Archive for November 22nd, 2011

22nd November
2011
written by amber

The Clockwork Cat

Being born in modern England and being saddled with the moniker ‘Leonard’ has been difficult. The name isn’t British, obviously, and it harks back to the Renaissance. For God’s sake, it’s 1815.

My mother named me Leonard because she wanted me to be an inventor, like the famous da Vinci, he of the flying machines that didn’t fly and the weapons of war never proved on the battlefield. He did do some lovely drawings.

Oddly enough, I did become an inventor, through a most curious means. My father was the groundskeeper for a wealthy man. When I was old enough to work, my father convinced the lord to allow me to serve as assistant groundskeeper. Mostly I hunted rats. They were the bane of my existence – I fought them with foul poisons, mad terriers and complicated devices. None worked well.

Four years later, when I was 12, my father died and the lord promoted me to head groundskeeper. Lord Worthall was intrigued by the new scientific advances and he provided me with every modern discovery, for my workshop. We were both determined to end the rat problem – not just for the lord’s estate, but for the entire country.

My clockwork cat was a marvel, all its joints articulated, its metal claws sharp and deadly, tipped with toxins, its prismatic eyes able to focus on prey and activate a pounce.

But until I found the dust-encrusted ancient leather book in the top room of an abandoned tower in the corner of the lord’s hunting woods, I lacked the secret of animating my Michelangelo Mouse Killer.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

I wrote this story at the Pure Spec science fiction convention, an homage to the steampunk genre.