Cats Do Have Their Uses
by Jan Wiles
circa October 1996
Nick wearily flew into the loft with Natalie in his arms, having failed
to catch their prey. Dispiritedly, she tossed the stake in the corner.
"Sorry about losing Lacroix like that, Nat," Nick apologized.
"Unfortunately, flight speed is another one of those things that
increases with age," he sighed.
Natalie reassured him, "It's OK, Nick, I know you really tried.
The sun's coming up soon, though, and it won't do poor Sidney any
good for *you* to wind up as a crispy critter! Lacroix, now..."
Her eyes gleamed with malice as she imagined the master vampire
incinerated by the sunrise. Then she thought of something else.
"I'd better get home, fast. I don't know how quickly Sidney will
get hungry again, and I don't want him to go hunting - even in
the building. He might not stick to mice!"
Nick shuddered at the thought of a vampire cat hunting. "Go
ahead - but only if you're sure he won't hurt you." He sounded
"I'm sure it'll be all right, Nick. He didn't try to earlier,"
Natalie hastened to reassure him. "All I have to do is feed him
on a regular schedule, and things should be all right. Um...if
you don't mind...would you come over later and advise me on a few
things?" she pleaded.
"Just what sort of blood Lacroix put in the fridge; how to get a
regular supply of it; what to do to keep Sidney from breaking out
to stalk the neighborhood poodles..." Natalie listed her
Nick said, hesitantly, "Nat, don't you think it might be better
to give Sidney a merciful death? There's so much potential for
"NO! How can you say that?!?" Natalie exploded. "He may have a
terrible problem, but he's still my cat and I still love him!
How would you like it if I suggested giving you a 'merciful
Nick backed down, quickly. "All right, all right, I'm sorry!
It's just...Nat, I never told you this, but around the turn of
the century I owned a dog, myself. His name was Raleigh and he
was a Rottweiler. He was a wonderful companion, until Lacroix
did the same thing to him as he did to Sidney. Raleigh couldn't
control the bloodlust, poor thing. He started killing people -
and I had to stake him."
"Oh, Nick, I'm so sorry!" Natalie calmed down immediately. "I
just can't bring myself to kill Sidney without even *trying* to
see if I can make it work, though. If...if I see ANY signs that
he's becoming dangerous, I'll call you right away, and you can do
what you think is necessary. Will that do?"
"I guess it'll have to," responded Nick. "Go on home, I'll see
you this evening, OK?"
Natalie was already thinking about Sidney again. "See ya, Nick,"
she said in a distracted tone, as she boarded the elevator.
When Natalie entered her apartment, Sidney was waiting patiently
for her, despite the hunger shown by his glowing, yellow eyes.
Natalie immediately set about the task of feeding him. It was
easier than last time, as she knew more about the quantity of
blood he needed. When she finished serving Sidney's meal, she
sealed the curtains tightly, and headed off to sleep.
As soon as she was in bed, Sidney leaped up beside her and
cuddled close. Again, she was reminded of his changed state when
she felt the unnatural coolness of his body. Nonetheless, she
reached out to stroke the soft fur. "I still love you, little
guy. I know this is weirder than anything else in your life, but
we'll get along, I know we will."
Sidney rubbed the side of his head against her hand, and purred
as if in agreement. Natalie was finally able to relax enough to
Nick wandered around the loft, too restless and angry to sleep.
'Dammit, Lacroix, how could you do this to her?' he thought. 'Do
you have any idea how dangerous this little game is? The
Enforcers would have a field day with this if they found out!'
He sat down at the piano and tried to play, but couldn't
concentrate. 'I've got to at least try to sleep or I'll be
worthless at work tonight,' he sighed to himself. He took a long
drink of the bovine blood in the fridge, then went upstairs.
Nick changed into the last pair of silk pajamas, as the others
were dirty and would be discarded. 'Have to order some more...or
actually see about cleaning these for a change,' he mused idly.
Then, he lay down and stared at the ceiling, disquieted for no
He found himself reminiscing about Raleigh. It had been so nice
to have someone who loved him without caring who or what he was;
who loved to make him happy; who never tried to manipulate him.
No, Raleigh was just *there* when needed, giving him a purity of
devotion that people weren't capable of...
Nick never knew just when he drifted into sleep, but he dreamed
of roaming the night forests with Raleigh, hunting the nocturnal
creatures for the meat the dog needed for his diet. Sometimes
they would run together, at other times they would walk, with
Nick's eyes on the stars and his hand on Raleigh's head. At
times, they would simply sit at the crest of a hill, with the
man's arm around the dog; just content to be together.
Even though it was a dream, he could practically feel the dog's
fur under his hand as he petted him. For some reason the fur
felt wrong; longer and softer than he remembered it. Nick turned
to look at Raleigh, and saw...Perry.
Nick sat bolt upright, realizing what his subconscious had been
trying to tell him. He'd never told Natalie about Perry and
Jodi, and that your own pet bring you across!
Nick shoved the dream aside as he sprang from the bed. He
realized he'd slept longer than usual, as it was now after
sunset. He dressed in a frenzy of haste, desperate to get to
Natalie's before another disaster happened. To save time, he
took to the air at his maximum speed.
Natalie was also dreaming, contentedly. She and Nick were
camping in a forest clearing, snuggling together on a blanket and
gazing up at the stars. Nick soon turned his attention to his
own personal star, and began caressing her face with his lips and
tongue. 'Mmmmm...that feels delightful,' she thought, bemused.
He began to trail kisses down her neck, sending delicious shivers
through her. The sensations changed then, becoming far less
The pain at her throat awakened her abruptly. 'What the hell?'
she wondered blearily, then realized what was happening.
Natalie fought desperately to pry the cat loose from her neck.
It was a real struggle, until Sidney abruptly relaxed and allowed
himself to be shoved away. He leaped to the floor and moved away
a little distance, then sat and waited watchfully.
'What is he waiting for?' she wondered, fearfully. 'Does he
think I'm going to let my guard down, and then he can bite me
again? I don't *think* so!'
Sidney didn't move, and Natalie relaxed a little, then paused in
bewilderment. 'Weird. It seems to be actually getting lighter
instead of darker...' She glanced at the bedside clock. 7:00
pm, well after sunset this time of year.
A possible explanation for the altered light came to mind, and
she jumped up to look in the mirror. Her own set of yellow eyes
greeted her as her worst fears were confirmed. Natalie groaned
to herself. 'Enhanced nightsight, glowing eyes...yep, I'm a
vampire. I never thought it'd happen like this...'
Sidney strolled over to wind himself around her legs contentedly.
Natalie found she could actually *feel* his happiness, his
affection for her. Despite what he'd done, she could not help
but reciprocate; he hadn't acted maliciously. She bent to stroke
his silky back, which arched into her hand as he purred.
Remembering something she'd heard Nick do, she attempted to purr
back and succeeded. She laughed in delight.
All of a sudden, Natalie found herself clutching the edge of the
dresser, curling around a gnawing pain in her stomach. 'I guess
this is First Hunger - good thing I've got blood in the fridge!'
She staggered to the kitchen, grabbed the first 'wine' bottle in
the refrigerator, uncorked it, and took a sip. She ravenously
drained it, then found herself reaching for another. She was
almost finished with that one, when she heard a groan.
Natalie looked up to see Nick standing there, horror-stricken.
"Oh, God, I'm too late," he moaned. "Nat, I'm so sorry! I
forgot about the possibility of Sidney bringing you across until
just now!' He was literally crying, confronted with one of his
Natalie quickly emptied the bottle into Sidney's dish, put it
down, then reached to hug Nick. "Nick, it'll be OK, somehow,
we'll make it OK..." They embraced for a long time, as Natalie
strove to comfort him even amidst her own shock and confusion.
She tried to cheer him up by saying, "Look at the bright side;
now I'm really motivated to find a cure! And I'll be around long
enough to succeed! It'll be easier to get the samples I need,
too..." She faltered, then said honestly, "I just hope you can
stand to be around me, now that I'm not that 'icon of mortality'
Nick looked at her, shocked. "Nat, it's *you* I love, not your
mortality! And I'll be around as much as *you* can stand!"
Natalie's mouth hung open in astonishment. "I can't believe it;
you actually said it!"
"Said what?" Nick looked confused.
"That you love me!!!" Even as overwhelmed as she felt by being
brought across, Natalie could still exult at this.
"Yeah...I did...I...well, I guess it's not a danger to you
anymore..." That was as far as Nick got before Natalie pounced
on him, hungrily fastening her mouth to his.
When they finally broke from their soul-satisfying kiss, Natalie
saw that Nick's eyes were as yellow as she knew her own to be.
She could also tell by his expression that he was as delighted by
this particular silver lining as she was. "I'll just pour Sidney
a little more dinner, then we'll continue this somewhere more
relaxed..." she said, suggestively.
As soon as she finished pouring, Nick joyfully swept her up in
his arms and carried her towards her bedroom. Sidney looked
after them with as much smug satisfaction as a cat could express,
then bent to finish his dinner.