Callie woke from the same dream again—something huge, unknown and dark following her, getting ever closer. In the dream, she ran and ran, until she came to a door where a little cat sat with a golden key in its mouth.
“Help,” Callie said.
“When you’re ready,” the cat replied.
Callie shook off the dream and got ready for work. She hated her job, but it paid the bills.
“Stop daydreaming,” Callie’s boss said. “I don’t pay you to daydream.” Callie sighed and went back to her work. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was missing something. That there was more to life than this.
On her walk home, it started to pour. Callie searched for shelter and ducked into a narrow doorway. The rain hissed and pounded just beyond her toes. She leaned against the door, dripping and defeated.
“I’m so ready for this to be over,” she said. She looked down as something brushed against her leg. It was a cat, wet and hunched. She bent to pet it. It regarded her with bright yellow eyes before coughing on her shoes and darting away. Callie winced, expecting cat vomit. There was only a key.
She picked it up and turned, wondering. Yes—she knew this door. She tried the key, but it was already open. There were only stairs, so she climbed them. They went up and up, like a tower, until they reached a small room at the top. In the room was a table. On the table, a book and a mirror. On the far wall, a door.
“What do I do?” Callie asked.
“Choose,” said the cat. Callie touched the mirror and ruffled the book. But she’d never dreamed them. So she slid the golden key into the door and stepped through it.
Outside, a cat with yellow eyes hunched in an empty alcove to keep out of the rain.