#Cats in #Fiction: The Second Plain, Circus Tarot, and Hydrangeas on the Lanai
Friends and family always ask me if they are in one of my books. With exception of one person, Harold, who has the role of chef in Hydrangeas on the Lanai, the answer is no. I don’t even know if it’s really a thing to do. I’m not writing my autobiography, so why would you be in my book (no offense meant by that statement). However, I have included three of our cats (Cassie, Bella, and Sean). Of the three, Sean has the largest role.
The following are excerpts featuring my cats from three novels. Enjoy, and of course why not visit your favorite ebook retailer (Bizarro Fiction Shop is open, too) and get yourself a copy.
DREAMWALKER: THE SECOND PLAIN – Cassiopeia AKA Cassie guest stars as a SGPA agent. What is SGPA? Buy the book here, and all your questions will be answered.
They looked around. The girl continued her plea for the cat to come out of the tree.
They approached the little girl and Toad asked, “Have you seen our friend?”
She did not speak, but gave them a dirty look. Pointing back toward the corner, they looked over their shoulders to see where she had directed. She smiled evilly as they turned to go.
At the corner, they decided to go right rather than crossing the street. People sipping their coffees and gossiping with each other glared as they approached, but neither Toad or Stretch noticed. Stopping in front of the mercantile, they looked up at its high front of red brick. Stretch entered into the chaotic layers of merchandise thrown around, but he knew the owner knew exactly where everything was.
“Toad, over here,” Toad heard Twig and Stretch call him. He saw them standing at the corner. Shaking his head, he grumbled something. Sometimes he really hated how travel occurred on the Second Plain. He watched them as they turned, going the opposite direction down the street.
“What the hell, assholes, can’t you wait for me?” Toad said, trotting to catch up with them. He passed the umbrella covered tables, Stretch and Twig had just walked by. They were empty, but he wasn’t concerned. He cut through the empty tables towards his friends. The closer he got, he realized they were not Twig and Stretch after all.
He passed the pair he thought were his friends, reaching the tree where the little girl was before trying to coax her cat down.
“Where the hell did they go?” he complained to himself, glancing from place to place.
“They’re gone,” a mewing voice said from above his head. Toad looked up to see a small, black cat with a star of white on her throat.
“I’m sorry that nasty, little girl trapped me up this tree, and I couldn’t warn you.”
“Where are they?” Toad asked
“I’m so sorry,” the cat said.
The cat glanced to its left at the approach of the two people—she arched her back, hissing a warning to Toad of the danger approaching. He didn’t have time to react as he felt himself fade away into darkness. Only the cat remained. Her eyelids dropped half-way closed, then vanished from the scene.
CIRCUS TAROT – This is Bella’s cameo appearance. For more about what’s happening in this scene, get your copy here.
Darrin stared down the makeshift street. Small dogs yapped and an elephant trumpeted. The Clowns looked at him as he walked by, retaining laughs and giggles until he passed. He stopped at the end of the dining tent, looking along its side. A few Poles worked at cleaning dishes in large tubs. A small gray-striped cat sat, licking its paws in the sunshine, paused to look at him for a moment with bright, golden eyes, and then returned to cleaning its delicate paws.
Not seeing her down the thoroughfare, he stepped back. Darrin’s heel met with something solid. Turning his head to the side, he found a man standing. “Oh, sorry.”
Assessing the man as he faced, Darrin noticed the man was shirtless, only wearing black, leather pants with flames painted at the cuffs, licking toward his crotch. Small burn scars pocked his sinewy build. The lashes and brows on his face singed away.
“You seem to have come to terms with being flipped,” Fire Breather said. “Probably a nice rebirth for you.”
“Yeah, it’s working out so great. It’s not helping me find Mary any easier.”
“I’m sure you will redeem yourself soon enough,” Fire Breather replied, staring down the concourse of crates and cages. “They’re probably at the trailers.” He never looked at Darrin, just continued staring the length of the concourse. “Stay safe,” the man finished, walking toward the cat which now lay on its side basking in Sun’s warm beams.
HYDRANGEAS ON THE LANAI – The first scene is where Alexis meets Sean for the first time. Neither of the two scenes below are all there is to know about Sean, there’s much more, so why not get a copy here, to learn his secrets.
Another clink was her response, followed by a series of soft thuds. Stitching her bravery together, she stepped into the room, and felt for the light switch. Her fingers found, from memory, the set of mother-of-pearl inlaid buttons, and pressed the lower one causing bright light to spill from the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Me-rrrrrrr came from under the table. Her eyes darted to the shadows under the table, looking for the source. A chubby white and black cat appeared between the legs of a gold-leafed chair, rubbing his head and neck blissfully on the chair legs.
“What are you doing in here big guy?” Alexis asked the cat, who looked at her with wide chartreuse eyes, and grinning mouth. She squat with her fingers pinched together toward the cat. “I would not have thought Gabe to have a cat.”
“Sean isn’t his,” the woman said from across the room.
Startled, Alexis’s head popped up toward the voice as the gleaming cat waddled away, joining the woman. She wore a long, black, broomstick dress that pooled around her feet. Around her waist a lightweight silver chain hung, dangling charms and medallions. Her thin mousey hair lay limply on her shoulders. The thin pucker lines ringing the woman’s mouth seemed to challenge the depth of the crow’s feet that lined the outside of her eyes. She looked at Alexis with a strangeness that caused a fuzzy memory of the woman in the garden to surface in Alexis’s mind. Several minutes passed with them saying nothing as the cat rubbed circles through the woman’s legs.
* * * *
Agnes stood near the open window with a broom held up, ready to attack whatever it was that plagued them. A cool breeze wafted into the room, carrying the scent of impending rain as it ruffled the pristine sheer curtains pulled open to either side of the window. Near the marble fireplace, Tricia stood laughing. To Alexis’s amazement, she wanted to join her, but kept her emotionless expression.
“What is happening?” Gabe asked, his was accent stronger than it had been when he and Alexis talked of the halcyon days.
“The cat, sir,” Flynn replied over Gabe’s left shoulder, “Is in the library.”
“A cat?” Alexis said, a quaver in her voice revealed that she was about to break her façade.
“Yes, madam,” Margot shrieked, still hanging from the bookcase. “A cat.”
Alexis crooked her neck to the side, looking under the perfectly polished tables and chairs in the room, suspecting she knew the cat. She stepped into the room, looking from spot to spot. Near the fireplace, at the edge of the brilliant, floral sofa, a black with white flecked tail twitch from under the sofa’s skirt. Smiling, she crouched near the spot the tail flicked in and out, and lifted the edge of the skirt.
“Come out of there, Sean.”
Margot and Agnes gasped.
“You know its name?” Agnes stuttered.
A pink nose presented itself, followed by white muzzle, then chartreuse eyes with the shape of a black upside-down heart over them. Slowly, the overweight cat emerged from under the sofa, purring. The clatter of more books crashing to the floor caused the feline to squat. It looked up at Alexis with a chirping meow.
“Get it out!” Margot screamed. “Get it out!”
“Calm yourself, woman,” Gabe said to Margot, then to Alexis, he said, “How do you know this cat?”
“I met him in the dining room this morning.”
Gasps came from the others in the room and the staff lurking in the hallway. Gabe’s menacing eyes bounced quickly to his employees, then softened when they reached Alexis. Though he had tried to soften his expression, his face remained tight, stretching a half-hearted smile grimly.