Monday, January 07, 2008

Excerpt from Shardai, a YA fantasy

The council of cats sat in a round circle. There were nine, representative of a cat’s nine lives. They wore gossamer robes and the table at which they sat floated in misty clouds, the sun occasionally peeping through to warm their silken fur. In front of them a magnificent white cat with glowing green eyes stalked back and forth.

He rose on his hind legs and placed his paws upon his sleek thigh bones. “I must go back. She weeps so.”

The elder, a dignified Abyssinian named Ramses, gave a weary sigh. “We have been through this, Shardai. You spent twelve years with her this time and seven before that. Do you forget she had you killed?”

“That was a shock,” Shardai admitted, lashing his tail, “but in her mind she was saving me from pain and starvation. The tumor had grown large inside my chest.”

A petite silver tabby, named Lolita, who had always been enamored of the big white cat, spoke up. “She should have known better. I would have known better. We all know Shardai is a great fighter, who fights even death. You would have preferred pain and starvation to the ignominy of being put to sleep by a mortal vet.”

“She knew,” Shardai said quietly. “But she couldn’t bear my pain. She wished this for me,” his paw made a sweeping gesture around him.

A hundred feet below the clouds thousands of cats roamed and played. An occasional dog or horse was visible. Many stood at a golden gate, eagerly awaiting their guardians who would soon pass over. The gate opened onto the rainbow bridge which connected Catarau and Heaven.

Cats that had used up a life on earth and passed on to Catarau had a choice. They could live eternally among their kind or cross over the rainbow bridge to be with their beloved humans.

But no humans could live in Catarau. Some people had brought great love but many more had maimed, killed and starved the feline species.

St. Peter, who respected their no-human rulings, often would stop on the other side of the bridge and call out the list of coming souls to the cats and other animals that clustered around.

The elder rapped on the table with his paw, drawing the council’s attention back to the matter at hand. “If that is what she wanted for you why this desire to go back?”

“Her faith is weak. She is tormented. She will never know if I passed through to the other side or if I will be eternally caught in that one moment when I felt the pain of the needle passing into my muscle then looked into her tear-filled eyes with surprise.” He gave a small cat laugh. “She fears I fight on still.”

“But that is silly,” said a beautiful Seal Point Siamese admiring her gleaming curved claws as she unsheathed them.

Shardai gave a shrug of his powerful shoulders. “Humans are not rational creatures.

1 comment:

Cat Muldoon said...

Great excerpt - and what a fabulous cover!

Of course...I am prejudiced in favor of cats.

Cat Muldoon