In the world of Black Cats and Bad Luck where magic exists, familiars are especially mysterious. Obviously, they’re connected to magic. They take animal form, but they’re more than animals. Where they came from or what they are exactly is unknown. Witches can’t ask these animal companions since they take animal shapes and therefore don’t talk. And it isn’t as if they morph into humans and start living a new life. Not usually. Except in Horatio’s case.
Horatio isn’t interested in providing answers about familiars. He’s already bent some rules of the universe and isn’t keen on doing more damage.
Mason is a human who has dreamed of Horatio for years without knowing where to find him. When he’s checking on Horatio’s story, he talks to his best friend Miranda, who has some trouble processing the information she’s given.
“WHAT?” Miranda yelled despite being in a public lobby. “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”
“Sorry,” she said to me, raising a hand towards the guy at the front desk too. “Sorry, I’ll use my indoor voice.” She turned to me with urgency as we made our way further into the hotel. “Horatio the familiar? The cat who works with Stella on her magic, he’s your Horatio?”
“So this doesn’t happen everyday, huh?” I tried to make it a joke, but the words felt strangled.
“Yeah, you could say that. Are you serious?” she hissed the words, quieter than yelling but with force. “Are you joking or are you being serious right now? Tell me the truth.”
“For real, I’m being serious.” At the elevators, I hit the button to call one.
“Okay, because it’s not wise to get into a prank war with a witch.” Heed my words or beware, her tone indicated.
“At least, it’s not wise to legitimately get one over on a witch in a prank war because that just makes the stakes higher for you.” She wiggled her fingers menacingly, perhaps threatening hexes or curses, if those were different things.
“Miranda, I’m not kidding.” Ding, an elevator arrived, and we stepped inside.
“Just checking.” She hit the button for our floor as she spoke. “Okay. Alright… no, one more time. Is this real?”
How the hell should I know? I tried to be patient. “I was hoping you would tell me.”
“Honestly, this does not happen often.” Oh god. “Or ever.” Oh god. “At least not that I’m aware of.” Oh god.
When Horatio and I went our separate ways, I immediately sought out Miranda so she could confirm his story. It wasn’t that I really thought he was lying. His story was just so incredible, it had trouble sinking in. I kept thinking it would eventually. Sink in. Not yet.
From all accounts, Miranda mastered the craft quickly. I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen her baffled by something witch-y. Great. This was just fucking great.
“Wait, is this impossible?” she asked rhetorically. “No, I don’t think so. It’s… wow. Him showing up is a trip in itself, but being a familiar? Wow. Just wow. Wo—”
“Sorry.” Shaking her head, she snapped out of it. “How are you?”
“I have no idea,” I answered with feeling.
“Yeah, that sounds right.”
The rest of the novel is available here.