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Dorothy J. Heydt

The sizzling noise was getting louder. The santana must be getting worse. It sounded like static on the tube, or on the radio---but they were both turned off. Cripes! Had the static grown strong enough to foul up the electrical system? Clock, computer, coffeemaker---

A window must have blown open, or broken; there was a dust devil forming in the middle of the room. Picking up grains of dust and filaments of cat fur (the place did need sweeping badly), it swirled sand-colored in the air and drew into itself and took form.

It was a cat, and it was the same sandy golden-beige as Rhadamanthos. There the resemblance ended. This was a cat the size of a Great Dane, with massive forepaws and long forelegs that gave it a topheavy look; its slender hindquarters were crowned with not much more tail than a bobcat's. Its short-maned head turned from side to side; its tufted ears angled backward and forward to listen. Its pink nose sniffed the dry air, its golden eyes blinked, and the great mouth opened in a great feline yawn, exposing two long fangs like six-inch daggers.

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