The boarded up windows and dilapidated masonry would have been spooky if there had not been an infectious beat emanating from within. Jean and Beardface followed Felix under a loose floorboard into the beat up and upbeat building. It was dark. Felix had no trouble finding his way (Cat Eyes: +4 to vision) but Beardface blindly rammed his face into a wall.
“Keep your head low just there!” Felix called too late. Beardface bit back the frustration and massaged his beard. Jean proceeded to hit her head in the exact same spot.
The music grew louder. It was real toe-tapping stuff. Jean couldn’t help but bob her head to the beat, although it’s also possible that she was mildly concussed. Felix held out a paw to stop them. Up above them several cats were jumping and jiving along with the beat. One of them was singing in a husky, strong and hypnotic voice. Felix was dancing along to the music now too. Jean couldn’t help but join in. Beardface was reluctant at first but Jean grabbed his hands and channeled the beat! The music was enchanting. Jean felt a scurrying by her feet as some mice crawled out of some unknown dark place and began to dance too. A solitary bat sitting on the roof was flapping its wings in tune with the music. Two geese even waddled in and began to goose step jovially. A place once unworthy of consideration became a musical haven for all! The music continued for quite some time although it felt as though no time passed at all for those present. The final note was spine tingling and seemed to echo through the hearts and souls of everyone within the crumbling walls. There was a pause and a deep communal sigh. Then, with the spell broken, several of the cats bounded after the mice and geese.
The angel-voiced cat passed calmly through the chaos towards them.
“Good morning Trubbleclutsh, what’s new? I don’t suppose you’ve decided to take me up on my offer?” the singing cat said.
“Trouble who?” Jean queried.
“One of my names.” Felix elucidated.
The singer hopped in front of him. Her fur was long, brownish-grey and warm looking. A gem on her forehead sparkled with the same pounamu glow as her eyes.
“It’s good to see you, Skitty.” Felix said. “I’m afraid I’ll have to decline for now. I’m here with some friends of mine.” He introduced them.
“I’m Skitty Kitty,” she said “you can call me Skitty for short but you needn’t bother I never was all that tall to begin with.” Jean laughed. There was something comforting in her nature.
A fire crackled in the background. Skitty hopped onto a small coffee table that balanced quite well considering it was missing a leg. She shooed two tortoiseshell cats off the well-scratched couch and beckoned the others to sit down. The throw was threadbare. A ginger tabby gave them a mildly interested look and then returned to his nap atop a dusty old cupboard. There was a scratching sound as a curly haired cat climbed up the cupboard to join the aloof ginger tabby who wasn’t at all happy about it. Jean flinched under the lapis lazuli-stare of a seal point cat who had until recently been tuning a piano. Beardface remained stoic when a nonchalant flat-faced cat strolled onto his lap and relaxed, he had always been more of a dog person (actually wolf but more on that later). A serious-looking dark-grey cat hopped onto Jean’s shoulder and sniffed her curiously, blinking its emeralds.
“So, you’ve come looking for Valiant?” she said airily.
“We heard a rumour that he was last seen in Flockboast.”
“Did you now?” Her tail curled up beside her and she crossed her arms gracefully. “Well, I can’t say I’ve seen him down here. But, maybe up there.”
“Flock!” Felix said.
“Flock?” Jean queried.
“A desert dweller.” Skitty said. “Your E’ni is lovely, dear.”
“Uh… thank you.” Jean hadn’t expected Skitty to know about her culture.
“If Flockboast is the puddle, Flock is the rain cloud.” Skitty said enigmatically. Felix nodded his head in agreement.
“I don’t suppose you know a way in?” Felix asked.
“All you’ll have to do, my dear Trubbleclutsh, is land on your feet.” Skitty said smiling slightly. “Ranaweyt, be a darling and show them the way.” The cat on Jean’s shoulder bowed his head.
“I owe you one, Skitty.” Felix said but Skitty had already begun singing again.
It was truly a shame to leave. Their spines were still tingling.
Skitty Kitty Theme: No Regrets – Billie Holiday