After he finished inscribing the runes in the circle, he stood and looked at the black cat standing next to him.
“This will not work.” The cat’s mouth hadn’t moved, but its voice was clear.
“Your disapproval has already been noted.”
“I am not sure that it has. You are still doing it.”
“I need to find her.”
“Yes, but this is not the way.”
“You are the most contrary familiar I know.”
“I am the only familiar you know.”
“Still. You have the image of her firmly in mind?”
Nothing but indignation came from the cat.
“Fine. We begin.”
Drawing on the runes for guidance, he began to probe the boundary between worlds to look for an opening. When he found one, he pushed on it. The hole resisted, but once he made a crack, he formed braces to maintain and widen it. Then he touched his familiar’s mind and found the picture of his friend. Placing it before the opening, he began drawing energy through the hole and focusing it into the image. If he was right, this should draw her to him, pulled by the force of her likeness.
The flow of energy crackled in the air around him as the temperature of the air rose. He felt like he might explode from the raw power and tried to shunt it away even while drawing more. Abruptly, the image disappeared with a loud bang, and the spell collapsed.
“What happened?” His breathing was ragged. Looking down, he saw his familiar had collapsed. For a moment, he couldn’t detect any sign of life, then he noticed a slight rise and fall in the cat’s side.
“I . . . I told you it would not work.”
“Quiet.” He immediately dropped to his knees to try to determine the nature and severity of the injuries, but there was too much residual energy interfering with his magical senses. “Can you tell how bad it is?”
“Shall I answer the question? Or stay quiet?”
“It can’t be too bad if you can still make jokes.”
“It is bad. But I will live. Get me away from here.”
Gently, he picked the cat up and carried it to the next room. After laying it down on some cushions, he asked, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes. Next time, listen to me.”