Zelazny, Roger - Eye of Cat

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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    Eye of cat

    I have learned hate. I have been waiting for thechance to escape, to track you as you oncetracked me, to destroy you.

    I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. Nowthat we know what you are, amends can be made.

    The sun of my world has since gone nova. Theworld and all others of my kind are no more.How can you restore it to me?

    I cannot.

    Cat slammed against the field and sparksoutlined his entire figure. Billy did not move.After a time, Cat drew back, shaking himself.He seemed smaller now, and his body coiledaround and around upon itself, sinking into theground.

    Finally, I will help you - for a price, Cat said.

    And what is that price?

    Your life.

    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents eitheram the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Anyresemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, isentirely coincidental.


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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    A division ofTh Hearst Corporation105 Madison AvenueNew York, New York 10016

    Copyright (C) 1982 by The Amber CorporationCover art by Tim WhitePublished by arrangement with the authorLibrary of Congress Catalog Card Number: 90-93388ISBN: 0-380-76002-9

    All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book orportions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S.Copyright Law. For information address Kirby McCauley, Ltd., 432Park Avenue South, Suite 1509, New York, New York 10016.

    First Avon Books Printing: January l991



    Printed in the U.S.A.

    ARC 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 I


    PART 1

    At the door to the House of Darkness lies a pair of red coyotes with heads reversed.

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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    Nayenezgani parts them with his dark stag and comes in search of me.With lightning behind him, with lightning before him, he comes in search of me,with a rock crystal and a talking ketahn.

    Beyond, at the corners by the door of the House of Darkness, lie two red btuejays with heads reversed.With lightning behind him, with lightning before him,he parts them with his dark staff and comes in search of me.

    Farther, at the fire-pit of the Dark House, tie two red hoot-owls with heads reversed.He parts these with his stag and comes in search of me, with rock crystal and talking ketahn.

    At the center of the Darkness House where two red screech-owls lie with heads reversed,Nayenezgani casts them aside coming in search of me, lightning behind him, lightning before him.Bearing a rock crystal and a talking ketahn, he comes for me.From the center of the earth he comes.

    Farther... Evil-Chasing Prayer

    NIGHT, NEAR THE EASTERNedge of the walled, sloping grounds of the estate, withinthese walls, perhaps a quarter-mile from the house itself, atthe small stand of trees, under a moonless sky, listening, hestands, absolutely silent. Beneath his boots, the ground is moist. A cold wind tellshim that winter yields but grudgingly to spring in upstateNew York. He reaches out and touches the dark line of aslender branch to his right, gently. He feels the buds of thefresh year's green, dreaming of summer beneath his wide,dark hand. He wears a blue velveteen shirt hanging out over his

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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    jeans, a wide concha belt securing it at his waist. A heavysquash blossom necklace - a very old one - hangs downupon his breast. High about his neck is a slender strand ofturquoise heiche. He has a silver bracelet on his left wrist,studded with random chunks of turquoise and coral. Thebuttons of his shirt are hammered dimes from the earlytwentieth century. His long hair is bound with a strip of redcloth. Tall, out of place, out of time, he listens for that whichmay or may not become audible: indication of the strangestruggle at the dark house. No matter how the encountergoes, he, William Blackhorse Singer, will be the loser. Butthis is his own thing to bear, from a force he set into motionlong ago, a chindi which has dogged his heels across theyears. He hears a brief noise from the direction of the house,followed immediately by a loud crashing. This does not endit, however. The sounds continue. From somewhere outover the walls, a coyote howls. He almost laughs. A dog, certainly. Though it soundsmore like the other, to which he has again become accus-tomed. None of them around here, of course. William Blackhorse Singer. He has other names, but theremembering machines know him by this one. It was by thisone that they summoned him. The sounds cease abruptly, and after a short while beginagain. He estimates that it must be near midnight in this partof the world. He looks to the skies, but Christ's blood doesnot stream in the firmament. Only Ini, the bird of thunderamong the southwestern stars, ready with his lightning,clouds and rain, extending his headplume to tickle the noseof Sas, the bear, telling him it is time to bring new life to theearth, there by the Milky Way. Silence. Sudden, and stretching pulsebeat by pulsebeat tofill his world. Is it over? Is it really over? Again, short barks followed by the howling. Once he hadknown many things to do, still knew some of them. All areclosed to him now, but for the waiting. No. There is yet a thing with which to fill it. Softly, but with growing force, he begins the song.

    FIRST MAN WAS NOT EXACTLYjumping with joy over the dark underworld in which he wascreated. He shared it with eight other humans, and the antsand the beetles and later the locusts whom they encountered

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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    as they explored, and Coyote - the First Angry One, He-who-was-formed-in-the-water, Scrawny Wanderer. Every-one multiplied; and the dragonflies, the wasps and the batpeople later joined them; and Spider Man and Spider

    Woman. The place grew crowded and was full of bugs. Strifeensued. "Let's get out of here," a number of them suggested. First Man, who was wise and powerful, fetched his trea-sures of White Shell, Turquoise, Abalone, Jet and the Red-White Stone. He placed the White Shell in the east and breathed upon it.Up from it rose a white tower of cloud. He placed theTurquoise to the south and breathed upon it. From it thererose a blue cloud tower. To the west he set the Abalone, andwhen he had breathed upon it a yellow cloud tower rose upin that place. To the north he set the Jet, and touched by hisbreath it sent up a black tower of cloud. The white and theyellow grew, met overhead and crossed, as did the blue andthe black. These became the Night and the Day. Then he placed the Red-White Stone at the center andbreathed upon it. From it there rose a many-colored tower. The tower to the east was called Folding Dawn; that to thesouth was called Folding Blue Sky; to the west, FoldingTwilight; that to the north, Folding Darkness. One by one,Coyote visited each of them, changing his color to matchtheir own. For this reason, he is known as Child of theDawn, as Child of the Blue Sky, Child of the Twilight andChild of Darkness, along with all his other names. At each ofthese places, his power was increased. While the towers of the four cardinal points were holy,giving birth to the prayer rites, the central one bore all pains,evils and diseases. And it was this tower up which First Manand Coyote led the People, bringing them into the secondworld; and, of course, along with them, the evils. There they explored and they met with others, and FirstMan fought with many, defeating them all and taking theirsongs of power. But this also was a place of suffering, of misery, a thingCoyote discovered as he went to and fro in the world and upand down it. And so to First Man he took the pleas that theydepart. First Man made a white smoke and blew it to the east,then swallowed it again - and the same in every direction.This removed all the evils from the world and brought them

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  • Roger Zelazny. Eye of cat

    back to the People from whence they had come. Then he laidLightning, both jagged and straight, to the east, and Rain-bow and Sunlight, but nothing occurred. He moved them tothe south, the west and the north. The world trembled but

    brought forth no power to bear them upward. He made thena wand of Jet, Turrquoise, Abalone and White Shell. Atopthis, he set the Red-White Stone. It rose and bore themupward into t