I'm back at home now. I don't know why I thought that I could get away without a few days of panic and fighting; I've got lots to tell.
I'm typing on John's computer again and we're back at Baker Street. We spent about five days at Mycat's house while John and Sherlock were apparently away on some kind of case.
I wish I could show you John's face when Mycroft (Sherlock's brother, apparently) put us both in the box that we came in (without sealing it thankfully) and handed us to John. I thought he was going to melt away in horror. He stuttered an apology for Mycroft, who finally smiled before turning on his heel and leaving. I talked with Sher-cat and we've both agreed to ignore Sherlock for a while. I'm going to bite him if he tries to pet me!
But here's the catnip: while we were at Mycat's house we met this cat, and she gave us a clue to the mystery of who the 'black cat' was and provided Sher-cat with more evidence of a 'master thief'.
Let me try and tell the story, I don't think you'll understand it as well if I just ramble.
I wrote everything that happened on the first day in The Adventure of the Sudden Brother, but on the second day Mycat pulled me aside while Sher-cat was staring out the window.
Mycat is a big cat, made to look much bigger by the way his fur plumes away from himself. He has a lion's mane of fur around his neck and when he relaxes his head looks like it is nestled into his fur. It makes him look really noble and in control.
Right now he was making me feel a bit like a kitten because he was looking down on me regally.
"I would like to ignore the pomp and circumstance for a moment and enlist your help, if you would be so kind?" he asked very seriously. I would have probably taken him more seriously if I knew what pomp and circumstance was. I kind of know what pomp is, but circumstance? I don't think he is using that word quite right.
"Sure, I'll help with whatever you need." I said eager to assist the cat who was acting as our host.
"When you return to Baker Street I would be grateful if you would periodically update me on Sherlock's doings. I'll supply the informant, you will merely have to meet her every so often outside your flat. Does that sound congenial?"
I frowned. And not just because I didn't know what congenial was.
"Sherlock the human or Sherlock the cat?" I asked, dreading the answer.
Mycat looked down at me wearily with his noble eyes and their forever distant gaze. He sighed tremendously and for a moment I felt that I had let him down. He has that weird power over me, that even though I didn't think I did anything wrong and even though I shouldn't really care I felt bad nonetheless.
"Sherlock my brother. I want you to talk to a messenger of mine and tell me, essentially, what he is doing, or how he is doing."
"I can't." I complained.
"Can't?" He asked, his distant gaze suddenly felt a lot closer and his eyes took on a steely glint.
"I know you're his brother and all…" I started lamely, feeling like I was doomed no matter what I chose.
"But it would just feel wrong… I mean, telling on him. It's none of my business what he does… I don't even know half of the time. But I think it would be too much like… betrayal." Before I could finish Mycat had walked away. He spent the whole rest of the day ignoring me. I felt pretty horrible, but the alternative was unthinkable.
I couldn't just tell every cat what Sher-cat was doing, it was his business and I had seen too much of his business to risk divulging secrets, even to his brother. At least, not without his permission.
I felt like I could trust Mycat, but Sher-cat obviously didn't. They probably didn't say two words to each other the whole day, which I thought was odd.
I spent the day like Sher-cat, staring out the window watching the city. It got a bit boring after about an hour so I tried to chat with him about Mycat. I might as well have tried to spark a debate about complex physics for all the good it did me.
"Did you and your brother have a spat or something?" I asked.
"No." He said.
"Why don't you seem to like each other?" I pressed on.
"We like each other fine." He said in the same uncaring tone as something flickered outside, seizing his attention entirely.
"You don't act like it." I said.
"What do you want?" He turned to me suddenly furious. "Do you want me to crawl up to him, head bowed, all simpering and sniveling: 'Oh brother dearest, my heart aches when we don't speak.'" He laughed curtly and without mirth. It was a dry, angry sound and it cut me down.
I left the window and tried to entertain myself as best I could with the rest of the house. I went exploring, which didn't take long since Mycat showed me around before and most of the rooms were locked anyway. Mycat had no toys, and there was nothing interesting in the house. I was so bored I resorted to digging small holes in the litter box and making mounds that I would flatten with my paw. Boredom is a terrible thing, I have no idea how Sher-cat copes.
That was basically all of day two, but the most interesting thing happened that night.
I was not sleepy since I hadn't done anything all day and I tossed and turned on the platform I had found for myself on Mycat's scratching castle. Finally I just sat up and decided to eat something to try and calm my nerves. I snuck into the kitchen, trying to be as quiet as possible, lest I wake Sher-cat and Mycat but to my surprise they were already awake and in the kitchen. There was one window in the spotless white kitchen and through this high, small window the light from the half-moon poured in casting the two brothers in a bluish glow that reflected off of the tiles as sparkling opalescence like a rainbow.
I ducked behind the wall and held my breath automatically. I didn't want to disturb them, especially since they seemed so serious. They sat perfectly motionless in the kitchen staring at each other in a rigid, silent confrontation that was only interrupted by the hum of the refrigerator.
"What is this all about?" Sher-cat said in a low tone that was barely discernable from a growl.
Mycat looked at Sher-cat steadily, a sober, expressionless face hiding a slight crackling of his voice that was the only inkling of any emotion in the pair whatsoever. I almost missed it myself, or perhaps I was imagining it.
"Your name is being passed around in the underground and I have finally caught wind of it. Whatever you are up to now, you're in over your head."
"I hadn't realized I was in anything." Sher-cat said lazily. He was rewarded with a stern glare from Mycat, which to be honest was merely a hardening of his features.
"I'm serious. You don't realize how close you came to disaster on Thursday."
"Right outside your house."
Sher-cat's ears rotated, and for an instant I thought he'd heard me gasp in surprise. Who was right outside of our house? What kind of disaster? I listened as intently as I could but suddenly they began whispering.
"They would have attacked anything that entered or left your flat, we interrogated them as best we could, but someone or staged a perpetual jailbreak and most of them escaped; you're in over your head."
"What did they say?" he said in a raspy voice.
"Nothing. Only 'Get Sherlock.' You should be placed under protection, at least until we can find these cats."
"Why didn't you contact me sooner?"
"I sent a messenger, but she went missing en route. I haven't seen her since, and I would bet that they're still watching the flat."
"Knows nothing. As usual."
"Brilliant…" he lingered over the word that came as such a shock to Mycat and me.
"No, not brilliant. I know what you're thinking and the answer is no."
"I finally have a chance to trace this thing to the root and source!" he exclaimed excitedly.
"You're not involved, and you're not investigating." Mycat said with a hint of finality, but Sher-cat ignored him and began to pace the kitchen. I had known him long enough to realize Mycat was outmatched and now that Sher-cat thought he had another lead he would probably pursue it to all ends.
"They probably think I know something I don't, which means I'm on the right track, but what if…"
"Stop right there, you're not investigating and even if you are, you're not doing it alone." Mycat said, stepping in front of Sher-cat and arresting his pacing.
"Of course not." He said. "I have…"
"And what is he worth to you dead?" Mycat interrupted with a booming voice that seemed all the more powerful in the silent house.
"He seems like a nice cat, and a good friend. I'll give you that much Sherlock. He's a bit daft, but loyal to a fault." Mycat said and I had the distinct impression that the conversation had become centered on me.
"There were nine Sherlock. Nine. They would have ripped any lone cat to pieces in seconds. You're putting your friend in danger as well as yourself." Sher-cat stopped for a moment.
There was several seconds of silence while Mycat's words sunk in. I couldn't see Sher-cat's expression at all.
Suddenly he turned towards where I was hiding and I had to duck behind the wall.
"I'm tired." He said. "Good night."
"Think about it Sherlock."
I stopped breathing as he walked by me, hoping that for a moment I could become a rock or something and he wouldn't notice me, but I didn't have to worry. He didn't see me, even though he passed close enough for me to have reached out and touched him.
He was smiling. He was grinning the same way he always grins when he finds the clue he's looking for. I became a little bit afraid for my safety when I realized that Mycat's preaching on my behalf fell on deaf ears. He might as well have omitted concern about me for all Sher-cat heard.
I waited until Mycat returned to his cat bed, then I waited a few minutes more until I thought he was asleep before I snuck back to my cat-perch and tried fitfully to achieve any unconscious state. I had given up the hopes of genuine sleep.
There was something or someone after Sher-cat, ready to rip him to pieces. A great malignant force that hid just beyond what we could see, ready to pounce and kill us. If that isn't fodder for nightmares I don't know what is.
I spent a few hours running over their conversation again and again until I was sick of hearing their voices in my head. I decided that nothing really had changed, and that no matter what happened I would try and help Sher-cat. I would do all that I could do and that was the most anyone could ask of me. Even if I died or was ripped to pieces I could say 'Well, I did all I could do.'
When I made that decision the sun had (hatefully) begun to rise and I had to shield my eyes in order to try and sleep. I was weary and somewhat mad at myself for not sleeping at night, but proud that I had settled the matter for myself.
I must have fallen asleep right then because the next thing I remember was waking up while plummeting off of my perch head-first and opening my eyes to see the floor coming to meet me.
Needless to say I landed on my face and it was Sher-cat's fault. He sat on the perch above me (where I had been just seconds before) with a slightly frenzied look.
"Open the door for me." He demanded.
"Why don't you just ask next time?" I growled at him. "I'm pretty tired of hurting my face."
"I actually tried, but I couldn't wake you up. I thought you were in a coma, so I tried to wake you up like I saw in a movie once." He explained
"Excuses, excuses…you watch movies?" I muttered half to myself.
"Only sometimes." He answered. "Open… the door!"
He hopped around impatiently and I took special efforts to walk slowly towards the door and take my time preparing to jump. It was funny at the time; I thought he was going to explode. He stood almost motionless except for a slight vibration which revealed his extreme irritation.
I jumped up to the door knob and hooked my paw around the smooth metal, but to my surprise it didn't budge. Not even a little bit. I hung onto the knob for a moment feeling shocked before I dropped down and tried to regain my confidence.
I rationalized "Maybe the knob turns the other way." And I jumped up again.
The knob turned a fraction of an inch before getting jammed. It made a little clicking noise as I jiggled it, but otherwise it was immobile.
I fell to the floor, feeling Sher-cat's eyes pressing into the back of my head. I stared at the knob in disbelief.
"It's stuck." I said finally.
"What are you doing wrong?" Sher-cat demanded.
"Nothing! It won't turn!" I replied, just as mystified as he was.
He glared at me and I watched as he became angrier and angrier. I thought he was going to explode (for a totally different reason). All of a sudden with a jerky motion he turned tail and barked "MYCAT!"
Mycat was still sleeping in his cat bed when Sher-cat bounded into the room shouting at him.
"Mycat! Your door! What's wrong with it! Tell me!" he demanded, speaking in short bursts between angry gasps.
Mycat's ears rotated slightly, so I knew he was awake but he didn't respond. Sher-cat shouted at him from about a foot away.
"You'd better tell me or so help me—"
"It's probably locked." Mycat replied tucking his head under his paws trying to block out Sher-cat's complaints.
"Locked! LOCKED! What do you mean locked! Locked; well that's just great! Did you plan this? God! Locked!"
He paced angrily in a small circle as he varied between muttering to himself and shouting at us while Mycat worked to roll himself out of his bed. I had withdrawn to a corner where I sat watching Sher-cat have a tantrum, feeling disappointed. Opening doors was my only special skill, I felt horrible that I couldn't help Sher-cat now.
Sher-cat paid no attention to either of us as Mycat steadied himself on his short legs and yawned tremendously. His eyes followed Sher-cat's fevered pacing lazily.
I probably should have been focused on what Sher-cat was saying at the time, but he wasn't making sense and speaking so fast I really couldn't catch everything. Plus Mycat had a masterful presence that seemed to demand attention naturally, and he was acting a bit strange.
I thought Sher-cat's tantrum would last into the afternoon when he finally decided to sit and sulk at us, but Mycat brought it to an abrupt end by stepping in front of Sher-cat's path and licking him in the face.
Sher-cat stood perfectly still for a second, overcome with shock, his hair bristling. Then he recoiled in horror, falling to the floor and rolling on his back groaning.
"Urgh! What the heck! Why did you—"
"You're filthy. When was the last time you groomed yourself? I can't let you walk around my human's house all grungy and gross." He said stepping forward and attempting to lick his face again.
Sher-cat darted towards the cat-castle and in a flash he leapt from platform to uneven platform until he had scaled to the tallest platform at the very top. He peered over at us from his temporary sanctuary miles up in the sky, and then his face disappeared.
Mycat turned to me and I noticed he wasn't trying to ignore me anymore. He smiled briefly and said "I can't stand his little tantrums. It's best to nip them in the bud whilst they're still fresh."
"You seem to be the master at that." I praised him. He said nothing in response but returned to his cat bed.
Sher-cat spent the day either in his high tower, hiding from Mycat's cleansing tongue or trying to find a way out of the house. He enlisted my help, but he refused to tell me why he wanted out so bad. We spent the day searching high and low, but I couldn't find any way out.
Sher-cat probably didn't say more than four words to me through the whole third day and I really began missing John. I missed the petting and the talking mostly. I was starting to feel lonely and there was nothing Sher-cat or Mycat could do about it. Or would do about it. I'm pretty sure they didn't notice.
When the sun went down again I was thoroughly exhausted, but Sher-cat was still searching, despite his brother's insistence that there was no way out. When I accidentally fell asleep he was still searching.
I put my head on my paws for one minute and the next thing I knew the morning sun was pouring in through the window and the annoying chirping of small birds sounded like car alarms against my head.
I yawned and stretched and rolled around a bit before realizing I was in the middle of helping Sher-cat. I looked around, wondering briefly if he'd already found a way to escape when I heard the unmistakable sounds of slurping against cat fur.
Actually, it's probably only unmistakable for a cat. If you have to groom yourself every day you kind of get use to the sound. There really is nothing else like it.
I followed the noises to the second cat bed (I told you Mycat had two, didn't I?) which was located in a back hallway and I spied on an…interesting sight.
Sher-cat was fast asleep, curled up into a small, comfortable crouch with his head resting on the soft rim of the cat bed, which was amazing in itself. He seldom ever slept and I couldn't quite remember having ever seen him sleep. He usually found a good place to hide, or he slept while I slept for short bursts of time. He could go for days without sleep, which is weird for a cat, but normal for him, so it was extra weird to see him sleeping at all.
Also: Mycat was standing over him licking away at his back in a diligent, but fixated way. It seems as though he was determined to clean him after all and he wasn't just joking.
Sher-cat was, apparently, a heavy sleeper but he murmured slightly as Mycat cleaned his back and moved on to his neck. He was waking up.
I laughed as I watched his face screw up in distress as he was gently nudged awake by his brother's tongue; chances are that I'll never ever have the chance to see anything like that again. Let's keep our paws crossed that Sher-cat doesn't read this ever, okay?
All of a sudden, his eyes flew open and with a terrible gasp he shot out of the cat bed and in a flash of blue-black fur he contorted himself into a standing position and raced back to the cat-castle, yowling angrily over his shoulder, his fur defensively bristled. He ignored the platforms for the most part and just shimmied up the pole to the top tier where he safely shouted insults at Mycat for his treachery.
I ducked behind a wall and laughed until my tummy hurt: So started the fourth day.
There was almost nothing interesting to say about that day except that Mycat treated me to more canned cat food; I think I have a new obsession! Sher-cat stayed on top of the cat castle most of the day, never saying a single word. That is usually a sign that he's bored, but it was odd, because he'd usually sit at the window and attempt to interest himself in whatever is going on outside. I wondered if he was asleep, but otherwise thought nothing of it.
But that night changed everything.