He’d have taken back his words if he could, but it was too late now, “I have a journal that I was going to say as an example–but he wrote notes into a book about things that happened that day right?”
Lisa nodded, and responded flatly, “About the things he did to me and to others before me.”
Arnold rumbled slightly, hackles rising, “Not all journals are about hurting people or experiments…though yes, some do that. Others, like Lo, write poetry or just their thoughts.
“Admittedly though, what you write can hurt someone without meaning to…something I wrote in a journal was once used to hurt some people.” Lisa frowned a little, but nodded. “If you do write anything…hide it well. Guard it well. Or just don’t write anything you wouldn’t want someone to know.”
“Yes.” Lisa smiled wryly, remembering the other notebook she had not kept as good a guard on.
He nodded, satisfied that she would keep an eye on her words. The cat looked around the building and shared one last thing that he had been thinking about for some time, “I’m going to be staying here. There’s nowhere else in Babbage to call home, especially not the asylum. The Lionhearts home, well, ship is in Mondrago for now, and I feel better here than anywhere else.
“Good. It’s a good place to be. I’ll visit often.” Lisa smiled reassuringly for her friend.
“By the way…if you need anything, ever, and I am not there…go to the Gangplank. I told Emerson to put it on my tab.” He paused for a moment and then added wryly, “I don’t have a tab, but he said he’d make one.”
“I’ll do that. Thank you.”
Lisa watched as Arnold lay down. She pretended to go back to her reading as she waited until he dropped off. Once she was sure he was deep asleep, she set the book aside and silently slipped out the hidden entrance. She sent out a Feline call, and after several minutes, her brother Fourclaws leaped up to the walkway, along with a friend of his, Roofslide. She knelt down, heedless of the snow, and greeted them. “How have you been handling the weather so far?” she asked.
“It isn’t too bad, yet,” Fourclaws replied. Much of the prey is finding hiding places for the winter, but so far, we can still find enough. The M’an places seem colder than before, though.”
Lisa nodded. “They’re running low on the stuff they burn for heat.”
“Let us know if you’re getting too cold,” Fourclaws said with concern. “We can sleep around you to keep you warm.”
“Thank you.” Lisa sighed. “I wish I didn’t have something else to ask you for… but I do. We need you to shadow someone again–one of the workers from the large building with the strange M’anfolk. He would smell of smoke and blood.”
“I know the one–he comes into the building next door many times to drink.”
“I’m not surprised,” Lisa said wryly. “He’s left his work now–but in the process, he threatened the lives of Large-Cat and Good-Healer.” Lisa meant Dr. Solsen with that designation; she had decided, for now, that he seemed good–certainly he was better than anyone else there, barring Arnold. “He attacked them both, and he may try it again.”
Fourclaws hissed, and Roofslide looked grim. “We’ll let everyone know, and keep a close eye on him.”
“Be careful, though. Don’t let him see you. He’s like a maddened Growler–he’ll strike at anything.”
Fourclaws arched his whiskers forward in assent, then butted her with his head. “Get back inside,” he said, “and leave it to us. We’ll let you know what he does.”
Lisa smiled and gave them both a parting skritch. She ducked back inside quietly, seeing that Arnold had disappeared while she was gone. He often ran off and would return before morning, never mentioning where he was going.
She found her own small corner, with her backpack secreted away. From it, she pulled one of her secrets–the pelt of her cat body she’d taken from Ambrose’s laboratory. Only Tepic knew she still had it. In weather like this, she liked to tuck it underneath her shirt for that little bit of added warmth, as well as for the comfort of its familiarity. She settled down and was soon asleep, and in the Dreamlands.