Owl Madness Day 3: Kin S. Law

There’s a mystery in my house, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.

You wouldn’t think of me as a good detective. My heyday is behind me, after all, and there are still sexists who think a lady has no sense for evildoing. Back when I first joined these two I was a force to be reckoned with. I personally dispatched two vermin in the line of duty, and it gave me great pleasure to send them to the great beyond. Now there’s the other one to deal with, my sidekick, the one they sickeningly call my brother. And yes, these days, I mostly lie around, snarl at my “brother” and occasionally accept the odd head rub. At nights, I find the human male’s warm spot between his knees and settle down when he’s sleeping. But I’m still a detective. Detective Zoe, the Ginger Guillotine. It’s not a bad nickname for a cat, and a badge of honor for one without claws.

Something is definitely wrong in my house, though.

It started the day the snow came down. It had snowed before, gentle puffs that I like to watch at my perch in the laundry room window. My humans take me outside to look at the flakes coming down, and they mistake my interest in the absent birds for my take on snow in general. Philosophically and aesthetically, its beautiful, a swift passage of intense cold and frost that transforms the world for a short time. I imagine my life must be a little bit like that for my humans, a soft, orange presence that comforts them for a parcel of their longer, drearily packed lives. They wake in the morning, they bustle about, and they disappear for long hours while I busy myself with the cleaning of the fur, the patrolling of territory, and the all-important reenergizing naps the humans seem to sorely lack. Snow, then, becomes an incontestible vice that holds them in the house, becoming more like us cats for a time. I approve, wholeheartedly.

This snow-fall, though, was far more intense, coming down all at once and in heavy, blinding curtain. It seemed to have put my male human in more or less of a permanent state of rest, a static clinging to the couch with his clicky-clack machine and his warm blanket. I suppose I think of him as Father, though our relation is by care and, yes, love alone. But after the snow came down this time he has grown more reticent, and stays at home instead of bustling to wherever he gets to that smells of carpet and coffee. He does not clicky-clack so much now, and he barely touches his food or his bricks of tree that my brother Pippin likes to chew on and knock from the tall perches. It is all I can do to rub up against Father’s knees and allow him to hold me. Sometimes I lick his pitiful patch of facial fur, and he laughs again. But mostly he sits in the corner of the soft sleeping place and stares into the distance.

Is it Mother, the giver of soft food, who has left him dejected and wan? I know they have fought before. I know they have unfurled their claws of sound, so much more hurtful than their usual mewling, but these days their noises are kinder, softer. They fought more back in our old house with its tall ceilings and its constant stream of lesser vermin, the many-legged and segmented that seemed to pervade the whole place. There the Ginger Guillotine found much work, and soon my reputation kept the worst of the riff raff at bay. I worked alone then. We are in a smaller place now, but the only enemies here are the bigger jumping legs that are no match for my paw, lacking barbs as it is. And the birds, the constant taunting menace. And the other cats, who are kept out by the glass and the fear of my wrath. Oh and Pippin, who pulls his weight, if clumsily. He is not even a year old, and I have ten times his experience as a cat.

No, it is not Mother, nor is it these walls and this place. Perhaps it is the snow, or something that came with the snow, for I see Father looking out into it with me, still caked on the ground. I can see no reason for his melancholy. We have food aplenty, and he has more time to train with us in pouncing, in tearing, all the tools of a cat that humans ought to know. Perhaps he misses the place that smells of carpet and coffee. No, misses is not the right word, but cats are not nostalgic, and it is hard for me to form the thought. We are proactive. Even Pippin charges ahead instead of chasing his tail, though he crashes into everything. Maybe it is something more ephemeral, something associated with the carpet and coffee. Something that makes Father hold himself higher and mew with more confidence. Something that makes him happy.

How, then, to make Father return to his clacky-clack, the thing that makes him happy? That is the mystery. Mystery itself why the clacky-clack should be so rewarding, but we cats recognize the feeling of contentment nonetheless. It draws both Pippin and myself to gather at his side. And we want that for him, my brother and I both. So I will continue putting my whiskers in every corner I can reach, because I am Detective Zoe, and nothing makes it past my big green eyes.

Regards to Natsume Soseki, whom I clearly ripped off =)


A third Victoria has ascended the throne of a steam-driven country where enormous clockwork giants walk the streets and airships carry news of the Ottoman threat in the East.

In the wake of a calamity that engulfed all of Europe, Inspector Vanessa Hargreaves of Scotland Yard is given the dubious task of policing steamcraft crime. Along with flamboyant detective Arturo C. Adler, she stumbles upon a conspiracy to use a horrific plague in an effort to prevent war.

But even as dastardly forces converge upon her, our high-heeled detective struggles with her devotion to Queen and Country, and the shadows under the Union Flag grow ever deeper.

Can she put a stop to this new disaster before her country is devoured by a Spectre of War?

SPECTRE OF WAR is at once detective story, political intrigue and giant robot fantasy in a fabulous, international, and multicultural steampunk riot!

Also available from the following retailers!