There’s something wonderful about the overlap of art and writing – an overlap that P.S. Brooks found a comfortable home in when writing his YA novel Deathcat Sally. We have the pleasure of sharing a Deathcat Sally excerpt with you today – and a giveaway, including some gorgeous original art.
Sally Rancher knocks over a cat named Zachary and is hit by a truck – and that’s when her nightmare starts. Waking from a coma, she find that her attempt to help Zachary left his talking spirit fused to her shoulder. Now that they’re connected, Sally can talk to animals, but it comes at a price. When she sleeps, both Sally and Zachary are pulled into No Man’s Land – a dark, spine-chilling realm filled with vengeful animal spirits – and if Sally can’t act, the spirits might affect not only her, but all life on the planet.
“The story was inspired by a lucid dream I had while I was volunteering at the local RSPCA looking after a large group of cats,” said Brooks, who began writing after a nerve injury left him temporarily unable to continue as an illustrator.
Take a peek below to see what happens the first time Sally and Zachary find themselves in No Man’s Land – and then keep scrolling to enter the giveaway!
Sally and Zachary stirred in unison. The cold breeze blew against their faces and each opened their eyes. In horror, both realised they were back in the ruined city.
“Oh crap,” Zachary turned in fear, “when did we fall asleep?”
Sally frowned in dread. “We were just talking on the settee – I wasn’t even remotely tired – what in the world’s happening?”
Holding her head, Sally willed for the city to remain still and lifeless. With no warning, the same unearthly roar shook the sky like a war trumpet. It was even more threatening and primal than the last time and was followed again by other animal sounds in the distance.
“Holy smokes – they sound ticked off,” Zachary quaked. “Think we’d better run for it.”
Even though she wanted to so much, Sally couldn’t turn out of sheer panic.
“Sally!” Zachary yelled.”Move it!”
As the dark shapes thundering across the long road became clearer, Sally at last broke from her fright and faltered in the other direction.
“Can’t you go any faster?” Zachary shouted while the creatures rumbled ever closer.
“I’m trying!” Sally said breathlessly, stumbling on a cracked pavement.
Zachary became hysterical. “It’s like being on a freakin’ rickshaw pulled by a pensioner!”
“I’m sorry!” Sally cried, doing her best to pick up the pace; she seemed to be going slower than before.
Zachary shivered. “This is hopeless – we need to hide or somethin’!”
When she moved inside a derelict shopping centre, there came a ruffling sound closing in behind them. Turning, Sally saw a huge ostrich racing nearer through a smashed window on the far side of the room.
She pivoted as the nine-foot bird screeched and thrust its wings. It knocked Sally sideways and kicked her in the back, sending her reeling into a computer desk.
“HUMAN!” it called out furiously.
Zachary screamed in fright. “Get lost, ya big turkey!”
Ducking underneath the rows of tables, Sally bolted away and moved on her hands and knees while the bird called out. It was too large to fit underneath, so it hauled itself up onto the table tops and pecked through the gaps. Sally yelled when strands of her hair were pulled off by the bird, but managed to break free.
The ostrich lost balance and got one foot stuck between two desks. It screeched murderously; Sally used the time to gather all her remaining energy and make for the door. Reaching the end of the desks, she wavered upwards and threw herself towards the exit. Hoisting the handle, Sally opened the heavy door and closed it just as the ostrich picked itself up and came running straight for her.
Sally quickly pulled down the metal bar. The bird impacted the barrier loudly. Backing away in shock, it was several minutes before Sally accepted that the ostrich could not reach them.
“This is unbelievable…”
Turning around, Sally felt a shiver down her back, seeing the vast ruins before her. Much of the ceiling had collapsed; the dual escalators had also broken off around half-way down, leading to a drop of about forty feet. There was a walkway around the perimeter of the hall, which had rusted silver railings, all bent out of shape. Several smashed shop entrances were on the upper tier, the signs above the doorways barely visible due to time and damage.
Something larger slammed into the door; Sally faced the smashed windows of a clothes shop and sought cover.
Just when Sally had found a concealed area, there came a shuffling noise a short distance away. She went rigid. Taking a few steps in indecision, she heard a very low, almost prehistoric growl in the next aisle.
Without hesitating, Sally moved as fast as she could towards the store entrance. Rapidly, something also sprang into action behind them.
Fill out the form below to win a copy of Deathcat Sally by P.S. Brooks, a whole bunch of swag – including a toy cat. An international winner will be able to receive four A3 prints from Brooks’ Etsy shop, while a winner in the U.K. can choose a medium-sized framed art print of your choice from Brooks’ Etsy shop. Giveaway prizes donated by P.S. Brooks. Open internationally. Void where prohibited.