Zoe reached down, stroking Danu as the cat inched closer to her, staring with wide eyes up at Trent. Zoe half-turned her head to look at him. "You can understand her?"
"Of course," he chuckled, shaking his head.
"Good," she sighed. "Then I'm not going crazy. Please, in here..."
She gestured to the living room and he followed her in, sitting on one of the armchairs while she sat on the end of the sofa. Danu leapt up, stretching herself across the arm next to Zoe as she did so. Zoe glanced at Trent, who took a deep breath.
"Wait..." Zoe raised a hand, stopping him before he said anything. "What did you mean by you can help? And why the hell aren't you pushing me to see someone about this? Or locking me up in the nuthouse yourself? You seem awfully accepting of all this, Trent."
He nodded, flashing her a grin as he leant back in the chair, allowing it to envelop him. "Because, my dear Zoe, me arriving on that day was not a coincidence. Your friend getting the promotion, me ending up sitting next to you...and your so-called ability to write the future..."
"It's true," she cut in. "I do. Or, well, what I write comes true, anyway." She glanced at Danu who nodded, eagerly backing up her owner's words.
"Yes, well...it's not an ability, Zoe. Come on, girl! Who would really believe they could write the future?"
"I..." Zoe stuttered, glancing at Danu. The cat crawled around her owner's leg, meowing as she glanced up at the woman. "But...it's true...everything I write..."
"Comes true, yes, yes," Trent muttered, shaking his head. "But don't you get it, Zoe? It's not that, not exactly. What about those...black-outs you've been having? Where you can't remember it but..."
"But I've written something coming true?" she replied. "How did you know about that?"
"I don't trust him," Danu hissed, eyes fixed on Trent. Zoe reached down, stroking the cat's neck as she looked at the man. He was grinning, a wide smile plastered across his handsome face.
"I don't understand," she whispered. "What is going on?"
"You write something, a catalyst causes it to happen. Does that make sense?"
Trent groaned, rolling his eyes as he ran a hand through his hair. "Once every decade, a human believes, fully, that they can predict the future. And it seems they can. It used to be through Gods, or through nature. Then crystal balls and tarot cards. They never stop to think that maybe, just maybe, it's not them, but some outside force. The oracle at Delphi wasn't talking to the Gods; she was talking to me, Zoe. She asked what the future would bring, and I told her. Then made sure it happened."
"That's impossible," Zoe muttered, before bursting out into laughter. "Yeah, good one, Trent. What, you're a caveman or something? The Man from Earth?"
Trent rolled his eyes. "I am more than just an idea, or musings, Zoe. You don't get it, do you? You wrote, I made it happen. I can do extraordinary things, you know."
"Then why were you surprised when Danu talked?" she snapped, growing annoyed at his game.
"Because it isn't always me directly," he sighed, leaning his head on his hand and his arm on the edge of the chair. "There's some, well, I guess you would call it magic, lingering around you, an after-effect of what I used originally. When you write something, that comes into force if I am not near. Hence, your talking cat."
"Right," she drawled, glancing at Danu. The cat was silent, still looking at the man with hostile eyes. "Yeah, that makes complete and utter sense. And the blackout stuff..."
"Ah, now that is interesting," he chuckled. "Basically, Zoe, you started using it for your own means. You became selfish, I suppose."
"I tried to make Debs happy," she whimpered, fingers wrapped in Danu's fur.
"You tried to make her your friend again," he chuckled. "You tried to manipulate real people, you forced feelings that weren't there. And you didn't think that was wrong? Of course it would turn out badly."
"I need to help her..." she whispered, eyes wide as sweat rolled down her neck.
"It's too late," he laughed. "It's too late, Zoe."
"You said you did this all the time..."
He stood up, nodding. "Those who don't try to force it, they are the ones who gain fame through predicting the future. You hear of them now, still. No matter how long ago they were alive. You, Zoe, like many, many others before you...well, you'll drift into obscurity. You'll die alone, plagued by what you have done. Don't you understand, Zoe? This gift inflicted on you...if you had let it develop naturally, you really could have predicted the future."
Zoe stared at him as he turned and left, leaving her with the cat and as confused, as lost as she had been in the hospital. Danu turned to her, opening her mouth as she did so.
The cat let out a meow as Zoe began to cry.