“Ari, you’re glowing,” he warned as he trotted alongside her. The girl’s eyes widened as she glanced down at her hands, body, and legs. There was a yellow-hued aura emanating from within her. In daylight, it was difficult for most people to notice. Ariana stopped walking, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her companion looked around, feeling anxious. In seconds the glow faded, and Ariana opened her eyes.
“Thanks,” she said, looking down at the black cat. “I didn’t notice.”
“You have to be more careful, Ari,” the cat replied with a sigh. “Other people might not notice, but you’re like a lighthouse beacon to anything in the Shadows. It’s a good thing I was here to walk you home today,” he added.
“Would you stop chiding me?” Ariana hissed. “Do you know what people would think if they saw me talking to a stray cat?”
“Cats are everywhere in this dimension. This form is inconspicuous. And I have witnessed plenty of humans talking to cats here.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s normal,” Ariana replied, giggling. “Besides … it’s still daylight out. You don’t have to walk me home from school all the time. You said yourself that I’m safe from them in daylight.”
The cat stepped out in front of her. “They can’t come out, yes, but they can see you, Ari. They can sense you, and smell you, and don’t think they won’t cling to your scent until the sun sets.”
“But then I’ve got you to protect me,” Ariana said. Kneeling down, she scooped the black cat up into her arms. He wasn’t a cat, not really. From what Ariana understood, he was like a spirit in the form of a cat. Shadows that bled into this dimension couldn’t touch his. He said that Ariana had a bit of spirit inside of her. But since she didn’t understand it much, she couldn’t protect herself the way he could.
Hugging the cat close, she stood up and began walking again. He might not be a real cat, but he was still soft and warm.
“Then let me protect you, no matter the time of day,” he said, watching the sidewalk pass them by. “Is it so terrible walking home with me at your side?”
Ariana smiled and shook her head. “No, it’s not.”