The sound was like no other.
Hlllggggh. Hlllggggh. Hlllggggh.
Once you hear a cat vomit, you cannot unhear it.
The recognition caused me to bolt upright in bed. Ironically, the second thing I heard was the muffled alarm on my phone chiming from beneath a frothy mound of blankets.
Dugo, the neighbor’s Manx, had come for a visit during the night and was now hunched over, sides contracting like an accordian, as he prepared to hack up a hairball onto my new Persian rug.
“Dugo, NO! Hang on, buddy.”
In a split second, I focused on my core, listened to the energy in the room, and let myself slide into sync with it.
Dugo responded. He crept closer, his gag reflex slowing as I directed healing energy toward him. The cranky old cat leaped onto the bed alongside me and started kneading the duvet.
I almost felt bad for not letting him release it, but instead unleashed a large dose of energy onto his stout frame. I stroked his grey fur and vowed to whip up a batch of hairball remedy as soon as I returned from my visit to the OA.
The phone alarm chimed again and this time I found it tangled in the sheet next to the tv remote. I had fallen asleep with the moving pictures on again. It was becoming a bad habit.
I shut off the alarm and then plucked the other remote off of the bedside table. I closed the full-roof skylight in the bedroom before hustling off to the bathroom to shower and dress.
Normally, I did not wear clothes that were overly feminine, but since I had been summoned by Dad, it felt like sort of a special occasion. I chose my favorite sundress with a print of tiny magenta flowers, put on just the right amount of makeup, and even curled my hair a bit before I had to leave.
Dugo walked with me to the door and headed back toward his apartment, wishing me luck with the twitch of his non-existent tail.
I gave the doorman a big smile and headed out of the building. I appreciated the fact that Dad understood my need for a penthouse of my own, especially since it is not in the OA building. I mean, I still maintain a small residence there along with my office, gallery and parlor space, but on the 33rd floor, there’s no way to take in the night sky. Dad and I might not be on the same page often, but he knows that I have to have access to the stars and planets.
There were butterflies in my stomach at the thought of meeting up with him, but several of the others had already given me a heads up on the summons.
Jobs. We needed to have them.
That was actually fine with me on one level. I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever. Being the baby with eight older sisters, you’d think I’d be spoiled, but you’d be wrong. Us Muses did not have it easy growing up.
Once I found out about the decree, I decided to establish the art gallery. I was also on track to open a healing parlor, and do some astrology and tarot just for fun. I had other balls I was juggling, but dear old Dad did not need to know about those for now. For the time being, they’d be my little secret.
I reached the OA and smoothed my hands over my dress. Cassandra, the feisty redhead, greeted me.
“Zeus is running a bit late,” she said, barely looking up from what I assumed to be his schedule flashing on her tablet. “He’ll meet you on your floor if he can, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.”
Disappointment squashed the delicate flutters in my stomach. If she noticed the change in my mood, she either did not care, or did not want to let on.
I walked past her, pressed the elevator button and wondered for the millionth time about my dad.
“And you might want to hide that tattoo when you see him,” Cassandra said.
I looked over my shoulder to find her still monitoring her tablet.
Does she have eyes in the back of her head?
I reached my hand to the back of my left shoulder and traced the small solar system etched onto my mortal’s skin. The tattoo had no color, so I wasn’t sure how Cassandra even spotted it.
The rebellious child in me wanted to make a sarcastic remark about Zeus actually spending time with me before he could see it, but I bit my tongue. Snark doesn’t always win friends.
I pressed the button for the 33rd Floor and hoped that for once, Cassandra would be wrong.