I stumbled across this little treasure while surfing through Amazon’s Kindle store. Although I say “little,” the term is not meant to be derogatory; The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London is a short story. One can read it in under an hour, making it a small gem, indeed:
Young Serapia Ravena is living rough on the streets of old London, along with her dragon-like pet, Raven. Starving and desperate after a near-fatal illness, Serapia is delighted to find the meal she so desperately need to survive – even if it’s just a skinny white alley cat. But nothing about this cat is as she expects. It may provide a very different means of deliverance – or doom.
If you love tales of good and evil, compassion and survival, secret agents and dragonets, you’ll love this heart-warming short story in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. ‘The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London” is a standalone short story related to the novel ‘Elfling,’ Winner of the 2019 ‘Teen’ CPA Book Award.
Get the story to enter Serapia’s world today.
Readers, you will be happy to know that you can pick this short story up for free* on Amazon Kindle. Yes, The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London is currently available for $0. Its predecessor, Elfling*, may be purchased through the related Amazon Affiliate Link.
Dressed as a boy, Serapia is making a determined living on the streets of London after her harrowing adventure in the previous novel. Sick and alone, with no one but her pet dragon – which she insists is an exotic animal – she has been ill for some time before the tale opens.
While trying to keep herself awake as she anxiously searches for her next meal, Serapia spots a gray-white alley cat limping down the street. Eating cats, dogs, rats, and any other animals she can catch and kill is not what she would prefer to do. However, with starvation being the alternative, Serapia sees no way around hunting, killing, and devouring whatever stray creatures she finds on the streets.
Up until this point, her dragonet Raven has been the exception. Seeing the little beast about to be squashed by the owner of the inn where she could earn some honest work, Serapia snatched the little dragon out of harm’s way and bolted. The two have been together ever since, doing their best to survive in London together.
So Serapia is more than a bit startled when Raven suddenly refuses to let her bring down the tottering alley cat. Though she insists they need the meat, the little dragon is just as adamant that they not kill the cat. On closer inspection, Serapia realizes one reason why: this is the cat that fostered the dragon when she needed milk. No wonder her pet now insists on allowing the creature to live.
Inspecting the wounded animal more closely, Serapia discovers the second reason not to make a meal of the cat, as she detects the taint of evil on the feline. The stain does not indicate possession but it does indicate that someone – or more than someone – has been abusing this creature for nefarious purposes. Put that together with certain rumors the young urchin has overheard, and she realizes that if she kills it, she may end up with more trouble than she can handle.
However, leaving the cat to be butchered slowly over time does not sit well with Serapia. She cannot help the creature, nor can she protect it from the person or persons taking it apart a piece at a time. What’s more, she and Raven need to eat. Soon.
While staring at the cat, an idea strikes her. Picking it up, she takes it to a man who may be willing to help the poor creature and pay her for the information she has. It is a bit of a long shot – she and this fellow did not meet or part on the best of terms – but it is the only recourse she can think of that is morally correct. Now it all comes down to what he will say and do when presented with her proposition.
The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London is a good read. The characterization is neat, Ms. Turner captures the spirit of the times quite ably, and even though the tale is brief a reader can easily pick up on the world-building that went into this universe. I look forward to investigating more of her work as time goes on.
Pick up The Most Expensive Alley Cat in London and/or its predecessor, Elfling, today, readers. These are good stories which deserve a commensurate reward. And while you are there, take a look at Ms. Turner’s other works*. You may find she has different stories that are just as interesting as these two. 😉
*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through it, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer. If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna and Uranus. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue. Her most recent piece is available in Planetary Anthology: Sol. Order them today!