You sure this is gonna work, Bob?
Bob rubbed his head against Tom. I delivered the goods, didn’t I? It’ll work. He was dropping off the second gemstone, in the shape of a ring, today. Prior to that, he’d taken a necklace to the man. It was not hard getting in and out of houses and apartments in summer; humans tended to leave doors and windows open, and ripping through screens? Pffft. Easy.
Ring in his mouth, Bob darted down an alley to a recessed door at the back. A bell hung from the iron handle that served as a doorknob. Leaping straight up, he wrapped his front paws around the thick elastic attaching the bell to the handle and hung on, letting his weight bounce him up and down to ring the bell.
When he heard footsteps on the other side, he let go and sat beside Tom, looking up expectantly. The door opened, and a tall, thin man in jeans and a T-shirt gazed down at them with pursed lips.
“Ready then?” he asked, taking the ring from Bob’s mouth and shoving it in a pocket. They meowed. The man stepped back. “Come in.”
Bob strolled in confidently, but he knew Tom was nervous. After giving him another head butt, Bob crossed the tiled floor to the sagging couch, jumped up, and settled himself on a cushion. Tom followed, sitting beside him. It was the only piece of furniture in the small room, and it was covered with the hair of other cats. Wizard, as he liked to be called, was not much for housework, and besides, Bob knew he lived elsewhere. This was only where he worked, and then for just a few hours a week. A tiny bathroom, consisting of a toilet and sink, was tucked into one corner. A dorm fridge had been shoved into another, and next to that, a microwave rested on a rickety table. Bob sniffed the air; Wizard had recently heated and eaten a burrito.
“Let’s get the party started.” Wizard retrieved a pointed hat from a shelf and stuck it on his head. There were stars and moons on it, and Bob thought it made him look ridiculous, but he kept his mouth shut. Wizard picked up a wand and waved it dramatically in the air, smiling self-consciously. “The accouterments are part of the fun.”
Right. Shut the hell up and get on with it, Bob thought. He kneaded the couch cushion impatiently.
Wizard noticed. “Yeah, okay. Can’t say I blame you.”
Straightening, Wizard faced the cats, closed his eyes, and spoke in a language Bob had never heard before. He glanced at Tom, who looked at him apprehensively. It’ll be okay. If it wasn’t, Bob would scratch the shit out of Wizard, then shove a dead mouse down his throat. It had taken him and Tom almost two weeks to steal the gems, and they expected something in return.
Light swirls appeared out of nowhere and circled the cats. They sat up, the fur on the back of their necks rising. Bob slipped a paw around Tom, holding him as much for his sake as Bob’s.
Wizard’s chanting grew louder and faster, and the light around them became a wall of white fire that gave off no heat. With a final flourish of his wand, Wizard yelled a last word and Bob and Tom, the cats, became Bob and Tom, the humans.
Bob untangled himself from Tom and slowly stood. He felt like he might collapse, his legs were so weak. He turned to Tom, who had fallen across half the couch during the transition and was struggling to get to his feet.
Bob offered him a hand. “You’re still the most beautiful man I ever met.” Tom’s black hair and bright blue eyes were sexy as hell. He’d been a beautiful cat, but Bob preferred him with two legs, not four. “As soon as we get home, I’ll prove it to you.”
Tom smiled and let Bob pull him upright. “Can’t wait.” He wobbled and laughed. “I feel–dare I say it?–weak as a kitten.”
They hung on each other, skin to skin, while their strength quickly returned. Wizard put his hat and wand back on the shelf, then dug around in a cardboard box on the floor. “This’ll work… no, this size is better.” He tossed two pairs of jeans and two white T-shirts at them. Bob and Tom dressed with shaking hands. “I fixed it so Cyril can’t change you back. Fuck that fucking fucker. He thinks he can get rid of all the gay men by changing them into cats?” Wizard snorted. “Not while I’m around.”
Bob reached for Tom’s hand. “We ran into two other people who’d been turned and sent them here.”
“Met them yesterday. As long as enchanted cats keep talking to each other, they’ll find their way to me.” Wizard walked them to the door, gave them a hug, and saw them out into the alley. “Before you go… what do you prefer, cat or human?”
Bob chuckled and stroked Tom’s shapely ass. “Is there any doubt? Thanks for giving us back our lives.”
“Thanks for the gems,” he said and grinned. After they left, Wizard knelt at the back of the couch and looked into the shadows between it and the wall. “You can come out now, sweetie. They’re gone.”
A black cat with yellow eyes crept toward him, and he picked it up, cradling it. Oliver didn’t like being around humans who’d been turned into cats. They made him uneasy.
Turning out the lights, Wizard put Oliver on his shoulder, locked up, and went down the alley to the sidewalk. He was turning the corner when he was hit in the chest with a blast of vibrant white light. Oliver screamed and dropped to the ground. Wizard caught a glimpse of a man in a gray suit and tie with a sardonic grin on his face.
“Hope you like mice,” Cyril said and laughed.
Wizard blinked once, twice, and was suddenly looking at the street from cat height. Shit, I hate when he does that. Second time this month, plus he needs new material. That mouse joke was old a couple months ago. He licked a few hairs straight on his furry shoulder, then looked around. Oliver? Oh, there you are. The black cat was cowering under a parked car. Being a magician’s familiar wasn’t an easy job. Let’s go.
He trotted down the street, Oliver trailing him by about a foot. Once we get home, you can help change me back. I swear, next time I’m transforming that fucker into a monkey and putting him in the zoo. He glanced back over his shoulder. Keep up, Oliver. We have work to do.
Oliver meowed and moved marginally faster.
Genre: sorcery and magic
Word count: 1142
Read other flash fics here.