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Authors: Michael Broad

The Hairball of Horror! (8 page)

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In the cockpit of the
Dogstar
, Montague had been listening to the Spacemutts, conversation over the intercom and was growing increasingly concerned about Rocket, Poppy
and Butch, and his chances of ever getting home again. The poodle looked up from his nail filing when he heard the words ‘ticking’ and ‘bomb’ and scanned the control panel
for the boom-bone timer.

‘UH-OH!’ he said aloud, seeing that the device was set to detonate in exactly fifteen minutes, and with the Spacemutts trapped there was no one to pilot the ship. ‘Things are
going to get very messy indeed!’

Mechanical Animal

With the sea of smoky blue cats closing in around them, the Spacemutts kept together in a tight group. Rocket, Poppy and Butch all lowered their heads and growled a warning,
even though they were completely outnumbered and it was only a matter of time before the cat army attacked.

All around them the Russian Blues were unsheathing their swords and swishing them menacingly. Then they began a strange dance of spins and swiping blades, leaping forward in an elaborate
ballet of synchronized slashing.

said Rocket, pricking his ears.

‘I can’t hear anything over the whistling wind,’ said Poppy.

‘Except for the hissing of cats,’ said Butch.

‘There’s something else out there,’ gasped Rocket, tilting his head to find the direction of the sound. ‘It’s an engine! And I think it’s coming from the
other side of that hill.’

The Spacemutts all looked towards the hairball hill, hoping the
Dogstar
would appear and swoop down to rescue them. There was a chance Montague could have worked out how to switch the
controls from manual to autopilot, and then WOOF could zero in on their location.

The Russian Blue cats heard the noise too and looked up expectantly. Then they all began yowling with glee as the clockwork
Mouseship
appeared over the starry horizon.

Lady Fluffkins had arrived.

The metal mouse hovered in the air, tail spinning and whiskers twitching as it landed on the hill with its metal bottom facing the three dogs and the regiments of cats. Moments later the side
door dropped down and Baldy crept along the side of the ship.

The Russian Blue army gave a disappointed hiss at the sight of the hairless servant. But then he began cranking down the cargo door and their yellow eyes fixed on a dazzling light inside the
ship.

The Spacemutts watched too and swallowed hard when quaking footfalls stomped to the edge of the cargo-hold and a colossal silhouette filled the bright doorway.

‘I was hoping you three would show up!’ boomed a familiar voice.

A mechanical monster leaped from the ship and landed on two feet like a human giant, but inside the chest sat Lady Fluffkins, moving the robotic limbs with levers! Baldy hopped on to the metal
frame and began climbing up while his cackling mistress lumbered down the hill and staggered towards the prisoners, a sea of blue cats parting in her wake.

The Persian moved her fluffy white paw over a lever and a mechanical claw grabbed the three dogs by their collars, lifting them up to her eye level. Above the empress, Baldy appeared in time to
flick on a pair of headlights to better illuminate the dogs.

‘Put us down, you metal monstrosity,’ growled Rocket, wriggling to free himself from the grip of the giant claw.

BOOK: The Hairball of Horror!
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