Imagination of a 12-year-old – Zukis Adventure

When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with fantasy novels. My father found (somewhere, somehow) a copy of possibly the first story I ever wrote, age 12, …and OCR’d it. The result is epic, complete with talking cats, magic and all kinds of weird stuff only to be found in the imagination of a 12 year old kid. I think the OCR errors add something.

So here goes, for your pleasure…


Zuki was a cat. She lived in a big house, an old, creepy, creaking place with spider webs and rats everywhere. She lived with three other cats. The cats names were Christmas who was a good hunter, Megan who liked play and liked adventure; Wedgewood a scruffy town cat. Their mistress called Miss Meredith was very poor and was very ill.


Zuki sat up. She looked around her. Drabby, dusty curtains and books

lay around her. She was sitting on an old cushion with big holes in

it. She was in a store room, one of many rooms in the big house.

“Zuki..” sounded Megans sweet voice, “..Zuki”. Zuki sat up and jumped off the cushion on the chair. “Yes?”, said Zuki tiredly. “Something wrong with mistress”, said Megan. “She in pain”. “Not again”, said Zuki. Zuki knew that the Mistress would pass away one day, maybe

soon. “Not long now”, she thought. “We’ll have to move when she

dies”. Zuki followed Megan to the door. The door was open just

enough to get through. In this room there was a big four~poster bed.

_ Cn the bed an old woman lay. She tossed and turned in her bed, she

let out little moans every few minutes. “I wish we could do something

to help.” said Wedgewood, jumping from a stool near the bed. Suddenly

7 the old lady stopped moving in the bed. Zuki ran up to the bed and

looked. “Sorry, it’s too late. She’s dead.” Zuki said. Megan ran to

Zukis side. Megan sat on top of Miss Meredith and gave a sobbing cry.

“I guess that’s it”, said Christmas, who had been watching from a

window ledge, “We have to go now!”. A sudden cracking noise came from

the roof beam. “Look out!”, screamed Meg, jumping from the bed and

running to the door. All four cats made it to the door, down the

stairs and outside before the house collapsed. Meg sniffed. “Come on! Lets find a place to stay the night.”, said Zuki licking her paws.


That night instead of a nice house to sleep in they sleped in a dark

barn.It had a bit of hay on a cold stone floor but they managed to

sleep.In the morning Christmas woke first.She felt hungry.she stood up

t and looked fo some food.There was nothing ,not even a mouse.zuki woke

” nexed .she was hungry to she saw Christmas looking fo food.The thought

of food made zuki lick her jaws.”Zuki!”said Christmas excitedly” over

here”.Zuki got up and went to where Christmas was looking down.A map

met Zukis gazy when she looked down.

“A..a map, a treasure map?”, said Zuki. “I think so.”, said Christmas. Meg came over; “Hey! a map.”, she said. Meg began thinking of pirates and giants and castles. She looked at the map.

It had a path leading to a cloud and some kind of spiral too. The path came out of the cloud and to a cave in the mountain. There was a cross surrounded by mountains too. Wedgewood came now. She looked at

the map, “Treasure”, she said. “Should we look for the treasure?”.

“If you think so, Christmas”, said Zuki. “Dkay, let’s.”

So that night they set off with no food or water to Lendail. They all

were excited for the first hour of walking but after that humour and

excitement died down. “How much further?”, Meg kept saying as they

walked along. They walked along roads and streams. About three hours

later they stopped for a rest. Meg sat near a holly bush. They had

stopped near a sign at a crossroads. Zuki sat looking at the sign.

It said ‘Lendail 40 miles’. They had walked about thirty miles

already. “Come on!”, said Zuki. So they set off on the last leg of

pg their journey to Lendail. Four hours later they were on the outskirts

of Lendail. “Look for a…Well…anything strange.”, said Wedgewood.

Soon they came to a wood of big pine trees. It was getting dark.

They came to a well in the wood. It seemed to be camoflaged in the

colours of the shrubs on the ground. It had something written on it.

It said ‘The Paddock’.


The well began to shimmer and began to grow bigger and bigger untill the cats nearly fell down it.Then they were dragged down it by some unknown force. All four cats fell down the well.Megan shouted “help!” They swirled down and curved to the left down a tunnel, they carried on for about fifty meters before coming to a halt.They were in a dark oval shaped room with a smooth floor. Every few feet a tunnel led out into a maze of smaller tunnels.At the end of the room was a small diamond that glittered and shone.Above it was a carved wooden lions head.”Hel1o” said a dark brown tabby cat.Christmas looked at the cat.”Who are you?” said Christmas. “My name is Paddock” said the cat.”Paddock the beam” he said. Meg looked shocked as she remembered the well.”But th,the well”she said surprised. “Yes,yes I know,the well” said Paddock. “It was the name given to the well when I fell down here,same as you” he said.”Your names will go on too soon”. “Weve got a map ” said Meg. “So did I,” said Paddock “but the GRUGG got mine now”. Meg looked puz21d,the GRUG she thought wates the GRUB.


After discussing with Paddock, he was to join up with the cats in the search for treasure.But the main problem was to find a way out and if they could befor the GRUG called find them. They still had to get home whats left of it.They set off down passage on an impossible journey. Hours later they came to an old wooden bridge.”stop!”said Paddock suddenly.”listen”.In the distance they could hear a dull thumping.It seemed to get closer and closer. “The GRUG is close!!”said Paddock.”we must hide quickly”. Zuki and Wedgewood hid behind some tall rocks. Meg and the other ran up on a ledge near the top of the cave. The thumping came closer. All the cats braced themselves. The Grog came into view. It growled with anger. It had big, dripping fangs and big yellow eyes. It stood nearly nine feet tall. The Grog moved slowly, but warily along the passage. Looking down cracks and crevices, it moaned and wailed. It didn’t see the cats and moved on down a dark passage. Paddock moved out cautiously. The others came out too. “Close!”, said Christmas. “We better be wary.”, said Paddock. They set off down a big, grey—walled passage. “Zuki”, said Christmas, “Am I dreaming? Pinch me!”. Zuki looked surprised for a moment, and then pinched Christmas. “Uhff”, said Christmas. “Uh! I am not dreaming.”. They walked on until they found an opening in the wall. It seemed to lead to open air. There was quite a draft. Zuki was in front. She set off up the air shaft. “Come on up!”, said Zuki. They climbed up and out of the dark tunnel.


The cats gazed around them. It wasn’t the world they new. It was Sandy with rocky outposts in the distance. Mountains were in the distance too. Meg was tired and hungry. “Let’s find somewhere to rest”, said Christmas. Wedgewood and Zuki went to look for food while Meg, Christmas and Paddock made camp. It was early morning by Zuki’s reckoning but they did not know what time it was. In the end Zuki and Wedgewood found a carcass and brought it back to the shallow dip in the ground that was camp. “Look!!”, said Wedgewood, pointing at the sky. What seemed to be a dragon was flying high in the air above them. “A dragon”, said Paddock dryly. “Lot round here”, he said. Wedgewood looked suspiciously at the sky.

The Dragon moved into the distance. “Let’s get some rest”, said Christmas. After they had had something to eat, they all slept well that night in the ditch. No—one had a dream. Too tired. In the morning Zuki was first to wake. She was woken up by a loud squawking. She woke up Meg and Wedgewood but Paddock had gone. “Look!!”, said Zuki. Two Dragons had taken Paddock. By the time they had got up, the Dragons were just dots in the sky. They stared at the sky, for any trace of him. “What do we do?”,said Meg scaredly. “Go after him, said Christmas calmly.  “Let’s get a move on”, said Wedgewood. They began to roam over the desert of this this barren world. They came to a sign that said ’Dragon Nest Beware’, “Beware of what?”, commented Zuki. No—one answered,they just moved on. Soon they came to a cliff. At the bottom of the cliff a pillar stood at least twenty feet off the ground. On top a giant nest lay with hundreds of dragons swarming in it and they could see Paddock too. This was dragon nest.

6 Great Rescue

The cats stared at the thriving mass of dragons. “We must save Paddock”, said Wedgewood. “How?”, said Meg quickly. Meg looked at the dragon nest. She could see Paddock being pushed around by big, ugly dragons. “We’ll make a plan later when the dragons are asleep.”, said Wedgewood. That night after making a plan they set to work. Wedgewood would sneak and get Paddock. When Zuke,Meg and Christmas made a diversion, hopefully there were no guards at the dragon nest. Zukey had made a big firework for the diversion. Wedgewood was ready in her place near the dragon nest. “You ready Zuki?”, said Wedgewood. “DKS”, said Zuki. Wedgewood ran to her place. “Goi”, said Zuki. She set off her firework. FfffffSsssssBANG!!..the firework went. Big, blue sparks went flying everywhere with big, red flames. The dragons immediately left the nest to see what was going on. “Now Wedgewood. Now! Get Paddock.”, said Zuki. Wedgewood jumped into the dragon nest, picked up Paddock by the scruff and ran back to hide. She looked behind her, she could see the dragons staring at the firework in the distance. She ran back to meet Zuki, Meg and Christmas at the camp. Then all five ran as fast as they could back to the cave entrance where they had seen first light only yesterday.


About three hours later …. “How much further?”, asked Paddock pleadingly. “I don’t know. You’re in charge”, said Christmas sharply. There was a silence. “…Aren’t you?”. Zuki frowned, “Let’s move on”, she said. They walked and walked. Paddock began to limp after a while, but he did not mention it. “But we haven’t got the treasure.”, said Meg. He had been in enough trouble. He thought he would have to leave this party of cats. Soon he did leave. When they had a rest he sneaked off down a passage to his DOOM! The BROS had been waiting for him and killed him in one blow. Paddock was dead now. He lay there for ever. The party of cats had seen Paddock being killed. They sorrowed at the thought of poor, dead Paddock. They set off to look on their own to find their own way home without Paddock. On the way Zuki tried to remember the way out but she cou1dn’t. They stopped for a short rest and then…”Look”, said Meg suddenly. The place where they had hidden from the GROG was in front of them. Here!!! Said Christmas. Then she ran down a passage. “Here’s the way out! The Welli”, she said excitedly. The others followed cautiously, remembering the GROG and what it did to Paddock. “Nearly home.”, said Wedgewood. “But we haven’t got the treasurel”, said Meg. “If there is any.”, said Zuki. “well, no point in giving up if _b; _,___ ; ,___ “__,ai;,Qw, at Meg’.    `— I     __ were whisked up and back into the wood where it a I s ar i. ’-{ ~ . their world. Minutes later they were on their way through the wood with big memories.


On their way through the wood they saw an old shed that they hadn’t noticed before. It was falling down and had no doors or windows. It was covered with creepers and grass weed. They decided to rest their for the night. They were back in Lindail now. All woke at nearly the same timeto the sound of a crow in the wood. Megan stood up and looked round, it was just light. There was a sudden click. Meg had put her paw on some sort of button, silver and round. A hidden door opened and a box fell out. “What the !!!!”, said Meg. “Look”, she said. The cats came over. “The treasure!”, said Zuki. “May be”, said Meg. “Hope so”, said Christmas. Zuki opened it. MILLIONS OF DIAMONDS FELL OUT OF THE CASHET.

They took the diamonds to Lendail. The jeweller was quite surprised when four cats came in with a casket of diamonds on a sling. Ever since then the have been famous, and the jeweller now looks after them.

So there you have it. Pretty much where it all started for me. Kids imaginations, eh?

What’s next

The Edinburgh novel (working title Zerospace) now on ice until April-ish 2013 as I turn my mind back to Japan novel. This is partly spurred on by a wonderful interview over at Tor Books with the writer Joshua Gaylord (AKA Alden Bell). I had the pleasure of a brief email exchange with Josh a year

Untitled Edinburgh Novel

For the past month I’ve been busy on a novel set in my adopted hometown of Edinburgh. Having spent almost two years thinking and writing about Japan, it has been a lot of fun spending time with the streets I walk every day… although, it’s a somewhat different Edinburgh I write about; 2099. Europe is


Normally I’m an obsessive writer; I noodle with work forever – probably far too much – resulting with frustratingly slow progress. Especially during the editing process. I’m just coming to the end of a 2 year edit on the Japan Novel, and it has frankly been starting to drive me a little loopy. Cabin fever.


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