Lazy afternoon sunlight filtered into the warehouse through a small crevice in the wall, highlighting the ginger fur of the tom lounging on a ratty pillow on the floor. He stretched, feeling the emptiness of the day fill him all the way to his clawtips. A soft voice whispered in his mind, so quiet that at he did not hear her the first or second time.
"Macavity!" she screeched, raising the volume again. He leapt up, heart pounding. His fur bristled with shock, making him appear larger and his claws gouged deep holes in his blanket.
Heíd known about the voice for years and always talked to her, but each time she spoke up was like the very first time; frightening and odd. He had never gotten used to the fact that there was an actual entity living inside his head; or the fact that it enjoyed talking to him.
"What do you want, Bailey?" he growled, irritated now that the initial shock had worn off.
She chuckled, the sound reverberating against his skull. "Just," she began slowly, slurring her word, "to talk." She was a terrible liar; he knew that as well as he knew himself.
"Youíve never wanted to Ďjust talkí before. What do you want?" he asked, warily.
A tiny sigh fluttered through, and he knew that she would tell him the truth this time. It was another perk of having her live in his head; she gave up keeping secrets from him early. "I donít think this is working out."
His brow wrinkled in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"I need some challenge in my life and all you want to do is lie around and grow fat in the sun."
"Bailey..." he ran a paw through his head fur, the stripes standing on end. "Weíve talked about this. Iím a cat. I like to lie in sun patches and sleep."
"I need challenges!" she argued, stamping a mental foot. He winced, the action vibrating painfully through him. "So Iím moving out."
The last was added in a rush of words, and a silence settled over him as he digested this statement. Finally he caught on. "You canít move out! Youíre just a figment of my imagination!"
"Not really..." she drawled. "I just like to let you think that." He felt her mental shrug, the sensation a bit like the heave his stomach made right before he fell off of roofs.
"Well... youíre still living in my head. So how are you going to move out?"
Bailey laughed. "Iíll pack up and leave."
"Pack up?" he echoed in a confused tone. He didnít know that she had stuff in there with her. Than again, before this day he hadnít known that she was anything other than a talkative, disembodied voice.
"Itís amazing what an old cat can learn in one afternoon..." she mused.
"Stop reading my thoughts!" he hissed, his ears going flat. "And for the hundredth time; Iím not old, Iím mature."
"Old," she sang out, her voice chiming like silver bells. "And I canít help but read them when they bounce all over and knock over my things."
"You still havenít answered me. How are you going to move out?" A little thought slunk in, handing him a nasty and graphic image before tiptoeing off with an evil chuckle. He moaned, hoping that that wasnít how she was going to leave. Macavity didnít fancy having disembodied voices gain bodies and burst out of his ears.
Her voice was soothing. "Donít worry, its pain free." But he was still suspicious; was it that way for her or him? He tried to voice that thought, pointless as the gesture was when she could read it, it still gave him a meager trace of relief; but his throat had tightened up with anxiety and fear.
Bailey chuckled again and he half fancied that he heard her packing up; tapes ripping as she secured her boxes. Another odd thought drifted through the empty spaces, humming softly to itself. How had she brought those boxes into his head?
He knew that he never wanted the answer to it, that it would keep him up for nights as the requisite confusion settled in, draping him with its long and tangled tentacles.
"Good kitty," Bailey whispered. "Its something left only to the Goddess and myself."
"Oh?" Macavityís ears perked up at this, curiosity making him neglect to reprimand her for reading his thoughts again. "So sheís in on this?" he asked, glancing nervously about him.
"Itís not a conspiracy against you..." she sighed. "Itís just something that you wouldnít understand." There was a pause, during which he came to the conclusion that she had been correct and during which she also came to the conclusion that she had to leave now if she wanted the catch her reservation on the evening train from London.
"Itís time," Bailey told him quietly. Macavity sighed, nodding his head gently.
"I know," he replied.
He finished her sentence for her. "This is good-bye."
She sighed again, as faint as a small breeze. "Yeah. Iíll... Iíll miss you, you big oaf." Her voice was choked with tears, bringing to his mind the question of how a disembodied voice cried, but he pushed that aside.
Macavity smiled sadly, his own eyes brimming with tears. "Iíll miss you too, little half wit."
"Not half as much as you are," she retorted. "Now... Iíll have to knock you out to leave."
Macavity nodded and curled up on his blanket, letting the soft twilight wash over him. Whatever Bailey had done to him worked, for he felt himself slipping away from consciousness. His paws stumbled over his tail and he tripped into a peaceful darkness; ever the klutz, even in sleep.
Hours, days, weeks passed within the blink of an eye; and he woke to find that the sun was still setting on a lazy afternoon and a small queen stood over him, boxes in paw. She would have come up to his chest if he had been standing, and her fur was a mottled blend of gray and white.
She smiled warmly, greeting him with her familiar salutation. "Hello, Macavity, itís the resident voice in your head." A train whistled sharply and she glanced at the direction of the warehouse entryway with trepidation.
Macavity followed her glance, knowing what the whistle meant. "Iíll be seeing you around?" he asked hopefully.
She laughed. "Of course! I wouldnít want to miss even one pitiful plan on how next to weíll take over the surrounding tribes." Bailey folded him in a tight hug, squeezing his waist with her arms. "Bye, Maccy."
"Bye, Bailey," he whispered and she picked up her boxes and headed slowly outside, looking back only once to throw him a cheeky grin. He waved then turned back to his blanket and laid down, letting the boredom of the summer day steal back over him; washing away all emotions other than sleep and lethargy.
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