Marian, the oldest librarian, had worked at the library for nearly 50 years. The cat had been there when she started, of course. It had been there each weekend when she was growing up, had been there each day she had come to the library to study. Her grandmother, who had been a librarian before her, said the cat had been with the library for countless generations, and that if the cat died, the town would follow soon after.

Marian wasn’t sure she believed that, but she found the cat to be good company, and found its continued presence comforting.