The tea was exquisite, and what is the point of being in Berlin,
Germany without trying the world renowned strudel?
Ingrid Westerstein sipped her tea and took tiny bites from her
strudel in the classical tea house that stood against the paved
road just outside of town. People had conversations in German so
she didn't bother to eavesdrop. Only Adam, who was still in
Toronto, could translate for her.
After the coffee had disappeared and the strudel
was now only crumbs, Ingrid Westerstein left. Her sharp blue eyes
darted up to the road once she was outside in the frigid cold.
She then went forward up to the street towards town.
Within twenty minutes of aimless walking, an old
woman shoved a cat in front of Ingrid, stating something in
gibberish that she couldn't understand. The woman then stuffed
the cat in Ingrid's arms which forced her to hold onto it.
"Hey!" Ingrid exclaimed. "I don't want a cat."
The old woman glared at her with eyes that scared
her out of her wits. "Take! Keep! You wish!"
Ingrid scoffed. "Wish?" The old woman
Ingrid held up the cat and looked at it intently.
Its eyes were golden and pierced right through her with thinned
pupils. Its fur was black on the back and the chest and paws were
white. After moments of staring at the cat, it meowed and pawed
at Ingrid. "I wish the cat could talk." The old woman looked at
Ingrid with disbelief as she set it down. She began to stammer
out gibberish once again while Ingrid walked away and laughed
quietly to herself.
That was pretty odd. Ingrid thought to
herself, continuing her route to town. Within another ten
minutes, she forgot about it.
Once she'd finally made it inside Berlin, someone
was speaking loudly, trying to get another person's attention. He
wouldn't stop and he kept demanding for attention. Ingrid had
assumed someone was trying to make someone notice him, but the
thing was that there were barely any other people around her.
There was only three people sitting on a bench, talking to each
other and another person walking by himself up the road. Oddly
enough, it seemed that the voice was following her also. She
looked behind her and saw no one and turned back around wondering
if it was all just in her head.
"Hey!" The voice seemed quiet yet demanding.
Ingrid then turned all the way around and looked behind her,
still seeing no one. "Down here!" She looked down and to
her shock, Ingrid had been followed by the same cat the old woman
had shoved in her face and above it all, the cat was the
Ingrid bent down to the cat and looked at him in
disbelief. "Are you the one that's talking to me?" She said to
him, extending the syllables to each word. She felt outrageously
stupid, talking to a cat.
Astonishingly, the cat made a doubtful-like
expression on its face. "Yes, I'm the one talking to you. You're
the one who wished it, right?"
Ingrid became speechless. Her eyes widened and
her mouth was agape. "I've gone crazy," she said, her expression
"You want to wish yourself back normal?" The cat
Ingrid glared at him and picked him up by
grabbing him by the scruff. "You're coming with me!"
After walking the rest of the way into Berlin
that led her to the hotel, she snuck the cat into her hotel room
and set him down on the bed. The cat looked up at her and hissed,
baring his teeth. "What was that about?"
Ingrid ignored him. "Cat's don't talk!" She paced
herself back and forth constantly, thinking of other explanations
for something like this. "This is a trick! You have a recording
or something on your back! Come here!" She grabbed him once again
and searched all around him, checking for anything that would
prove this as a trick.
"Let me go!" The cat hissed again and scratched
Ingrid's palm, forcing her to drop him. He landed on all fours.
"Just because I'm a cat doesn't mean you can treat me like that!"
Ingrid finally sat down and buried her face in
her hands. "Okay, fine. I give in," She looked up and glanced at
the cat. "What's your name?"
The cat made an unsuccessful smile. "Finally, a
reasonable question," He walked up to Ingrid's feet and looked up
at her. "Felix. What's yours?"
"Ingrid. Okay, Felix," Ingrid began. "Is there
any chance that you might, like, go away so I don't have to
suffer through the fact that I've gone crazy?"
Felix shook his head back and forth. "Nope. Not
until you give me two more wishes."
Ingrid's head picked up. "There's two more?" She
"Yep. That's how I work. You're my first
customer," he said. "Please, be specific though. I don't plan out
these wishes and I don't know how they turn out."
"Okay then," Ingrid came down to her knees on the
floor and leaned forward towards Felix. "I wish for the apartment
above the teahouse just outside of town."
"You're living here?" Felix asked, perking his
"Yeah. I want to find an apartment before Adam,
my boyfriend, meets up with me."
"Oh, okay." There was a moment of silence in the
small hotel room. "Well, we can go to the teahouse tomorrow since
it's late and see how it turned out."
A grin smeared across Ingrid's face. "Really?
"Ingrid?" Felix looked back up at Ingrid and she
looked back down.
"Yes?" She asked.
"Tell me to be a person," he demanded softly.
Felix got up and paced around the small space in
between the both of them. "I was originally a person, actually. I
was born as Felipe Vincentia in Spain. The old woman you saw who
handed me to you cursed me and made me a 'wishing cat'. I grant
three wishes per person, and unless they command me to, I can be
a person. It's kind of hard to ask someone to tell me something
like that if you can't talk and you're a cat. I've been like this
for twelve years. Don't you think it would be sort of nice to see
what it feels like to be your original self after twelve years?"
Ingrid could only nod. "Alright then. Will I
still get my one last wish though?" She asked.
Felix bobbed his head up and down. "Yes. This
won't count as a wish."
Ingrid's eyebrows rose. "Is that so?" Felix
bobbed his head again. "Okay then. Felix, you can be a human."
The two braced themselves. Ingrid squeezed her
eyes shut and Felix tensed, waiting for the worst. After minutes
of pure nothing, Ingrid opened one eye and Felix sighed. "Maybe
it didn't work…" Felix said.
"Maybe it takes a while to kick in," Ingrid said,
making a punching gesture. "Give it sometime."
Felix made a scoff. "Like you'd know." Ingrid
glared at him.
"I'm going to bed," She said, standing up and
slipping into the bathroom. "Sleep on the floor. If you start to
like…I don't know, transform or something, sleep on the couch or
go in the bathroom if it's gonna hurt."
Felix curled up into a ball on the couch. "Fine then." He shut
his eyes as Ingrid closed the door behind her into the
Ingrid sprawled out on her mattress and snored
lightly with her face buried in her pillow. She shifted under the
sheets and moaned quietly then opened her eyes and blinked.
Sighing, she then sat up in bed and glanced around the room with
tired eyes. There was no one on the couch or on the floor.
Exhaling in relief, Ingrid slipped out of bed and shuffled her
way over to the bathroom, smiling slightly. Good, she
thought. It was just a dream. Her hand gripped the
doorknob, turned it and pushed the door forward.Immediately, her
shoulders slumped and a look of disappointment and shock engulfed
Steam had covered the mirrors, the shower was
running and someone was humming in the it. Ingrid opened
her mouth to speak, yet only minutes or so later, she spoke.
A hand opened the shower curtain so that Ingrid
could peek in from the spot she was standing at. After waiting
only a couple of seconds, a head poked of it and smiled.
"Helllooooo," he said melodically.
At that moment, Ingrid jumped back, shrieked and
shut the door behind her. Inside the bathroom, she could hear
Felix guffawing his guts out. Ingrid took a moment to think and
turned around towards the door and spoke loudly. "Do you need
clothes?" She asked.
"Uh, yeah. That'd be nice," Felix responded.
Ingrid dashed over to her suitcase, opened it up
and rummaged through its contents. Finally, she pulled a pair of
boxers, jeans and a muscle shirt that belonged to Adam. She then
took them back into the bathroom and put the clothes on the sink
counter. "Thank you," Felix said, still in the shower.
"Sure," Ingrid murmured. She went back outside
and waited another twenty or thirty minutes until the door knob
turned. Ingrid stood up in attention and waited for Felix to step
out. The door creaked open and Felix stepped out in Adam's
"These are a li'tle small, Ing," he complained,
pulling at the clothes. Ingrid made a face not only because of
the complaint, but because of how unkempt Felix looked. His hair
went just past his shoulders and his face was growing a somewhat
"Ugh!" Ingrid gagged. "How old are you?
Felix shook his head back and forth. "Nah.
Ingrid shivered. "You look like you're a fifty
year old beggar. Get in here," She pushed him back into the
bathroom and grabbed her bag with the scissors and razor that she
used for Adam's haircuts in order to save money.
The two of them stepped back out of the bathroom.
Ingrid had a victorious look on her face while Felix had a
somewhat curious and surprised face. He rubbed his fingers across
his suddenly smooth face and ruffled them through his short hair.
"Uh, thanks," he said, smiling slightly.
Ingrid's smirk turned into a grin. "My pleasure.
That's the best I can do for now."
"'s fine." Felix said. "Do you want to see if you
got that apartment?"
"Yes, of course!" Ingrid had just remembered
about the wish she'd made yesterday.
"Le's go then!" He dashed out the door and she
had to run to follow up with him.
It didn't take long to get out of town while
keeping the same pace Felix was walking. "There it is!" Ingrid
pointed out to the tea house she'd been in the day before. She
began running as Felix followed behind her, still walking. She
entered the tea house and was immediately greeted by the one of
the owners who said something in German she still couldn't
"She said she's happy that you got the apartment
and hopes you enjoy it." Felix translated as he walked in, nearly
scaring Ingrid at his sudden appearance.
"Oh. Tell her that I said thank you." She said to
him. He spoke German to the grinning woman and she nodded and
replied back to him.
"She's going to escort us to it," Felix told
Ingrid. The woman walked over to the stairs in the far corner
that Ingrid had never noticed before and walked up them with her
and Felix following behind her. They reached a door and the owner
opened it with a key she'd kept in her pocket, let the two of
them in and left without saying another word.
Ingrid was yet again disappointed. The pipes were
showing on the ceiling and were rusty. It was small, with the
kitchen cramming in with the living room. Ingrid walked into the
bathroom. The toilet and the sink were so close they were
practically merged together and the shower was nearly covered in
lime and rust.
"Is this the first time you've seen the
apartment?" Felix asked, smirking.
"Did you plan this?" Ingrid growled, ignoring his
He shrugged but continued smirking. "I told you I
don't know how it works."
"It backfired, didn't it?" Her eyes were enflamed
with rage and her fists were tight. "What am I supposed to do
"Hey, it probably could've been worse!" Felix put
up his hands and took a step back.
Ingrid groaned. "Give me a moment. I need to
think." She demanded.
"Okay, fine," Felix walked towards the creaky
door. "Shout if you need me."He left and slammed the door behind
Ingrid leaned over the old and worn sink,
enraged. She never should have listened to the stupid cat or
whatever he was and she should have never listened to the old
woman. She should have just walked away. After moments of
absolute stillness in the rustic and shabby apartment, Ingrid
turned the cold water knob on the sink and took a drink from the
sink and turned it off quickly. She then sat on the ripped and
over used couch, burying her face in her hands and wondered
A loud creaking and metallic banging interrupted
Ingrid's train of thought. It was probably just the pipes. The
problem was, the creaking was getting louder and louder with each
passing second. Ingrid stood up and went to go inspect the pipes.
Nothing seemed out of place. She lightly tapped the pipes and
immediately regretted it.
The pipes cracked only slightly with water
spurting out of them in small streams but then broke in half
completely, gushing water of them. Ingrid choked and shouted
against the large amounts of water shooting onto her face. She
sprinted towards the door and pulled on the knob, trying to open
it. It was jammed. Ingrid screeched and banged on the door
continuously. "Open the door!" She cried. No response. Where were
the people downstairs?
Within only minutes, the water was up to Ingrid's
waist. The door obviously wasn't the way out. She half swam, half
walked over to the two windows that could possibly lead to her
escape. They were also jammed. She peered out the window with
panicked eyes to see if anyone was out there. The entire road was
practically deserted. She repeated the same tactic with the door.
The water was now up to her mid-chest. Ingrid
obviously couldn't fight in this situation, so she decided to go
with flight. There was a vent in the wooden floor that would most
likely be big enough for her to fit in. She went under the water
and swam towards the vent and opened it up. It took too long and
she came back up for air but went back down and tried again. This
time, it worked. For one last time, she came back up on the
surface, through the vent plating to the side and swam into it.
Luckily, it was just large enough to fit her body through it.
Unfortunately, water was running down and it was building up on
the bottom. She was soon engulfed in water in the tiny vents. How
long would it be until she ran out of air?
It wasn't long until it finally happened. Her
chest felt extraordinarily tight and her throat burned for air.
She began to move around faster, hoping to reach an end soon. The
end wasn't coming as soon as she wanted, and she began to panic
even more. She began banging and kicking against the walls of the
vents, screaming in the throat. At last, she took a involuntary
breath and began choking massively but continued hitting the
walls. All of the sudden the bottom gave way and Ingrid crashed
down into a warm room, but didn't land softly against the
hardwood floor. She coughed and gagged continuously. She then saw
a pair of feet in front of her and looked up.
"You shouted," Felix said.
"You!" She groaned, getting up on her feet. "You
did this to me!"
"I'm sorry!" Felix whined. "I didn't mean it!"
Ingrid tried breathing steadily. "Where are we?
Why are you here?"
"The boiler room. I was waiting here, and looked
who popped in! Why're you all wet?"
"I'll tell you why I'm wet!" She screeched.
"You're apartment exploded water on me, I had to crawl and swim
and choke my way through a vent since there was no other way of
escaping and here I am!" Ingrid could feel herself on the verge
"I'm sorry!" Felix cried again. "I really am, I
didn't know this would happen!"
"Okay, you know what?" Ingrid pointed at him and
stepped forward. "I'm making my last and final wish. I know
you're trouble," Felix waited intently. "I wish I'd never see
your face again!"
The two of them stood silently in the boiler
room. "Okay, fine," Felix said quietly. "I'll go." He went up the
stairs, out of the tea house and down the road, away from Ingrid,
the apartment, the teahouse, Berlin.
Ingrid leaned against the wall to catch her
breath and relax for a few minutes in the warm room. Something
then caught her eye. Was the gauge on the boiler supposed to be
that high? She walked up to the stairs without hesitating. The
boiler began to whistle and steam started creeping out from in
between the vents on the boiler. Ingrid turned around. Oh,
Felix saw the ambulance rush past him and head
down the road. He hoped and prayed it wasn't Ingrid and that her
wish didn't backfire terribly. Who was he kidding? Wishing not to
see someone ever again; of course that was going to backfire
somehow. He debated with himself to turn around and go back. He
couldn't. She wished not to see him again.
The hospital was white and clean, like every
hospital should. Felix stood waiting at the receptionist's desk,
hoping she'd get off the telephone soon. Luckily for him, she
did. She stood up and gestured him to follow her to the room he'd
asked for. She stopped and pointed to a room.
"Danke," Felix said. He lifted up the
bouquet of roses and daisies and stepped in.
Ingrid lay on the bed, her hands on her sides
with bandages over her eyes. "Who is it?" she asked quietly.
"Uhm…" Felix tried to begin.
"Felix?" She asked, sitting upright.
"Yeah," he said. "How are you?"
"Permanently blind," she sighed, slumping
forward. "I'm sorry I wished this. I didn't mean to be such an
idiot. The disappointment and rage came together too fast and I
guess I didn't know how to deal with it."
Felix thought. "I guess that's fine. You're still
Ingrid smiled. "Yeah."
More silence filled the room. "Oh," Felix
remembered. "I brought you some flowers."
"Really? Let me smell them." She held out her
arms and Felix placed them in her arms. She put them against her
face and inhaled, taking in the lovely aroma. "They smell
wonderful. I wish I could see them." Felix slumped forward in