Susannah Mandel’s contribution to the Clockwork Jungle Book was this lovely Victorian romance. “The Monkey and the Butterfly” tells the tale of a melancholy Monkey and his love for the Cat across the square. Will the Monkey find a way to win her heart? Or will she rip it apart with her claws?
In the home of a certain Gentleman on the other side of the square lived a Monkey. He was a melancholy Monkey, with a serious cast of mind, and he spent the greater part of his days considering deep questions. He was happiest pondering philosophical difficulties, or tinkering with the smaller kind of mechanical object, such as music boxes or the Gentleman’s misplaced pocket-watches (he misplaced a good many).
The Monkey liked to establish himself near one of the apartment’s windows and observe the passage of life outside in the square. This habit — he had some difficulty acknowledging, even to himself — had become much more regular since the day he had observed the Cat sitting in an opposite window. Most afternoons now he ascended to his perch to find her there, curled in splendor on an elegant cushion of lace and satin, framed regally by the curtains like the portrait of a queen. Some days she slept; others she would pounce and tear at a bit of ribbon or yarn, giving the curious impression of a young girl’s gaiety blent with the ruthlessness of a tiger. The Monkey found her, always, beautiful.
Click here to listen to Susannah’s reading. (23mb, MP3)
Want to read the rest of the issue? We’ve got 19 more fantastic stories!