Chapter 30

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The noise met Hailie's ears the minute she walked into the dining hall. It sounded like dying cats. She ran towards the sound.

"Hailie, do something about these two. They try to attack anyone that comes near them," Gordon said. Romeo and Juliet were clinging to her hammock hissing at anyone in a ten foot radius. "I think they're trying to protect your hammock."

"I will handle it."

Hailie sat on the floor next to the hammock and snapped her fingers. The cats saw her and jumped out going straight to her lap. They stood on their hind legs, their paws on her chest, meowing. It sounded like they were complaining about something. She stroked Romeo's chest and scratched behind Juliet's ears, just the way they both liked it. She could feel people watching her and swallowed keeping her focus on the two complaining cats.

"Yes, I understand. The room is too noisy and crowded but you did not want anyone touching my hammock. That is good but this is not the way to handle it. Making a loud fuss is just going to make everything more uncomfortable for everyone," Hailie said.

"You understand what they're saying?" Gordon asked.

"You do not have to speak cat language to understand what they are trying to say. It is obvious. They are feeling the same things you are, but they are just more vocal about it." She looked back down at the cats. "How about I take you to a quieter place?" she asked. She stood up, a cat in each arm.

"Why am I not surprised that an animal talks to other animals?" It was a loud whisper, intended for her to hear. She caught sight of the person who had spoken and resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She didn't remember his name, nor did she care to remember, but he had always had a loud mouth and no brain.

"I am surprised you cannot speak with them as well," she said. That could be taken as an insult or as a compliment. Let him figure it out. It may take him the rest of the day. "Where should I take them?" she asked Gordon.

"Your room?"

"No. Faith and Benji are in there, and I think Faith might prefer to share a room with her brother than with me and two cats."

"Take them to the navigation room," a voice said. Indira took Juliet from her and the cat curled up in her arms. Romeo looked a lot more comfortable now that she could hold him with both arms. She could feel him purring.

"I do not know where that is."

"Come on," Indira said.

"We have to start preparing for lunch," Gordon called after them.

Indira led her back outside and towards the front of the ship. To get to the very front, right at the tip, they would have to climb up a few steps. Not as much as getting to the poop deck but enough so that a small door could fit underneath. Hailie chided herself for not noticing the door before. She needed to pay more attention. Of course she'd barely been awake and functioning the past few days but still.

Indira unlocked the door and went inside. There were maps pasted on the walls and one spread out on the table in the centre of the room and more rolled up in a bin in a corner. There were a few trunks against the walls, and a small bed was in a corner. A large jar was on the bedside table. Hailie couldn't tell what it had in it but she could see 'From Zigzag' on a note taped to the side. There were two chairs facing each other to the far side, a blanket on each. Windows lined the walls.

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