Perhaps you have heard our Story, Katie and the Witch’s Swap, in which Katie swapped identities with her friend Isis for one day. This is another swap story, only with a BIG difference – this time Katie swaps with her cat, Solomon. Katie soon realises that she has done a very foolish and dangerous spell – one that might be impossible to reverse.
Hello, this is Natasha, and I’m here with a story about Katie the Witch. You may have heard an older story we have on Storynory called ‘Katie and the Witch’s Swap,’ in which Katie swapped identities with her best friend Isis. Well this is a different kind of swap story – one which proved far more dangerous for Katie. There’s a lot to tell, and it’s in two parts.
One morning, Katie sat in front of her dressing table, and fought with her hair. It was a painful battle, as her locks always grew into thick tangly knots, and made her look far too witchy for her liking.
Her cat, Solomon, stretched himself on the bed, yawned, and said: “I don’t know why you bother struggling with that comb. You always look like you have been dragged through a bush backwards, whatever you do.”
“Thank you, Solomon,” said Katie. “You say the sweetest things.”
“Well I don’t say much, but at least I give you the truth.”
“As it happens, you’re not supposed to say anything at all,” replied Katie.
It was so infuriating that she had to put up with all those catty comments. Once she had put a talking spell on Solomon, but he caused so much trouble that she had to reverse it. The Silence Spell had worked for a while, but it had worn off. You see, even though it’s a simple matter for witches to put toothpaste back into a tube, unfortunately, they often find it quite hard to undo their own magic.
“And if I were you,” added Solomon, in between licking his paw, “I wouldn’t go telling Isis that you are seeing Paul on Friday. She’s jealous you know. But I am sure you will spill the full story, because you’re a blabbermouth, and you can never keep a secret.”
Katie was indignant. She put her hands on her hips and said:
“You’re pretty smart, Solomon – for a cat – is there anything you don’t know?”
“I don’t claim to be omniscient.”
“It’s all very well for you to criticise. If you were me, you would find that life in my world isn’t quite as simple as being a pet.”
“On the contrary,” replied Solomon. “It is the greatest good fortune to be incarnated as a human. And even better to have magical powers. If I truly was in your shoes, just for one day, I would sort out all your problems.”
“Problems? I don’t have problems.”
“Then why aren’t you more popular, Katie?” said Solomon. And he sprang off the bed and went to scratch and meow at Mum’s door, so that she would wake up and give him his breakfast.
“Ouch! Why are cats so spiteful?” Katie thought later, as she left for school, feeling annoyed with her witchy hair.
The day turned out to be a disaster. Paul texted to postpone their outing on Friday. She wondered if he had found someone else to see. She even considered if it might be Isis. And then she realised that she had left home in such a flustered state, that she had forgotten to bring her French homework. As it turned out, the teacher let her off with a warning, but she was so downcast, that she did not even feel happy to have escaped detention. At lunchtime, Isis asked:
“Is there anything wrong Katie?” And Katie snapped: “And just what are you saying is wrong with me?”
“I was only asking,” said her best friend, and strutted off. Katie spent the whole lunch break walking around the edge of the hockey field on her own.
That evening, she went up to her bedroom, lay face down on her bed and buried her face in her pillow. She heard a catty voice ask:
“Another triumph today at school?”
“Alright”, said Katie, sitting up suddenly, “have it your way. Try being me for a day.”
“Gladly” replied her pet.
“In the morning, we’ll swap right? See how you like being me. It will be simply wonderful.”
“And I’ll stay at home and lie in front of the radiator all day. But please, don’t molt your hairs on my mat,” said Solomon.
“And in the evening, we’ll change back and exchange notes about how much we liked being each other…. you have to be honest right? Only the truth.”
“Fine,” said Solomon, “only let’s change back after supper. I want to see how much you like eating cat food.”
The next morning, Katie spent a very long time in the bathroom, manicuring her nails, painting them pink, plucking her eyebrows, smoothing down her hair, and using, moisturiser, defoliator, and other beauty treatments. Her mum was knocking on the door saying:
“Katie, it’s time to go to school!”
Only, little did she know, it wasn’t Katie, of course, it was Solomon, inside Katie’s body.
Katie, on the other hand, was in the kitchen, munching on biscuits that tasted of dried fish.
Solomon sat silently in the car as Mum drove to school. Mum thought: “Something’s up. I think she must be in love.”
At school, before class, Solomon tided up Katie’s desk, and put all her notebooks in alphabetical order.
Meanwhile, Isis was staring at the girl whom she thought was her slightly geeky but lovable best friend.
“Suddenly, she’s quite different,” she thought, “calm and together… well groomed… What’s happened to Katie?”
After Geography, Isis said to Solomon: “Hey Katie, love your pink nails. Can I take a closer look?”
Painted nails were actually against the school rules, but so far Miss Vile had not noticed. While Solomon was showing Katie’s hand to Isis, Samantha asked: “Who are you seeing after school Katie?” And Solomon replied:
“None of your business, mouse-face.”
Samantha was taken-aback. “Who are you calling mouse-face?” she asked.
“You!” said Solomon. And he scratched her on the nose. Samantha screeched and Solomon spat out: “That’s to teach you to keep your whiskers out of my affairs, see.”
Everyone was shocked, and not the least bit surprised when Miss Vile came into the room and said: “Katie, why are your nails painted pink? You must report for same- day detention this evening.”
Solomon shrugged Katie’s shoulders, in a whatever kind of way, and Miss Vile nearly gave Katie another detention, but wasn’t quite sure what to write down on the report, and so held back. “That girl gets stranger and stranger,” she thought to herself.
Normally, the lesson that Katie hated most was PE. Today, Solomon made Katie’s body arch and stretch and curl like a cat’s. Everyone was amazed to see her spring over a vaulting horse and do a somersault on the other side. That won kudos.
The school cook, with her usual imagination and flare, produced fish fingers for lunch, which suited Solomon just fine. Isis sat across the table and said: “Will you come over early on Saturday and help me decorate the cupcakes?” You see, Isis was holding one of her famous parties, and Katie always loved to help her get ready for the guests.
Solomon stared through Katie’s eyes at Isis for a long while, like she had said something really weird, before asking:
“What’s in it for me?”
“What’s in it for you? I mean you’re my friend, aren’t you?”
“I can’t put friendship in my stomach,” said Solomon, before getting up to fetch another plate of fish fingers.
That evening, when the quarter-to-four bell rang, the kids evacuated the school as swiftly as if there was a fire. Miss Vile was standing on the door. She exclaimed:
“Katie, where are you off to? Don’t you remember you have to report for detention?”
And Solomon replied, in a somewhat insolent tone: “If you say so, Miss Vile.” Miss Vile thought that Katie was acting so strangely that she escorted her in person up to the library and handed her over to Mr Philpox who was in charge of the miscreants that day. She whispered to him:
“Keep a close eye on this one. She’s behaving very oddly.”
But Mr Philpox had no inkling just how oddly Katie was actually behaving. His eyes were fixed on a pile of papers that he was marking. Katie was sitting at the back of the room, behind everybody else. The teacher did not see her get up from her desk, climb out of the window, and leap onto the branch of the tree. She accomplished it so silently that nobody else noticed either. When, at half past four, he eventually looked up from his marking and said – “Alright you lot, you’re released now” – he felt that he had forgotten something, or perhaps the room was different, but he could not quite say what it was. The kids were out the door in a trice, and he never did realise that one of them had slipped away earlier.
The real Katie had enjoyed a lovely day in the body of a cat. She had tried to climb a tree, but found it wasn’t quite so easy as it looked, and decided to lie instead in the long grass. A robin hopped past, and when he suddenly noticed the velvety ears of a cat behind the bush, he started to flap and to panic.
“Don’t be afraid,” said Katie. It was so strange to hear her voice sounding just like Solomon’s. The Robin did not hang around to chat. He fluttered away. She did not want to frighten any more innocent garden birds, and so went inside and curled up inside the airing cupboard.
That evening, when Mum opened the Kitty-Chunks, Katie wined piteously and rubbed Solomon’s cat-body up against Mum’s legs.
“Aren’t you feeling well?” asked Mum. And Katie looked up at her with green eyes.
“Would you like some yoghurt?”
“And cottage cheese?”
Katie purred even louder. And so dinner was not one bit disgusting after all.
After lapping it up with a rough tongue, Katie padded up to her room, where Solomon was stretched out on her bed listening to violin music by Paganini.
“How was your day?” asked Katie – still feeling disconcerted by Solomon’s voice coming out of her mouth.
“Oh purrrrrr-fect” replied the cat, in Katie’s voice, only sounding a little bit feline. “I particularly appreciated eating your rice pudding for supper this evening.”
“And school?” asked Katie, sounding like Solomon, and wondering how much Solomon had enjoyed lessons.
“Oh, I sorted out some of your problems… I dare say that little rat Samantha won’t bother you again, and your so called best friend Isis won’t take advantage of your good nature in future.”
“Does she take advantage of me?” asked Katie bewildered.
“Not any more,” replied Solomon.
Katie felt distinctly worried. What had Solomon done to Isis?
“Okay,” she said firmly, “It’s time to swap back.”
“Tomorrow,” said Solomon.
“But we agreed today after dinner.”
“Did we?” said Solomon. “Since I became you, I have been so terribly forgetful.”
“Listen Cat,” said Katie jumping up onto her own body, which was very strange, and looking into her own face:
“You aren’t going to double cross me are you?”
“Double Cross?” said Solomon. “I’m doing you a favour. I’m making a great job of being you. Far better than you ever did.”
“But you can’t do this!” exclaimed Katie – her voice coming out as a pained meow.
“Try me,” said Solomon.
This was a right fix. There was nothing Katie could achieve without help. She needed Solomon to say the reverse spell in her own voice. She could go and see her mother – but then she would have to admit that she had done a very silly and dangerous spell – and perhaps – this was the worst part – even her mother might not be able to undo it. It’s a security thing, you see. These days, most witches’ spells have built-in voice recognition, so that only the witch who made a charm can reverse it.
“What now?” thought Katie. “Am I to be stuck as a cat forever?”
She was clutching to a straw of hope. Perhaps Solomon might keep his word the following evening? Perhaps, but then probably not, thought Katie despondently.
Well it was worth waiting another day, all the same, before admitting what she had done to her mum. In the meantime she had to know what trouble Solomon was causing in her name at school. What did Solomon mean when he said that Isis and Samantha would not bother her again? What had he done to them. She had to know.
And that was the first part of Katie and the Cat Swap. If you’re as keen as I am to know what happened next, drop by soon at Storynory.com and listen to the second part. For now, from me, Natasha,