not the end of the world


'When she came home at night, he greeted her with raucous demands for more food, rooting ravenously in her bag to see if she'd brought him anything interesting while purring loudly in a brazen pretence of affection. Heidi knew it was only cupboard love but it was hard not to be beguiled by it.
Yet if he was so hungry, why didn't he eat any of the victims of his nightly pillaging? Every morning when Heidi let him into the flat, the cat dropped some small, bloody corpse at her feet with the air of one paying a rather tedious tribute. Perhaps it was some kind of tithe the cat was under an obligation to pay her. Heidi had no idea what the secret protocols of the cat order might be.
The cat was laying waste to the city, he was the barbarian inside the gate, and it was Heidi who had let him in. She had never previously suspected the variety of wildlife that lived in the city and which now turned up on her doorstep as a result of the cat's slaughtering. And so many birds! The owls and larks, the robin-redbreast and the featherweight wren, bushels of sparrows and pecks of pigeons, flocks of starlings and white doves, a secret cache of dodos, the odd phoenix or two, not to mention the unfortunate capture of the (surprisingly tiny) hawk-headed sun god Ra – an event which caused the world to go dark until Heidi helped him escape from the cat's clutches.'


Not the End of the World
(The Cat Lover)
Pages 230-231