My heart pounded with a ferocity I couldn't remember, my blood beating drum-like against my skill. I was so, so careful not to make any noise as I tiptoed down from my room, tentatively testing each step for creaks before I gingerly leant on it. Mama and Papa were perfectly fair… but they were very strict with bedtimes.

I had spent what seemed like hours mulling over the decision, but my poor, seven-year-old throat was far too dry; I desperately craved a glass of water.

Apparently, though, I was not alone. The living room was humming with the buzz of frantic but low-volume conversation (or argument, I remember thinking).

I pressed my ear against the door. It took some time for the murmuring to take on any kind of auditory shape - until the anchor of one, clear, familiar word graces ones ea, the general impression of the words which fall from the lips on whom eaves are dropped is utter gibberish. Soon, though, I could make out three distinct voices: Mama's fairly sharp squeaks; Papa's low and fuzzy rumble; and a third, female, brisk, with the air one of whose every action has clear intention - this tone I couldn't identify.

'Her abilities are becoming apparent,' the stranger said. 'Sooner or later people will start to notice them and then she'll find them herself.'

Mama squawked. No better way to express the sound.

'You mean well, I'm sure, Larafah.' Papa's voice soothed me. I had such an odd, unsettled feeling about this…

'Yes,' Mama interjected. I could almost see her gesture to Papa to continue; her useless remark would have annoyed him. I nearly laughed.

'But I, for one, have noticed nothing,' he finished, his pattern of speech clearly signalling an end to what he had to say.

'Mr Henry,' Larafah said impatiently, 'you and your wife both knew of the implications of the adoption. Myrijana was always a risk, and round here…' She trailed off suggestively.

They were talking about me. Me.

'You said… you said that it probably…' Mama sounded like she was chewing toffee, and her words ran into each other clumsily.

'You said that it would probably be much sooner, Larafah. Before she had time to get a hold of herself, find her bearings. But five years! Five years. I don't care if she's in any danger - we'll move. Do you have any idea what this could do to the poor girl?' Papa fumed. This unnerved me; he was never, ever angry. Besides, they were talking about me.


I jumped. Literally. Thankfully, however, I landed softly - the conversation just hummed on. Now though, I couldn't hear them cleary; my concentration was well and truly diverted.

"Myrijana," Leonardo silked. He wasn't really speaking, of course - he was a cat - he was just… communicating something. It's difficult to comprehend the distinction, I know. The best way to describe it that I can dream up is a comparison between water and music. Both can flow, but only one is solid; the other is more of a concept, something that somebody somewhere can interpret in their own abstract way. My interpretation just always happened to be accurate, the intended meaning found.

As for his "silking"… it's merely my substituted verb. It doesn't describe the sound - there isn't really a sound, it's not that akin to music - but the general feeling. Sometimes an animal can feel rough, or even colourful (dogs are rarely anything but purple in all its glorious variety of shades). It doesn't necessarily correspond to the personality of the speaker, as I learnt later, but more to their general mindset. Usually they are parallel operatives; you can understand (I hope) my befuddlement.

"Myrijana," he silked, "eavesdropping is a habit of spies."

"Hush!" I communicated in return (again, I never spoke). "They're…"

"…speaking of you. I know." The cat wound himself through my legs. "This is not Larafah's first visit. Myrijana-"

Leonardo was cut short. That was the last thing I heard, and he was the last thing I saw. The door flew open; I was knocked to the ground. The darkness of the hallway became intrusive, creeping in at the edges of my peripheral vision - I was quite soon unconscious.

A/N: They get longer after this, I promise. Please, give me all your criticisms, I'm not averse to taking some punishment. As long as it's constructive it'll just help me get better. And I have a real passion for this story, I want it to be the best it can be.