Category A: Highly Commended (2020) Monash Short Story Writing Competition

Author: Zoe More

Title: Purrlin


On the very edge of the white cliffs in England, was a tall mossy tower. The tower was hidden from sight by an immensely powerful spell that an aging wizard had placed on it many years ago. The tower was now home to Hugo, a sixteen-year-old wizard and his trusted cat familiar, Henry. Hugo had been working day and night to perfect a potion that would grant one the power of transformation for an hour.

Henry, however, was not a big fan of this project. He thought that transformation was stupid and that humans ought remain as humans. Plus, the consequences of getting this spell wrong were incredibly dangerous and he didn’t want to have to take care of a half bird, half lizard looking Hugo.

It was around midnight when Henry was awoken by the sound of something exploding. Padding his way into Hugo’s chamber he was met with quite a sight. Not only was the floor covered in slimy, pink liquid, in the middle of it all was another cat. A ginger cat. Henry stopped, inhaled, and edged towards the cat preparing for the worst. “I may have encountered a slight problem” said an awfully familiar voice.

“Hugo” Henry sighed. It was going to be a long night.

With the sun high in the sky a new day was born. Two cats sat staring at each other across a table, one staring at his paws and the other reading a book. “I’m afraid there is only one way to reverse this” Henry stated. Hugo stared at the black cat with wide eyes. “You must concoct an extremely difficult potion made with the rarest of ingredients. Lucky for you we recently stocked our cupboards, so you should have enough to make a bottle”. And with that, the two cats got to work, only messing up a few times, as it turned out to be harder to grasp objects when you had fluffy paws.

At last the potion was done. A bottle was filled with green bubbling liquid that shone with the luminescence of the sun. “Now all you need to do is wait until midnight, when the moon is at its highest. Take a sip and you will then return to your human form” Henry informed Hugo. So, they waited……and waited. Until finally, the moon shone in the blackened sky like a glowworm in a cave.

Hugo and Henry padded their way across the room towards the bottle containing the potion and pushed it towards the window. Hugo popped the lid of the bottle off and bent his furry mouth over it. Then just as his little pink tongue went to lap up the liquid, in swooped a big black raven, causing the potion to crash loudly onto the floor. Glass shattered everywhere and the potion seeped into the cracks of the floorboards never to be seen again.

In a mossy tower on the white cliffs lived a ginger tabby named Hugo, and a black cat named Henry.