Welcome to the Finale of the UK & Worlds BEST feline adventure– The King Herod’s Kitten Caper!
(Suitable for ages 12+)
Well, here we are, The Finale! So let’s not stand around on ceremony, let’s get stuck straight into this the concluding chapter to our adventure.
How will it end for our cast? Good or bad, we will just have to read on and see……
Erin was almost in the arms of her perfect prince. She could even smell his cologne and see his fur ripple as he strode towards her. His outstretched arms revealed his toned muscles and a modest amulet of black gold, black diamond, and ebony that nestled close to his heart. And those eyes—impossible eyes that shone pale yellow green with the clarity of precious stones.
A loud ping caught her attention just as they were about to take the final steps and fall into each other’s arms. Instead she stumbled and tumbled headlong, arms outspread, seeking rescue by her beloved before she hit the sand and ruined the special scene.
But there was no sand, and instead Erin fell out of the palm tree and crashed headlong onto Anders. In panic, and not wishing to get sand in her paws, she dug her claws into and around his head and shoulders. The two . . . well, Anders, flailed around, completely blinded by the monster that now enveloped him.
“He was flopping around in his slippers like…” Well, Herman didn’t know how to describe it later when he recounted to the gathered guests what he had seen. What he could and did say was that he wasn’t going to get between the combatants until the fight had been won.
Not for the first time that day, Anders met a black-and-white cat. Nor was it the first time that found himself with something very hairy and dangerous attached to his face. And no, it was not for the first time that day that he yelped and fainted, this time when Erin let out a loud hiss and bit his rather red and enlarged nose. A nose, she would later say, that was so obviously ripe for the biting and was far too good to pass up.
A small and sensible part of Anders’ mind had, on that last assault, decided it had endured enough. It longed to be left in peace for an exotic holiday on some far-flung Caribbean island. Had it known who also longed for that, it wouldn’t have been so keen. The only thing left for Anders’ mind to do was to disconnect and hope for the best.
Chief Inspector Trout, CI Trout to his men, or just the Old Trout to the criminals, looked much like his namesake and was used to many sights. He hadn’t got to where he was today by cringing in the face of the ugly side of life, though to be fair, he seldom looked in the mirror himself. But he made it only two strides out of the passenger elevator on the first floor and then stopped and gulped quite loudly.
The collar of his shirt seemed strangely tight as he surveyed the scene before him: the small black-and-white cat that was slowly licking its paw, and the body it sat on. The body was, so far as he could tell, that of a battered, bitten, bleeding, scratched, ketchupped, and feathered security guard.
If this earless cat was the villain the store had apprehended, and it had now escaped, then he would need backup, and fast! Trout was about to retreat with his sergeant to get reinforcements, when Herman, Mr Herod, and Mrs H, followed closely by the queen and the president, arrived.
“Oh, Erin,” exclaimed Mrs H, and then added “Princess,” as she was in royal company. “I was starting to think we wouldn’t see you again. Still, better late than never. How’s about a nice cup of nip tea and a sit-down, and you can tell us all about it?” She smiled a smile that Erin would never ever forget, one that she knew meant she was safe.
“Er, madam!” spluttered the chief inspector. “I am afraid you can’t go near that . . . er . . . villain. It is wanted in connection with a serious string of offences perpetrated at this very store. And I dare say I can find some cat burglaries to pin on it too. Clear up no end of crimes, we could. Now if you will step aside, I will get a net and bag it for you.”
“You will do no such thing,” called out the general, who came forwards calmly and now stood imposingly at the front of the group. “This ‘it’, as you have so rudely described the young princess, happens to be working for the government and has just saved the day by capturing that rogue, who has not only assaulted the royal party but been responsible for stealing stock from this store too. And she has also been instrumental in freeing three kittens kidnapped by this rogue and destined for lives of slavery abroad. Hardly a string of offences in anyone’s book!”
“Ha!” replied a now-peeved chief inspector, who didn’t like being shown up in front of his sergeant. “How do I know you are a general? This could all be a staff fancy dress party for all I know. I don’t recognise any one of you, and I bet there isn’t one person here I can accept to vouch for—”
Vinny and Jackson both came forwards, growling. There was no way they would have this sweet cat taken away, nor would they let their friends and companions be spoken to like that.
“I think—in fact I know,” came a quiet yet firm voice, “that I can vouch for every one of the guests here today, Inspector. Including the president of the United States, who stands beside me, and the young princess. What I cannot now vouch for is how long Vinny and Jackson here will refrain from biting you.”
The queen and the president looked down at their respective companions and then back to the chief inspector. There was never a question of letting the dogs find out what a chief inspector tasted like, but it was fun to see the man squirm.
CI Trout was just about to correct the person who had called him only an inspector, when he realised who it was that had spoken. “Oh. Ahh . . . Your Majesty. Oh, and Mr President, I didn’t realise. Oh heck, I . . . I feel I must apologise for this only too natural and simple misunderstanding. Clearly I was ill informed. I shall have this villain,” he said, gesturing with his foot at Anders, “removed from your presence straight away.” The soon-to-be ex-CI Trout was so embarrassed he turned a shade of red usually only reserved for temperature gauges on steam train boilers that are about to explode.
Fortunately for Anders, he was not awake when the sergeant hurriedly dragged him into the lift, as his nose got a little more battered in the process. Duty done, and having given a very shaky salute, CI Trout raced back into the lift and jabbed at the Down button, only too pleased when the door slammed shut and took him from view.
“Well,” said the queen, turning to face Erin, “You must be Princess Erin. I am pleased to meet you. Seems like we all owe you a debt of gratitude.”
The queen held out her gloved hand and waited for Erin to do likewise. Mrs Hudson gave a slight cough and mimed for Erin to shake the queen’s hand. Much to the relief of all, Erin caught on and managed a slightly wobbly curtsey and then extended her paw.
“Thank you, Your Majesty, ma’am. I am so pleased to meet you. Can I ask if you have any spare mice, as my palace is rather short . . . of mice, that is?”
Mrs Hudson raised her eyebrows, rolled her eyes, and sighed. Only Erin, she thought, could ask the queen if she had spare mice.
“Well, I do as it happens, and a right nuisance they are too. But Vinny here has first dibs as a rule,” the queen said, smiling at Vinny, who wagged his tail and said, “Wrruf! But I could share for a guest. Wrruf! Yes, I could.”
“Well, that’s settled then, Erin,” said the queen. “You and Mrs Hudson will have to come to tea later in the year. And Lady Esmerelda too. That is if Lady Jennifer Darcy isn’t too busy to be her companion for the day?”
The queen smiled sweetly at Jennifer and Esme. Only later did they realise that the queen had actually meant ‘lady’ as in the title she would soon bestow upon her. But in the here and now, they gave a very enthusiastic “Yes, please. Oh, thank you, ma’am.”
Then, with unashamed delight, Jennifer ran over and scooped Erin up and gave her the biggest of hugs and a kiss on the head and said, “Thank you, Erin. Thank you so much.”
“Three cheers for Erin!” came a voice from the assembled guests. “Hip hip—”
“Hoorah!” came the reply, three times, followed with a round of applause from all the guests, who really did think that the day couldn’t get better than that.
And for once in this tale, everyone was right.
This story is dedicated to Sarah Andrews, aka Roby Sweet, my Editor and inspiration. Sarah’s passing on the 5th November was a tremendous shock, and we are still reeling from it here. She will be most deeply missed.
It remains for me to thank you, our loyal readers, for being here and sharing the conclusion with us.
Thank you too, for everyone who has been kind enough to comment and get involved throughout the story, and I hope this conclusion will not have disappointed.
It has been a long 36-week adventure for Mrs H and me, and behind the scenes, a lot more has been going on than may seem from the blog.
Firstly we had been busy working with Sarah, editing and generating new chapters and revisions to this story so it can be published and offer an even better and more polished adventure. Believe me when I say the end result is awesome!
Also, we are working on my next fun adventure. If that weren’t enough, we are working with Valentine and his staff and a renown artist, on the artwork for Pirates and Pussycats, which is heading for publication too. The artwork is very nearly completed, and I have to say it is a delight and will surely please one and all, and help us make more money for the charities who will be benefitting from the sales. Once we have an editor sorted, this too will be heading to publication.
We are also on the hunt for a literary agent, and publisher. So if you are out there, Mrs or Mr Agent/Publisher, please DO get in touch. If you don’t I may be forced to send Vinny and Jackson round– and we all know what they’re capable of. MOL
And last but not least, we are dealing with the copious backlog of mice, laundry, cream and sherry that we have selflessly put aside whilst we toiled away. As a result, we have decided to take a break from adventuring, though normal mishaps and chaos should resume after Christmas. I should still be here for the selfies, for those that visit, and to share cats from Woodside Animal Centre.
Till then– Thank You, Sarah, thank you one and all!
Toodle pips & purrs
ERin & Mrs H.