When I set out to write my first (and possibly only) horror story, one thing immediately came to mind. It was that episode of the X-Files in which Mulder and Scully encounter that red-eyed creature that might have been one of the Conquistadors who came to Florida with Ponce de Leon in search of the Fountain of Youth. My mind drifted back to the last scene of that episode where Scully exits her hotel room and the last thing you see is that red-eyed creature watching her from under the bed.
Tightrope Cat isn’t so much an attempt to recreate that moment as it is an endeavor to capture the feeling that delightfully horrifying scene evoked.
I’m not exactly sure what else inspired this story. There are some tribal elements and in the story but while the protagonist suggests that her experience might be steeped in African lore, that isn’t something I know for certain. It’s a purely made up story, concocted from the flotsam and jetsam of my memories and many a half-baked notion.
Tightrope Cat aims to entertain and quietly horrify. I can’t say for certain that it achieves this goal but at the very least, I can confess that among my older works, it’s a definite favorite.
Read Tightrope Cat online at SpecFics.
Short Story Status: Complete