Authors: Sheila Jeffries
Also by Sheila Jeffries
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2014
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Sheila Jeffries, 2014
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc.
All rights reserved.
The right of Sheila Jeffries to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
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Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
HB ISBN: 978-1-47113-759-4
EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-47113-761-7
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Typeset by M Rules
Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
To my amazing husband, Ted, my soulmate and friend
It was a girl kitten, fluffy and very beautiful, with tinges of silver and gold in her fur.
‘This is a special kitten,’ said my angel. ‘She’s come here to heal, like you, Solomon.’ So, in those moments before Jessica came back for her, I gave the tabby
kitten lots of love and purring. One day she opened her baby-blue eyes and looked at me as if she wanted to fix me in her memory for ever.
It was the last happy day I remember. The house felt sunlit and peaceful. Ellen and Joe were friends, and John was playing happily in the garden.
And that was the day the bailiff came.
‘Follow that girl,’ said my angel.
The girl was crying as she hurried past me. She was staring at the ground in front of her, and clutching a white plastic bag with something heavy inside. Whatever it was, I could smell it, and
it was alive. Every time she met someone, she tightened her grip on the bag and twisted past them. She seemed afraid of being stopped.
I was sitting on the garden wall under an orange street light, a good place for a cat to watch the life of the street, and catch the moths that flitted around the honeysuckle. I was a young cat,
a bit nervous as I’d had a bad start to my life, and I rarely ventured outside our square of garden.
My angel’s voice buzzed through my whiskers and made my silver and white fur bush out with courage. I jumped down from the wall and ran after the crying girl. Instinct told me to do it
furtively, so I crept on quiet paws through front gardens, under gates and hedges, over fences and under parked cars. I stalked the girl by listening to the tip-tap of her shoes, the sniff-sniff of
her crying, and the strange animal smell that came from the big bag. It was the subtle smell of fear that told me this was important.
My silver tabby fur made perfect camouflage in the summer twilight. Only my white bits and socks gave me away. The traffic frightened me, but I kept following the girl through a maze of streets.
Would I ever find my way home?
She turned into an alleyway, and paused under a lamp. She lit a fag and I could see her hands shaking as the smoke curled upwards in the orange light. She had put the bag down. I peeped round
the gatepost where I was hiding. I stared at the bag on the floor.
And then it moved.
Something inside kicked and wriggled, rustling the plastic. That really spooked me. With my soft fur brushing the ground, I crept nearer. Grizzly little cries of distress were coming from inside
the bag. Some kind of creature in there was lonely and desperate.
The girl responded by snatching up the bag and marching on with it.
‘Shut up,’ she hissed. ‘Just SHUT UP, will you?’
Even in the dark, her aura looked like cracked glass.
I dashed after her down a long footpath to where the streetlights ended and a white moon shone over the common, glinting on hummocks of rough grass and bramble leaves. I could smell the dogs who
were walked there, and it sharpened my awareness. Scared now, I hid in the long grass and watched the girl’s shadow. There was danger. A tang of water, a sound that rushed and babbled through
the night, a sense of mysterious river creatures who lived there and emerged when it was dark. I could see the glimmer of water, and the arch of a high bridge. Horrified, I watched the girl walk
over it, and stop right in the middle. She opened the plastic bag.
I knew what she was going to do, and I remembered how it felt to a living creature to be tipped out like rubbish. I ran closer, and sat majestically on the path, staring at her, using my cat
power and meowing.
The girl turned and saw me. Then her crying started again in loud sobs.
‘I can’t do this,’ she howled, and came down from the bridge, hunched over with the crying, the bag clutched against her body. Nearby was an elder tree growing out of a wall,
and she disappeared under the shadow of its branches.
Minutes later, she emerged without the bag, her arms wrapped around herself as if every bone in her body was hurting.
‘Fluff your fur,’ said my angel, ‘put your tail up and run to meet her.’
So I did. It wasn’t difficult. I knew how appealing I would look, a silver and white cat with long fur and golden eyes that shone in the moonlight. Like a spirit cat.
We met on the path and I gazed up at her and meowed in a friendly way. She froze. Then she reached down and stroked me. I patted the gold and silver bangles that jangled round her wrist. I
sniffed her finger, and it had that smell on it, the salty tang of something newly born.
‘Hello,’ she whispered. ‘Magic puss cat.’
I liked that name. Better than ‘Fuzzball’, which is what my human had called me. I mean – Fuzzball? – for me, the Queen of Cats! And I liked the way the girl looked so
deeply into my eyes. I looked into hers, and what I saw was pure beauty ensnared in suffering, like a lacewing caught in a spider’s web.
‘Remember her,’ said my angel softly. ‘One day, you will need to find her again.’
So I kept staring, fixing the essence of her soul into mine. No matter how much she changed her hair and clothes, I would still know her by the blend of pain and magic in her eyes.
‘Don’t follow me,’ she said, moving on restlessly, her heartbeat loud, her tears glinting in the moonlight. I jumped onto the wall and ran along beside her with my tail up. I
meowed until she stopped again and turned her face up to me. We touched noses. I had bonded with her.
‘Don’t follow me, magic puss cat,’ she said again. ‘If you knew what I’d done, you wouldn’t want to know me. Don’t follow me, I’m BAD NEWS. Evil.
That’s what I am.’
I purred and purred, pouring my love into her and my purring was a stream of healing stars. Weaving to and fro, I rubbed my whole body against her crying face until she smiled just a little and
told me her name.
Fascinated, I listened to the rhythm of the name. I patted the gold bead in the side of her nose, and played with a wisp of her hair. TammyLee. I didn’t care what evil she had done. In
that moment, my job was to love.
We ran on together through the night, me on the wall and she on the path, and we were wishing I could be her cat. But when we reached the orange streetlights again, a change came over TammyLee.
She stopped crying, lifted her head, and began marching along with her shoes clonking. Her aura hardened to a shell and I noticed a man walking rapidly towards her.
‘Where the hell have you been, TammyLee?’ he asked.
‘Nowhere, Dad. Don’t FUSS.’
‘We’ve been worried sick. You’ve got school in the morning, my girl.’
‘We do. You rushed out of the house complaining of stomach pains, then you disappear for FOUR hours. Why was your mobile switched off? Your mum is getting herself in such a state worrying
about you, and it doesn’t help her illness, does it? And I don’t need to be out here combing the streets all hours of the night, TammyLee. You’re only fourteen, for
‘I’m fourteen and I need a LIFE,’ TammyLee shouted.
‘Don’t you get bolshy with me, my girl.’
‘I’m not being bolshy, Dad. I’m upset.’
‘Stuff you don’t understand.’ TammyLee turned and marched off, her face set like a doll. ‘OK, OK, I’m going home.’
I hesitated. I wanted to follow, but instead I watched the man walk after her, muttering something about teenagers. He looked bewildered and he didn’t give me a passing glance.
I sat on the wall, thinking, as I watched them go down the street. I was a lucky cat. I had a decent home with an old lady, even if she did call me Fuzzball. She fed me and fussed over me, I was
safe there, and I was free. Right now, I loved being out in the moonlight, so, yes, I was going to see what was in that bag. I could feel it drawing me, calling to me.
Wild creatures lived on the common; foxes, rats, stoats and weasels. And crows. Something in that bag was alive, and I had to get to it before they did. With my tail looped and my ears flat, I
bolted back across the common, and when I came close to the elder tree growing out of the wall, I was spooked and flattened myself against the ground.
The bag gleamed white against the tree trunk. It was wide open. I stalked it on quiet paws, my whiskers twitching, my fur stiff with nervousness. I peeped in, and drew back, shocked.
A baby. A human baby was in there. Very tiny, red-faced, with its little fists waving. It was cold, and hungry. What could I do?
I eased myself into the bag and covered the baby’s body with my warm fur and my purring. I would keep him warm, show him that someone cared. I would stay there until morning, until someone
I settled down to wait until dawn, my warm body spread out like a rug over the tiny baby, and I could feel his warmth under me, the rapid pulsing of his heart. Carefully leaving a space for him
to breathe, I shut my eyes and purred, glad to be helping this new little being.
For I knew only too well how it felt to be abandoned.
Before I came to this planet, I lived in the spirit world, and I was a shining cat.
Shining cats are the souls of real cats, living in the spirit world between lifetimes. Some call the spirit world heaven, and in a way it is. It’s peaceful and warm, full of colours and
music, and we don’t have to worry about physical bodies. There’s no illness or hunger, no fleas or trips to the vet, and no arguments. We communicate by telepathy, which is easy and
quick. And we get to work with the angels and that gives us a real buzz.
In the spirit world I still looked like a cat, but I was very light, like thistledown, and my face was surrounded by a halo of gold and silver, like fur, but made of light. I was a very
important cat. I sat majestically on a violet cushion, and all the shining cats in the spirit world would gather around me for communal purring sessions that sent ripples across the universe.
I was the Queen of Cats.