Concept art by Marisa Livingston
The instant an advert for cat food appeared, Ramses vaulted the sofa and kicked the TV to the floor. He stamped on it, glass and metal shattering like ice, until the face of the cute kitten was obliterated by his boot and the meowing was drowned out by the hiss of sparks. He lowered his foot. Somehow that crunch wasn’t as satisfying as the real thing.
He halted, and he stared out of the open window of his flat. After the unsatisfactory revenge he had dealt to the two-dimensional cat, it would be nice to punish a three-dimensional version, hear one more feline beg for mercy before he stole it from this world forever. Sure, he knew it would not change anything, but it felt good, extra double cream good.
He leapt out of the opening and into the night. Unfortunately, he noted as he dropped the three floors towards the pavement, someone had placed their rubbish bin, agape, in his normal landing spot. Into it he went with a splat and a clang.
“Eew,” he said, climbing out of the metallic cylinder. “What is it with these bloody humans and their rubbish? Every Tuesday this happens.”
Ramses hoisted the bin over his head and threw it into the street. It clattered down the quiet road.
A startled cat ran from the din.
Ramses darted across the street, scooped up the rubbish bin from amidst its scattered contents and chased after his dinner. The shabby Persian was halfway down the street, but Ramses moved with an unnatural agility, closing the distance between them easier than a zip.
He dived, the rubbish bin upside-down in his arms. “Rarrrgh!”
After landing with a clatter, he stopped to listen for the inevitable muffled cry confirming his success. He sat on the rubbish bin with a grin, and then told the grin to go away, it was his seat.
“Okay, pussy, I’m gonna eat you slowly and painfully if you don’t tell me your rank and badge number.”
“Won’t talk, eh? Come on! I haven’t got time for this! What’s your leader’s plan? Assassination? Bombing? Mind control on the leaders of the world? I must know.”
The cat replied with more muffled wails.
“Fine, play it your way,” Ramses said and moved to reach under the bin.
The cat clawed at his hand with lightning fast punches, but he easily got a hold and dragged it out by the neck. Without pausing for more conversation, he took the cat by the tail and swung it into the wall, producing a crack of bone and a splatter of gore.
“My word! There ain’t enough room to swing a cat out here”. He pulled it closer for a bite and then paused. “I hate having hair in my food.”
With a few quick yanks, he tore the fur from the creature’s neck, and then bit into it, draining the blood like juice from an orange.
“Ah, the classy vampire’s snack of choice.”
While he fed, the lifeless face of the cat glared at him.
“Don’t feel so bad, pussy, I’m a world class cat burglar. I’ve even stolen cats from the rich ol’ bag at No. 42, and she had the magi put wards on that place. I’ve cleaned out entire retirement homes’ worth of old ladies’ cat obsessions and not left a single feline meowing! It’s all very… It’s all very…” He motioned with the cat hand, as if trying to push something from the tip of his tongue. “Boring,” he said, and sighed with the realization.
It had become a bit tiring, the late night mouse hole stakeouts, the fishing for bait, the ease of the chase. His grand quest was unfinished, but he missed the excitement of the early days. He used to stalk his prey for nights, just to note their every habit, and then strike at the perfect moment. Now, he just grabbed them at the first opportunity.
When finished eating, he wiped his mouth on the long sleeve of his black t-shirt. He placed the body of the cat in the middle of the road, got in his red pick up truck and proceeded to run over the hairy body. He ran over it twice.
Driving across town, Ramses enjoyed the deserted roads. He made good use of all of it with his bad driving, swerving hard every time he thought he might hit one of the reinforced Tudor houses with their white walls and black beams. The street, and indeed, the whole city of Londinium had a wealth of gothic architecture.
He stopped by the subway entrance for Green Park.
“Shit! I’m gonna be…”
“Late again, Ramses,” his clan leader shouted, as Ramses emerged from a white tiled tunnel and onto the main platform