Title: The University Cat: A Tale for Grown Ups and Graduates
Author: Jessika Jenvieve
Genre: Urban Fiction
Penny, a super intelligent, well-educated Siamese cat moves into Professor Eagle’s office and sinks her claws into the exquisite calfskin binding of his books. The Gargoyles have her firmly fixed in their sights. There are terrifying times to come in the University Museum and a wicked plot to prevent Professor Poppett and Poodle from winning the Dog Show. If you thought it was safe to go to university, you might need to think again.
Penny purred next to him. She sensed he would be very kind to her, having heard his conversation on the car phone. He ordered a special silk cushion, some fresh sardines and a pint of cream, ‘Oh and Darhling get her a brush, one of those with real bristles and a little silk glove for shining her fur.’ The Porsche screeched to a halt, and Erickson leapt out athletically and opened the passenger door. Penny was lifted gently into his arms, with the rug wrapped around her to keep her warm. She looked adoringly at her new friend.
When a cat looks at you in an adoring way, those who know about the ways of cats realise that this is not quite what you think it is. Penny, special as she was, was no different from the rest. Cats seek the best advantage for themselves and simply take it. The best spot by the fire or in the sun, the best piece of fish, and the best bit of your bed. You get the adoring look, and they get whatever they want. Adoring looks in the cat world cost nothing. Penny had her very special blue eyes and lovely fur that ensured she always got what she wanted. She just extended her little paw and wrapped you around it.
Erickson and Penny glided up in a green glass lift to the top of building and as the double doors to Erickson Jon Designs opened as if by magic, Penny was greeted by a throng of gloriously dressed people all squealing, ‘Darhling’ simultaneously. There was a short delay while a spate of air kissing took place, and finally, Penny was placed on her newly purchased cushion and everyone stood back to admire her. Penny, rather enjoying the attention, stroked a casual paw over her perky chocolate pointed ears and contently curled her tail in an attractive shape. Bruno, the visiting ‘photo-artiste,’ as his web site called him, pointed his impressive camera and started snapping away, while Penny opened her big blue eyes and stared straight into the lens. She posed and preened and even batted an imaginary butterfly orchestrated by a chorus of ‘Coos’ and ‘Ahs.’
Suddenly all eyes snapped to the door of the model’s dressing room and Magnolia Potter, model of the year, owner of BeEverSoBeautiful.com and the trophy girlfriend to the latest big thing in Rap and gold chains, burst in and posed herself for all to admire. Magnolia was not as tall as she said she was and rather thinner than she ought to be. She could sense the competition four blocks away, and her heavily eye-lashed face turned slowly to Penny.
Life has taken her on a long and unexpected journey from England to Australia and back again. She is an alumna of Bretton Hall, and also City University in London. After graduating, she followed her heart and tried her luck as an actress and singer. She designed costumes and won some awards, then dabbled in lighting design and finally settled on a career as a stage manager. She landed the best job in the world as a stage manager at the Sydney Opera House, spending ten years backstage with some of the greatest performers and musicians. In 2015, she returned to the England and has completed her first crime fiction novel.
That night, much higher up and in a far darker place, the three Gargoyles were drifting steadily out of their state of suspension. Stone limbs and organs were drawing nourishment from their organic origins and slowly drifting back to life. Eyes that had seen things too terrible to speak of out loud were raising their heavy stone eyelids. The Gargoyles had unfinished business, and they were waking up and flexing their claws. Dogface unfurled his wings and sniffed horribly. They were not in a good mood, but then they seldom were. The small creature had escaped from them, and their pride was dented somewhat. Dragonclaw, with his long tail and huge claws, writhed very slowly as his stone entrails came to life and pained him. Fishbeak shook his great head as if the annoyance of having a fish firmly carved in his beak for eternity was more than he could stand, and he was preparing to explode with frustration. It was up to him to organise the next assault on the Museum, and the others were going to need encouragement. They could easily sink back into stone and stay there for a couple of hundred years. He slowly slithered to the edge of the stone parapet where he sensed movement and ignoring the squawking and shrieking of the adult birds circling around, he removed in his talons, an entire nest of small wriggling fledglings and placed in the centre of the assembled Gargoyles.
‘Yuck dems babies,’ complained Dragonclaw, breathing a foul stench over the terrified birds. The adult birds overhead were working up to frenzy while not daring to get too close even to rescue their offspring. Dragonclaw slithered over to the little nest and reached out a long claw to extract one of the small snacks. The tiny birds screamed in fear and clung together in the centre of the nest. He lifted a tiny, frightened bird up and away from its siblings and regarded the trembling body with amusement. Sensing a terrible fate awaited them all, the other fledglings, instead of waiting to be dismembered decided to test their new flight feathers. It was now, or all that evolution would go to waste.
The birds flapped their wings madly and with one rush got airborne and headed straight up towards the claw holding their little fellow. Dragonclaw, instinctively opened his claw to grab them all and let go of his grip on the first bird, who realising he was falling, started to beat his wings, got airborne and threw himself off the roof in what would be his first, or possibly, his last flight. The others followed and swooped to the ground, landing in a heap in the middle of the lawn. The adult birds landed close by to protect them and ushered the whole family to the safety of the nearest large patch of shrubbery. High above, Dragonclaw shredded the nest in fury. The meeting had not made a very good beginning.