By Rachel H Grant
Dedicated to my mother, who inspired my love of both felines and fiction.
Olivia gently stroked the tiny white cat, its little black patches like rainclouds in a summer sky. She would call her Sammy. A mystery cat, found in the village and never claimed. Olivia could not resist, her heart melting when she met the little stray in a neighbour’s house. Mrs Russell was more than happy to hand the cat over. “I have quite enough cats already!”
Soon after Sammy arrived, Olivia bought a notebook and fancy pen. She did not know why, an impulse on the wind. Then the dreams came. Every night, deep in sleep with Sammy next to her, the dreams rained a river. They would not stop. It was a story with no beginning or end, but a tale she must tell.
Every morning before getting ready for work, Olivia would spend half an hour just writing. The words flowed, a deluge of drama. It was a soap opera kind of story, beauty and betrayal, love and lies, fear and fights. She could not stop. Then one day, the novel was finished.
The next day, Sammy went out as usual, and never returned.
James found the tiny white cat on his doorstep, shivering in the dawn cold. Despite notices in local shops, no one in the town claimed her. So she became his new best friend.
He had never owned a cat before, and was surprised how easy – and how rewarding – it actually was. There was a hole in his life since his wife left him for his best friend. At least little Tabitha would never betray him like that.
Then the dreams began.
Each night, a story playing in his head. Each dream started where the other one finished. Eventually, he could stand it no more. So he began to type on his laptop each morning, recording the dreams. The story grew and grew.
One day, the 80,000 page manuscript was finished. James sighed with relief. Perhaps the dreams would stop.
And they did. The same night Tabitha disappeared. He never saw her again.
Eileen awoke to find a white cat on her doorstep. Perhaps it’s meant to be, she mused, still mourning the death of her beloved feline Lottie.
The new cat – Natasha – was small and quiet, with a soothing purr. Eileen slept each night to the music of purrs, a song that slid in to her soul and softly told a story.
Eileen began to write. There was a story inside that just must be told.
One day the novel was finished. On that day, Natasha went out the catflap never to return.
Two years later, three novels were released by different publishers. They caused a sensation in the literary world. They acted, together, as prequel, main story and sequel, featuring the same characters within the one unfolding story, although all written in very different styles.
The novelists denied any collaboration. Who would believe them? It was a modern mystery.
Five year old Sabrina climbed in to bed, their new white rescue cat beside her. She had called her Snowdrop. As Snowdrop purred, Sabrina slept. In the morning, she found a notebook, and wrote. She wrote and wrote, all day, and secretly at night. It was a story about a stray cat with many owners, and many lives. When she had finished, she hid the notebook in her box of treasures.
Snowdrop lived with Sabrina for ten years. Then one night, when Sabrina was fifteen, she disappeared, never to be seen again. Sabrina cried, then forgot.
Years later, the eighty year old Sabrina found her old childhood box at the back of a cupboard. Tears of joy ran down her face as she read her childlike story. She had never forgotten Snowdrop. And now she had a piece of that magic time to cherish, forever.
Eventually, she published the children’s story, to great acclaim. “To Snowdrop, international cat of mystery” declared the book’s introduction.
Sabrina chuckled. For the memory of a great cat lives forever, hidden in the words of our stories, purring from their pages as though really there. A cat’s memory is like treasure in our hearts. It is a jewel that can never be lost, or stolen. It is literary love forever.