They are not as sweet as they seem.
One of the night watchmen at the university found a pair of cats lounging on the stonewall that runs between North Road and the Hollow. Thinking the creatures lost, he called them to him, and they came. They followed him to the school and took up residence in the watchmen’s quarters.
When I heard this, I went to speak with the president of the school. I told him, in no uncertain terms, that extending invitations to those from the Hollow was a poor decision.
He scoffed at my warning, told me that the salt of the earth needed their companions, and bid me good day.
I was about to go to the watchmen and pass my warning to them when a raven alighted upon my shoulder and informed me of a bit of trouble out on Blood Lake. The creatures under my protection are far more important to me than any at the school, and so I left to solve the problem on the water.
The issue proved to be nothing more serious than a pair of naiads who had drowned a trespasser from New Hampshire, and so after I disposed of his vehicle, I returned to the university.
It was too late for the watchmen.
When I walked up to the back door of the quarters, I found it open. I walked through an empty kitchen, down a narrow hallway and up to the second floor.
The cats were there, purring as they lay upon a desk blotter and peering at me with bored curiosity. On the floor around them were the skeletal remains of at least two of the watchmen. The yellowed bones, the ends broken open and the marrow missing, spoke volumes about the fate of the men who had taken in the Hollow’s strays.
One of the cats licked its chops, and the other nodded to me.
“The house is ours, by right of conquest, Blood,” it informed me.
“You’ll get no argument from me,” I replied.
The other cat paused in its cleaning and stated, “We thought not, but others of your kin have worried the matter to their regret.”
I considered the statement and shrugged. “I’m not my kin.”
Both felines chuckled, the dry, raspy sound following me as I left the house, closing the doors behind me.