Kalila drifted under the door in a plume of blue smoke. She sensed the apartment was empty, but drifted from room to room, just to be sure. Where the hell was Ricky? She stretched her consciousness in search of him but found only a static of aggravation. Was he stuck in traffic? Negotiating a contract? Perhaps someone had done something to offend him.
No matter. She would wait.
She pulled herself together, swirled, and became lighter, with golden fur and white whiskers. In a single lithe movement, she leaped onto Ricky’s bed and stood for a moment, looking about with an air of feline superiority. Then she sat on her haunches and began washing herself, licking her paws and swiping them over her face and ears.
When she was groomed to her satisfaction, she stalked to the head of the bed and curled up on Ricky’s pillow. She dozed for a bit, dreaming of guitars and tuna, until her sensitive cat’s ears and powerful djinn consciousness told her he was home. She lifted her head off her paws when he entered the room, and she followed his movements with grave attention.
“You wouldn’t believe the day I had,” he told her.
She resisted the temptation to tell him she’d seen worse.
“People suck, you know that?”
Yes, she did know. But what could one expect from humans?
“Sometimes I wish…” He had been emptying his pockets, putting wallet, coins, and BlackBerry on the dresser, but now he turned and looked at her. “You really have it made.”
He sat on the bed and she climbed into his lap, purring at his touch as he buried his fingers in her thick yellow fur.
“You’re lucky to be just a cat.”
She was hardly just a cat, but this didn’t seem the time to point that out.
“No troubles, no real worries.”
Silly mortal. Of course she had worries. But right now, they didn’t seem very important.
“How about I get us something to eat and we’ll watch a little TV together?”
Kalila watched him leave the room and flicked her tail in annoyance. She didn’t think much of the kibble he put in a bowl on the floor for her each night, and she thought even less of human television shows. But Ricky’s lap was warm, his touch electric, and at least as a cat, she could enjoy him without any fear that he would misunderstand and think she actually…well, of course she didn’t love him. Djinns didn’t have such feelings.
She heard the kibble in the bowl. She would go out there and vanish it when he wasn’t looking, so he would be reassured that he was doing right by her. Poor human. It really was tough to get through the day when you were merely mortal.
She leaped to the floor, and with tail held high, sauntered from the room.