Things go missing. I’ve noticed that. When Sam does DIY, things go missing quite a lot. Rawlplugs, screwdrivers, wiring. Then he fumes and comes out with all sorts of words that have no place on this blog. And the funny thing is they go missing Without A Reason. That’s the title of Amée White’s story in Cat Tales, the anthology drawn from last year’s Book a Break short story competition, but what goes missing there is far more than a rawlplug.
The cats accompanied him everywhere. His father’s storm cloud eyes followed the cats, yet he never voiced whatever troubled him. If the cats were not with Lawrence they could usually be found in his bedroom, sometimes on his bed, flopped on their sides like they were contemplating the dreariness of the world. The cats mostly stayed either side of Lawrence, the grey on the left, the ginger on the right. That was how the three of them sat when Great Aunt Florence left.
At eight Lawrence was less convinced of a wasp sting being fatal and more that invading aliens were going to pose a much bigger problem in life. And he was aware enough to understand that Aunt Florence’s leaving was her own choice. She had been unhappy, and that was reason enough to go. Her presence was something Lawrence thought would never disappear, like how he never worried that the world might run out of grass.
Without A Reason was runner up in the Book a Break competition. A particularly poignant story, elegantly written. So commented Atthys Gage, the judge. I love the way the writer holds back the reveal that the cats [spoiler censored by Curtis] and I love the scene with the girl with the penguin. The sequence of things Lawrence worries about over the successive years is very well done. The pacing throughout is brisk without being brusque, and the last paragraph is a stunner. Very nice.
Naturally, it got me thinking about things that disappear. But it isn’t really a problem for me, not like it is for Sam and Sam, because I don’t have anything in the first place. So nothing to lose, see? Except, I thought, for my reputation, which as Lord High Clawncellor and toughest tabby in Taunton I ought to keep an eye on. And I’ve heard through the grapevine that Octavius is trampling all over it. Cissy, muggins, scaredy-cat – all sorts of names he’s been calling me. Says I’m hiding away at the Smiths, too afraid to come out and fight. It’s his brother, of course, behind it. Tiberius. Ever since he had to be taken to the vet to have his ear put back on, he’s been swearing to get revenge.
You know what? I’m getting weary of it. I don’t think I’ll bother, even if I lose my reputation. Because now I have a more important mission – find Utopia. Curtis, being the spoilsport he is, has been very negative about my plans. ‘Utopia? It’s Greek for nowhere,’ he said. ‘More was describing a place which not only doesn’t exist but probably never can.’ What poppycock! A whole country can’t go missing without a reason.
In her own words: Aimée White is currently a third-year student studying Game Design and Creative Writing at Brunel University—a course combination that has either raised eyebrows or incited furious jealousy. If not frantically trying to get a pixelated man to move on a computer screen or playing God with fictional people’s lives, Aimée might be practicing archery or watching Japanese television shows from the 60’s with her friends. Whatever the case, it’s time well spent. More of Aimée’s writing can be found at her blog: https://aimzyblog.wordpress.com
If you want to find out what was in that censored spoiler, you’ll find it in Cat Tales. You’ll also make the world a better place. Thank you!
The proceeds from Cat Tales go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation. So please don’t hesitate to spread the word (reblog, twitter, faceboook, sandwich board, Times Square illumination – all and any means are welcome) and help us raise all we can.
In a special promotion deal, the price of Cat Tales is just $1.99 for the whole month of April. Available as a PDF (or epub / mobi) complete with colour illustrations directly from this site* by clicking the button below. Also available in print (black & white, $9.50).
*You can buy from Amazon here, but buying from this site results in $1.61 after the PayPal commission, as opposed to just $0.70 from Amazon. An insecticide treated mosquito net, which protects on average 2 people for 3 to 4 years, costs $2.50. PLUS, if you buy from this site, you’ll get a personal message of thanks from Curtis along with a short story of his own (in which Nibbles the cat, I’m sorry to say, comes to a rather unfortunate end).