Sometimes fiction is a way to process real life pain. That’s the case with “Cold Tail and the Eyes.” It was inspired by a cat named Ray.
My mother and I rescued a litter of kittens from under her house. There were four of them, so we named them after the Ghostbusters — Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon. Three of them adjusted very well to their new lives. Ray… did not. In fact, “Cold Tail and the Eyes” is not the first story he inspired. The first story he inspired tells the dramatic tale of how he came to be a wild cat again — except, in this fictionalized retelling, he and his brother Peter are made into tiny unicorns. You can read “Feral Unicorn” in the web-zine Luna Station Quarterly.
“Feral Unicorn” is an action-packed story that dealt with the immediate trauma of how Ray left my life. “Cold Tail and the Eyes” tells the quieter, sadder story of what may have happened to Ray once he left. It was my way of handling the sadness I felt over losing a cat who I’d cared for for three years… but who had never really become mine.
After Ray left, it seemed kindest to reunite Peter with his other two littermates. Peter, Winston, and Egon all live happily with my mother and grandmother now.
If you enjoy “Cold Tail and the Eyes,” you may want to pick up the collection The Necromouser and Other Magical Cats with the coupon code JW97Y (before April 15th), and if you enjoy the whole collection please consider voting for it under Best Other Literary Work in the Ursa Major Awards. Voting is open through April 15th.