I chose the image of the black cat in the black back pack for my twenty-minute sprint today. I set this in the same world as my books, with a student at Black Ashe University, the Wiccan University in Fort Madison as my main character. I hope you enjoy.
The Face of a Cat:
Kyle padded out of his room into the kitchen, starting the coffee maker more by feel than sight. He’d been up late last night finishing up his essay on metaphysical translation spells. He’d thought this was going to be one of those boring, reading dusty old tomes kind of metaphysics classes, but the professor was new, and was actually having them research spells, discuss how the mechanics worked and how they could potentially rework or recombine different mechanics for different spell effect. It was the most fascinating class he’d taken as Black Ashe University so far.
Once the coffee was brewing, Kyle stopped in the bathroom, then returned to the kitchen, actually turning on the light this time and opening the fridge.
There was a soft noise from near the door, almost like there was an animal outside growling.
Kyle straightened up and looked toward the door. He had the food for his late class in a bag hanging behind his backpack so he wouldn’t forget to pack it. They were taking turns providing snacks so everyone had something since they met during normal dinner hours.
The noise came again.
Kyle walked toward the door, and when he came around the counter, something in his backpack moved, eyes shining in the dim light from the overhead.
“You better be a raccoon that broke in or some such,” Kyle muttered under his breath, grabbing the emergency flashlight from the counter. He turned it on and shone it at the bag.
There were eyes, and a mouth, and they looked like they were part of the backpack. They were on the front, where his initials were embroidered. The bag had been a gift from his grandmother, complete with customization and extra straps.
Kyle approached the bag slowly, still hoping whatever animal would either duck down to hide, or jump out to try to get away.
No such luck. He was crouched right in front of it now. The bag had been made mostly of nylon fabric before, but now it looked more like suede in most places, and a little more like actual fur around the face.
“Are you friendly?” Kyle wondered, reaching toward the bag just to see what happened. The bag made a noise, and Kyle really wasn’t sure if it was a purr or a growl. The face on the bag looked mostly feline. It had that sort of triangular shape to it that he associated with cats anyway. Kyle touched the bottom corner of the bag. It was soft, softer than most suede, and warm. Like body heat warm.
“Okay,” Kyle said softly, meeting the eyes of what used to be his backpack. “I’m going to call my professor now. Hang tight.”
Kyle shuffled backward still in the crouch before standing up and retrieving his phone. He took a quick picture of the cat bag, and attached it to an email so he could send it to his professor easily if needed. Then he found the number on the syllabus for emergencies related to class. He dialed and waited for it to ring, still looking at the bag. He’d been talking in his paper about how to leverage the mechanics of a spell designed to make a book able to defend itself, and how that could be applied to a variety of objects.
“Hello?” someone answered.
“Hi,” Kyle said. “Is this Professor Scriven?”
“Yes,” he answered.
“It’s Kyle, Kyle Melbourne, from your Metaphysical Research class.”
“Is something wrong?” Professor Scriven asked.
“Maybe,” Kyle said. “I finished my paper last night, and I was postulating about some things,” Kyle said, giving a very brief explanation of the book defense concept and the possible applications. “And when I got up this morning, my backpack appears to have changed. It has a cat face, and it’s either growling or purring at me.”
“A cat face?” Professor Scriven asked.
“Eyes, mouth, fur, I think there’s a nose but it and the bag are black and the lighting isn’t great in my apartment. The bag used to be nylon and now it feels like super soft suede and it’s warm to the touch. I have a picture I can send you.”
“That would probably be helpful. Your paper draft too if you can.”
“It’ll be two emails,” Kyle said. “Hold on a sec,” he added, pulling his phone away from his ear to send the picture. “The paper’s going to take a minute since it’s not on my phone.”
“That’s the bag you usually bring to class?” Professor Scriven asked as Kyle pulled up an email.
“Yeah,” Kyle replied, typing in the professor’s email and attaching the paper. “There used to be initials were the face is.”
“I have a colleague who has postulated that this kind of application would be possible,” Professor Scriven said. “But she’s never tested it.”
“Mostly I just want to know what I should do now,” Kyle replied. “Is it dangerous? Do I need to feed it? Should I never use it as a backpack ever again?” That would be a shame. He really loved that bag. It was super versatile and really comfortable.
“Let me just scan through your paper,” Professor Scriven said.
“This bit is on page three I think,” Kyle offered, turning back to the cat bag. He wondered what his grandmother would think when she saw it.