This is a short story that I entered into a competition on The Drabblecast website Sept 2014. The story had to include a character called The Cat With Blue Fur. I meant to write a twist on Snow White but the cat took over and the character followed. I love the world in this story so I have started a novel based on the character in Wildflower.
I am very proud as this achieved second place in the Fantasy section. It is still available to read in The Drabblecast forums but only to members.
By Lucy Jayne
The words that tumble out of my mouth rush towards ears that are not listening. I repeat myself. "Did you not see that?"
Within the confines of the lavishly decorated room the other party guests keep a small distance away from me, unsure if they are permitted to approach. I watch as they flirt with each other; oblivious of the prison walls surrounding them. Their forced laughter competing with music that radiates from unattended instruments; the musicians either executed or mutilated to ensure they never play again. New Magic ensures the music never stops.
Thick walls scarred by decades of flickering candles keep us safe, though I feel trapped. I should not be here. I know I am not welcome. Visions of the recent terror bring water to my eyes. I quickly blink it away. I must never appear weak in front of these people; their hands still drip with the blood of innocents.
One person acknowledges my words. She takes confident steps towards me, her long fiery red dress swirling around her ankles. I sense an unease as the distance between us shrinks. I wish I could take back the words. She is older than me and much taller. A thick mask of makeup conceals her true emotionless face.
"Who invited you?" She sways and sneers at me as she sips her wine.
My fingers tighten around the small cotton bag containing the invitation. I am unable to answer her question. The invitation appeared on the floor by my locked door. The only clue being a tiny piece of blue fur caught in splinter on the door frame. I read it over and over, each time checking the name on the front, letter by letter. I see my name but struggle to acknowledge my name. I had not meant to come here tonight, it happened by accident.
"Speak up girl." A tray of fresh red wine floats by, she expertly swaps her glass for a full one. "Please yourself." She returns to the main group, I no longer exist in her mind. I watch silently as she pushes her way into a mountain of long dresses that blur into a rainbow of colour; clusters of dark suits form clouds that threaten to wash away the facade that is placed upon the castle.
I see it again, a flash of blue disappearing behind feet. Surely someone other than me can see the blue cat? I wait expectantly for screeching. None of them will have any desire to be associated with a cat. Since the purge took place having a cat as a companion is a death sentence. Old magic was eradicated from the city; the gates sealed. Executions took place each night. Cats murdered or chased away. I am among the lucky ones; I was sent to the dark corner of the city. The position my mother holds keeps me alive, for now.
A flash of blue darts out of the room. I cannot resist it any longer so I follow. The music and laughter behind me attempts to hide a blood curdling scream. I ignore it, instead I search for the blue cat. The flash of blue moves further along the corridor, I follow it along the familiar corridors that used to be my home.
I am alone in a part of the castle that I avoided when I was a child. It is the oldest part; there are still rumours about the magic it contains. Bedtime stories my mother told spoke of terrible events in these rooms. She used the stories as an invisible wall, making it clear I was not welcome here. I fumble for a candle on an old desk. Breaking the new rules I use Old Magic to create a small flame on the wick. My feet pull me along. I pass through dark room after dark room, I am sure the blue cat is ahead of me.
The cat sits near a thick faded curtain, eyes concentrating on my bag. Feeling unnerved I drop the bag to the floor. The cat is on it in an instant. Claws and teeth shred the cotton; finally it pushes one item towards me. The blue cat casually jumps onto an old chair and cleans a paw.
With my hand shaking a little I take possession of the invitation, wondering why the cat wants me to have it. Taking it out of the envelope I read it once more, the top line is different. The perfectly written inscription now informs me that the invitation is from the Cat with Blue Fur.
Confused I step towards the cat. Before I get close enough its ears perk up, the cat jumps off the chair then stares into the shadows behind me. It slinks towards the thick curtain, clawing at it drawing my attention to it. The sudden distant sound of violence quickens my pulse. I blow out my candle and throw it towards a corner. Hoping for a door or window I pull the curtain to one side, there is a plain wall. In despair I let it fall back into place.
The violence draws closer. People are being herded towards me. I hear pleas for help followed by explosions caused by New Magic. Light bounces along the uneven walls, reaching into my eyes; a warning that I am no longer safe.
The smoke carries the pungent smell of burning hair and skin as it forces its way into my lungs. The blue cat leaps into my arms. Whiskers tickle my face as the cat cuddles into me, allowing me to wrap my arms around it. Knowing I have no escape I pull the curtain a little, wanting to hide behind it. Bright stars light up the sky behind the curtain; the hole is just large enough for me to squeeze through.
My feet sink into the long grass. Wildflowers cling to the hem of my dress and water droplets welcome my dusty shoes. Cat with Blue Fur leaps from my arms and disappears into the long grass. I let go of the curtain and catch sight of my mother; my would be executioner. Her dress ignites into the flames her dress mimics. I realise the flames engulfing her were created using Old Magic that came from me. The back of the curtain fades out of existence: I am alone in a meadow.