“Here, kitty, kitty.”

It was a male voice, on the other side of the closed door of the master bedroom. Leila and Cassie looked at each other.

“Let’s go,” Cassie whispered.

Leila shook her head. “He’s trying to catch a cat. I bet he’s going to eat it.”

“Another week like we’ve been having and we may be doing the same thing.”

“I thought you cared about animals.”

“That was before we were starving. Come on.”

“No. You’re the one always talking about principles, and eating pets is wrong.” Leila threw the door open and a blur of black and white streaked past her feet.

In the middle of the room, a young man stood up. He wore military fatigues and a leather vest. Long brown hair brushed his shoulders and looked surprisingly clean. “What did you do that for?” He took a step toward them, but his expression was more of frustration than hostility.

“Was that your cat?” Leila’s tone made it clear she knew precisely what he had been doing.

“Are you from PETA or something? It was going to be dinner.” He scanned her face, then Cassie’s, lapsing into an attitude of wary patience. “It’s okay, I’ve got others.” He gestured toward a bulging backpack.

While Leila backed away, her lip curling in disgust, Cassie asked why he needed so many. “They’ll rot before you can eat all of them, and it’s not right to kill what you won’t use.”

“Oh, they’ll get used.” The young man held out his right arm, displaying a blue suede gauntlet that had the uneven look of something made by hand. “I’m with the Regents. There’s about fifty of us living on the north side of Main at the Regency Hotel.”

“This is a long way to forage.”

He picked up the pack and slung it onto his back. “It’s hard to keep a big group fed.”

As he walked out the door, Leila called after him. “Eat your own goddamn strays!”

He stopped and took a few slow steps back. “Why? Are you planning to eat the ones around here yourself?”

While Leila sputtered for an answer, he turned to go. Cassie ran after him.

“What now?”

“Is your group going to be here long? You’re not trying to take this place over, are you? I mean….” She rested a hand on her canister of bear repellent. “We’re sorry we scared the cat. We don’t want trouble.”

He smiled, and it was a friendly smile. “We don’t bother girls who don’t bother us. Regents policy. And mine.”

“What’s your name?”

He hesitated. “Jay Gallard, but they’ve been calling me Galahad. What’s yours?”

“Cassie Thompson.”

“Cassie, like Cassandra? The one who knew the Trojans were going to die?”

“Just Cassie.”

He jerked his shoulders and adjusted the backpack. “Well, Cassie, good luck to you. And to your friend the kitty-lover.”



Anonymous said...

No one else is commenting and I'm not sure why. I am really enjoying this and hope to see future updates, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I wish others would comment, too, but we're just getting started here. I've had a few comments from people who come here and then go back to one of my other blogs and say something.

I might set up a forum, since this story will soon get into themes and issues that would make for interesting discussions. I don't offer easy answers to big questions in the novel because it's my characters' story, not mine. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to engage in civilized discussion about some of the topics that get raised.

Anonymous said...

Hmm sounds interesting, I have to say I plan on sticking with this and I'm glad there are still good writers out there. However this story reminds me a little of The Host, simply because it deals with an "outbreak" or something that dumps humanity on its head and there are a lot of out casts.

Yiehtk said...

Actually, this story reminds me of a New Zealand Young Adult series, but it does not detract my from reading it.

I was a little surprised about the stray eating, but it's true... When you are hungry, you will eat even a pet. Though a cat has little meat, which is why they are not commonly eaten in cuisine in comparison to dogs.

Alice Audrey said...

I know how you feel about the commenting. There are about ten times as many people reading Suzie's House as are commenting, and the older the post, the harder it is to get them to say something.

"K" said...

I started reading this about five minutes ago...and I have got to keep going!
The fact that this is a rainy day gives me all the more excuse to stay put.
I recently started my own serial novel blog and have been looking around to see who else is doing it and what kind of success they may be having. Honestly, few are as inspired or as interesting as yours. I am impressed and motivated.
Thanks for the excellent read.
"K" of