The scent of bacon grew stronger as I sloped closer to the kitchen’s window. I was almost in sight, what was I thinking? I made haste to find cover behind the oak tree but even as I did, the door that led from the side into the kitchen opened and with it all the scents of crispy grilled bacon, hot toast dripping with real butter and, to my surprise, a deep mellow voice. “Now then Lass, you’ve got yourself in a right old pickle, ain’t ya?” Well as you can imagine I literally stopped dead in my tracks with a hind paw raised for the next step. I turned my head slowly and saw the silhouette of a tall and well built man in the doorway, and then a bird came to rest on his shoulder. For a moment I thought he had been talking to the bird and any second now he would raise the alarm on seeing me. But no, he spoke again, “Come on now lass, big girl like you has nowt to fear of me and maybe I kin even help yer out a bit. I ken hear yer belly rumbling from ‘ere, come on now, you can share my breakfast, Agnes will be more than happy to grill some more for you and yon queer feller.” I turn fully around now, still cautious and ready to flee at any second when the bird adds his thoughts to the matter too. ‘Are you really as stupid a cat as you seem to be? It’s BACON, even I can’t say no to bacon and I’m more of a worm and snail bird myself.’ I look at the bird and direct my thoughts at him ‘Did your master just call my guide, gay?’ “nay lass, I meant he looks odd with wearing that suit an all, I meant no ‘arm be it. Now, what d’ya say about that breakfast, eh?”
Thank the goddess! I had, almost miraculously, found a human who could hear my thoughts and more to the point was about to help me out with one of the problems that had accompanied my transformation : hunger. I loped over to the doorway and sat on my haunches, licking around my mouth as the drool was dripping and was going to be a nightmare to clean off my fur later. The man laid a plate on the door sill. Two rounds of toast and 4 slices of bacon later, roughly about 10 seconds, the plate was empty of bacon and the toast had been licked clean of butter and the bird, which I could now see was a raven, was pecking at the toast and bacon crumbs. “Does that feel better now lass? Eh? I bet you could eat that lot agin.” He turned in to the kitchen and called to Agnes, who I had not yet seen, and her soft, lilting voice replied it was already on its way. I heard plates being laid out on a wooden table and then Agnes appeared at the door too. “Don’t stand on ceremony, come in, come in! And the young man too, there’s plenty to go around.” She was a small woman, shorter than I would be if I was back in my form, and she was a little pear shaped but not what you would call really fat. She had greying hair tied in a neat bun and was wearing what I can only call a farmer’s wife outfit. She had on a dress with a delicate floral print and an apron around her waist, and on her feet she had ‘sensible’ shoes. Lachlan and I entered this couple’s home and he sat at the table whilst I sat nearby, unsure if they would treat me as a cat or as a human though I could only assume from what the man had said that he knew I wasn’t what I seemed. This man I could now see was close to retirement age, he was about 5’9″ and still muscular for his age, his head was adorned with a mop of steely grey hair with an obvious baldness at the back and at the forehead. They were what you might call a seemly couple, they fit together if you know what I mean. He was dressed in faded and threadbare jeans with a pale blue shirt and well worn Doc’s on his feet. He introduced his wife again as Agnes, himself as Joseph “but you can call me Joe” and the bird was named as Quoth. “I have a love of Pratchett books in case you were wondering lass” ‘I’m not a big fan of eyeballs though, unlike the bird I was named after’ That made me feel at ease and I tried to grin but stopped myself as I realised how it would look. Instead I aimed my thoughts at Joe and said ‘I had a rat as a familiar a number of years ago, his name was Big D and he was named after the Death of Rats in the Discworld books’ We had found common ground, this was a good start, I just hoped that my time with them would be fruitful in getting me out of this shape and back into my own.