Jack’s cat is a malicious thing, but no one’s noticed. Mr Muggles has a button nose and a twinkle in his left eye. He walks with a swaying feline swagger as if to tell the world, “I am here,” or perhaps, “Examine, ye, my untouchable beauty.” Only sometimes, instead of sashaying across the room, a prima donna, he jumps around and plays like a little kitten.
This is merely premeditated camouflage, an attempt to appear cute and docile.
When Mr Muggles plays it’s always with living things: a cockroach, a mouse. He plays without killing them. When he’s entranced enough, or self-satisfied enough, his guard slips and that twinkle creeps into his eye.
You might think that you’re safe, that a creature as small and cute as Jack’s Mr Muggles couldn’t play with you. But consider this: Jack has been in hospital this last week. He’d told his doctor, “I’m always tired. I’ve lost my appetite, I’m losing weight.” His doctor had said, “Son, if you look here,” and tapped on the x-ray, “that there’s a blockage.” He pointed to the glowing mass where Jack’s upper intestinal tract would have been if one could see soft tissue on an x-ray.
They cut into him to remove the blockage, a bezoar made solely of hair. A trichobezoar is usually made of long hair, but Jack’s hair is short and blonde and he swore he had never swallowed any.
He never asked why the bezoar was made of black hair, but that suits Mr Muggles just fine. When Jack comes home Mr Muggles will snuggle up to him, rub his black coat against his leg.
There’ll be a twinkle in his eye.