|The Seven Sleepers||4|
‘m sorry Carmen, but he has to go.”
Carmen hugged Grimalkin closer to her chest and he mewled.
“Your pere and I -” Evelyn Carmichael went on.
“He wouldn’t have anything to do with this!” Carmen said. “It’s only you who cares.”
“I wish that were so.” Her voice shook. “There are others who -”
“Why can’t they mind their own business?”
“Carmen, you’re twelve years old. It’s time to grow up and show some responsibility.”
“Maybe I don’t want to grow up. If growing up means – betraying everyone you care about. Grim never hurt anybody. He’s my -” She was about to say best friend, but realising that this would play into her mere’s hands she finished weakly with “- fel.”
“In this house you’ll do as you’re told.”
“So you want me to take responsibility, but do as I’m told like a little kid.”
“Carmen, use your head. There are people – even in our own family. Anyone with a familiar is going to be investigated.”
“He’s not a familiar! He’s just a fel!”
“And do you think that will satisfy them?”
“Nobody’s taking Grim away from me,” Carmen said, her voice thickening. She raced out of the kitchen with Grim in her arms, not wanting to cry in front of her mere and then be comforted, for that would mean defeat. She stormed through the house, blinded by tears, paying no attention to where she was going.
(I won’t let them take you)
she said to Grim, though her mouth didn’t move and she made no sound.
came Grim’s thought. It wasn’t like a voice in her head, and she didn’t hear words. It was a feeling, a sense. It wafted over the raw edge of her consciousness, like the smell of smoke from a distant chimney. It came from outside. She had tried to communicate in this way with other animals, but it seemed to frighten them – though once she had passed a carthorse that had turned its head and asked politely if she, by any chance, had any sugar cubes about her person. She had never told Grim about the horse. It would have made him terribly jealous.