16 Oct

Today we welcome back K.B. Dundee to the GSP Halloween Promo. This was Mr Dundee’s first novel I believe. Written with the help of award winning writer Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough is the author of 22 solo fantasy and science fiction novels, including the 1989 Nebula award winning fantasy novel, Healer’s War, loosely based on her service as an Army Nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. She has collaborated thus far on 16 novels with Anne McCaffrey, six in the best selling Petaybee series and eight in the YA bestselling Acorna series, and most recently, the Tales of the Barque Cat series, Catalyst and coming in December 2010, Catacombs (from Del Rey). Her last published solo novel was CLEOPATRA 7.2, soon to be re-released for e-Book download and print on demand under the Fortune imprint of Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

Spam Vs. The Vampire
Spam and the other cats at website designer Darcy Dupres’ house are frantic with worry. Darcy walked out the door two (missed) wet meals ago and didn’t return or send anyone else to look after her beloved furry friends. The other cats think she has abandoned them, but her office cat and (unbeknownst to her) protégé, Spam, suspects darker forces are at work.

Darcy’s last project was helping a suspicious character who called himself Marcel deMontreal with a dating website for vampires and the women who dig them. Darcy thought Marcel was playing and besides, he paid her a lot of kitty litter to design the site.

But before she can finish, the self-proclaimed vampire announces that he is coming to visit, and Darcy disappears. That and the—duh—black billowy figure with the white face and red eyes peering through the window seem like a dead giveaway to Spam.

There was no indication when Darcy left the house that morning that she was going to get herself snatched by a vampire and wasn’t coming back. She left our dishes half full, the litter box un-scooped, our fountains running, the TV set on the Critter Channel where we like it and the desk top computer on “sleep.” If I had known what she was going to do, I’d have stopped her, even if it meant peeing on something vital or the ultimate sacrifice, acting sick enough for an emergency trip to the vet. But none of us had any idea she would just go away and stay away and none of us even thought to look for clues until the first day and night passed.
     I, at least, was plenty anxious to see her. Even the night after she left, I ran from window to window, jumping onto the broad sills and looking out to try to see her coming. Usually I could hear her footsteps several minutes before she arrived but this time, she stubbornly continued to not appear.
     When neither she or anyone else showed up to open our cans, fill the kibble bowls or clean our trays, as one or two of her friends had done before when she was gone for more than one feeding, naturally everyone began to speculate. Except for the ones who were busy panicking.
     “Okay,” Rocky said, his half-tail jerking with agitation. “It’s finally happened. Darcy’s abandoned us, or else she’s dead. Either way, we’re finished. We’ve had it pretty good here but we’re on our own again. Pretty soon the animal control van will come, we’ll be hauled off to the so-called shelter and be forced to take the long dirt nap.”
     “That’s if anyone even finds us before the food and water run out and we starve to death,” BearPaws cried as if he had already started starving. Darcy had been gone long enough for us to miss two wet food meals by then and BearPaws was in mourning. He really loved his wet food.
     “It’s the storm,” my mother said sensibly. “She must have got caught in it and hid somewhere till it let up.”
     “Don’t be ridiculous, Board!” Max told her, raising his gray and white face from his paws. “Darcy’s not like us. Humans don’t get caught out in storms.”
     “Yes,” said Cleo, who used to have a gift shop until the owner died and she came to live with Darcy. She’s very sophisticated, Cleo is. “They go into shops and eating places and wait and talk with other humans. Often they buy things if you twine around their feet and act friendly. That gives them the chance to ask the clerk about you and the clerk a chance to ask them what they want to buy without seeming pushy.”
     “Are you suggesting she is neglecting us in order to go out and pet other cats?” My mother demanded.
     “It happens,” Trixie said. “You know it does. I’ve smelled her hands when she comes home after patting other cats. There’s no getting around it. She’s a sucker for a kitty face.”
     “Lucky for us,” Max said. “That’s why we’re all here.”
     “The point is,” Mother said, “We’re here but where is she?”
     “Can’t you find out from her ‘puter, Spam?” my sister Bitbit asked.
     “I don’t think it tells you where people go,” I said. “Anyway, we know that, don’t we? She went out. Like she usually does.”
     “To pet other cats,” Trixie said.
     “Maybe, but she does it almost every day, sooner or later. She says she has to leave the house and see other humans. Yesterday she was going to meet that guy she’s been building a website for.”
     “How do you know that?” my brother Byte asked.
     “She said so. She said her client was going to pay her and she should be able to bring home treats.” She didn’t really say anything about treats but I thought it would make the others feel better if she had. And I was sure she meant to say that. Her good luck was always our good luck too. “Then she put her ‘puter pad in her backpack and put that on over her outer coat, the black leather one, and walked across the street into the woods, like always. You all saw her. It was yesterday morning just before the storm started.”
     “Was he handsome? Maybe she stayed with him,” Fat Mama suggested, sighing as she plopped down onto her belly. Fat Mama has had a lot of kittens in her day, most recently Coco, Mojo, Jojo and Cookie, who all live here too. All but Cookie are black, like Fat Mama.
     Cookie is orange striped, like me and my brothers and sister, and half the cats in town, according to my mother. She told us our feral sire is an orange tabby. She says his hobby is making copies of himself.
     “How would I know?” I asked.
     Rocky jumped on his three good legs to the windowsill and peered out between the curtains. I’d been there off and on for the whole day too, watching the storm, listening to the wind as it moaned around the house, sometimes shaking it and making things rattle. It whipped the trees into a leafy hula dance and flattened the grass with the rain. Now it was almost dark again and the security light kept coming on, showing the depressingly empty yard.
     “It’s wild out there,” Rocky said. “They were saying on the news that this is the worst storm since ‘76, when it lasted for six days. There are trees and power lines down all over the highway and the news dude said the bridge is closed. I’m guessing a tree bopped Darcy on the head and killed her outright.”
     Everybody started crying, me included. Rocky looked smug. Life sucked. He knew that and he was always glad when he was proved right, even if it meant our human mom might be dead and we’d all starve to death before anybody remembered about us.
     “You and your news!” Mother said. “Why can’t you watch the Critter Channel like the rest of us?”
     “Because there’s no bed to hide under in the living room, and Mojo and Coco are always playing under the couch is why,” Fat Mama said. “Rocky’s a big ‘fraidy cat. That’s why Darcy leaves on the TV in her bedroom for him, so he has company in the dark. You better hope the power doesn’t go off, Mr. ‘Fraidy Cat!”
     “Darcy is not dead,” Mother said firmly. “If she was, someone would come and take care of us.”
     “Unless they didn’t know she was dead,” Rocky said. “Coyotes might have got her.”
     Mother popped him one across the ear.
     Darcy couldn’t be dead. Dead was what Popsicle was when she laid all stiff and still on the rug in front of the stove, her fur getting cool and her scent—well, changing, and not in a good way. Dead was when you went to the vet and never came back again.
     “I bet the tree knocked her out like one of those tranquilizer darts they use on TV,” Trixie said. “She couldn’t tell anyone to come and feed us,”
     “Or a coyote got her,” Rocky said.
     “Coyotes don’t get people. Only cats,” Mother told him.
     I left them arguing and returned to my place in the desk chair. When Darcy was here, she used the chair seat and I sat on the back and supervised, but I knew what was happening on the screen and although she didn’t realize it, I know how to use the keypad too.
     I may be a young cat who looks like most of the other young cats in town, but I have skills. And the laptop was still here. I am a whiz with the tablet that’s her new portable because it responds easily to a paw touch but I’ve had more practice with the desktop. It’s always on except when she goes to bed.
      Darcy doesn’t know I can use it but I practice every time she takes a break or goes away. Even though I’m only half grown, the other cats all know I am the one who helps her with her work and I know what I’m doing. Mom says I probably picked up my talent because she had me and my littermates in the gutted case of an old CPU. That’s why Darcy named us all computer names—Mom is the mother Board, ha ha, and there’s Bitbit, my sister, and Byte, Shifty, Alt and Escape, my brothers, but Darcy said she was darned if she was going to call me Delete. Since I looked so much like all the other kittens in town, she named me Spam.
     She held me in her lap even before my eyes opened and I suckled, you might say, on the electronic impulse. When my eyes did open, instead of rough-housing with my littermates, I sat on her shoulder or lap or the back of her chair, or, when she wasn’t looking, right beside the keyboard, watching and learning. She thought my brothers and I took turns sitting with her because she couldn’t tell us apart then but nope, it was always me.
     Of course I checked to see if the ‘puter would tell me where she was. I tapped the news feed, but nope, no stories about cat owners getting bopped by trees.
     I tapped on her projects in progress, a website for the grocery CO-OP where she gets our food, one for a local nursery and the “vampire dating site” she was creating for the guy from Montreal she called Marcel. He was the one she had been going to meet. Mew hoo! He even went to the library two or three times so he could video chat with her. It was always in the evening. She put on red lipstick before she talked to him and her voice changed. I gave her moral support by sitting on her lap. Her hands trembled when she petted me and I knew this was not just another client.
     They did talk about work a little. He told her questions he wanted her to use to interview the prospects. I thought they were kind of odd. Especially the one about blood type. She laughed and said that would be the kind of question a vampire date would ask. He also wondered about family members living—or buried—near them and that sort of thing. Darcy told him she had no one, which wasn’t true of course. She had us.
     It was nice we had work, and I am all about getting kibble in the house, but I didn’t like the look of this guy or the way Darcy acted when she was online with him.
     She’d come here, I heard her telling her friend Perry, our sometimes-cat-sitter, to get away from a bad relationship. The male she’d been involved with had started taking drugs. I couldn’t understand that. Drugs are the same thing as medicine like you get at the vet and why someone would take them on purpose is beyond me! But she said her habit had always been to pick guys who seemed nice but turned out to be mean, married or addicted to something so she had moved to Port Deception to get away from all that and from now on, the only males in her life would have tails and pointy ears.
     I wanted to remind her of that when she talked to Marcel. But he wasn’t bad looking if you like human males, I suppose, all of his head fur was dark and kind of curly and his eyes were sort of hungry-looking, He had an oddly soothing voice—it almost put you to sleep, but I found him hard to understand. He didn’t say his words the way Darcy did but she seemed to like the way he did it.
     The last time they chatted, when they finished, she scooped me up and hugged me to her, kissing the top of my head. I learned long ago that resistance was futile, so I purred instead. “Maybe my luck with men has finally changed, Spammy. I think Marcel’s really into me. Good thing for us he doesn’t like the more public social networking sites and hired us instead. He’s a private kinda guy, it sounds like. And hot. And—er—maybe rich?” She sighed, hugged and kissed me again then tossed me to the floor and started her magic fingers flying across the keyboard. She checked a couple of accounts and winked at me. “The first $500 just hit my bank account. Just like that.”
     The next day she drove to the grocery store and returned with five bags of canned food and two thirty pound bags of kibble—plus canned salmon all around.
     That was two weeks ago. I checked her mail trash and her send box and found an email from him saying, “I expect to be in Port Deception tomorrow night. Give me directions to your place.”
     But apparently her good sense kicked in then because she said, “I’d rather meet in the morning. Maybe at Bagels and Begonias Bakery?”
     “Okay. I suppose I can find something to do in the meantime. I cannot wait to meet you,” his email said. “But as it is a business meeting, for now, bring all of your work and your computer. Maybe you can give me a lesson?”
     And that was the last entry. I wasn’t sure what else to try. So I took a nap and waited some more.
     The whole first night passed and then a morning and a long windy afternoon soon followed by the beginning of another wild windy night and still Darcy didn’t come home. The kibble dwindled to a sprinkling in the bottoms of the dishes and the water dispensers burbled the last of their wetness into the basins. Her scent wasn’t nearly as strong in the chair or on the keyboard as it had been. I rubbed my face against the keys and tried to nap but kept waking up and jumping onto the windowsill long after the other cats had settled down to sleep. Rocky passed the office door.
     “Get used to it, kit. She’s not coming back. You were born in captivity. You haven’t been out in the world and learned what humans are really like yet.”
     “Rocky, she has never been anything but nice to you and all the others. If you had been born here like I was, you’d know it’s not captivity, it’s how cats and their people are supposed to be.”
     He gave a little growl and limped away.
     I huddled against the cool windowpane after that, watching the wind blow and waiting for the jingle of her house keys in her hand as she approached the kitchen door.
     I was so sad I was almost convinced I’d never hear that sound again when I did. The house keys. There they were. The clink of keys tapping together, a smaller sound but very distinct against the wind.
     But there was something wrong. I’d heard no footsteps. The security light hadn’t gone on and though I peered back toward the kitchen door, I couldn’t see Darcy.
     Barking exploded from next door. Angry, loud barking so scary I flew off the windowsill as if someone had shot me.
     A key clicked in the kitchen door. Well, I hadn’t seen her but it had to be Darcy. Didn’t it? Or maybe Perry, come to cat sit since Darcy was gone. I had to see anyway. I sprinted to the office door.
     The kitchen door creaked then slammed open with the wind. My mother and littermates, who usually sleep under the kitchen table, streaked past me in a blur of fur. Other drowsy heads snapped up and the living room, where some of my housemates had been dozing, was suddenly catless.
     Who could it be? I slunk toward the kitchen, ears flat and whiskers quivering. I did not smell Darcy, not unless Rocky was right and she was dead. The wind drove the scent through the kitchen and into me. None of it was anything like Darcy.
     The dog barking up a storm in the middle of the storm, that was familiar too. Had it been just last night when I was aroused from my nap on Darcy’s pillow by Darcy rousing from her pillow and looking out the window? The dog was barking then too, and there was the same rotten stench and something flapping outside our window—at its center was a bright white oval face with red glowing eyes.
     I crept toward the kitchen, my curiosity strengthened by the memory. The dead something had flown into the night, and Darcy lay down again, sleeping as if she had never come all the way awake, and nothing unusual had happened. After awhile, I did too. End of close encounter of the weird kind.
This book is available at:

6 Responses to “A PURRANORMAL MYSTERY …….”

  1. Dawn Colclasure October 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Yay for another Spam the cat book ! Love the cover. 🙂

  2. Sheila Deeth October 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    You had me at Purr


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