By Captain W. E. Johns



XI.                   THE CATS OF CASTILLON  (Pages 125 - 136)


Algy searches for the girl in the blue shawl but can't find her.  He decides to go to Castillon and travels by bus.  He finds himself next to a dark fierce-looking man, dressed in black, carrying a heavy shopping bag.  He doesn't know it but this is Mario.  All attempts to engage this person in conversation are rebuffed.  He denies knowing Castillon.  After changing buses the second bus has to stop when the roads are closed and the journey continues on foot.  Algy sees this same man travelling ahead of him.  Arriving at a deserted Castillon, the same man is there.  The place is full of cats.  "Everywhere he looked he saw cats, black cats, long, thin, emaciated cats, with red-rimmed eyes.  Most of them seemed to be afflicted with a dreadful mange."  Suddenly a knife is thrown at him and misses.  Algy chases his assailant and catches the man from the bus and holds him at gunpoint.  However a woman behind Algy has a gun and makes Algy drop his.  (We don't know who this woman is for some time but unfortunately the caption to the picture on page 135 rather gives it away.  "Don't move", said the Princess, "Drop that pistol".  The text doesn't say that at all.  We don't find out she's the Princess until page 145).  Algy is taken away and locked in a dark cellar.