The Animals in My Fiction

My pets have a way of creeping into my novels. Even pets I wish I had. My cat Wizzie is in two. That cat had the key to my heart. He appears as Malcolm in Beneath the Hallowed Hill, keeping Megan company on her first few nights in Avalon and escorting her to an audience with the Morgan. He is a healing, reassuring, and somewhat regal presence.

“Malcolm followed Megan to her cottage, hopped up onto the middle of the bed and proceeded to groom himself. She had to push him over to get enough room. ‘Goodnight, my lord.’ He regarded her out of his round, yellow eyes, then turned his attention back to his bushy tail.”

wizzie-at-top-of-stairsIn The Star Family, he appears as Marvin. I don’t know why I kept giving him “m” names. Here he is a member of the animal family that Jane inherits along with the English Tudor house. He is still himself, “an enormous black long-hair complete with ear tufts.”

Wizzie has left us now, although I feel him from time to time. Here he is next to his properly shredded corner of the stairs.

He lived most of his life with our calico Arwen, who is his companion in The Star Family as well. In that book, she goes by the name of Suzie B. In this scene, Marvin and Suzie B inadvertently reveal a secret passageway while in the midst of a midnight hunt. Jane has been awakened by strange music:

“She walked over to the windows that faced the front of the house, but they were closed also. The other set looked out on the backyard. Closed. A half-moon lit the new garden. The rose bushes looked like a pencil sketch in the muted light. Suddenly Marvin burst from the walk-in closet.

Jane screamed.

Winston barked.

Suzie B ran in from the hallway to join him.

A tiny, dark shape dove under the bed. The cats followed in hot pursuit.

‘You scared the crap out of me!’ she scolded.

The mouse made a dash across the floor and squeezed behind the chest of drawers. The cats took up positions on each end, tails twitching, ears perked, ignoring her. Then she realized the singing had stopped. The car must have driven away.

How had a mouse gotten up here? Steeling herself for more rodents, she walked to the closet and nudged the door open the rest of the way. She’d expected it to be stuffed with Miss Essig’s old clothes, decade after decade of fashion, but instead she found bare wood. Except for a shadow in the corner.

Her hand groped for a light switch, but slide down a smooth wall.

‘Winston,’ she called.

Loud breathing announced his presence.

She swung her hand over her head. A string brushed her fingers. She tried to grab it, but missed. On the second attempt, she captured it and pulled. Harsh light from the bare bulb flooded the closet. She closed her eyes against the glare for a second, then squinted.

The dark shadow in the corner remained. A panel stood partly open. She’d thought the wall was just that—a solid wall. But there was an opening. Winston sat in the doorway, his head cocked. The singing had started again, softer this time. It was coming from behind the open panel.”arwen-wizzie-together

Here is Arwen putting Wizzie in his proper place.

Winston is the bulldog I always wanted but never had. He has a bit of the boxer who was my childhood companion. His name was Mugs. Very imaginative name, don’t you think?

The hounds in Beneath the Hallowed Hill have never been tamed by any human hand. They are the fae hounds of the Wild Hunt.

The Egyptian Mau cats Vivienne and Merlin in Under the Stone Paw are also a combination of pets I’d like and pets I’ve lived with. I’ve always thought Egyptian Maus were beautiful and would be nice to have as friends. These two are reminiscent of our old Siamese named Persephone. She passed before we adopted Wizzie. She was one Queen Bee, let me tell you. She had a daughter named Ting Li, a tortie whom Persephone bossed around heartlessly. So much for mother love. That must be why there are two Egyptian Maus in Under the Stone Paw to match those two little loves.

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About Theresa Crater

Award-winning author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.
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