The Relic Thief
The two priests adjust the glass case on the pedestal.
“OK, that’s perfect, let’s put the barriers up next.”
“Just putting the relic in here first,” the priest carefully puts the finger bone on its cushion in the case. The barriers are placed around the pedestal. Suddenly there’s a noise coming from another room. The two priests spin around and rush to investigate.
The thief comes out from under the bench and grabs the bone. Glancing around, he heads towards the stairs with his prize. The priests return as he disappears into the shadows.
“That was quite funny, that ginger cat trying to to steal the stoles.”
“It looked like a bit of a love affair.”
“Well, we chased him off.”
“The relic, it’s gone!”
“What? How? The only entrances are through the robing room, or the locked main door.”
“The thief must still be in here then.”
“Right, I’ll go upstairs, you check down here.”
They separate and head off to find the thief. A ginger face peers round the edge of the door, and a chubby ginger cat creeps towards the benches, dragging a green stole behind him. Muted meows come from him as he hangs onto the stole with his teeth. Finding a corner under the benches, he arranges his prize on the floor.
Meanwhile the thief is looking for a hiding place, the stairs go up a long way. He heads for some benches. He hears feet coming up the stairs and finds a dark corner. Curling up, he drops the bone and inspects his prize.
The priest reaches the gallery, looks around and heads up to the bell-tower.
The thief picks up his prize and heads back down the stairs. Collecting his ginger accomplice, they sneak past the second priest who is checking the confessional, and head into the other room. They squirm out the open window, and take off across the churchyard.
Arriving at the gang’s hideout, they enter bearing their prizes. They make their way to stand before the queen lounging on her bed. She comes down to inspect the items deposited in front of her. She pushes the bone around, examining it.
“It’s an old, smelly bone, why did you bring me this?”
“The humans greatly prized it, and chased us trying to get it back,” the black cat replies.
She sniffs, “It’s still a bone, not worthy of a cat burglar at all.”
The beautiful white cat turns to the ginger who is staring into space. She admires the embroidered green stole, as do all the other female cats, and it is taken to adorn the bed of the queen. The rest all settle back in their beds.
The black cat picks up the rejected bone and heads out of the building dejectedly. His tail droops, and his pace is slow.
At the church the following morning there is great celebration, the relic is back. It’s another unexplained mystery.
◊ ◊ ◊
Chris Marchant currently lives in Cavan, Ireland with her boyfriend and far too many cats. She mainly writes science fiction and fantasy, with a little horror and historical occasionally. She has sold 5 YA stories so far. Her website is www.chrismarchantwriter.com.