Chapter Two

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I can say with absolute certainty that I had never been so determined to do anything in my entire life. It was much like being possessed really. Not that I have ever actually been possessed, but if I had to guess, it would feel very similar to how I had felt just then. I shot up to my feet at once. Without much thinking what I was doing, I ran back into the shop, dashing around magnolias and snapdragons, gardenias and bluebells; the everyday smells of the shop suddenly feeling vivid and dizzying. I pulled myself out of the dizziness and up the stairs to the house, being compelled forward like a string was hitched onto my very soul. 

Now, I never really payed attention much to physics in school, but I do know that when you hit something while going very fast it never ends well. So when I collided mid-run into West, it was very much like hitting a brick wall. He yelled, then I yelled, and I was thrown fiercely backwards where nothing was aside from a long fall and the bottom of the stairs. I fell into that nothing, and I briefly remember someone swearing or hissing, and scrambling below me before I hit the floor. 

It occurred to me that I hadn't even noticed that the cat had followed me in. I never seemed to finish thinking this, though, as I passed out midway through.

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I awoke next in my bed, with my cousin hovering worriedly beside me. His brows were pulled high, and his forehead wrinkled in a troubling way. He leaned in with relief when I looked at him.

"Amelia, what were you doing running around like that? I didn't even see you coming, you were like a deranged dog chasing a rabbit. Do you feel alright, by the way?"

Good old West, always one to scold first. Cautiously, I shifted my body. "I feel fine," I said, but when I got to wriggling my legs, it felt as if a weight was keeping them down. I panicked a bit, but when I looked down I found the cat sitting atop them, as if it were only natural for him to be there. I looked over at West, and was surprised how little he seemed to mind the fellow. West does not usually take kindly to freeloaders. 

"Are you sure you feel alright?" he asked, "you fell down pretty far, almost squished that cat there, and I can't understand why it's so attached. If I were almost crushed, I'd have run the other direction." West sent a look of bewilderment at the cat. "This thing wouldn't leave you alone. I gave up trying to throw it out. It better not have diseases."

The cat replied his look with a mighty tail switch, then tucked his paws under himself and nestled down. West gave up on the cat and looked at me instead. "You sure you're alright? If you aren't right then I'll send you to the hospital."

"I'm right. I'm sure, no doctors please."

He sighed with relief, and then pulled himself up. "Just rest then, I think you have a concussion."

I nodded mildly as he left, but couldn't quite agree with him. Though I had passed out, I didn't feel at all like I'd hit my head. In fact, I wasn't the smallest bit sore. It was quite peculiar. While I thought this, the cat stirred.

"Now you've done it," he said, climbing up my body and sitting heavily on my stomach. "That was the last bit of magic I had."

"You mean that thing you did before I hit the ground?" I asked. His tail flicked with passionate irritability. 

"Yes, and it hurt. You were going to die, you know? You owe me a life."

"But I only have one," I said, looking up at his bright blue eyes. "You have nine, don't be greedy."

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