Several things happened simultaneously.  The little man shed his coat with a quickness and finesse out of place on his short, sturdy form, the book “leapt” if it’s possible for a book to leap, from the case and begin flying around the room like a trapped bird, hissing at Kitty, and Mr. Boppyface jumped up onto a shelf nearby and began to groom himself rather lazily as if the whole thing was less than exciting.  The little man was still cursing under his breath as he moved into action.   He threw his coat over Kitty, covering her in the shabby, canvas fabric that smelled faintly of roses or tobacco or a bit of both. Her brain was taking it in quickly enough and she just stood there, with the heavy coat over her back cradling the bloodied arm with her good hand and thinking to herself “I’ve fallen and hit my head; I’ve died; I’m dead; I’m drugged.” What other explanation was there for seeing a flying book with hissing pages and a little man with a beard to his knees wielding, was that a sword? It was a sword.  Why did he have a sword.  And then, because really, who could stay on their feet with a hissing book flying about a room and a sword-wielding, half-pinted Viking man swirling about the room after it, she fainted.  It was quite embarrassing when she looked back on it later.  Although it wouldn’t be the last time her body and brain would betray her and leave her more vulnerable than useful. The last thing she recalled before hitting the dusty floor was seeing Mr. Boppyface up on the shelf laughing at her with his little cat teeth gleaming in the soft light of the attic.


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