Lisa flung herself back to her body, waking to the sound of struggle coming from above. Panting, she scrambled to her feet and tried to hold Myn steady. At the foot of the gurney, Professor Vartanian stirred, and lifted his head groggily. “Hmmh…”
“Professor!” Lisa yelled as Myn continued to thrash about, as if fighting in her sleep.
The professor rubbed at his eyes. “We were in there too long. It triggered a response.” He frowned. “There is nothing I know of to do for her for the moment. She is tormented.” He reached into the back of her shirt, removing a small sachet and slipping it into his pocket.
Lisa paid little heed to that. She bent her head to the cat’s ear and yowled in Feline, “Please–please, stop! We are here – we’ll help you!”
The cat continued her struggles for several minutes, though, and only slowly stopped, as if the fight had ended. She opened her eyes, her gaze somewhat vacant from the drugs she’d been given before, and Lisa quickly took her hands off Myn’s prone form, remembering that she didn’t like to be touched.
“I hope that’s a good thing,” the professor mused. “I can only imagine the affect on her mind of so many flooding in on her.”
“Mrrr.” Myn looked up at Lisa, wincing. Lisa quietly said in Feline, “Are you all right?”
“Growlers,” the cat replied. “We know,” Lisa said, nodding.
“I think we learned a great deal about her case today. It’s promising at least.” Professor Vartanian looked somewhat pleased, though there was still a shadow in his eyes.
“Will you let me help still?”
He sighed. “I suppose I can’t stop you. But do not speak of this to anyone!” He pursed his lips, staring down at Myn for a moment. “It’s bad enough I have to write a full report for Mr. Canergak.”
Lisa took a chance. “Why? Does he really need to know everything?”
“He wants to know my methods are reproducible and not random chance, most likely.” He looked keenly at Lisa. “I should be able to leave you out of the report, if you wish.”
She nodded. “I… would rather he didn’t know I can walk the Dreamfields, too.”
The professor looked at her, and smirked. “You really are a cat through and through, aren’t you? Too bad this one can’t see it.” His head jerked at Myn. “But then when has anything ever happened to make our jobs easier?”
“That is a dangerous place.” Lisa shivered just a little, remembering. “You need someone to watch your back.”
“I can take care of myself in such places. But thank you just the same.” Seeing that Myn was falling back asleep, he led the way out of the lab. “Do you know where Beryl might be found on a regular basis?”
Shaking her head, she answered. “Not now. Though he visits me from time to time. I’m sure I could get a message to him, though.”
He pulled the sachet back out from his pocket and held it out to her. “Next you see him, give this to him if he will agree to it. Have him put it under his pillow when he sleeps, or next to his skin. If he needs more from me before he will agree to it, have him come see me.”
Lisa took it, looking at it quizzically. “What is it?”
“A way in.”
She shrugged a little, nodded, and slipped it into her pocket. Together, they rode the elevator back to the main level. “Well, I suppose you should get back to your duties,” the professor said, “and I should get down to writing my report for Canergak.” He smiled a little. “I can’t say it wasn’t interesting having company in there.” She watched as he pressed the button for the upper level and disappeared from view.
Heading back toward the dining room, Lisa saw Beatrixe sitting on the bench in the entryway. “Hello again,” she said.
“I didn’t eat enough last time,” Bea said, pouting.
“You didn’t eat anything,” Lisa corrected. “I’ll get you something.” She hurried off to the kitchen and soon returned, handing over a plate full of leftovers from lunch. Beatrixe ate happily for a few moments, but then looked at Lisa with concern. “You okay? You look like the ravens are watching you.”
“I hope not!” Lisa was startled, and nervous, at that thought.
“Be careful,” Bea said solemnly. “The ravens nearly got me when I was with a cat that I thought was Beryl but it was scared or something.” She suddenly flipped over the half-finished plate and stood up. “Anyway, thanks for the meal!” She skipped out the door, oblivious to the mess she’d left behind. Lisa smiled a little, though it died quickly, and bent over to pick up the abandoned scraps.
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