Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #43

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Kali knew that one day the furry curiosity would be the death of her. Still, the world’s last living cat was the closest thing she had to a friend. And you didn’t leave your friends with wolves.

Closing the steel-plated door of her closet-sized room, Kali turned on the tips of her toes. The reinforced flooring didn’t squeak, yet within a single step, her heart slammed against her chest. She bit down to stifle the scream in her throat. Then she braced, recognizing the intruder half-hidden in the dim hall.

The night nurse, Shawna, leaned in a doorframe three away with her arms crossed. The wicked grin she wore whenever the children weren’t around turned her lips more down than up, and the tight leather crew-neck jacket told from where she came.

The leather wasn’t synthetic, spun from the fabricated composites that the echelon wore. Instead it was real, from a tanned cow’s hide. With cows being more myth than reality, only the tierless scavenged such ancient rags.

“Why are you hiding it?” Shawna asked.

“It’s the Night of Crusades.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“I’m keeping Sparrows away from the reception.” Kali glanced over her shoulder.

“Mr. Roake will want it there.”

“I’m not so sure.” Looking at Shawna was like looking in the mirror, only instead of seeing her reflection, Kali saw an evil twin. Shawna had the exact same raven hair and bright eyes, identical to Mr. Roake’s late wife and why they were hand-picked to nurse the morning and the night.


  1. I like the vibe this is going for, and I enjoy the first line immensely, the rest of it doesn't live up to it as much as I'd like. When she holds her breath I thought she'd stubbed her toe, there's a lot of world building in there that's difficult to follow without being guided a bit more. Reception, Mr Roake, Night of the Crusades, wolves, the last cat.... all of it is thrown at us and it's a bit overwhelming without context. Like where are they? What's Kai's thought process? It's definitely intriguing, though, and I'm rooting for the kitty cat and Kai already!

  2. I love the comment about the leather, I think that gives a cool insight into your world and what we can expect -- but I wonder if you need more hints for the reader to know what's going on. There was a lot of information with no explanation that left me questioning things. We need some answers, as there are almost too many questions for me here that I'm left feeling fairly confused.

  3. I must agree with the other commenters. Far too many unknowns happening at once. How about trying out a couple at a time? Ease us into the world more gently. It sounds intriguing.

  4. I like the idea of the last living cat. It's cool. But the writing is very confusing; it keeps me from entering Kali's world. There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is wild: a steel-plated bedroom door, reinforced flooring, a night nurse in a leather jacket, near-extinct cows and the last cat on Earth. The world feels a bit Mad Max, which can be a good thing if you pull it off well. Definitely an interesting premise!

  5. Agree there seems to be a bit too much crammed in here and it's hard to get a real foothold into what's happening. The concept sounds interesting, what a depressing world where animals seem to be nearly extinct.

  6. I feel like I'm just jumping on the bandwagon here. The first line caught my interest, but I got a bit lost with all the unknowns in the latter half. Tierless, what Kali's hiding (the cat?), Sparrows (the cat?), Mr. Roake. I feel like I need a couple things explained up front. That said, it sounds like you're setting up a really neat world!

  7. The opening lines have great tension. Then we get derailed a bit: what I thought was a life or death situation turns into a pretty regular conversation. I concur with some of the others that you need to explain the terms you use a bit more. You clearly have a really interesting world here, and I want to know a bit more about what's going on.

  8. I like the tone of this, the opening paragraph but I’m left with a lot of questions. I also enjoy the details about the last cat, the leather, the world you’re building but I’m having a hard time getting past what “it” is, what she’s hiding. I would read on to find out, though, so nicely done there!

  9. Ooh how interesting! I love this first paragraph.
    Second paragraph… Is our protagonist aware that her room is the size of a closet (indicating she’s accustomed to something much larger)?
    Her heart slammed, then she bit down to stifle the scream in her throat, then she braced and recognized. Please simplify. I would say: Her heart slammed against her chest before she recognized the intruder half hidden in the shadows.
    …nurse the morning and the night. Interesting! If they look like twins, and Shawna looks like Mr. Roake’s late wife… Kali looks like his wife too… but it doesn’t sound like she’s their mother… could be clarified a bit.
    Very neat premise though.

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