Vets and Catastrophe

The gentle purring coming from Bee’s room was simultaneously the most shocking, and the most expected, thing Ruby heard. Her roommate, and long-time friend, had been pining to adopt a cat for the whole week. She had disagreed to adopting another when Bee had asked, given how many pets they already took care of.

The meow that Ruby heard as she walked down the corridor only confirmed what she was beginning to suspect. Bee had gone behind her back and adopted a cat anyway. It was probably a stray cat that Bee hadn’t had the heart to leave behind. Her friend was known for their soft spot for taking care of rescue animals.

“That better not be a cat,” Ruby called down the hall, just as her foot kicked a loose object on the ground. The resonating ring the ball made as it bounced off of her foot confirmed that she had already encountered a new cat toy. 

She pushed through the door, prepared to lecture Bee, but the worry in her friend’s face made her words catch in her throat. 

“He hasn’t eaten all day… Do you think it’s my fault? Maybe I missed a vaccination and he got sick?”

The cat in question sat on the carpet beside Bee, feet tucked under his fur in a shape that reminded Ruby of a bread loaf. 

“Given that I’ve seen you making a checklist for cat vaccinations and researching warning signs for sick cats all week, I’d say there’s no way you’ve done anything wrong,” Ruby said gently. Her anger fizzled out as she sat beside the cat, reaching her hand out so he could gently sniff at it.

She knew her friend well. Bee had so many post-it notes and journals for performing health checks on their animals that one could think they ran their own animal hospital out of the living room. 

“It’ll be okay,” Ruby said as she noticed the worry in their eyes. “We’ll search for Clyde vets within walking distance and sort it out – go to every single one if we have to.”

She couldn’t find the heart to be mad at her friend for bringing a new cat home. Especially as he rubbed his cheek against Ruby’s hand. He paused suddenly, staring at a corner in the room. Ruby followed his gaze, but there was nothing there.

“What the?”

Bee’s shocked tone made Ruby follow their gaze back to the cat. He was making a low, rumbling noise. In one swift motion, he sat back on his hind legs. His fur crackled. Cracked like lightning. And, with a soft meow, a ball of fire exploded from his tiny mouth.

Ruby fell onto her back. She felt heat soar passed her head. “What the—”