As Patches slept the sleep of the contentedly unjust, a shadow began to emerge from the combat boot on the edges of his territory. It was large, rugged, and well-used. That is to say, the boot was, it is so much harder to say how well-used a mysterious shadow is. The shadow was not large, and it was hard to discern much from what little could be seen of it. It inched away from the boot and the cat and ended up directly above the distinguished doctor’s domain.
It had been only an hour or so since Patches had arrived, and the dear doctor’s dismal disciple, Dougal, was disposing of some distressing offal. “Dougal, my dear and loyal employee, do you think one of your innumerable cousins might be brought to consider coming by here in a few hours or so?”
Dougal scratched his head and shrugged, “Don’t see why not. Our Rob might manage it, if you’re willing to send a little ‘is way.” He rubbed his fingers together to communicate what ought to be sent.
“Oh, that shan’t be a problem at all, my boy, not at all. Some…associates will most likely be here and the extra brawn could prove most helpful if our guest abovestairs becomes…recalcitrant.”
Dougal grinned, “ Our Rob is good with that type, sir. Call him after we’re done with this mess, shall I?”
The good doctor rubbed his bloody hands together in gleeful anticipation, “Oh, that would be most helpful, most helpful indeed!”
The silent shadow shuffled back to the deeply drowsing feline and nudged him. “Oi!” it hissed, “Oi mate, it’s time you were waking up if you know what’s good for you!”
Patches leapt awake with a hiss, batting out at the shadow. He made a solid hit but it only wobbled a bit, “What or who are you? What do you want?”
A grumbling tone entered the voice, “Try to help a bloke out and all you for your trouble is to have him job you right on the noggin!”
The cat’s eyes were narrowed suspiciously as his astute night vision picked out the image of a…turtle? He blinked, “A talking turtle?”
The reptile humphed in protest, “A talking cat. Now that we’ve that established y’might want to get moving.”
Patches pulled out a small electric lantern and carefully turned it on. He shook his head and looked again at the vision before him. It was a small mud turtle, that he had already ascertained. However, in the brighter light certain things came into view. Such as the tiny spiked prussian motorcycle that grace its head. And the battered image of the Union Jack painted across its back. As he scrutinized it a miniature box cutter, clutched in small claws, came into view, “Looked long enough,mate?”
The cat slapped a paw over his nose, “What is that stench?”
The box cutter waved, “Yeah, don’t mess with me mate, if I don’t cut ya, I’ll stink ya out! Now do ya want me help or not?” The cat nodded rapidly and the stench seemed to subside the slightest bit. “I wouldn’t normally mess about with the doctor’s business, but it seems that we’re two of a special kind. So I says to myself ‘Decca,’ that’s me name by the by, ‘Decca, you can’t leave a fellow fantastical beast to the tender mercies of the doc and his associates.’ So I came to warn ya.”
Patches unfolded into his human form and grabbed his belongings, “My thanks, Decca.” He hesitated, glancing down at the tiny turtle. It was rare that he ran into many talking animals. He met many fantasticals, but the animal type were either more rare or more mortal. While he pondered the creature before him, the box cutter disappeared back into the shell and the bizarrely ornamented turtle started making its way back towards its boot, apparently dismissing the creature behind it. “Decca?”
The spike wavered as the turtle looked back, “Yeah mate?”
“Would you care to accompany me?”
The outlandish turtle seemed to be considering the request carefully, a thoughtful look on its scaled face, “Aye, that might be a treat. Grab me boot.” With that the turtle turned back to the man and waited expectantly as the boot was dutifully stashed in luggage.