Kindle Edition - Free, From 1/15-1/17 (January 15 to 17, 2018)
by R. F. Kristi
Publisher R. F. Kristi
Kindle Edition - Free, From 1/15-1/17 (January 15 to 17, 2018)
Can one cat detective keep vampires off the guest list?
Inca the Siberian Kitty and her globetrotting furry family are always up for an adventure. She can’t wait for the upcoming Easter jamboree at Bran Castle. It’s bound to inspire pages of new thrills for her diary. But behind the fancy dresses and decorations, Inca stumbles upon a spooky mystery…
What was all the fuss about?
The word ‘Transylvania’ had come up several times. Mom was on the phone about Transylvania and there were papers strewn around the dining table about Transylvania.
From glancing at the colorful leaflets, I could make out that Transylvania was a province somewhere in Europe.
The word ‘Transylvania’ had a nice tone to it
- But we, Mom’s family, wondered what was going on.
We had never heard of Transylvania before Mom started getting all excited about this place.
My first instinct was to romp over to Monk’s place and have a pow-wow with him and his buddy Terrance. They both lived in a mansion owned by Solo the world-famous detective.
Monk was a dignified Blue Russian cat always sporting a nifty bow-tie.
Terrance was a well-travelled doggy detective. He always accompanied Solo when he was on a case.
If Terrance had not heard about this place, no one else would have.
I was sure of that!
I dashed over to Monk’s place with Cara and Fromage trailing after me.
Sunday, Late Evening
We found Monk and Terrance basking in the warmth of the roaring fire in their enormous library.
It was a cold winter’s evening.
Solo and his good friend Inspector Reid were hunched over the chess board. They were so engrossed in their game that they hardly noticed us softly slinking into the library.
In any case, they were used to seeing us around as Missy our Mom was a good friend of these two gentlemen.
Fromage had already pushed himself near the fireplace and was stretched out besides Monk whom he hero-worshiped quite unashamedly.
Terrance wagged his tail in greeting, his mouth stretched in a big smile.
I never knew a doggy who smiled like Terrance. “Woof,” said Terrance politely when he saw us.
What he actually meant was that it was nice to see us, and his tail wagged furiously. He tends to do this when he sees us.
I am aware that he liked us even though we are kitties.
I got down to business immediately.
“Where on earth is Transylvania? Have you heard of this place before, Terrance?” I asked, my whiskers tingling with inquisitiveness.
I was impatient to get to the bottom of what Mom was all excited about.
She had announced to Aunt Florence on Skype that we would move to Transylvania for Easter.
She had been hired by a wealthy client to cater for an important event in a castle in Transylvania.
Aunt Florence usually spent Easter with us.
I had a habit of eavesdropping on all of Mom’s conversations. I had heard Mom inviting Aunt Florence to spend Easter with us in Transylvania, instead of coming to London.
Hearing this, I had broken the news to Cara and Fromage.
I am the nosey one in the family, and I made it my business to know everything that went on in it.
They don’t call me ‘SNOOPY’ Cat for nothing!
Terrance and Monk both looked up in interest and Terrance cocked his head to one side.
“Ah…ha!” he said.
“A very fascinating place though somewhat somber.
“Transylvania is in central Romania. It’s known for medieval towns, mountainous borders and castles.”
“Why do you ask, Inca?” chimed Monk.
“Mom has a gig in Transylvania during Easter,” I responded.
“She has a wealthy client who wishes to celebrate his birthday party with a Monster theme.
“He has selected Transylvania as his destination.
“We are planning to spend Easter Sunday and a few days before Easter Sunday, in Bran Castle.”
Terrance sat up, his pink tongue gasped and he looked very attentive all of a sudden.
‘‘Solo once had a case in Transylvania and we had a chance to visit Bran Castle.
“It’s a Gothic fortress associated with the legend of Dracula.”
“Who is Dracula?” Fromage asked before I could pose the same question.
Monk piped in quickly –
“Haven’t you heard of Count Dracula?
“The story goes that he was a centuries-old vampire, and a Transylvanian nobleman.
“Unlike the vampires of Eastern European folklore, who are portrayed as repulsive creatures, Count Dracula had been an elegant and charming aristocrat.
“He had also been a scientist and was said to have been very clever with a mighty brain.
“He had studied black magic and it is said that he was no common man.
“He was dead and buried in a great tomb in the chapel of his castle, but according to legend, Dracula had returned from death as a vampire.
“A vampire who sucks blood off humans!”
Monk’s meow had gone deep and hushed while he told us about Count Dracula.
Our collective blood had curdled at his story. Cara gave a whimper and stuttered – “vampires suck the blood off humans!!!
“What if he sucks the blood off Mom and Aunt Florence?”
“It’s only a story, isn’t it Monk?” I yowled, alarmed.
Fromage stood up from his comfortable position and puffed out his chest –
“Even if it’s not a story, neither you gals nor Mom have to worry about any old vampire.
“I will deal with any vampire who dares to come near you.”
Fromage means well, but he is a podgy little soul, full of goodwill but with far too much bravado.
I looked at him sternly –
“Thank you Fromage, your help would be welcome.
“Don’t forget, I am the eldest and the leader of the Troupe.
“I will take care of Mom, Aunt Florence and all of us and you will be my second- in-command.
“Right you are sis,” he said as he gave me a salute.
“We will deal with any vampire that dares to show his face around us.”
Fromage, the brave and heroic army officer he thought himself to be, saluted his commander after he took his orders.
Fromage had a vivid imagination which more often than not got him and us into trouble.
But he did mean well.
As he accepted that I would be in-charge, I let it pass.
So that was that!
We returned to our cottage. Mom had lit a very nice fire and we wanted to enjoy the heat and take a good snooze.
We were also very interested to hear what Mom had to say about our pending trip to Transylvania.
That evening Monk joined us. Terrance was on duty and had left on a case with Solo.
13 Days Before Easter
The news of our departure had spread like wild fire around the neighborhood.
While Mom packed, we had several of our friends dropping in. They wished to say goodbye and wish us ‘Bon Voyage’.
I had decided to hold a meeting of Inca & Company - our last meeting before Easter.
We met that evening at our usual meeting place – Monk and Terrance’s library.
We held our meetings in the Library as it was always warm and silent after Solo went to bed.
Hobbs, Solo’s manservant always lit a fire in the great fireplace because he knew that Monk and Terrance spent the night in the Library.
But this evening, the large house was well lit and bright.
Solo had invited Mom over for dinner.
Present at the dinner were Inspector Reid from Scotland Yard - Solo’s great buddy; Raoul and his dear wife, the Señora – Polo’s Mom and Dad.
It was therefore a full house that evening with the humanoids having dinner in the large dining-
room while the members of Inca & Company sat together in the Library.
Terrance had some good news. He had heard that Solo, Raoul and the Señora had also been invited to the party in Transylvania.
The whole group would arrive in Transylvania a few days before the party with the rest of the guests.
All the guests would be housed at Bran Castle. How thrilling!
I looked forward to meeting my fellow detectives in Transylvania.
Not to solve a crime but to enjoy Easter forgetting all about nasty vampires.
We would have an Easter Egg Hunt!
At Easter, we always ran around our cottage and garden as we searched for the Easter Eggs hidden by Mom.
12 Days Before Easter
We cats don’t generally like to travel.
Actually, the thought of travel gave me the heebie-jeebies.
But I had got used to travelling.
During my short life, we had travelled frequently by car from London to Provence to visit Aunt Florence.
Moreover, as our original home was in Paris, we were used to travelling from Paris to Kensington, London when Aunt Florence lived where we now live.
Cara however detested to travel and had to be calmed down at the thought of it.
Mom had arranged for her two assistants to take over all the specialized cheese and wine that she would need for the party before we arrived.
Jacques and Genevieve, a young French couple, were not only Mom’s assistants but also owned shares in Mom’s cheese business.
They would prepare the rest of the food for the party, fresh from local produce.
Aunt Florence would come up to London and fly over with us to Bucharest where Mom would hire a van for us to reach Bran Castle.
That was the plan of course, but all good plans tend to have some hiccups.
This was our first plane ride.
Charlotte imagined our first plane ride. She whispered to me –
“Inca, you and I will ride on top of the plane while the rest of the family sits inside.
“I want a chance to have my head really in the clouds.”
Little did we know that we would be locked up the whole journey in our small carriers – separated from each other.
Cara who cuddled up to Mom or me when she was nervous, protested loudly all the way from the airport to inside the plane.
Some people in the plane gave Mom dirty looks.
Mom in return glared back and I thought that we would cause a mini uproar in the plane.
Finally, to calm Mom down, Aunt Florence took Cara into the miniscule toilet in the plane and gave her a good talking to.
Cara came back subdued but still alarmed.
She muttered, “Inca you told me that this was just like riding in the car – you were so wrong!
“My ears are buzz…buzz…buzzing.”
Thankfully, the flight from London to Bucharest was not long and we arrived at Bucharest airport in a few hours.
With relief, we settled down in the car hired by Mom and were soon on our way to Bran Castle.
On the way, Mom pointed out the Peles Royal Castle, the former summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family, which was now Romania’s most visited museum.
She stopped in Brasov downtown, just to look at a typical Transylvanian old city.
As we peeped out of the window, we noticed that it was a beautiful city, steeped in old world charm.
The journey onwards was peaceful when compared to the plane journey and we enjoyed the pretty countryside in harmonious silence while we listened to French music.
11 Days Before Easter
It was late evening when we arrived at Bran Castle as we had stopped to have dinner on the way.
Bran Castle was huge - much larger than we had ever imagined.
The castle was perched on a rock.
From the castle you could see the valley below with a flowing river.
Aunt Florence who was an art historian by profession seemed to know all about the place.
She said that it was built in the 14th century and had served for ages as a military fortress that controlled the entry route to Transylvania.
It is nowadays frequently associated with Dracula’s myth.
I nudged the others with a meow –
“Did you hear that? It’s a myth - a make-believe story.
No vampires! No ghosts!
No haunted houses!” Cara was relieved.
But Fromage looked disappointed.
He had hoped to show off his bravery as he protected us from the dreadful vampires!!!
Despite Aunt Florence’s belief that Dracula and vampires were a myth, the sight of Bran Castle gave me the creeps.
Our eyes rounded as we drove up to the Castle.
It was ghostlier than we had imagined.
Despite myself, I felt the fur on the back of my neck rise.
Mom on the other hand was thrilled with the place and said “Perfect choice for the party. The guests will be delighted at this spooky castle.”
“I am sure the party will be a great success Missy,” said Aunt Florence.
“You have chosen the venue well.”
All good and well for Mom to be pleased, but I felt in my bones that this was a sinister place.
My sixth sense which was highly developed felt that terror had reigned within the somber walls of Bran Castle.
But I tried to put on a brave face, so as not to alarm Cara and Fromage.
Mom let us out as soon as we stopped.
With Cara practically on my tail and with Fromage close behind, we cautiously jumped out of the car and followed Mom and Aunt Florence to the door of the castle.
Mom lifted and banged the huge scary door knob.
There was an eerie silence. Just as Mom lifted the knob to clang it again, the door quietly creaked open.
A tall lady in a long black dress with a serious pale face stood before us. She held up a candle.
Although she smiled, she had mean and clever eyes and I felt a shiver run down my spine.
I shook myself. I have a vivid imagination and a suspicious mind, sometimes tending to see things where there was nothing.
The lady said in a deep hushed voice. “I am Madam Adela, the housekeeper.
“The lights don’t work but the electrician will be here first thing in the morning.
“Your assistants are in the kitchen.”
Fromage immediately perked up. He knew that there would be plenty of cheese where Mom’s assistants were.
Fromage who loved cheese was anxious to run to the kitchen to supervise Mom’s assistants, our friends Jacques and Genevieve.
I grabbed him back –
“Later Fromage. Let’s check out where we are going to sleep.”
He reluctantly followed me and we trotted after Mom and Aunt Florence.
Madam Adela seemed to float in the air as she led Mom and Aunt Florence to our rooms.
The rooms were enormous. I felt our whole cottage back in Kensington would have fitted into the bedroom Madam Adela had assigned just for Mom and us.
Cara hid behind me and whispered –
“Will a huge and ferocious bear jump out at us, Inca?”
“No way!” I muttered.
I imagined a huge nasty bear in front of my eyes. I couldn’t help myself.
“The place is dark and gloomy- that’s why Mom has selected this place for the theme of a haunted party.
“But it’s a nice comfortable room with plenty of room for us to play.”
Charlotte had already started to explore the room.
Charlotte was fearless.
Nothing terrified her.
Fromage added, “Look at Charlotte checking the place out for us Cara. You have nothing to worry about.”
“I’ll stay here until you give me the all clear” she meowed and jumped up on the bed and looked around cautiously.
In the meantime, Mom had started to put our things away as she softly hummed a tune.
Cara seemed reassured by Mom’s nonchalance and relaxed attitude.
We all did in fact. We trusted Mom.
If she was satisfied with the place, so were we.
I did my usual walk around the room to do my own inspection.
I sniffed in all the nooks and crannies.
The place smelled of polish and other mysterious musty smells.
After my inspection, I jumped up on the wide windowsill to check out the garden and nearly fell from the perch of the windowsill at what I saw.
The scene outside was strange and I felt the fur on the back of my neck rise again.
The calmness that had settled on me with Mom’s humming evaporated in a jiffy.
Was that a grave-yard at the end of the garden?
Who would have a grave-yard right outside a bedroom?
This place seemed weirder than ever.
What a dismal place!
The window was wide open and I heard the hoot of an owl. Then I saw a movement outside and the sound of something moving.
There was rustling as if some much bigger animal was moving about.
I was suddenly panic-stricken.
I took a deep breath and sternly reasoned with myself. There were no dangerous animals around. If there were, Mom would have told us so.
Even so, I felt something was not normal with Bran Castle.
It seemed to me to be more than just a gloomy castle.
Mom fell asleep quickly as she was tired from the long drive.
We all joined her on the large bed and soon fell asleep.
Nevertheless, I felt myself twitch in my sleep, with no idea of the reason for it.
Join BookDaily now and receive featured titles to sample for free by email.
Reading a book excerpt is the best way to evaluate it before you spend your time or money.
Just enter your email address and password below to get started:
Instant Bonus: Get immediate access to a daily updated listing of free ebooks from Amazon when you confirm your account!
R.F. Kristi, the author of the Inca book series lives in France. She holds a doctorate in economic development and has traveled and lived in many countries around the world. She is fluent in English and French. With a deep commitment to animal rescue efforts, Kristi has a keen interest and love for animals. She created the Inca Cat Series for younger readers, up to age 8 or 12 and animal lovers.