It took a few moments for her eyes to focus on it properly. She thought it might be some kind of lion, at first, some distance away from her; and then she thought it might be a mouse, close beside her. And then she knew what it was.
  "I'm exploring," Coraline told the cat.
  Its fur stood straight out from its body and its eyes were wide, while its tail was down and between its legs. It did not look a happy cat.
  "Bad place," said the cat. "If you want to call it a place, which I don't. What are you doing here?"
  "I'm exploring."
  "Nothing to find here," said the cat. "This is just the outside, the part of the place she hasn't bothered to create."
  "The one who says she's your other mother," said the cat.
  "What is she?" asked Coraline.
  The cat did not answer, just padded through the pale mist beside Coraline.
  Something began to appear in front of them, something high and towering and dark.
  "You were wrong!" she told the cat. "There is something there!"
  And then it took shape in the mist: a dark house, which loomed at them out of the formless whiteness.
  "But that's—" said Coraline.
  "The house you just left," agreed the cat. "Precisely."