story. Reggie suggested he

and Shane meet for supper. Shane said how about the Mexican

Restaurant, La Carreta down the street?

Reggie and Shane both ordered beers, and then they placed their food

order. Reggie told Shane about a friend of a friend who went to this

witch in Shanty town who could make you 20 years younger by drinking

a potion she makes. But he never heard of anyone ever missing before.

Reggie does not know if there is a connection between the potions

and Steve missing. Oh my gosh, what if he were dead somewhere!

Reggie said he went to the police and filed a missing persons report.

The police did some follow-up work and even went to Shanty town, but

came up with nothing.

The next day Shane goes to the police to see if they have anything

new on his brother's disappearance. Shane with his background in

the military police is going to do some investigative work on his own.

Thinking this is the only way he is going to find out anything.

Shane has Reggie take him to Shanty town. Both of them sit across the

street and take notes of who is coming and going.

Shane follows the "witch" to her home. Sleeping in the car is really

hard on the body. I am getting too old for this, but I need to know what

happened to Steve. About 7:30 am, the "witch" leaves the house. Steve

follows at a distance. She pulls into a dental office by the name of Star

Dental. This must be her day job.

After following the "witch" for several days, he notices that someone

else is following her also. Why is he investigating the "witch" and

could this have anything to do with Steve.

Chapter Eight - Connie

On her drive home, Sarah was upset by Mark's reaction to her visit in the hospital, thinking this

was a last straw in the strange relationship with the man. Joni was right. Mark's stand offish

behavior was troublesome. She had not pushed him for answers, but she was concerned that

she still did not even know where he lived, who his friends were, or what he did for a living.

"Oh, my! What if he is really a criminal?", she suddenly thought. "It seems impossible, but it

would explain a lot."

"Or.Oh No! What if he is unhappily married?", she worried. "What if he has children?

Whatever his reasons for being so private, they cannot be good, can they?"

She felt guilty that she was thinking of breaking off the relationship just when he was hurt and

hospitalized. "Maybe I will give it until he is recuperating to issue an ultimatum", she decided.

Yet, she had enjoyed the companionship they shared and found herself thinking about what it

could be like with another man. Being part of a couple had its advantages - many advantages

she had not experienced in a long time. Sarah sighed "I don't want to be alone again.".

This train of thought led her to recall the strange "dream" when she saw Figgy turn in to a handsome

naked (blush) man. Who was that man? She had never seen him before, she was sure. How

could she imagine so vividly a man she had never met? Might he possibly really exist, and how

did he get into her dream? And that voice! The memory of that single sentence and the sound

of him sent a thrill and chill through her body at the memory. He was brash and seductive

and just the opposite of safe, quiet and serious Mark. She blushed once again at the recalled

vision of his well chiseled, naked body, while she felt a heat surge through her own midsection.

"What is wrong with me, thinking like this about a man I made up? And while Mark is injured,

in the hospital?".

This memory led her to remember the inscription on the cat collar. When she had attempted

to pronounce it out loud, the transformation had taken place. When Sarah returned home she

went to her jewelry box and searched again for the charm. It was not there! Hmmm she did

not remember doing anything with it after she woke from her faint (or from her.dream?).

Sarah got down on her hands and knees and searched the floor in the bedroom. "OOPS! What

is that under the bed? Sure enough, there is the charm.".

Sarah took a careful look at the charm and again saw DIC-O-DIR-MIS.

Yet when she turned the charm 180 degrees, it looked like a different lettering, one where

the letters were not in the alphabet with which she was familiar. Further, turning the charm

over, revealed an inscription she had never seen before.

Sarah resolved to research the strange lettering and drawing tomorrow, Saturday, at the

library. Then she recalled that Figgy was still contained in the utility room, so she went to let him

out. The cat was not there! How could he have gotten out? Then she noticed the demolished

dryer vent.

"What would possess Figgy to claw through the dryer vent?" She cried. "Why would he want

to get outside that desperately?" Figgy still had his claws and his male hormones, so nighttime

adventures were not unknown, but coming on the heels of Mark's accident Sarah had a strong

feeling of unease.

Sarah opened the outside door and called "Figgy! Fugi-Figgy! Here, Kitty! Come here, you bad

boy!" Sarah walked all around the building calling to Figgy, to no avail. After several minutes,

Sarah sighed "I suppose he will be OK and will be howling to come in, in the morning. He

always comes home when he gets hungry."

Reluctantly, Sarah retired for the night and experienced strange dreams of cats and men and

mysterious markings, waking to every night sound thinking it might be the cat returning home.

**************************************************************************

Sarah awoke on Saturday morning, restless and uneasy, and reached for the cat who was

usually curled up against her back. No cat! Then she recalled the events of the night before

and jumped out of bed, headed for the door, pulling on a robe as she went. She opened the

door expecting to be greeted by "Meo Mow Mow, MEEEOOOOWWW". But Figgy was not there.

Again she circled around the apartment complex calling to him. When a stranger walked by

and gave her a strange look, she gave up and returned to her kitchen.

Sarah fried some bacon, a treat Figgy enjoyed, and spread some jam on a piece of toast. As she

drank her coffee and ate her breakfast, she pondered what had gotten into Figgy to run off, and

fretted about whether he had been injured. Finally she decided to make good on her decision

to visit the library. She showered, put her long auburn hair into a ponytail, threw on a T-shirt

and pair of jeans, and grabbed the charm. On her way out she left bacon scraps by the door, in

case Figgy came home hungry.

As Sarah drove to the local library, she wondered what she was doing. What could she possibly

learn about the collar? Yet that "dream"! It was so real, and the charm was very unusual.

Surely it meant something?

Arriving at the library, Sarah stood just inside and thought, "Ok, how do I do this? I have no

idea where to start."

Sarah wandered up and down the research section, reading the labels on the books, hoping

for inspiration. She searched for books on ancient languages, thinking to find a match for the

inscription on the charm. Grabbing a couple that looked promising, Sarah headed for a table

where she could thumb through each.

There was an empty table just beyond one at which a man sat deeply engrossed in his readings.

She noted a title mentioning witches. "What a strange thing to be researching!" she thought.

"Maybe he is a college student, researching a paper?" But the man appeared to be older than

a student. Tall, well formed, and appearing to be in his forties, he somehow looked familiar.

She was sure she had never met the man, but she felt a connection somehow.

Shrugging, she proceeded to her chosen table and, forgetting the man, delved into the books

she had chosen. She pulled the charm out of her pocket and laid it in front of her, for quick

reference. After about half an hour, she stretched and sighed. "Nothing! Now what to do?

This is hopeless!"

At the same time, the man at the table next to her closed the book he was reading and also

sighed. When she glanced his way, he spotted her and laughed. "Looks like neither of us is

finding what we want." he whispered.

Sarah laughed guiltily, "Yes, I have no idea what I am doing. This is a wild goose chase."

"Wait, I have an idea." whispered the man, "There is a coffee shop around the corner. Why

don't we have a cup and tell each other what we are searching for? Two heads are always

better than one."

Sarah thought of Mark, who she had planned to visit later this morning. She also thought of the

missing cat. But there was something so familiar about this man! Just as she was about to say

she couldn't, she found herself saying, "Well, maybe for just a quick cup. Another opinion could

not hurt, could it?"

The man stood up, smiling, and came to Sarah with his hand extended. "Hi! My name is Shane.

Shane Savage. Glad to meet you." He whispered.

As Sarah took his hand and shook it, she replied "Sarah, here. Sarah Reilly. Pleased to meet

you, too." She stood, grabbed her collar and stuffed it into her purse, and they headed to the

library door.

At the coffee shop, Sarah suddenly felt a bit foolish. Her story was crazy, what would he think?

So she insisted on Shane telling his story first. Shane explained about his missing brother,

Steve. Since moving into Steve's apartment, Shane had spent most of his time searching for

clues to Steve's disappearance. Once Steve's bank account had emptied, Shane had been

forced to find a job and now worked as a PI for a local detective agency, but continued in his

free time searching for his brother.

Shane told Sarah about the connection he had learned from Reggie. Shane had found the

witch. She was old, ugly and lived in a rundown part of town. Her dress was shabby, torn and

dirty, similar to a homeless person. The name on the apartment lease was Hattie McCoy, but

he did not yet know if that was actually the hag's name. He had been investigating witches

to see if he could learn anything helpful, though he did not really believe in witches. He had

tracked her to Star Dental, but had no idea what her connection was to the business.

"But I work at Star Dental!" Sarah exclaimed. "Describe her and perhaps I can provide a

name!"

After Shane did his best to describe the woman, Sarah shrugged, "I never saw that woman. She

does not work for us, of that I am sure. Possibly she is part of the cleaning crew that comes

in early before we open?" Sarah then described all the women who did work for the dentist.

There was Amy and Maryanne, the dental hygienists; also Marsha, who managed the books

and supplies. All were middle aged, reasonably attractive and dressed daily in business casual

attire.

"I will check with the cleaning company, then." said Shane, "Can you get the name for me?"

"Sure, I will ask Marsha on Monday and give you a call. Um, that would mean I would need

your phone number", she said. As he took a pen and was writing his number on a napkin, she

added, "Do you have a photo of Steve? If I see him or anything about him, I will notify you

immediately."

"Sure, right here in my billfold," answered Shane. Pulling out the photo and handing it to

Sarah, he added "Handsome guy, everyone said we looked a lot alike."

Sarah looked into the face of the man from her "dream" and screamed. Turning white, she

stumbled up, grabbed her things, and cried, "Sorry, I have to go. I will call you!" over her

shoulder as she ran out of the shop.

Chapter 9

Connie

"Damn those boys, bringing that stupid cat back here.", exclaimed Marsha to herself as she

paced back and forth in the laboratory. "This could ruin everything. I have to get that cat back

to her, but if she knows I brought him, she could become suspicious."

Suddenly it dawned on Steve, "Wait! I am a cat? No, I am a man. No, I am cat! What the hell?"

He remembered visiting the witch and insulting her, claiming there was no such thing as a

witch. He called her a quack, selling a potion that was supposed to make you younger. With

distain he had challenged her to give him the potion and he would prove she was a fraud. She

handed him a bottle and he drank her potion. "Then I turned into a cat?" he thought. He

recalled hearing her say "Who is the fraud now!"

He remembered running away yowling. He had wandered around for a few days, becoming

hungry. As the cat instincts began to take control of him, he learned to hunt, but still the

prospect of a raw mouse was not appetizing. Then he had run into those two boys. They had

trapped him, dropped him into a bag, and taken him to a house. There the woman - their

mother? - was pleased with their catch and locked him in a cage. Wait - the same cage he was

in now!

The woman had placed a collar with a strange charm on his neck and rubbed some chemicals

into his fur. Then she had nailed him into a box and taken him in the car to.....where? Next

thing he knew he was living with Sarah. It was all a bit of a blur. Somehow, he had become

more cat than human.

"But first before I find a way to return him I will treat the collar with the potion again. The

potency has worn down and now I can make it stronger so we get the results sooner." mused

Marsha.

"Potion? Collar? Fur? Hmmm", thought Steve. "Between cat instincts and that junk on my

body - fur - I lost knowing I was human." Sleeping and bathing with Sarah had been really nice,

but he realized not nice the way it would be if he were a man. "What did those damn chemicals

do to me?" he demanded.

"Shut up that yowling!" Marsha yelled as she rapped hard on his cage. "I need to think."

Steve recalled those few moments two days ago when he had transformed into his human

form. His cat-thoughts mingled with his human nature when he smirked his comment to her.

Then she fainted. Next thing he knew he was a cat again. How? How did he transform and

then why did he change back again?

"Now I remember. She had that silver thing from my collar in her hand and she said some

strange words and..POOF! So somehow those words must have released me. Since that time I

have been remembering more and more from my human time. But why did I change back?" He

puzzled about what had happened and paced in the cage.

"I gotta get outa here and find her! Maybe she can change me back for good!" he decided.

Then he thought. He remembered sleeping, bathing, the softness of her hands when she

smoothed his fur. He remembered the nice meals she gave him and the gentle love. Maybe

being a cat was not so bad. Maybe he'd be better off staying a sleek black feline.

Then he remembered his human life. His job, his many dates, the apartment he had found so

comfortable, his brother. "Damn! I want my life back! What do they think happened to me?

How the hell do I get back?"

Chapter Ten

Teresa

Sarah felt foolish running away from Shane like that, but how could she explain to him

she had already met Steve in her dreams? He would think she was some kind of a nut

and needed to be in a home for mentally unstable people. "Oh how I wish I could find

Figgy! Petting him is so comforting. Maybe he'll be there waiting for me when I get home."

When she finally made it home, she walked around her neighborhood, looking once again

for the real love of her life, Figgy. Once again, the cat wasn't to be found. She went inside.

Feeling lonely and miserable she curled up on her bed and fell sound asleep. That night

Sarah dreamed about Figgy and Steve Savage. Her beloved cat turned into a naked man

and back into the cat again. She woke up startled, looking around her room, afraid of what

she might see. She told herself it was just a dream. She was making things up in her mind.

The next morning, with bags under her eyes, she decided not to go for a run and just go

straight into work. When she arrived Marsha was already there. "What happened to you

girl?" Marsha asked. "You look awful."

"I'm ok, I just had a restless night. Figgy ran away, I've looked for him everywhere. I don't

know what to do."

"Oh, I'm sure he will turn up," Marsha said.

"I hope you are right. Marsha, do you know anyone by the name of Hattie McCoy?"

Sarah asked.

Marsha was surprised by the question. How did Sarah find out about Hattie? Does

she suspect we are the same person? "I don't believe I know anyone by that name.

Why do you ask?"

"When I was at the library yesterday doing some research, I met a man named Shane

Savage. He is looking for his brother, Steve. He said he just disappeared 2 years ago

without a trace. He said, a friend of Steve's by the name of Reggie told him about a

witch who made a potion, which when drank makes you look 20 years younger.

The witches name is Hattie McCoy. He had tracked her to Star Dental, but

isn't sure what her connection is. I told him I didn't know her, but would ask if you did."

"Damn," Marsha thought "Reggie and his big mouth."

"A potion!" Marsha laughed. "That's ridiculous, are you sure this Shane person is sane?

There isn't anything in this world that would make a person look 20 years younger."

"I know his story sounds crazy, but that doesn't change the fact that his brother is missing.

I told him I would ask." retorted Sarah. She didn't like being laughed at. "Do you know

the name of the cleaning company, maybe she works for them."

"Squeaky Klean, but I'm sure she doesn't work for them, but you can ask.

" With that Marsha walked away. She had to find a way to get that cat back to Sarah.

She also needed to talk to Reggie to make sure he didn't tell anyone else about the potion.

Luckily she hadn't told him about the other experiment she was conducting. What a big mouth

he had.

Sarah talked to both Amy and Maryanne, neither one of them had heard of Hattie McCoy.

She would give Shane a call after she visited Mark in the hospital tonight. Although, she

didn't think Mark would even notice she was there.

Shane sat in the coffee shop for awhile after Sarah left staring at his

brother's picture. What had he done to Sarah? Hopefully, she will call him

tomorrow with news of Hattie McCoy. I know she had something to do with

Steve's disappearance, but in what way?

After leaving the coffee shop he decided to go home to get some rest and

wait for Sarah's call. Hopefully he wouldn't have to wait very long. He wanted

to move on with his life. He couldn't do that until he found out what happened to Steve.

After work Sarah drove to the hospital to check on Mark. When she walked into

his room, he was staring out the window. "Hello," she said. He turned and smiled,

but she could tell his mind was far away. "What did the doctor say?" Sarah asked.

"I can go home tomorrow. I'm ready to get out of here. Sarah, I'm sorry about the

way things have been between us. You deserve better than what I have given

you," Mark said.

With those two sentences, Sarah's resolve to end things went out the window.

There would be no ultimatums this time. "It's ok," she said. "I'm sure you have a

lot of things on your mind." As she walked over to give him a hello kiss and hug, Mark

noticed a charm on a bracelet on her wrist. "How interesting, where did you get the charm?"

"This was on the collar around Fugi Figgy's neck when I found him. Mark, he is

missing. He clawed his way out of the laundry room the other night. I discovered he was

gone after you left. It makes me feel closer to him."

With some effort, Mark didn't roll his eyes. The missing cat didn't break his heart

any. "I'm sure he'll turn up. Can I have a closer look at the charm?"

Sarah took the bracelet off and handed it to him. "I went to the library

yesterday to research the inscription to find out what it means." She didn't tell Mark

what happened when she read DIC-O-DIR-MIS out loud. She still thought it was a

dream....it had to be. No way did a man appear. "While I was

there, I met a man who was doing some research on witches. He said his brother has

been missing for 2 years and he thinks a woman named Hattie McCoy may be affiliated

with Star Dental and may know something about the disappearance.

I told him I would ask around at work."

At the mention of Star Dental, Mark looked up. "Who was this man?

What is his name? Did you find anything out about this Hattie person?"

Sarah was surprised at Mark's reaction. She was just trying to make

conversation. Why was he giving her the third degree? She didn't like his tone of voice.

Maybe he was just tired. "The man's name is Shane Savage. I asked Marsha and a

couple of other girls in the office, none of them knew who he is."

"Sarah, I want you to give me Mr. Savage's phone number. I don't want you to talk to

him again. You don't know what you are getting involved in. I'm sorry, I don't mean to

be so bossy, but you don't knowanything about this guy. He might be trouble."

Again, Sarah was surprised at Mark. Who did he think he was? She is a big girl

and didn't need anyone to tell her what to do. She didn't think she liked this "new" Mark.

What's gotten into him. Rather than argue with him, she decided she should leave.

One minute he is all charming and the next he is so bossy. She didn't like it.

As she was walking to her car, Sarah heard meowing. The closer she got to her car

the louder it became. She recognized the sound. "Fugi! Fugi-Figgy, is that you?"

'"MEOOW, MEOOOOOW." There he was, right by her car, Sarah ran to pick up the cat.

"Oh Figgy! I can't believe I found you! Where have youbeen? I've have been so worried

about you. You naughty" Steve couldn't believe it. Marsha had dropped him off right next to

Sarah's car. It felt so good to have her cuddle him and scratch his ears. He

had learned his lesson, no more running outside. He would have to find another way

to get Mark out of Sarah's life. Right now all he wanted to do was curl up on her lap

for the ride home. "Oh, look Figgy, Ihave your charm, remember it? It says DIC-O-DIR-MIS,

I tried to find out what it means, but...." Before Sarah could finish her sentence, the cat began

to shake and grow larger in her arms. She dropped him and before her eyes a naked man appeared

. "Hello, gorgeous!" Steve said. Sarah screamed and fainted.

When she woke up, Sarah was in a strange room. Her mother was sitting next to the bed.

"Mom? What are you doing here? Where am I?" "You're in the hospital dear.

You fell outside and hit your head a couple of days ago. You must have slipped

on something on the pavement."

"Mom, I didn't fall. Figgy turned into a naked man right before my eyes." "Ok, dear.

I think you just need to rest. Does your head hurt?" "Yes, mom, it does, but don't

treat me like a child. I know what I saw!" "Mom, will you please listen to me, it was

real." "Shhh, don't get yourself all excited. I'll step out and call Doctor Winters."

Sarah watched as her mother left the room. I hope she isn't gone long,

I need to find out what happened. There is no way I fell. I don't believe it.

When Mark gets here I'll tell him what happened. He'll believe me. Just then

Marsha walked into the room carrying Figgy. "Get that cat away from

me!", Sarah yelled. Marsha kept walking toward her with a smile on her face.

"It's ok, Sarah, I brought your cat to you. He's missed you. Don't you hear him

calling you?" Sarah watched as Marsha came closer and closer. She set the

cat on the bed next to her. Sarah turned her head to look the other way, I

won't touch it, she thought, I won't.

Chapter 11

Teresa

"Doctor Winters, I'm confused" said Mrs. Reilly. "Sarah really believes her stuffed cat can turn

into a man and this supposed cat/man or whatever it is snuck into your car and caused you to have an

accident. She also believes the two of you have been having a relationship for three years and you're some sort of

investigator? When Joni told me the story a month ago, she said Sarah thought it was a dream. It just

doesn't make any sense to me."

"Well, when she told Joni the story I'm sure Sarah thought it was a dream," said the Doctor.

"Now she believes it's real. Please remember we aren't sure of the long term effects of the Nitrous

Oxide, Benzocaine and Midazolam combination. We know what they do individually, but mixed

together and absorbed into the skin, we just aren't sure. Unfortunately, Sarah may never be

able to tell what is real and what isn't. She told me today, the cat drank a potion called

DIC-O-DIR-MIS and when she says the name of the potion it (the cat) turned into a man

who introduced himself as Steve Savage. Tomorrow, if I were to repeat the story to her,

she may tell me I'm the one who needs help."

"Steve Savage?," said Mrs. Reilly. "Why doctor, Sarah dated him several years ago.

Turns out he was having an affair with a woman named Belle and Sarah stopped

seeing him when she found out. I believe Belle was the landlady of the apartment building

where Steve was living. Last I heard he ran off with another woman. The man was always

flaunting himself and thought he was God's gift to women."

Mark was listening to Mrs. Reilly, but only partially. He had noticed through the window

in his door, Marsha walking quickly down the hall with Shane and Reggie on her heals.

Looking at his watch he stood up and said, "Mrs. Reilly, I hate to cut our meeting short,

but I just remembered a meeting I need to attend. I'll contact you with an update on Sarah's

progress or if there are any changes. Please feel free to come and visit her here at the

home any time you like."

***************************

"Whew" Mark thought as he hurried down the hall, Mrs. Reilly was not someone

he enjoyed talking to. She has come to visit Sarah weekly since she was admitted

into the home 5 years ago. She has every right to check up on her daughter,

but he just didn't have any answers. If she would accept the fact that Sarah would

never be the same again she would be much better off.

As Mark got near the library, he could hear Sarah screaming DIC-O-DIR-MIS!

DIC-O-DIR-MIS! When he walked into the room, Sarah was standing in the corner

holding her stuffed cat and looking frantic. Marsha was holding a glass trying to coax

Sarah into taking a drink and calming down. Shane and Reggie were standing nearby

to give assistance.

"It turns into Steve I tell you!" Sarah yelled. When she saw Mark walk into the

room, she put the stuffed cat behind her back. "Hello, Mark. I didn't realize you

were coming to see me today. I'll put Figgy away, I know you don't like him."

"Hello Sarah, you look tired, why don't you go rest awhile?. Marsha can give

you something to relax you, so you can sleep." She looked at Marsha and

tried to back away from her. "I don't want her to give me anything." With that

Shane and Reggie grabbed Sarah by each arm causing her to drop the

cat. They knew she would struggle, she always did, making it difficult for

Marsha to give her the injection. They walked/dragged Sarah back to her room

and held her down on the bed so Marsha could give her the injection. Once she was

relaxing calmly, Marsha, Shane and Reggie walked back to the library.

As they walked into the library, Mark was nowhere to be found, but there was a

small kitten screeching MEOOOOW, MEOOOW on the couch next to an empty glass.

Stop by and leave your comments - we'd love to hear from you

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: What a wondreful, creative group of women we have in our Book Club! Thanks to everyone for developing my start into a lively, wild storey

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Mary Beth, thanks for sharing. I told Jack the story of your book clubs collaboration in writing The Cat's Secret; he was very interested in how it turned out. I just finished reading all 11 chapters to him. I was not prepared for the surprise ending...good choice!. Great job ladies, can we expect another book at some future date?

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      What a great idea and so much fun! You ladies ended up writing quite a story!

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      Ruthi 5 years ago

      What a wonderful way to go from book club readers to writers! The Cat's Secret has been a delightful story to read.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What a surprise ending.... I never saw it coming! Well done, ladies. I'll bet writing this story as a collaborative effort was a lot of fun.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I just finished reading the Cat's Secret. Many thanks and much praise to Mary Beth, Teresa, and Carole for the editing. Our book club has many talented women with wild imaginations. I liked the surprise ending. What a discussion we will have on December 13. It was fun to be part of the story. Maybe we can do it again some day.

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