Welcome to Issue 15 of Zooscape! One year on my birthday, the devilishly smart orange tabby who was my best friend during childhood managed to sneak a dead bird into the house. He left it in front of my bedroom door as an offering. This is part of the modern mythology of cats — they kill small birds and rodents, especially mice, and bring them to their people as offerings. Cats value dead mice, so that’s what they offer as gifts. From a cat’s perspective, a dead mouse is the best possible gift you can get. Cats, mice, mythology. I have always related heavily to cats. In the language of…
by Jack Adam Our drakopegasus rarely bites. And almost never in anger. She tries to breathe fire, but struggles when she’s high. Thin air up there. It’s difficult to always know what she wants, while she seems to understand me just fine. I was always simple, resistant to change, predictable. She, however, is complex, a myriad of feelings, notions as wide as the sea. Her lineage includes destroyers of kingdoms, hoarders of treasures, and yes, a few swallowers of men. I don’t know where I came from, and Perseus won’t tell me. I’d like to think heroic steeds. Maybe even Unicorns.
What They Serve in Valhalla
by David Sklar It’s such a nuisance, dying every day. Being eaten every day by the same rough men. You may not know this, but my body is still me, even when it’s meat. So I feel the passage of my roasted flesh through their intestines. The battle sweat isn’t so sexy, once you’ve spent time in a person’s gut. But you get to know a man that way, in a way no one else does. I’ve been in the warriors of Valhalla, every one. I’m in them still, becoming part of them. It’s a hassle, being resurrected every day. Remembering, even after I have been eaten, what form to…
by Searska GreyRaven The street lights were just flicking on as I walked up the sidewalk toward a dimly lit industrial building. Well, dimly lit for a human. My feline eyes had no problem with it. I reached the entrance and hesitated, one paw clutching a thermal bag while the other hovered over a faintly glowing doorbell. I tried to take a slow, even breath. It came in ragged and left even worse. Damn it, I had it bad. Cats are supposed to be aloof. I was anything but aloof. You can do this, Cal. Breathe. Just ask her. The worst she can do is say no, right?
Cat and Mouse
by Gabriel Robinson A mouse was very sleepy. He could not sleep for thinking of the cat who prowled outside the hole in the baseboard. Sometimes the cat poked in a paw, lying on his shoulder to curl his claws upward in a playful way that made the mouse’s heart shudder. Sometimes he went away. He could be gone for hours. Those times were the worst, because the mouse never knew when he would return. He preferred the certainty that the cat was out there, with his fangs, pacing and watching the hole.
The Sacrificial Mouse
by Divyasri Krishnan Four of us were bred for the mission. We were of good Perognathus longimembris lab stock, sturdy, banister-brown, able to go 148 hours without drinking water, which ensured our feces would be as concentrated as possible. We had never been outside the silver grate of our cage. We had never tunneled in soil that didn’t taste like metal. But that was okay; we were special. We were astronauts. They introduced us to the humans a month before launch. The big one, like a long stick, didn’t take much to us. But the elderly one loved us and spoke to us often, even when the scientists got mad.
The Best Way to Procure Breakfast
by Dana Vickerson If Mama doesn’t get up soon, we’re going to miss our chance to get off Mars. Mama is a human, but I call her “Mama” because she says I am her baby kitty and her special boy. She is sleeping, but I am hungry. It’s a delicate art, waking up your human. If you’re too eager, they’ll likely get cross with you, and while Mama is a sweet and kind soul, I do not like to see her cross. If you are too gentle, though, your human is likely to continue their blissful sleep while you sit on the floor with a rumble in your belly.
The Analogue Cat
by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden When you wake, you wait a few moments for your eyes to come online. You can manage without them, but it’s pleasant to lie in the dark warmth and purr while the blurred pixels slowly crystallise into your world. You stretch a striped arm and extend your claws until the pink quick shows, then pick up your other arm and lock it into position. Stretch. Extend. The joints move with ease and the claws, opaque white on this paw, click smoothly in and out. It’s time to begin. You’re a second-generation Bengal. Your parents were grown in the wombs of human women who needed the money…
by Anna Madden The moon is fat with silver the night men attack with metal teeth held in their hands. The stars are holes punched out of a black sky, arrows pouring down. I flee the torrent, the biting sticks like burrs between keeled scales. The air tastes of salt and danger. The nest is lost, but your egg is safe. I carry it within my maw. I fear you’ll be born a fool, like me. A mooncalf hatchling, or a shining new dawn? There are so few safe places left. Our world dies one wingbeat at a time, but still, I fly. * * * About the Author…
Welcome to Issue 14 of Zooscape! Furry fiction is as old as tales about gods turning themselves and others into animals, as old as fairy tales with animal helpers, as old as redwood trees, as old as the practice itself of telling stories. We’ve always told stories about animals, anthropomorphizing everything around us, animating every corner of our lives with more life. Furry fiction is old and young at the same time. The bright colors and colorful antics of animal characters naturally appeal to the youngest of readers, but those of us who stay young at heart never let go of our love for animal stories even as the world…