“Have you completed your mission? The Council grows impatient,” The thought occurred in Safrom’s mind as if he had a split personality rather than an angry disembodied consciousness in his head.
“No, we were very close to planting it last night, but the cat came in squawking and making racket. It woke her up just before we could get it set. Those damn cats will be the death of me. The preceding night we managed to keep one out all night, but the other slept on the subject maintaining constant vigilance,” Safrom said aloud as he paced around the sterile white space of his station.
“The subject travels, why don’t you just do it then?” The thought formed.
“Believe me, I would love to, and we make great efforts to do so. But it is not as easy to track a person through thought-space as it is in the physical world. If we can ever get the damn implant installed, that will, of course, change immediately. Most of the time she is not gone long enough for us to find her, and on the few occasions she has been, or we’ve been lucky, she hasn’t slept deeply.”
“RRRrrrarr-eeeow … RRRARRrrr-eeeow… RRArrra-eeeow,” the noise came from floor level.
Julia pushed herself upright groggily and swept a shock of black hair out of her face. She stared at the gray cat illuminated by a shaft of streetlamp glow that slanted in through her bedroom window, and said, “Really! You’re really waking me up from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?”
The cat stopped its bellowing and sat back on its haunches, looking at Julia indifferently. Then the shorthair trotted out of the room and down the hall.
Julia lay back down melting into a down pillow and drifted back to sleep while wondering what made her cat do that. What makes a cat that has been fed and is never let out at night, repetitively caterwaul until its owner wakes up, and then it just goes back to its indifferent self?
Julia yawned aloud. “Excuse me. My cat woke me up in the middle of the night three times for no apparent reason.”
“Does it do that a lot?” Erma asked.
“It comes in waves, but, it seems to have it down to a science. It always seems to do it when I’m in the deepest sleep, usually in the middle of a weird dream.” Julia elaborated.
“What was your dream about?” Erma asked.
“Ah, you know, it was a dream. It didn’t make much sense. I was being chased?
“Being chased by whom?”
“I don’t know. I never see them, but it always feels as though they are just about to catch me.”
“Maybe the cat is doing you a favor.” Erma said in a completely somber tone.
“Yeah, right, maybe.” Julia replied with a grin. She assumed Erma was joking, although there was nothing in the older woman’s expression to indicate that she might be.
Erma changed the subject, “So how is your research coming?”
Julia shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed as of late. I keep pulling up new material, but, as I do analysis, I don’t seem to be converging on an explanation.”
“It’ll come, you’ve just got to keep at it, and never up. If you never give up, a solution will always present itself.” Erma said with a smile.
“You know the thing about cats is…” Erma began.
“What’s that?” Julia inquired.
“Aww, never mind.” Erma said.