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Anne H. Petzer

Anne Petzer, Author of the Zvonek 08 Series
Anne is a South African currently living in Prague. She lives with her two cats, Zvonek who inspired the series and Metaxa, a feisty young lady who rules the household! Anne works as an English teacher in a private language school in the city.

Apart from writing she is an obsessive reader, loves cooking and entertaining her friends. Abhorring cruelty and violence of any kind she is an animal and children rights activist.

Moving to a landlocked country, after growing up in a coastal city, she has discovered a love for trees.

Read an Interview with Anne
Other Interviews:

                    Other Short Story 2013
Congratulations to Anne for being in the 2013 Preditors and Editors top ten in Other Short Story Category (#2!) for Zvonek 08.

New Title(s) from Anne H. Petzer

Zvonek 08 (vol. 1) by Anne Petzer Zvonek 08, Book 2 by Anne H. Petzer Snow Cat by Anne H. Petzer The Miracle of the Carp by Anne H. Petzer Zvonek 08-#4 Operation Catwalk and The Hight LIfe by Anne H. Petzer Zvonek 08, Book 5 by Anne H. Petzer

Zvonek 08 FICR Print by Anne Petzer
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Click on the thumbnail(s) above to learn more about the book(s) listed.

Zvonek 08, Book 1 by Anne H. Petzer

Cat on Thin Ice: Excitement in Prague mounts as the city prepares for a hockey game against the Russians. It is a game to celebrate the goodwill between the countries. Feline Intel is alerted when an old enemy is seen in town. News from Brussels confirms suspicions that the happy front is just that, a front. FI is called in when it is known that a cat's life is in grave danger and its them against time to save him.

Cat Among the Pigeons: Life was great on the streets of Strašnice until Zvonek is accused of mercilessly killing pigeons and leaving their ripped bodies strewn all over the street. But its part of a cat’s nature you might say. FI operatives have a code to live by and someone is breaking it, leaving Zvonek to take the blame.

Word Count: 24000
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99
    on Amazon

    on Amazon UK


Zvonek 08, Book 2 by Anne H. Petzer

Zvonek enjoying some down time after a stressful mission with Clawdette at the helm. However, this peace was not to last. Clawdette has a special job for Zvonek – only he can be trusted to do. He discovers she has a secret in her past. What link does it have to the mission? Zvonek needs to know and in his quest ends up with more than just lose ends.

Return of the Rats:
A local enemy re-surfaces in Strašnice. The on going struggle for dominance between cat and rat. The rats have the upper hand this time when they snatch one of FI dearest. Will the operatives be able to rescue their own? It's a maze in the rodents' tunnels under Prague, foreign territory for the the felines.

The Miracle of the Carp:
Christmas is dawning and preparations for cats and humans are under-way. Disaster strikes. The centre of the Czech Christmas dinner is in danger. Stray felines? Or is it more sinister? FI aims to find out to save the strays and Christmas.

Word Count: 31,100
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Price: $4.99

Snow Cat by Anne H. Petzer 

Legend has it that the forest animals of Krkonoše are protected by a feline presence. Once many, many, many years ago the animals of the forest faced certain danger that would have surely meant death. The event changed the calm and happy routine of the mountains forever, leaving its trace until today.

Word Count: 2405

Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $ .99

The Miracle of the Carp by Anne H. Petzer

**The proceeds from this book will go to YANA. This is an outreach in Prague that takes care of the city's homeless. It is run mainly by students from the International Baptist Church of Prague cooperating with other organizations such as the Salvation Army. Thank you for your support. **

Christmas is dawning and preparations for cats and humans are under-way. Disaster strikes. The centre of the Czech Christmas dinner is in danger. Stray felines? Or is it more sinister? FI aims to find out to save the strays and Christmas.

Word Count: 7600

Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: 3.99

Zvonek 08 #4; Operation Catwalk and The High Life by Anne H. Petzer

Operation Catwalk—At last the most prestigious event of the year is being held in Prague. The Miss Feline CZ. Zvonek and Honza are looking forward to attending. The five finalists are chosen and The Mau is gearing up for the grand finale. Everything is on schedule when an alert on Vladimir's desk reveals strange happenings around the finalists that could sabotage the competition. Will Zvonek discover who is behind the attacks in time, or will the show just have to go on?

The High Life—Metaxa is suspicious of an elegant tom who arrives in Prague. When she meets him at a dinner with Zvonek and Honza he is witty, rich and appears to like her. Will she be taken in by his charm and wealth, or listen to her inner voice? What is his real connection to the strays and is he connected to Zvonek's latest mission?

Word Count: 19300

Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99
    In House Reviews 

Zvonek 08 FICR Print1 by Anne H. Petzer

Review of Book One!

Zvonek is smart, witty and fast, like many other cats. Unlike most other cats, however, Zvonek is also an agent with Feline Intelligence Czech Republic—Agent Zvonek 08, to be exact.

Come with Zvonek and his partner Honza as they patrol the streets of Prague undercover on assignment. From a feline beauty pageant to a mysterious case of disappearing Christmas carp to a pair of international drug smugglers to a ring of unscrupulous rats beneath the city and more, the feline pals are on the move!

ORDER THE Zvonek 08 PRINT BOOK! (ISBN #978-1-61950-158-4)

Zvonek 08, Book 5 by Anne H. Petzer

Cats in High Water: Prague is experiencing heavy summer rains. The rain continues for days. Tension mounts along with the level of the Vltava as Feline Intelligence reaches out to the save stranded cats. Just as recourses reach its limit a cry of help comes in from the colony of strays in the zoo. The zoo animals are being taken to safety but who will help the stranded felines? Can FI make it in time? Or will the cats be left to help themselves?

The Eight Key Committee: In the midst of preparations for the viewing of The Garnet, an ancient artifact, important to heritage of the feline community of the Czech Republic, a cat goes missing. In their quest to find her, Feline Intel uncovers sinister goings on around the trusted committee of this precious jewel.

Word Count: 15600
Buy at: Smashwords (all formats) ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Amazon
Price: $3.99


Zvonek 08 (Volume 1)

Zvonek stretched out on the big comfortable bed with the thick soft duvet, and closed his eyes. Life was good again; at least for a few days; hopefully weeks, now that the mission was finished. He loved Strašnice, it had been his home for a year now and already he had so many good memories. Bad ones too, but they didn’t count when you had so much to be grateful for. Ahhh…with only one life gone, he could still enjoy himself.

The evening had ended on a good note, although it had not started that way. Zvonek had not called for back-up, leaving him and Honza in a very vulnerable position. Vladimir, his boss, known to them as V, was not happy with them. He felt Zvonek not only compromised the mission, but put their lives in unnecessary danger. However, the job had been done, he and Honza had escaped unscathed, and after a few days, V would see that.

So in true cat fashion, Zvonek stretched out and closed his eyes once more. Remembering all the good things, he slowly drifted off into a daydream of salmon truffles and low fat milk, served by pretty feline waitresses at a luxury resort paid for by Feline Intelligence (FI). This kitty agent was certainly due for some down time. He was, after all Zvonek 08.

Just as the bit of feline fluff in his dream was about to scratch his ear, a shrill noise jolted him back to reality. Mom’s alarm clock! Food. Breakfast. He jumped up, stretched and made for the kitchen. Life was good!

Sometime later after Mom had gone to work, Zvonek was sunning himself in the window, watching the fat juicy pigeons peck at food on the ground, the scroungers, when a sudden movement caught his eye. Something to the left, under the car, he thought. Immediately alert, he tensed and watched the spot intently, waiting. Minutes ticked by: nothing.

Bah! he thought, my nerves are still jittery from the last mission. Just nerves.

Zvonek resumed his grooming, then stretched again. This is great. Warmth, peace—what more…There, the movement again. This time he crept behind the curtain and peered out, obscured from whatever it was under the car. If indeed there was something there. Not entirely convinced that it was just his imagination, he waited and waited, but still nothing.

Hmmm. I am becoming paranoid, he thought, maybe a life short is enough to give me the jitters.

He was just settling down on his cushion by the radiator, when he heard a distinctive and very loud Meeooww outside the bedroom window of the two-room flat where he lived.

“What’s this now?” he growled, knowing full well what, or rather who, it was. He sighed and made his way across the flat to the bedroom, jumped up onto the window ledge, and there as he suspected, was Honza.

Honza was a big cat; if he had been a human, one might have described him as burly. He certainly carried his lion genes well. He was Zvonek’s sidekick and best friend, when he was not interrupting Zvonek’s well deserved naps! The two of them made a striking pair, being opposite in stature and coloring. Zvonek, though smaller, was no less agile or competent in defending himself or protecting the cause of the mission at hand. Honza was completely ginger; Zvonek was almost completely black on his back and white on his under body, the black thinning and giving way to more white around the neck. Two white back legs, and mixed black and white front legs. A handsome tom!

“Hey,” Honza called.

“Hey, yourself. What’s going on? Thought we had decided to get some R&R.”

“Disturbed you from your beauty sleep, did I?”

Zvonek scowled.

“Well, wait till you hear what I’ve got to tell you, Zvoni boy; it’s well worth forfeiting your little nap.”

Zvonek lifted the edge of the cat safety net Mom had installed after the accident, and jumped down to meet Honza in the garden. Of course the loose flap at the end was Zvonek and Honza’s secret. She would have a fit if she knew her cat was still able to get out and ‘wander’ freely.

“This had better be good; I was just about to drift off,” he muttered.

“Well,” began Honza, “I was over at the Mau getting breakfast, when at the reception I spotted very familiar luggage being wheeled in.”

“Familiar luggage?” Zvonek was beginning to think that his friend had lost it completely. “You were at the Mau?”

“Yes, bud.”

“What do you mean by familiar luggage?”

Honza sighed, “Does the logo of a blood-red ruby on a white cushion mean anything to you?”

Zvonek stared at his friend. He could feel the fur on his back starting to stand up. A chill run through him, even though the day was relatively warm for this time of year. He knew the logo, and Honza knew he did.

“Yes, exactly.”

“What is she doing back here? Did you see her? Did she see you?”

“One question at a time, little buddy.”

Zvonek let the pet name go. Although Zvonek was of higher rank and superior ability, Honza was bigger than him. It normally irritated him for Honza to call him little buddy. Zvoni he could live with.

“Dunno, no and no.”

Zvonek swished his tail, looked around him, and then back at Honza.

“She’s not going to appear in your garden, Zvoni! She’ll lure you out to some lonely alley and remind you of old times.” Honza winked.

“Very funny.” Even as a joke Zvonek did not want to be reminded of old times. This was what had led to the whole net thing in the first place. Before that, life was free and he didn’t have to have secrets from Mom.

“Here’s a thought, Zvon, maybe she’s on holiday. Prague does have a lot to offer.”

“Yeah, right.” Zvonek’s mind was working overtime. It wasn’t so much Saskia herself that worried him, but what came with her.

“Have you told Vladimir?”

“Nope, came here right from the Mau.”

The Mau was the local hotel which also served really good food. Zvonek and Honza normally ate at the pub opposite the flat, but when they felt like a bit of class, or at least when Zvonek could persuade Honza he needed class, they would eat at the club. Located at the back of the parking lot of a service garage, it looked onto a green lawn and trees. The men who worked at the service garage had been really good to Zvonek when he had come home from the hospital, and kept asking Mom how he had been doing. They would also chat to him if they saw him sitting in the kitchen window as they went past.

“I think we should keep it to ourselves for a while and see what happens.” Zvonek was thoughtful now.

“Don’t you think if V finds out that we knew and didn’t let on that we would be in even more trouble?”

“We’re not in trouble; Vladimir is just a little upset that we didn’t follow his instructions to the letter.”

“A little upset! He broke a nail scratching on the table!”

“Well the job was completed successfully, we’re both safe, and now cats can walk the streets again.”

Honza was not convinced. He loved his friend, but agreed with V that Zvoni could be somewhat of a, what were the words he had used? Loose cannon.

“So what are you going to do?” he asked.





“Yes, Honza, nothing, absolutely nothing. I’m going home to curl up in front of the radiator and take a nap.”

Back to Zvonek 08 (1) 
Zvonek 08 (Volume 2)

1786 BC

The bejewelled sky spread its dark velvet covering over the silent earth below. The pale light of the moon cast a cold glow on Ma’at. The form of the goddess nestled among the columns of the temple; statuesque, protected from the night. Still and calm filled the land with peace that brought comfort.

Somewhere in a corner, a small movement. Not threatening. In the shadows, a small, huddled bundle. Silver, shining in the tiniest of pale rays that reached it. Another movement, shifting, and then the smallest of contented mews.

On the other side of the temple, a door opened silently. A dark shadow grew in the pale light. Stopped. Then moved again. Another mew, the shadow moved stealthily forward, growing longer in the pallid light. It reached the far corner, bent. There on the floor in a golden basket, lying on a silken quilt, the small body of Anther was rhythmically breathing the safe, contented breath of sleep.

The shadow stopped, did not move for an entire twelve seconds, then quietly bent over the basket and gently lifted the sleeping kitten, clothed in the soft quilt, into its arms and moved quickly and noiselessly back to the door. A sharp glow from the eyes of Ma’at pierced the shadow, causing it to stumble and fall in a heap at her feet.

Anther, now awake and frightened, darted for the door and disappeared inside.

In the bright golden light of day, a few worshippers gathered on the temple steps, all with only one eyebrow. Anther could not be found. All that remained were the empty basket and a crumpled silk quilt.


Zvonek was not in the mood to wait for Honza. They had decided to have lunch at Whiskers. The last mission had been successfully completed, the paperwork filed, and now all that was left was to kick back and relax. It hadn’t been as dangerous or as stimulating as other missions. Clawdette had decided to stay in Prague to oversee the mission, causing undue stress for everyone.

He looked around the pub. It wasn’t as full as usual. It was only their second visit to Whiskers since the HQ of Feline Intel had moved to their new location. Zvonek hadn’t been sad to leave the old FI building at all. It was getting cramped and they needed something more upmarket. Their new location certainly was in a better area. The garden around the flat—it had been arranged for Mom to move as well, which wasn’t easy since she hated change—was so much better, too. Lots of long, soft, grass. And trees! Zvonek loved trees. It was great to have them in his own garden! The flat was down the road from the former residence.

One window was situated halfway behind a leafy bush, so you could look out, but it wasn’t that easy to look in. This garden had a proper fence, about ten metres from the window. Nice all round. Alas, there still were many things he missed about the old flat.

The humans who came to pet him while he lay in the sun at the living room window. The human friends he had made on the block. Ah well!! Guess it was time to move on.

“Anything else, sir?” The kit arrived at the table, disturbing Zvonek’s thoughts.

“Nothing more for me, thank you. Just the bill.”

He looked around and saw Honza was still at the bar, purring at a couple of felines. Zvonek smiled to himself. It was typical of Honza; his friend just couldn’t help it.

He slowly walked home. It had been a hot day and Zvonek was glad for the reprieve. He stopped under the bushes in the garden to enjoy the coolness before going in.

He sat under the tree outside the window. He still used the flap method in the cat net to get in and out. Simple and it worked well. He smelled the air. Different smells, but not unpleasant.

This time, he had a dog to contend with. She belonged to their neighbour, and he had groaned inwardly when he saw her. She proved useful in a canine sort of way, like keeping strays away, which meant that he had peace, so he would tolerate her for now.

Zvonek stood up and stretched out his legs in front of him, rump in the air. He’d better go in. Mom would be home soon and he should be inside, ready to greet her. It was Wednesday, which meant poached fish! It was his second favourite. He especially hadn’t had lunch at Whiskers not to ruin his appetite. When he got inside he would nibble on some granules, just to keep himself going. He walked slowly towards the window, stretching one back leg at a time. Just as he was about to jump onto the window ledge he heard a noise. The dog! He high-tailed it across the remaining space, leapt onto the window, through the flap, and onto the sofa. Just in time. The dog bounded toward the fence, to bark at people passing the garden.

Dogs! Zvonek shook his head as he sat down on the sofa, catching his breath. He looked around the room. It was a smaller flat than their last, by a couple of square metres. Instead of a separate bedroom and living room, in this flat they were together. Mom closed the door between the living room and kitchen while she was out, so that he didn’t run out when she came in after work.

Back to Zvonek 08 (2)
Snow Cat 

 Startled, Metaxa looked up at the window to see Koule pawing impatiently on the cat net.

“Come on Metaxa, we’re going to be late!”

Metaxa hurried through the net. “This morning has been awful. Mom wouldn’t leave and then Zvonek wanted a full detailed description of where I was going et cetera, et cetera. Honestly.”

“It’s okay, but let’s hurry. Today it’s Vendulka telling us the story of The Snow Cat.”

Metaxa hurried alongside Koule. “Really? That is going to be so good, she’s really very popular and I hear a very good story teller, too!”

They both hurried down the road to Whiskers. Whiskers being the local pub, and Mr. Whiskers, being very community minded, opened the back room of the pub to Kit Story Telling Time. Since the episode with the rats kidnapping cats and kittens to work in the tunnels, the feline community had organized activities for the kits to keep them busy and, hopefully, out of trouble. One of the activities was story telling.

Vendulka was a really old cat, well-known and respected in the community. She had raised quite a few litters in her time and seen many changes to Prague 10. Her lineage was very long; years of wisdom passed down to her. Today was sure to draw a crowd.

Metaxa and Koule squeezed into the back of the room and edged along the wall until they found a spot close to the old queen. Just in time, too. No sooner had they sat down than Vendulka called everyone to her attention.

Settling all the excited kits and the older felines that had joined today to hear everyone’s favourite story took a few minutes. She began, “?rkonoše, as you know, is a mountain range located in the north of the Czech Republic. It has been home to many a legend and not least to that of the Snow Cat. In the Middle Ages, the mountains were mostly uninhabited. It was an area of large lush green forests, where the mountain animals played and lived peacefully together.

“In the spring, flowers blossomed, covering the slopes with a bright coat of many colors, with green leaves dancing in the wind. Summer brought long sun-drenched days, blue skies, and warm velvet nights. Fall turned the leaves golden, orange and red, sending the forest and mountain animals skipping about, chasing them as they floated to the earth in the breeze. Winter came early and lasted long in the mountains. Everything was blanketed in soft white that shimmered in the moonlight and the silence brought a peace to the slopes deeper than in the other seasons.

“It is said that before the first snowfall, when the air was cold and the trees bare of their foliage, paw prints would appear in the hard winter ground. Paw prints of a feline nature, heralding the winter to come. If the spoor marked only the surface, the animals knew the winter would be gentle but, if the spoor went deeper into the surface, the winter would be a hard one. This gave the forest animals time to prepare for the winter to come. Sure enough, the snow would fall and fall and fall, covering the hard earth with its soft white cushion. The spoor would return, but this time the paw prints would be in the soft white snow, promising that spring would again blossom.

“And so the years passed and the seasons changed, and changed back again in a peaceful, undisturbed routine. Then one day, around the year 1242, a strange sight never seen before appeared in the mountains.

Back to Snow Cat 
The Miracle of the Carp (Volume 3)

The garden was covered in pure white snow. St. Martin had come early this year. Traditionally, on the 11th of November, which is his name day on the Czech Calendar, he would arrive on his white horse and bring snow to the Czech lands. Well, this year he had been impatient and snow had come early to cover the earth.

Zvonek didn’t mind the snow. He and Honza loved to race around and kick up snow at each other. Much more fun than cat ball. Things were quieter outside, the sound muffled by the layer of snow. He now sat on the window ledge and looked out at the two sets of paw prints patterned in the garden. Metaxa and Koule, playing in the snow, had made their paw prints into fanciful designs.

He smiled to himself. The two of them got on well and he was glad; it kept Metaxa busy, and for the most part, out of his fur. She was growing fast, and Zvonek had a hunch that soon playing around with her little friend wasn’t going to be enough.

He still hadn’t solved her connection to Clawdette. He was sure there was one, and it wasn’t just Clawdette’s compassion for a catlet that needed help. There was still the heart patch...

“Are you going out?” Metaxa, who had been sleeping by Mom, hopped silently onto the ledge next to him.

“Not tonight.”

They both sat on the ledge and looked out at the snow; the moon shining down on it gave it crisp shimmering look.

It was good to be home. He’d had two missions in a row with Clawdette in attendance and then Bobi’s capture by the rats. He looked forward to spending time with Mom and Metaxa. Also it was Metaxa’s first Christmas, and he knew Mom was going to make it exciting.

He remembered his first Christmas with Mom. She had put up this tree—well a branch, really—with lovely danglely things on it. He couldn’t resist pawing at them. She hadn’t even shouted at him when he broke one of the decorations by swatting it too hard. However, she did take the presents away because his curiosity got the better of him and he couldn’t help scratching at them. It was after the accident, and he was on sick leave from FI (Feline Intelligence, Czech Republic) and still recovering. It was great to be home, warm and snug while it snowed outside.

On Christmas Eve they’d had a feast of roast chicken, ham and smoked salmon. The smoked salmon was for him, as Mom didn’t like it; and not being Czech, she didn’t know how to make carp in the right way. But he hadn’t minded; there was enough food for an entire clowder! Double cream for dessert!

Later that morning after munching their way through chicken and ostrich wet food, then tasty granules and some cat milk to wash it all down, they settled into their baskets for a morning nap. Christmas was a tricky time as Mom, being on holiday, had an erratic schedule. Most of their going out was at night when she was sleeping.

It was a lazy day. Mom spent a lot of it at her computer typing away on the keys and watching movies on the DVD player. Zvonek and Metaxa amused themselves chasing each other around the flat and taking turns on Mom’s lap for pets and cuddles. Well, cuddles for Metaxa! He would only let Mom cuddle him for a short time. He did have an image to maintain, after all.

That night when Mom went to sleep Zvonek and Metaxa sneaked out the window and into the garden. Everything was blanketed in soft, white snow.

“Ooo, it’s cold.” Metaxa was testing a patch with her paw. “Come on, Zvonek, I’ll race you over the fence.”

They both charged at the fence and over it into the street on the other side. Kicking snow at each other and rolling around it. It was fun, just the two of them.

It had been about six months now since Metaxa moved in. They had their squabbles; Metaxa was feisty and bossy, but she had an incredibly generous heart. Zvonek saw her as his sister; in fact, everyone at FI now thought of her as his little sister. Only Clawdette’s ever-lurking presence and progress reports reminded him of Metaxa’s true identity.

They chased each other up the road to the park. The park had changed its cover from shades of gold, orange and brown to that of pure white. To Metaxa it looked like whipped cream covering the bushes and ground.

Zvonek dived and rolled down the bank with Metaxa in pursuit. She landed, breathless, on top of him. They both sat up and licked themselves. It’s great to have some fun, Zvonek was thinking to himself.

“Hey, what’s that smell?” Metaxa’s little nose twitched at the air. It wasn’t a smell she recognised.

Zvonek sniffed and pointed to a big blue plastic pool on the corner of the road opposite where they were sitting. Metaxa looked in the direction he was pointing and frowned.

“But it’s kind of like a... fish smell?” She was uncertain. Why would there be fish on the corner of the road?

“It is fish. Every Christmas there are these pools filled with carp on a lot of street corners. Carp is our Christmas fish,” Zvonek explained.

Metaxa looked incredulous. “Pools of fish, just sitting there!”

“Yes, Metaxa. Why?”

Metaxa thought about it for a few seconds, and then her face softened. “Oh, how nice of the humans to do that.”

Now it was Zvonek’s turn to be confused. “Nice? Why?”

“To leave all these pools of fish around for the stray cats at Christmas.” She smiled.

Zvonek burst out laughing. How so Metaxa to think everything revolved around the cat community. Of course, he agreed it should but, sadly, things had a long way to go to get there.

“What’s so funny?”

“Those pools full of fish are for the humans to buy. They eat them with potato salad for their Christmas dinner. During the day, the sellers let the humans choose their fish then sell it to them.”

“No! You’re not serious?”

“Metaxa, you can’t possibly think people really leave pools of fish around for strays.”

“Okay, so why tempt them, then?”

“What do you mean?”

“Zvonek, you can be so dense.” Metaxa was clearly losing patience with him.

“Would you care to explain it to me, then?” Zvonek asked, still amused at her thinking.

“Well, there are these huge pools, filled with fish swimming around, with no one guarding them. How is that not going to tempt a hungry, cold stray? It’s sitting prey.”

Back to The Miracle of the Carp
Zvonek 08 (Volume 4)

“The Spring Miss Feline Contest is in Prague this year,” Honza read aloud from The Daily Meow home page on the internet. The annual beauty competition traveled to different cities of the Czech Republic. Last year it had been in Brno.

He and Zvonek were in the computer room catching up on some reading. Honza had invited Zvonek to the hostel for lunch—some tom time away from Metaxa. Afterward they had gone to check the latest news.

“Zvoni, did you hear me?”

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“Prague is—what are you reading?” Honza leaned over to see what held Zvonek’s interest.

“It’s a piece on cat shelters. Mister Lidé has reopened the shelter he used to run with his wife.”


“Yes, it’s all here.” Zvonek pointed to the screen. “Along with the story of her tragic death while trying to save two felines.”

“Hmm... nothing of his Christmas fiasco, I see.”

Zvonek smiled. “So what were you saying about Prague?”

“The Miss Feline Contest is to be held here this year.”


“At The Mau.”

“Great stuff! I’ve always wanted to go. We should get tickets early to go to the finale. I bet it will be full. When does the voting open?”

“The finalists arrived yesterday and the voting opened this morning. We only have twenty-four hours to vote. Their photos and profiles are here on the competition’s home page.”

The finalists had been selected from the original twenty queens chosen to participate. From the original twenty, through votes, it had been whittled down to ten. These, then, traveled to Prague. Another five had been eliminated by computer vote and the judge’s decision, based on various questions and tasks. Everyone in the entire feline population was allowed to vote on one of those five. The finalists went through a series of tests and were given marks by the panel of judges. The last test required parading the catwalk to stand on stage and answer questions fired at them by the judges. There were strict rules to enter the competition. The entrants had to be born on Czech soil and also to have had no kittens, to give them the freedom to move around. The year-long reign took them to all four corners of the country, doing charitable work and serving their fellow felines.

The two toms looked through the profile photos.

“Wow, they’re all so pretty!”

“That’s why they were chosen, Honza.” Zvonek smiled.

It was a difficult decision, the rules stated only one vote per cat.

“Miss Prague is a Ragamuffin this year. Very nice.” Honza purred appreciatively.

“I’m not sure who to vote for, although I agree she is very pretty.” Zvonek looked at her profile photo. She was white and smoky grey with lovely blue eyes. He liked blue eyes. She looked very gentle and kind.

“What about Miss Karlovy Vary?” Miss Karlovy Vary was an ebony silver Oriental Longhair with golden eyes, very elegant looking. Honza was scrolling through the photos. He enjoyed competitions of any kind and even more so when pretty felines were involved.

After spending time going through all five of them, both toms decided Miss Prague should get their vote. She was the softest looking, Zvonek decided. As there was no entry from his home town of Litomerice, Miss Prague was the logical choice for him.

It felt strange wandering around with nothing to do. It had been a quiet winter work-wise. In one way, it was a good thing everything was peaceful. There had been a few domestic spats, but nothing really big since Bobina’s capture. Security had been tightened with a more vigilant eye kept on the rats. Even Rodent, in his cell, seemed to be behaving himself.

Zvonek was getting restless. He needed to have something to focus on, other than watching out for Metaxa. That job came down as orders from the top. He offered to get the tickets from the office which had been set up at The Mau.

Back to Zvonek 08 (4)
Zvonek 08 (Volume 5)

Cats in High Water

“I am so tired of this weather!” Metaxa meowed, “It has rained the entire weekend. Do you realize that I haven’t been outside the last two days?”

Zvonek sighed inwardly. He did indeed realize it, because he had been inside with her. Metaxa could be the most annoying feline in world if things didn’t go her way. He loved the rain. Most of his weekend was spent curled up in his bed, or next to Mom relaxing and sleeping. No emergencies from Feline Intelligence (FI) perfect kitty home time.

“Zvonek, are you listening to me?”

“Metaxa, you are meowing right next to me. I can’t help but hear you.”

“Well, the least you could do is answer.” She turned her back on Zvonek and looked at the window, watching the raindrops hit the glass and run down the pane. She was getting cabin fever; she had to get out soon. She knew from reading Zvonek’s Mobile Communicator (MC) that everything was quiet at Head Quarters (HQ), and some of the toms were going to Whiskers tonight. She hadn’t heard from Koule all day and wondered if he would pop around after Mom went to sleep. In spite of the fact that she hated the rain, she was going out tonight. This was ridiculous.

“Are you going to Whiskers tonight?”

“Have you been reading my MC again?”

“Well, are you? I can’t help but see it, you leave it lying around.”

He knew that wasn’t true. He usually hid it under the carpet, as it wouldn’t do for Mom to find it. But he’d changed places, since Metaxa made it her mission to find it every time he found a new place. Sisters!

Zvonek stood and stretched his back legs; then jumped off the chair he had been sitting on, stretched his front paws, and washed his shoulder before walking to sniff at the food bowls.

“Well?” Metaxa’s meowing had gone up a notch, showing her irritation. Mom, who was getting ready for bed, looked over and made soothing noises.

Metaxa did her little musical chirping sound to pacify Mom and was rewarded with a, “Good girl.”

“Possibly.” Zvonek decided to finish the chicken and pumpkin left over in his bowl.

Metaxa hopped up next to Mom, who had now gotten into bed, and cuddled behind her knee. Zvonek hopped up, settled down by her feet, and started cleaning himself. They both practiced the FI rule: Keep everything normal at all times to avoid any suspicion.

Soon, Mom was breathing the even breath of sleep. Metaxa’s head popped up to double check she was indeed asleep. Once confirmed, she stretched and moved quickly toward the window.

“Where are you going?” Zvonek asked.

“To look for Koule. I need to get out!” With that, she slipped through the cat net
and disappeared into the darkness outside.

Zvonek sighed. She really was becoming a pawful. Clawdette would be proud. He couldn’t help smiling at the thought. He relaxed in the peace of her absence. Not that he didn’t care about her; he did. It wasn’t just because Clawdette had given him the responsibility; they’d grown close and looked out for each other. But boy, could Metaxa be a queen!

He looked at the rain running down the window. He was snug and warm and didn’t really feel like going out, but he missed the toms and wanted to catch up on what was going down. He slowly crept up the bed and sniffed at Mom. She was sleeping peacefully. He couldn’t resist and gave her arm a few licks before heading silently to the window.

Ten minutes later, he was sloshing his way to Whiskers. It was Zvonek’s and Honza’s local hangout. The surrounding area was pleasant, and Whiskers was just below the ground in an old unused cellar. The entrance was through an opening in the gutter and down a constantly damp passage. In winter because it was sheltered by the gutter so snow didn’t get in but in rainy weather the water filtered down and pooled in the entrance.

Zvonek pushed his way through the gathered felines. He stopped in a corner and licked himself dry, shook his head and peered through the throng for Honza.

“Zvonek, over here.”

Sure enough, there was Honza perched on a chair, with two milks in front of him.

“Ordered one for you, so that you wouldn’t have to wait. It’s really busy tonight.”

Zvonek jumped up onto the chair Honza had been guarding for him, grateful for his foresight in ordering milk. Blesk, the barman, had to be one of the slowest in Prague.

“Thanks, Honz. What’s up? Been indoors with Metaxa for two days. Please give me

“Difficult, eh?”

“She just doesn’t stop. How Koule puts up with it, I don’t know.”

“Those two are good friends.”

“Yes, she’s gone off to meet him tonight.”

“Not much going on around HQ. It has been a very quiet weekend. Even Vladimir hasn’t been around.”

“Must be quiet then, he usually spends at least one day of the weekend in his office.”

“Fred decided to stage a major cleaning. He has the entire clean-up crew working, sorting out things and repacking.”

Both toms chuckled. Fred was the head of clean-up. This meant he and his crew would arrive during or after an FI mission to take care of any hurt felines or do necessary procedures on the job.

They continued drinking their milks, meowing from topic to topic. After his second milk, Zvonek decided he should leave. His warm flat and the thought of the warm soft duvet were far more attractive in this weather than being in a damp pub full of rowdy toms keeping dry.

Metaxa crept back through the net. She had gone to Koule’s house and found his entire family inside. She had meowed at the window and Koule had reluctantly come outside. They’d chatted under the big tree in his garden, but the rain made everything wet. She hated wet.

She had licked herself dry, eaten some of the leftover chicken and pumpkin, and was curled up next to Mom when Zvonek slipped in. As they dozed off, both their last thoughts were about what a useless night it had been.

Zvonek and Metaxa spent the next day at home. Metaxa, accepting her fate, spent
some time playing chase and catch with Zvonek. By the evening the rain still hadn’t stopped, and after Mom went to bed they sat on the inside window ledge looking gloomy.

At FI headquarters, things were heating up. Einstein’s office had become flooded during the day. Einstein, an older cat of extreme intelligence, had been recruited years earlier, before Vladimir, or even Clawdette. He was in charge of weapons and working on new devices to assist agents in the field.

The problem: his office and workspace were underground. He often tested his inventions and therefore it was safer for everyone for him to work underground. With the constant rain over the last four days, water had begun to seep through the floor while Einstein focused on his current project. Jumping down from his workbench, he landed in water that covered his paws and halfway up his legs.

Not only was Einstein in trouble, but the cell holding Rodent had also begun to fill with water. Rodent—incarcerated in FI cells for leading his band of renegade rats in crimes against the feline population of Prague—had been dozing on his bed in the cell when he awoke to a dripping sound. To his alarm, the floor of his cell was covered in water, and more water was dripping in through the crack in the window pane.

“Cats! Cats!” he wheezed shrilly. He never referred to his guards by their names. “Cats!”

Einstein stared at his wet legs and the water lapping against them. He had been totally engrossed on his latest invention and hadn’t noticed the water ’til he splashed into it on the floor. He stared at it for a moment, then moved his gaze to the weapons cage. His eyes widened when he saw the first row shelves were millimetres away from being wet.

Finally mobilized, he reached for the red alarm buzzer, and pressed his paw down hard. In seconds, four toms rushed into his work hall.

Back to Zvonek 08 (5)