The black cat crossed my path on purpose. I scowled down at it. Would it still count as bad luck if the beast was just messing with me? Amber eyes blinked up from the sidewalk. The kitty had been lounging beside the car in the next parking space, but when I tried to open my door it had stood, sauntered directly into my path and laid down there instead. Did it count if kitty wore a cutesy red bandanna and matching harness?
“Are you coming, Karin?” Steph already stood outside the driver’s door. She’d managed to leave the vehicle without supernatural interference, and now she leaned back in through the window, her auburn hair glinting in the last rays of August sunshine. Her round face crinkled into a grimace. “I have to pee.”
“Go ahead. I’ll catch up.” I watched my roommate bound away and cringed. I had to go too. We’d been in the car for over an hour and I’d polished off my water bottle a few miles back. Outside my window, the cat yawned, exposing needle teeth and a scratchy pink tongue. “Hey there, kitty.”
I pulled the lever on the van’s door and pushed the panel as far as I could without bumping the stupid cat. It yawned again then blinked and stared. Ridiculous. A cat on a leash had trapped me in the car at the only rest stop for another twenty minutes easy. I’d never make it that far. Too much water and road behind me. I sighed and made a soft hissing noise through the opening.
The cat didn’t budge, but the sound got its owner’s attention. A skinny redhead wearing yoga pants held the other end of the cat’s leash. She stood as far away as possible, chatting with the man in the car on the far side of her Volvo. When I hissed, she turned my way and the flat crystal around her neck sparkled.
We’d probably been at the same event. Everything about the cat’s owner looked like she’d fit in at a psychic fair far better than I had. This was my punishment for going, sitting here until my bladder exploded while psychic kitty and his mommy held me hostage. The woman smiled at me, then dropped her eyes to the sidewalk and frowned, tugging the cat’s leash gently and making a similar noise to tempt His Majesty away from Steph’s mini-van.
The black coat shimmered when he finally stood up. He wasn’t finished torturing me, though. His spine curved and he reached out for a nice long stretch, staring at me with his huge eyes and laughing his internal, kitty laugh while I fidgeted against the seat. At last, when he’d tired of my torment, he turned and walked as slowly as possible away from my door.
I popped out of the vehicle like a cork and sidled between the van and the woman’s Volvo. A second black cat stared out from the front seat. This one wore a pink collar and a tiny, feminine bow around her neck. Unbelievable. We’d stopped at the rest area version of the Twilight Zone in the middle of Washington State. Somehow, the Seattle psychic fair had knocked us through a metaphysical vortex and the weirdness had tried to follow me home.