by Sialynna

Mistoffelees awoke in a strange place. He groaned, covering his face with his paws. His head hummed, and his vision was hazy. He struggled to concentrate, but he couldn't focus his thoughts. Defeated, he closed his eyes and fell back into unconsciousness.

"Tugger?" Munkustrap clambered over a trash can and around a few boxes towards Tugger's rather ratty trash can.

"Mmm?" Tugger's head poked out of a nearby box. A piece of cloth lay over his ears, and he was scowling. "Oh Great and Mighty Jellicle leader, you shouldn't lower yourself to climb in this trash." That he added sarcastically.

"Oh, for Heaviside sakes, Tug, I'm still Munku. Please don't make a fuss." He looked at his brother and grinned.

"What's that on your head?" Munku asked with a chuckle. Tugger looked puzzled, and shook his head hard. The cloth fluttered to the ground. He shrugged.

"I dunno. Help me out here," he snapped. As he extracted his long body from the rather narrow box, Munkustrap heard a funny clanging. "I need to find something sharp."

"Why do you -- " The silver and black tabby broke off as Tugger's tail appeared, trailed by several large cans.

"Hmm." Munku fought back laughter.

"It's not funny," Tugger snarled. "They hurt. That creepy boy from apartment six spent all day chasing me around."

"Come here," Munku said with a sigh. "I'll get them off." He grasped the Rum Tum Tugger's precious tail in two paws, and using his teeth, ripped the string holding the cans off it.

"Yow!" Rum Tum hissed. "I certainly hope you didn't pull any of my tail off with them."

"Of course not, you idiot," Munku sighed.

"Kidding, kidding," the lean tom replied. "Thanks."

"No problem. Now, will you please let me continue?"

"Of course." Tugger gazed at Munkustrap curiously.

"Have you seen Misto lately?"

"No. Why?"

"I haven't either. Nor Lynna. I don't trust her at all."

"No, the last time I saw them was at the Ball two nights ago. Sorry."

"That's ok. Thanks, Tug." Munku shook his head in irritation as he trotted away. Where in the world could those two be? No one had seen them since the Ball. It wasn't unusual for Misto to disappear for days; he was shy, and too much activity sometimes made him feel ill. But Munku didn't trust Lynna, and it seemed too much of a coincidence that both she and Misto had disappeared right after the Ball. His first instinct had been to talk to Deuteronomy -- but then he had realized how impossible that was. He felt hugely overburdened. He couldn't handle this! He was so afraid he would lose someone...Shaking this feeling, he thought hard. What would Deut have done? Munku hated to do it, but he'd have to call a meeting. He was too worried about his young friend to leave the situation be.

Mistoffelees moaned as he opened his eyes. His head was no longer pounding, but with the return of coherent thought came the realization that he had been tricked into a trap. Sitting up stiffly, he glared around the small room in which he was contained. It was barely three body lengths across, and less from front to back. What made it most frustrating was the fact that it was so impossibly short! The object was a box, Misto had after a thorough examination. But how he had gotten there and how he could escape were still a mystery. Quickly, the black and white Jellicle had determined that the box was low enough for any other cat to jump in and out of easily, which simply agitated him further. Pacing restlessly, he glared at the brown cardboard walls in hopes of an idea.

What time it was, he couldn't tell. Several mealtimes had passed, his aching middle told him, but other than that, the only indication of time was the light level in the room, which was reasonably low to begin with.

Suddenly and inexplicably, the cardboard box tipped and sent him rolling across cool, damp concrete. Using the rolling motion, he came up on his feet, his whole body tensed and awaiting attack. None came.

"What do you want?" He called, somewhat shakily, into the darkness surrounding him.

No reply.

Then he thought that perhaps he heard something. A whisper, or an echo; the sound of claws being unsheathed, or the soft whisper of a tail on concrete.


His head jerked up. Had he heard that? Or was his over-tired mind beginning to play tricks on him?


No, that was most certainly a voice. Male. Deadly. For no reason, an undertone in the soft whisper made him tremble uncontrollably. Madness. Death. Destruction. Fear. His body shook, and his ears lay flat against his head.

Oh, Cat, please. No, no, me... Panic welled up, flooding his thoughts and drowning him.

"Mistoffelees." Two voices now. One mad, wild, truly and completely; the other so close to total insanity that the mere sound was enough to send a cold chill down his back that made his hackles rise.

Oh, Cat, I'm going to die.

The certainty he felt of that fact made him cringe.

"Mistoffelees." Two cats appeared. Two toms. One, a ginger with distinctive markings, was easy to identify. Misto shrunk back. MACAVITY!

The other, however, was harder to identify. The madness seemed to well from him. Deep black, huge and well muscled, he seemed unstoppable. Something in his eyes -- he was magical. But there was something else...RABID RABID RABID! His mind screamed. Oh Cat. Rabid. He had to get away from that one. The natural impulse was to run from anything with that look. Rabies, the Humans called it.

"Ah, Mistoffelees!" Macavity stepped forward. In his eyes was sanity, not much, but it was there. He could be saved. Could be bargained with. But this other...

"Little Jellicle, you have destroyed my work long enough. I am tired of having to compete with you. Black Cat," he gestured to the rabid tom at his side, "grows weary of continually guarding against your petty parlor tricks. I will dispatch you. Soon. But not before I have my fun." With that, he and Black Cat vanished into a swirl of gray mist. In their place stood Mungojerrie.

The two friends stared hard at each other, disbelieving. Mungo's eyes were frightened.

"No, no, no. Not you, Misto, not you. Gawd." Mungo stuttered. Misto was speechless. Mungo and Rumple were trouble, yeah, but neither seemed capable of working for Macavity.

"Why...what...who...Mungo...where..." Stoff stuttered in shock. Mungo reached out to wrap a paw around Misto's shoulders, but the young tom hissed and back away, shaking. "Don't touch me."

"Oh, Gawd, Misto, doncha tell me Black Cat's gotcha already."

"What? You mean that mangy tom? The one with..." Misto shuddered. "Rabies?"

"Yeah. He ain't bit ya? Please say you ain't got it too...oh, Gawd, I'm so sorry, Misto, I nevah even knew." Mungo's eyes welled with tears.

"No. I mean, no, he just scared me. You work for Macavity?" Misto came back to the original point.

"Yeah. T'ain't by me choice, though, ya know. Hate the bloke." Mungo shook his head. "Ya know, he ordered me ta nearly kill the cat in 'ere, an I didn't even know 'oo it was. That's it. Me'n Rumple are outta 'ere. We c'n escape. Go back ta Munku. We'll tell 'im where ya are. We can't take ya wi' us, though."

"I understand." Misto nodded his consent. "Please, hurry."

"I will." Mungo and Misto embraced. Silently, Mungo ran out the door. He didn't look back. If he had, he would have seen Mistoffelees sinking to the floor in despair, sobbing wordlessly.

"Those Pollicle-damned thieves! They will pay dearly for their treachery! As will that black and white monster!" Macavity stormed, throwing a stool halfway across the room. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer had disappeared two nights ago, and had never returned. Sialynna watched Macavity in silence. Slowly, the Hidden Paw's little band was -- well, disbanding. As more and more cats deserted, Lynna began to wonder why she remained. Was it truly love? No, she didn't think so. Love the feeling that rose in her at Misto's name. She couldn't bear the thought of Macavity's cruel claws touching the magician's tender skin. He couldn't harm Mistoffelees! Anything but that. But that was his plan.

"...Black Cat is near death from the madness. Mistoffelees will most likely kill him, but not before he is bitten. I'll leave him for a week or so. By then the illness should have set in in its first stages. I will go and finish him." Lynna's stomach curdled at the thought.

"Macavity, please. He is not so dangerous. He is but a kit, younger even than I. What harm can he do?"

"YOU!" Thundered Macavity, smacking her cross the face. "You LOVE him! You who swore there would be no other! You who promised to love me!" Macavity's heart broke. He burst into silent tears. "Betrayal from every corner! Perhaps, when he is gone, you will see what I have sacrificed for your love!" He turned and left the room.

He was coming. Black Cat.

Outside, a storm was rolling in. Through the small, barred windows of the abandoned building's basement, Misto could see the lightning. The rolls of thunder lent him strength. The cool breeze wafted in, helping him to think more clearly. He would have to kill the rabid cat. There was no choice. His magic had deserted him suddenly, only the simplest spells working. He would have to destroy the huge tom with claws and teeth. In sudden resolve, he turned to face the door.

Black Cat burst in, his hackles raised, fangs and claws bared. Rabid.

There was no pause -- like a beast, he lunged forward toward Mistoffelees, reaching for his throat. Misto attempted to relocate himself through magic. Nothing. At the failure, he stood dumbfounded in the path of the oncoming killer. He barely escaped the grasping claws by rolling sideways. Black went down, rolled, came up again and leapt. Suddenly furious at the tom, his confidence boosted by the raging storm, Misto met him head on, in mid-leap, tearing out one of Black's ears.

As they fell apart, the magician was amazed to notice that he was unscathed. Black, however, was simply more furious. In a black streak of teeth and claws, he hit Misto hard in the side, knocking him down and rolling with him in a ball of black and white fur and fangs. Desperately, Misto tried to keep the deadly fangs from locking. He knew that the moment he was bitten, his life was forfeit.

For what seemed like hours they rolled together, grappling for the best position to strike. But Misto was tiring. Black was twice his size, and he couldn't hold out forever. Blood from both toms was thick in their fur, and Misto had begun to feel lightheaded from blood loss. Now was the time to end this. The storm had heightened, and his blood was boiling. He extracted himself from Black's grip, springing away and baiting the larger tom.

Black advanced, treading lightly on the floor. In the shadows, Black looked like nothing more than a dancing shadow himself, while Misto's round white face, white chest and paws seemed to glow in the darkness. Misto tried to keep just beyond Black Cat, judging his position by the dark outline visible in the flashes of lightning. Crouching behind a metal drum of gasoline, or some other Human waste, he watched Macavity's evil magician as he passed by.

"Ah, so imperceptive," he muttered as Black stalked past, his broad back bared to Misto. Without hesitation, he sprang on the furry back, claws sinking deep into flesh. He felt sick.

Dragging his claws through Black's back, he felt himself being ripped off. Huge paws with equally sized talons grasped his back and pulled. He struggled harder, fighting to reach the tom's neck and end this nightmare. But hot pain raced down his back, his hips and lower back throbbing with a fiery stinging of crippling intensity. He felt the strong paws throw him forward, and with no warning a huge head, fangs bared, darted down at him. He was able to throw his own paws up in time, averting the deadly incisors from his neck. Pain assaulted him, and for a moment he felt nothing but a cold, dead numbness. He was going to die.

Then he was up, his claws and teeth feverishly ripping and tearing into flesh, his mind whirling. He felt himself dropping into blackness.

He awoke to roaring wind and the sound of thunder. He sat up slowly, his muscles screaming in protest. His body trembled. Then he saw him.

Yowling in horror, he averted his face and was ill several times. His body felt cold, and his head was hot and heavy.

Oh, Cat, oh, Cat, oh, Cat...I killed him...I....I did...I did...

Lying sprawled on the floor lay the broken body of Black Cat. What had happened? How many days had he lain here? It must have been at least three; the dead cat smelled slightly rancid. Oh, Cat.

Had he been bitten? Oh, Cat. He was going to die. Maybe that was why he felt so strange. Maybe it wasn't just blood loss. But did the insanity come so quickly? He was sure he hadn't been bitten...

His ears pricked. Someone was coming. Macavity!

"Mistoffelees!" That awful voice. Macavity. Mad. The very sound was painful.

"What, Macavity? Haven't you harmed me enough? I will die. Don't tempt me to take you with me."

"What?" A loud, low chuckle. "You? Kill me? I think not."

"I know you don't like living this way, Macavity. Please. Come back to the tribe." Misto pleaded, straining to reach the corner, the tiny piece of Macavity that could be bartered with.

"The TRIBE! The cursed TRIBE! Never! They who think they are so high and mighty -- the great Jellicles! Never!" With a snarl, Mac loped forward, baring his fangs. "I'll kill you yet!"

Oh, not again... Misto thought, but before he could run, the ginger tom had tackled him, hard, and they were rolling. Tired from the first encounter, Misto was easily overcome by the larger, fresher tom.

Macavity snarled, slashing Misto's shoulders viciously. "You are defenseless, kit. What can you do? The fever is already upon you."

Misto's head spun. The fever? Part of the Madness, the Rabies? Then he was rabid. Now with nothing to lose, he fought harder, at one with the storm, his power unleashed! Ah, yes!

Gathering power, his coat beginning to spark, he threw Macavity away, standing and snarling. "Macavity!" He called, his usually small, shy voice loud and booming, "You have stolen, killed, and destroyed everything and everyone I held dear. My parents. My home. My life. You have taken it! By your Black Cat you have taken it, and before I go, I will have repayment. I gave you a chance. You are mad, and there is no turning back now. When I go, if I must, you will come too!" Sparking wildly now, Misto advanced on Mac.

The ginger tom shuddered. "No! Mistoffelees!" He cried. But Misto didn't hear. His eyes were those of the Storm-Cat. "Please," he begged, but there was still no response.

Suddenly there was a great flash, and all the blue in Mistoffelees' coat seemed to ball up in front of him. "MACAVITY!" He shrieked, and his voice was Death. The Blue enveloped the ginger tom, grew larger, brighter -- and exploded with such force that the building itself shook. Macavity was gone.

Misto's eyes grew glazed, and he swayed precariously. Glancing around at the fallen body of Black Cat, and the charred space where Macavity had stood, he breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed.

"Misto! Misto, where've ya gotten to? Where are ya?" Mungojerrie called into the darkness, his eyes straining to see through the thick gloom. The Rum Tum Tugger, Skimble, and Munkustrap followed in silence.

"Misto!" Next to Sialynna, Rumpleteazer called out too, her face distraught.

"MISTO!" She and Mungo cried together.

As they made their way into the basement room, the little group steeled themselves against the sight they knew they would encounter if they entered. Turning the corner first, Munku gasped in shock and whispered hoarsely, "Teazer, Lynna, don't come in here."

"I 'ave to," she whispered back, peering into the room.

Vaguely outlined in the moonlight, Rumple saw two bodies. One was a huge black tom, his body torn and quickly deteriorating. The other -- Mistoffelees.

"Misto!" Mungo cried, rushing out to the center of the room toward Misto. As he approached, he realized that the young tom was crouched in a pool of blood, watching him intently. Geezus, Mungo thought, e's rabid already!

"Mungojerrie?" Came a hoarse voice. "Is that you?"

"Misto?" Mungo took a step forward.

"Mungo! Don't come near me," whispered Misto, his voice trembling.

"Misto, are you hurt? Can I help?"

"No! Mungo, stay away, I can't..."

"Misto, I brought Munku. And Tugs, Skimble, Lynna and Rumple."

"Munku? Tugger? I..." Misto's body trembled. "How do you know if you're...well...?"

"Rabid?" asked Munku softly, approaching. "Tell me how you feel."


Munku shuddered, his eyes welling with tears. "Funny how?"

" I just want to lie down and sleep. And never...never come back..."

The little tux took a staggering step forward and sank to the ground. "I..."

His breathing was ragged, and he tried desperately to reach Munku, his trembling paw stretching toward the silver tabby. He didn't -- or couldn't -- stand.

For the first time in his life, Munkustrap was unsure of what to do. He reached out a paw toward his friend, but still they didn't quite touch. Munku tried to read Misto's face for signs of madness, but there seemed to be nothing but hopelessness in those pleading blue orbs.

There was complete silence as the Rum Tum Tugger, Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer, Skimbleshanks, and Sialynna waited for some signal from Munku.


The moment seemed to last for hours. No one moved. No one even blinked. Fear for their friend had frozen Mungo, Skimble, and Tugger, and the three toms felt a cold dread well up inside at Munku's pause. Lynna felt sick, and Rumple looked as though she was about to cry.

Then, in an instant, the tension was broken. Munku leapt forward, grasped Misto's paw, and pulled him into a bear hug. Misto's weary expression was calm and radiant as he leaned heavily against Munkustrap.

I'm not rabid! he thought triumphantly. Now he could relax. He was already half-asleep as the others hugged him. With Munku and Tugger supporting him on either side, he limped gingerly out of that dismal building.

There was no hero's welcome for Mistoffelees. In fact, the Junkyard was oddly silent as the other Cats watched the battered magician and his friends enter.

"Thank you," Stoff mumbled sleepily.

"Yeah," Munku said as he helped the exhausted Jellicle into his pipe. Within minutes, he had curled up in a pile of rags and fallen asleep.

As Munku slipped back outside, Sialynna moved to enter the pipe.

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Munku snapped. "Nowhere near him! Haven't you done enough already?" Snarling, he moved to stand protectively in front of the entrance.

Sia looked heartbroken. "But --" she murmured halfheartedly. "He's my --"

"Your nothing," Tugger put in. "No offense, Lyn, but even I'm have a hard time believing you didn't set Misto up. I don't think he'll ever be the same. You -- you and Macavity -- have killed part of him."

"But -- " she sniffled.

Pitiless, Mungo added, "If it wern't for your meddlin', 'e'd be alroight naow."

"He may not survive," Skimble said sadly, looking sidelong at the drooping Sia.

"But you don't understand!" She shrieked. "He's my -- my -- oh, let me past!" She flung herself forward in a desperate attempt to reach the pipe.

"NO!" Munku slammed her aside. "I'm sorry, but Lynna, I can't let you near my best friend. You nearly took him from me once --" the silver tiger was breathing heavily, his voice cracking with sorrow at how he had to treat her, "-- and I won't let you do it again!"

"Get away from her," came another voice, hissing and snarling.

Surprised, the others turned to see where the voice had come from. Mistoffelees stood, swaying but proud, at the end of the pipe. Leaping forward, he spun in front of Lynna and hissed loudly at Munkustrap. The queen and tom nuzzled each other and touched noses, and then Misto looked up and growled, a bit weakly, "Let her finish."

Munku looked shocked, but allowed Lyn to continue.

"He's my soultwin," she whispered, frightened. When Munku suddenly smiled and shook his head, Misto's body seemed to go limp, and he sagged down against Lyn, allowing her to carefully lick his ears.

"Good Lor'. And 'ere we been treatin' 'er loik -- loik -- I dunno whot." Mungo stuttered in embarrassment.

Misto's ears pricked at Mungo's voice, and his body shook. His eyes glazed, and he laid his ears flat back on his head in fear. "Stay away from me," he whispered hoarsely. "Munku. Don't let them come near me." He stared hard at Mungo and Rumple, backing toward his older friend. "I didn't...didn't mean to...I had to...he would've...would've killed...killed me...I..." Misto broke down and began to sob into Munku's fur as the older Jellicle held him tightly, like a young kit.

"I'm sorry, Lyn," Munku purred apologetically. "I had no idea...I'm just... everything's so hard...I..."He sank to the ground, and Tugger moved to take Misto. Mungo helped Munku ease down. The silver tabby was shaking, his eyes large as dinner plates and exhausted.

"You two need to get some rest," Skimble said firmly. "Between you, we have little of a hierarchy, Munku. Our Magician, second-in-command, as we should call him, now, and yourself..."

"Apology accepted, Munku," Lynna replied. "Now get some rest."

Munku nodded, his eyes already closing.

"What? Who? What time is it! Where am I!" Munkustrap jerked upright, ears pricked. Soft laughter surrounded him, and his body tensed. "Who is that?"

"Munku -- have you forgotten me?" A velvety voice purred in his ear, and slowly a tux body materialized aside of him.

"Oh, it's only you, Misto," Munku said, stretching his whole long length out on the chair and yawning widely. "You had me worried."

"Worried? Ah, but purrhaps you still should be, my friend..." Misto grinned.

Munku's ears quivered, and he cocked his head to the side. Something was not right here...something about Mistoffelees made him uneasy. "Perhaps..." why had he said that? And why did Munku feel so threatened? The little Cat couldn't possibly harm him, and why would he? Munku looked over into Mistoffelees' eyes ---

But the eyes he met were not familiar. Reddish and glowing, these eyes were alight with an uncanny fire, no longer innocent, but bloodthirsty and maddened. His very soul quailed at the glance Misto gave him.

"Oh, Cat..." he whispered in horror. He had been wrong, terribly wrong. He had taken Misto back, but the Magician had not been whole, or hale. His innocence was lost forever, and Munku had mistaken the Rabies for hopelessness. And now he, and his whole tribe, would suffer for it.

"Misto..." he murmured, hoping the Cat before him would vanish, hoping he was seeing

"Munku, Munku, Munku -- you could never have foreseen this. You know what must happen. As do I. At this stage of the game, it is kill or be killed. You see it in me. You showed mercy to me -- but you know that I cannot continue this conversation calmly with you much longer. Please. You should be worried. For yourself and the tribe. Do not think of me. Quickly now. I cannot hold. Prepare yourself ---" And suddenly he snarled, hissing, and threw himself toward Munku.

"Kill me quickly!" He cried as his last bits of sanity fled. "Before I harm you! Munku, please!" He and Munku grappled, tumbling over and over in a ball of fur, teeth, and claws. Suddenly Misto seemed again in control, and he let himself fall limply to the ground. In that instant, Munku was upon him.

As the silver tabby tore out his throat, Misto smiled and whispered, "Thank you." Then he was gone.

Numb, Munkustrap stared down at the black and white Jellicle who lay in a pool of blood at his feet. His heart and soul bleeding within, he looked up to the full moon and yowled, tears running down his face.


"Ah!" Munkustrap snapped awake, his body tense and hot, his fur standing on end. He felt strange. Even awake, he felt like he was dreaming. "What just happened?" He asked to no one in particular, his throat parched and his tongue sticky.

"Uck." He wrinkled his nose and licked his dry lips and nose, trying to add moisture.

"Something wrong?" someone purred off to his right.

"Anything we can do?" asked another.

Munku's heart beat faster. This was too similar to the nightmare that was still all too fresh in his mind. "What? Tantomile? Misto?" He was confused. "Who is that?"

"Us. Who else?" Misto replied, appearing out of nowhere to land heavily in Munku's lap.

"Ooof!" Still half-asleep, Munku looked dazedly at the cat in his lap. Was he dreaming or not? That FELT real enough.

"Yes, us!" Lynna giggled, gazing down at the two toms from her reasonably safe perch on the arm of the sofa.

"Get off, you -- " Munku growled playfully, shoving the smaller tom off his stomach with a thrust of his powerful hind legs. Chuckling, Misto tapped Munkustrap's gray nose with his tail tip. Munk reached out and swatted Mistoffelees' ears, sending the black and white Jellicle tumbling away in a fit of laughter.

"Boys! Bo-oys!" called Lynna. When neither responded, and the noise of the mock-fight suddenly stopped, Lyn leaned over to see where the toms had gone. No one was there!

"Mistoff? Munkus? Hey, M&M!" she yelled. No answer.

"Gotcha!" Munku's velvety baritone was tinged with amusement. Simultaneously, his muscular frame slammed into her back, his silky silver and black fur enveloping her. Both Jellicles tumbled down off the arm onto the soft, squishy expanse of sun-warmed sofa cushions.

"Mmm..." Lynna grinned, breathing in Munku's warm, spicy scent. He was some tom -- almost as handsome and charming as Misto! But her mate-to-be smelled more like magic and mist in the early morning. Somewhere nearby, she could hear the magician chuckling.

Sialynna lay still for several seconds, reveling in the warm sun and the furry body nearby that was radiating heat. Then she sat up and nudged him. "You're a feline furnace," she told Munku seriously.

"Mmm," he mumbled in reply, drowsy in the heat.



"Let's go get Misto."

Munku rolled over and grinned at her mischeviously. As if by some unspoken signal, both cats sprang up and tackled Mistoffelees, who was sitting just to their left.

"Hey! What're you --" Stoff's voice was drowned in his own laughter as the three cats rolled off the cushion, under the couch, and out the other side, still in hysterics. The Rum Tum Tugger watched the whole scene from a nearby garbage can, laughing quietly. When Alonzo sauntered by and raised an eyebrow, Tugger simply grinned and shrugged.

When the little battle came to a halt, the three cats lay belly-up, gasping with laughter and trying to catch their breaths.

"Mm-hm-hm-mm...o-oh. My *stomach* hurts," groaned Munku with a smile.

"Mine, too," panted Mistoff, sighing. "Feel better?"

"Do I ever. I needed that." The silver tabby yawned and stretched out full length. "So how're you two?"

"Okay," the two black and white lovers responded in unison.

"Well!" Munku exclaimed, with a chuckle that made him gasp and grasp his ribs. "Are you planning the formal ceremony?"

"Um -- well -- that is, we -- Munku, uh --" stuttered the tux.

"What he means is, he's worried you won't allow us to mate because -- because of what happened." Lynna put in bluntly.

"Oh, no. Please, Lyn, no! Of course not! I understand. Demeter and I both do. I'm not holding anything against you, believe me. But I am worried about --"

"I knew it!" Misto burst out, springing up. "Your aura is thrumming with tension."

"What?" Munku wrinkled his nose. He'd never get used to Stoff's ability to see a cat's "aura", or his/her personality and feelings. "Knew what?" He asked, perturbed.

"You were worried about something! What's the matter?"

Munkustrap looked immensely uncomfortable. "Well, it's just --"

"Please. You can tell us anything." Lynna reassured him. "Misto and I are really very close. You can trust me."

"Well, I mean, it's nothing personal, Misto, but I'm worried about you. I...I've had nightmare after nightmare...the Tribe...and this Rabies, I'm just...I..." Munku stopped, looking up.

Misto's face was blank. "I understand," he whispered in an even voice. Then he turned and fled.

Munkustrap's head was pounding and he felt strange -- much too warm -- but he turned to Sia. "Where would he go?"

Lynna thought for a moment. "The museum!" she said. "Follow me!" She shot off, out of the junkyard and down the road.

Part Three: The Leader of the Jellicles
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