Ever since Tepic had brought her to the urchins’ hideout, Felisa had been keeping a very low profile, usually only venturing out to get some food at the church on the other side of the wall, and that only when she was sure no one was around. She’d met some of the urchins over those days, talking shyly with them. But it did seem that the body she was in, the appearance she gave to the world, was of an older human than they were; that and her own lack of experience as a human kept her somewhat isolated from them.
She did venture out one evening to explore, going to areas she’d frequented as a cat, now seeing them through human eyes. She didn’t see any of the cats of the area, and didn’t call for them. She wasn’t–yet–ready for them to see her like this. On her way back, she heard what Dr. Martel had called “music” coming from a building, and she’d stopped to listen. In fact, she listened for a long time, eventually sitting on a step by the door. And there, she’d actually fallen asleep for a while, waking only when two humans left the building and saw her. She’d been frightened, but thankfully the two of them, a man and a woman, hadn’t approached her too closely, and left her alone after just a bit of talking to her. She’d left soon after that, making her way back to the hideout before full dark came.
Still, as the days passed, Felisa felt herself getting more and more restless. She realized that Tepic was right–she needed something to fill her days and give her purpose. Life as a human wasn’t the constant struggle for survival it had been as a cat. She needed something to replace that. Finally, she remembered her thought of going to Stargirl for help, and decided to see if she was back at her usual haunt.
She hurried through Port Babbage for the Clockhaven district, avoiding people as best she could on the way. When she reached the right building, she hesitated, then walked past the door to one of the windows, where she stood on tiptoe and peeked in. She saw a woman sitting inside, and there was no mistaking her ears. Felisa hurried around to the door, cautiously opened it, and slipped inside.
Stargirl looked up, wiping her nose. “Hello there!” she said cheerfully.
“S–Stargirl?” Felisa said, hesitantly.
“That would be me, dear. Did Gilly send you?”
Felisa shook her head wordlessly. Now that she was here, she was finding it surprisingly difficult to tell Stargirl who she really was.
“Well, never mind,” Stargirl said, smiling. “I’m glad you’ve found your way. Need a bite to eat?” At Felisa’s hesitant nod, she continued, “Well, sit yourself down, and I’ll just fetch a chicken pie from the bakery. You’re too young for beer, but I have some milk, if you’d like?”
“Sit, sit, dear. I’ll be right by.” Felisa watched as Stargirl bustled around, finally bringing over a large chicken pie with a fork, then hurrying back for the milk. “Eat up.” She took the fork and carefully dug in, savoring the new flavors. Stargirl chuckled. “Don’t worry. It won’t bite.”
Felisa looked up at her, wondering how she could bring up the subject of her identity. Stargirl smiled down at her, evidently noticing her hesitancy, but not wanted to press it. “How’s the pie, dear? I can get something else, if it’s not to taste.”
“It’s…very good,” Felisa said. But then she set her fork and milk down. It seemed the only thing she could do was simply plunge in, so she took a deep breath, steeling herself. “Stargirl…I’m Fargazer.”
Stargirl tilted her head to one side, her ear twitching. “Fargazer…the cat?” Felisa nodded, and Stargirl opened her mouth, then closed it again, looking perplexed. “Forgive me, but I’m a touch confused.”
“A man was trapping cats around here all winter,” Felisa explained simply. “He trapped me when spring came. He…he took my…brain…out of my body, and put it in this human body.”
Stargirl blinked. “Oh…oh, my poor dear. Are you…are you all right? That’s a stupid question, I suppose…”
“I am…still trying to get used to this. But I seem to be well.”
“Hmm. You look a little thin, but you do seem to be handling yourself. What happened to the…man…if he may be called such?”
Felisa grimly smiled a little. “He’ll not be hurting anyone else.”
“Good.” Stargirl nodded.
“He killed many–cat and human like. And I think he was going to kill me,” Felisa continued, still a little scared at that revelation that had slowly come to her over the days since her escape. “He was an evil, evil man.”
“Sometimes we must do things for the greater good that might not always seem good in and of themselves,” Stargirl said solemnly. “You did right, by the sound of it, and by the look of you.”
Felisa reached into a pocket and brought out a notebook–the one that Ambrose had said was about her. “I brought this away with me. I…can’t understand what’s in it, but maybe you can.”
“If it’s in English, French, or Latin, I should be able to,” Stargirl replied, reaching out for the notebook. Felisa handed it over, and as Stargirl thumbed through it a little, said, “When I escaped, I found Tepic. He’s helped me get settled.”
“Bless Tepic–he’s a good lad.” Stargirl looked intently at her. “You will, of course, be welcome here. We are a sort of kin, aren’t we? In the way that matters. I could always make one of the spare rooms up for you.”
Felisa smiled. “Thank you. Tepic said I was rather old for his way of life. That I should…work. But I don’t know what to do, or where to go. I thought you might be able to help.”
“How old are you, do you suppose?” Stargirl asked. Felisa shrugged helplessly. “Well, dear, you needn’t worry in the least. I’ve always plenty of work around here, and it’ll be easy enough to teach you the ropes.”
“Ropes?” Felisa asked, looking confused.
“Sorry, dear,” Stargirl said with a chuckle. “I mean we will show you how to do the task.”
Felisa smiled. “Oh! Thank you!”
“We can say you’re my cousin. We match, at least.” Stargirl touched her hair with a smile, a gesture that Felisa imitated unconsciously, though she frowned. “Umm…cousin?”
“It means we are family. That you are the kitten of a sibling of my father or mother.”
“Ahh.” Felisa’s face cleared, and she smiled again.
“Now, I’m sure you’re tired, so let me show you to a room,” Stargirl said kindly. Felisa followed her upstairs, and watched as she brought in sheets and made up the bed there. “There you are–just settle in. We can start your lessons tomorrow.”
Felisa settled into the bed with a sigh of relief, hearing Stargirl withdraw and close the door. While she’d needed the past few weeks to rest and process what had happened to her, it was truly time for her to start her life as a human.