At nine o’clock, Eden was in bed and I was sat on the window sill feeling the cool breeze from the half open window. Eden was reading a book from school propped up on pillows and lit by the bedside lamp. The book was about an orphan girl who caused trouble, not interesting to me at all.
Eden’s dad was a bar tender at the local pub; The Red Lion and he was on a night shift, returning long after midnight. Eden’s mother had abandoned her and her father when Eden was eight.
A mental break down, I had overheard was to blame. Eden thought she was off doing missions for her witch Coven, The Moon Thread Circle. I knew it wasn’t true though but Little Mistress didn’t need to know that.
‘Time for sleep, child,’ I spoke.
Eden put the leather bookmark in-between the pages and put the book on the floor. She sorted out the pillows and laid back, looking up at the ceiling. She shut her eyes but soon opened them again.
‘I can’t sleep, Macavity,’ she said and rolled over to face me.
‘You haven’t even tried,’ I told her.
‘Tell me a story,’ Eden demanded.
I sighed, my tail twitching with a mind of it’s own and turned away from her back to the window. I could see down into the back garden and all was quiet out there. Music was playing from one of the houses across the way and a car was driving passed. The back road was only lit by the lights from peoples’ gardens, so it was mostly cast into darkness.
‘You are too old for bedtime stories now, child,’ I answered.
‘Please, Macavity?’ Eden pressed, ‘tell me how you came to me again.’
I dropped my shoulders and turned my head to look into her deep brown eyes. Her smooth, child’s face was tilted up in my direction as she waited with held breath for me to answer.
‘All right,’ I playfully growled.
Eden giggled into her duvet then snuggled down as I moved from the window sill and on to her bed. I sat next her curled form, tail around my legs though the tip was twitching back and forth.
‘It was Halloween, three years ago,’ I began, ‘it had been raining all day but it had stopped in the evening. The air smelt of that rain. And of damp soil. There was also; wood smoke from home fires, spices from the baking of sticky parkin and pumpkin pie mixed with the burnt lids of Jack O’ Lanterns on the doorsteps.’
‘And the witches?’ Eden whispered, ‘where were they?’
I smiled, flashing sharp fangs, ‘the witches,’ I spoke, stretching out the words, ‘ they were gathering a top Pendle Hill. All the Covens in Lancashire of which there are five of and also other Covens from around the UK. Plus, any lone witches that wish to come. They were all gathered up there celebrating All Hallow’s Eve.’
‘One day, I’ll join them up there,’ Eden cut in sleepily.
‘I could sense that tonight was the night I would meet my new Mistress and become her familiar. I transported myself to the place I knew I needed to be and I transformed into the new form you see before you. This is my fifth cat life.’
‘And before that, Macavity?’ Eden uttered her voice fading with the coming of sleep, ‘weren’t you a raven?
I nodded and answered her with, ‘I have taken many forms throughout the centuries; raven, toad, dog, crow, rat and imp. I have served witches both good and evil, powerful and weak, widely recognised and others long forgotten in history. I was created by The Wittchen Mothers like all familiars are. We bound our lives with a single witch and must protect and coach her throughout.’
I settled down, tucking my legs underneath me and wrapping my tail around my side.
‘That Halloween night, I found you trick or treating with your dad. You were dressed as a witch in a pink and black dress and a pink witch’s hat with stars on it. You were carrying a broom in one hand and a plastic orange cauldron in the other. You want from door to door asking for treats until finally you arrived back home.’
‘And then?’ Eden said through a yaw.
I sniffed a laugh and said, ‘you spotted me. A small black and white cat with startling blue eyes, mewing at your front gate. You cried out, “look at the kitty, Daddy!” and your dad replied, “very nice, sweetie” and took you inside. The door closed and I sat on the step crying to be let in. I couldn’t speak to you then because we needed to do the bonding rite.’
I paused, taking in a few breaths then picked up the story, ‘you wanted to let me in but your dad said no. He was determined I would leave and go to my own home. At around midnight, the door was opened and you picked me up and held me to your chest. You were tired, having hardly slept because of the noise I had been making. Your dad had finally given in because he needed sleep too.’
Eden sighed and muttered, ‘then you were mine forever.’
‘Yes,’ I agreed, ‘I led you to your mother’s witch things. I showed you what you were and what to do. We bonded and I could speak to you then. Your father soon found out but he knew that day would come. He had been dreading it. Your mother had told him what she was but he had loved her so much he didn’t mind. He hoped for a son, perhaps he wouldn’t be magic but you were born. A daughter who was all ways going to be witch no matter what.’
I pawed the duvet, flexing my toes up and down as I smoothed the cover out. I listened to Eden’s breathing, it was soft and steady; she was almost asleep.
A car headlight flashed outside; a neighbour parking up outside the back of their home. That light semi-circled the ceiling then went out letting the shadows reclaim their space once more.
I tracked the light then looked towards the window. I heard the car engine switched off, the door opened and a voice sang the ends of a song. There was the creaking of the back gate and the footsteps up to the back door, then quietness once more as the neighbour went inside.
Eden stirred, disturbed by the light and noise. She mumbled something paused then spoke it louder, ‘Kitty?’
I crawled over and on to the pillow next to her head. I put my nose and whiskers to her cheek and tickled her. Eden moaned and brushed a hand across her face and my chin. I curled up next to her, tail wrapped around me, paws tucked in and head resting almost on top of Eden’s out stretched hand.
‘Then?’ Eden breathed into my ear.
‘You had to pick a name for me,’ I whispered, ‘and it couldn’t be just any name. A normal pet name isn’t aloud for a familiar. The name must have a magical weight to it. We were a long time in coming about my name.
Maybe, if your mother and her familiar had been here they’d have helped you. Instead, we went through name after name until finally you came to a poem book about cats from the school library. We went through those poems together and I was thrilled to hear them.
Then we discovered my name; Macavity, the Mystery Cat. It was a good fit for a witch’s cat. And I had never heard of another witch’s cat by that name. In the poem, Macavity is a criminal known as the Hidden Paw and posses mystical powers that help make sure no one can captures him. Of course, I’m nothing like that fictional cat but I do have magical powers.’
Stopping, I snuggled into Eden. Her hot breath clouded my face, her cheeks rosy with sleep and hands clenched as she dreamt. Finally, my Little Mistress had fallen asleep.
To Be Continued…