Chapter 13: Demon cat

Geirr has carried the furry female inside. He has laid her on the couch, and covered her with a thick quilt. He has watched over her as her breath grew less shallow and more regular, until she seemed to sleep peacefully. Rust the farm dog has been lying nearby, also watching the couch, never taking his eyes from the shape under the quilt. But Geirr's eyes have grown heavier and heavier, until at last he could not keep them open anymore.

He wakes up suddenly by the sound of Rust's growl. Opening his eyes, Geirr looks straight at the fur-covered female who is now on her knees on the couch, eyes looking from him to the dog and back to him again. And that is when he decides. The expressions of that face are totally unlike our own; but the eyes shine with human intelligence. There is no doubt in his mind that this creature is every bit as intelligent as most people he has known, and more than most politicians.

"Hello?" he asks, making no sudden movements. "Do you understand English?"

She shows no sign of understanding, but her attention is now fixed on him.

"Verstehen sie Deutsch?" he asks in German, with no more success. Not that he had expected any. If she does not understand English, she is almost certainly not from this world. Whatever that thing was that warped the sky, it must have deposited her here, far from whatever planet she belongs to. Or possibly she comes from the far future ... it's anybody's guess, really, since no one has seen such a thing before.

Then she opens her mouth a little, and says one single word. "Mwwrrr?"

OK. Her head could really have been derived from cat or dog almost equally, though the tail seemed more catlike than doglike. But her speech really gives it away. It is of course not as thin and small as the voice of a house cat; but for someone with human lungs and vocal tract, it is normal enough. And definitely catlike. Rust growls again, and the catgirl looks at him with anger and scorn, as if she would not be interrupted by someone like him, thanks! It is almost comical, how the two of them are already like dog and cat.

Turning again her full attention to Geirr, the girl holds up one palm and asks again: "Mwwrrr?" There is clearly a connection between the word and the palm. Unlike the rest of her, the inside of her hand is naked, free of fur. Perhaps the word means "palm", or "perhaps" it means "hairless". Both of them would be possible, though the latter would seem more likely. He can see no reason for her to start her career on Earth by talking about palms, but confronting a hairless creature possibly for the first time in her life it would make sense to bring up the topic. Or perhaps the empty hand is a universal peace sign; there was an engraving to that effect on one of those space artifacts that NASA sent out, if he remembers correctly. Just for a test, he holds up his own hand. "Mwwrrr?" he asks.

She looks at him with confusion. He points to his hand with another finger, then asks "mwwrrr?" Of course, it could be that his accent is way off, and he comes across like a foreigner who confuses "put" and "butt". Still, it is worth a try. Next, he points to his face. "Mwwrrr?" She answers by stretching her arm further toward him. He does the same. And then, accompanied by another long growl from Rust, the catgirl puts her hand against his: Fingers to fingers, palm to palm.

Nothing could prepare him for what happens next.

His whole hand tingles like in a field of strong static. The feeling races up his arm, and then strange things explode into his head. Colors, shapes, smells, sounds. All jumbled, making no sense. The sights are simple distorted geometrical shapes in random primary colors. The sounds are simple notes or bits of noise. None of it is even vaguely similar to real things. And it all fades almost as soon as he retracts his hand.

The catgirl looks at her own hand too, as if surprised. And not pleasantly surprised, either. It is pretty clear that she had not expected whatever it was that happened. Did the same thing happen to her? If so, why? Geirr is not used to holding hands, but he's pretty sure he has never felt anything like this before.

Before he can think of anything else to do, his guests turns to Rust and reluctantly stretches out her hand to him. He growls and bares his teeth. She makes a shrug that seems to move all the way down her body like a shudder. It could be either, or some other expression entirely. Another reminder that she does indeed belong to another species, despite her bright eyes. And despite her womanly shape in some areas, of course.

It's nearly morning already. He may as well make breakfast. The catgirl is probably hungry too. What do cat people eat? Do they drink milk? Probably not; the mutation that lets Europeans and a few others drink milk as adults is bound to be a rare thing. Fish? He has some fish in the freezer. Not exactly his favorite breakfast, but it should be good for cats. He rises from his chair, and the catgirl tenses visibly. She is probably just as creeped out by him as he is by her. Except ... she came here, not the other way around. Why? Did she not know anything about this world? If so, how and why did she come here?

Geirr looks in on her while the fish is in the micro. She is still on the couch, watching intently. But she can't stay there all day. If she is from another planet, does she even know how to use the bathroom? Or do they have litter boxes there instead? There is no way he can talk to her, explain things, ask her anything. It is really frustrating.

When the food is prepared, he carries plates and knives and forks into the living room. He notices that Rust is still watching the newcomer, but without the earlier aggression. He seems to have accepted her to some degree, which is a good thing, because otherwise Geirr would have to chase him out. Glasses, water, and finally the food. Do cat people eat potatoes? Or will plant food make them sick? Probably not very sick, since cats are known to eat some bread and survive nicely. "Here, kitty kitty! Food!" She looks at him as if he is utterly insane, and she may be right. Worse, even Rust looks at him strangely.

He cannot talk to her, but he can show her. He sits down by the table, takes some fish on his plate, and slowly starts to eat. Then he beckons to her, the chair, and the food. If she is as smart as she looks like, she will know what he means.

She looks at him, then cautiously starts to move. When she sees that he seems to accept this, she moves over to the chair. It is obvious that she is not used to common chairs, and he can guess why. The tail is probably not in a comfortable position if you sit flat down on a chair. Instead, she squats on the chair, and follows his every move. He puts fish on her plate and starts to eat again, slowly and carefully. She picks up knife and fork; she is clearly used to handling tools, and these are not exactly the most advanced tools around. Soon she tastes the fish. Evidently she likes it, and ends up eating a lot of it. She is clearly less impressed with the potatoes and vegetables. Interestingly, she can drink from a glass after seeing him doing it once. Either drinking from glass is very easy, or they have something similar where she comes from.

While Geirr is doing the dishes, catgirl is spending time with Rust. She allows the dog to study her to some extent, but hisses when he tries to sniff her butt. Evidently this is not part of their customs, and Geirr finds this somewhat of a relief. The feline now moves about the house, having no problems with doors. She is exploring the place methodically, and he joins her, trying to mime some of the things she sees. He is unable to explain the function of the water closet, but the concept of running water seems to delight her. The shower, however, is clearly overkill in her opinion. She shrinks back. Turning lights on and off with a switch is duly noted. He is not even sure whether she is used to it or just picks it up from seeing him pressing the switch.

But when he tries to teach her the names of things, it becomes obvious just how different they are. She could not possibly pronounce even common words, and she does not really try. The idea of naming things seems alien to her. She occasionally makes sounds, but they don't seem to be speech as such, more like exclamations. Can it be possible that a creature of human-level intelligence doesn't have a language at all? It seems incredible, but then again so is her very existence.

Time flies, and it is far into the morning, closer to noon, before he looks up the news again. Catgirl watches him with interest as he fires up the web browser. But of course, without a language none of the words will make sense to her, just the pictures. There is still nothing about weird colors and black holes. But there is another article in the local news.


Police is still without leads in the case where a 34 year old man was brutally attacked in his home late last afternoon. Besides being castrated, the man also suffered from concussion and several minor injuries. Whether due to head injuries or psychological trauma, the man is still not coherent, and the only understandable thing he has said is "demon girl", according to sources at the local hospital. Police is waiting for his condition to improve before asking any further questions, according to the press release. Locals that have witnessed anything unusual in the area are asked to report to the nearest police station.

Demon girl? Geirr reads it again. There have been crime in the city before – it is practically a daily occurrence in some form or another – but never like this. The whole idea of some unknown woman attacking a man in his own home and castrating him ... it's creepy. And what's with the name anyway? "Demon girl"? There are no ... demon ... girls...

He turns and looks at the reddish-brown furry young woman. She is watching him without any human expression. Her clawed hands are by her side in a stance of easy readiness. And once again, the chill walks down his spine, filling him with dread. It cannot be ... but what a coincidence: Demon girl arrives out of nowhere, disappears from the city in the afternoon; cat girl arrives out of nowhere, shows up in the countryside later in the night. His hands are suddenly slick with cold sweat.