Imagine, if you will, a desolate, cold snowy landscape. The wind blows currents of ice crystals across the unprotected plains. In the distance is a line of Ice-Age humans, laboring their way through the white nothingness. Warriors, hunters, women and children. Old and young alike, they travel together and are led by…
Yes, a cat. A small, gray kitty, who appeared at their cave entrance in the dead of winter and changed their lives forever.
Angelica is no normal cat. She was sent from above as a means to help this tribe survive the coldest, longest winter in their collective memory. Targeting a young boy, Aric, she feeds him dreams and waking thoughts, images of a bounteous valley teeming with life.
Then she takes him there. Just long enough for him to see and to believe. Then she leads him home.
After a long and arduous journey back through the snow, he returns to his tribe to tell them of what he’s seen. Naturally, they don’t believe him, until a series of events proves to the leaders that Aric just may know what he’s talking about.
And so a little cat leads them…to a life of bounty, or their certain doom? Is the risk they take worth the result?
Such a sweet story. This was actually inspired by the writer’s own cat, who left this world much too early. Ms. Deane imagined this story as being one of the nine lives her own precious Angelica may have enjoyed.
It’s an unusual storyline. Animal history would tell us that the dog befriended us, taking to its role as protector and companion much sooner than the cat. Felines were and are a non-clingy species, and we would think of them as being aloof dwellers on the edge of the hearth, catching mice and merely putting up with the humans in its world.
But this is one where the cat takes center stage. And why not? Cats are just as loving as their canine counterparts–they are just much more subtle.
I loved the relationship between boy and cat. Very real; a cat’s mind and purpose are not always understood, and so it was in “Ice Angel.” Yet it was plain enough, and proven enough, to be the very life and survival of an entire group of people.
Of course there was the villain, who got his just desserts–always the best part of a story with a bully in it.
The writing was well-done, and the characters vividly worked. What’s even better is that there are other “Angelica” stories on their way. I will be sure to read them all!