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The cat with many names became Creature. Over the years she grew comfortably corpulent. She was content, often to be found sprawled across Sitome’s ancient books or scratching herself amongst the hogwort. Wherever Sitome was, she would follow. As he wrote in his medicine book she’d sit on his desk and purr; tired after a night hunting mice in the garden she’d doze, her tail twitching, and Sitome would pause and watch her, wondering about her dreams. As he worked in the garden in the afternoons she’d chase insects, or lie stretched out in the sun.

In the evening she would sit with Sitome on the porch, but he’d no longer look down into the southern valley; instead, he looked down at Creature and stroked her belly until her purring was louder than the crickets’ hum.

On cold nights she’d forgo her hunts and sleep in Sitome’s bed. She’d jump onto him as he read by candlelight, pad in circles and settle on his chest, falling asleep to the sound of his heartbeat. Sitome would lay his book aside, place his hand on her stomach and fall sleep to the rhythm of her breath.

The villagers told stories of the treacherous ways of cats and were suspicious of her. They told Sitome she was not to be trusted, she would bring bad luck, but he only mumbled and grumbled and they soon grew accustomed to her presence. Some of the villagers developed a reluctant affection for her and they’d take her scraps of meat. That is, until Sitome disappeared.

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