Monday, October 11, 2010

Searching for a HellCat!

[image courtesty: Flickr, Creative Commons, greenmelinda]

So, I've been looking for a new mythical beast to throw into my latest book. I have long toyed with the idea of using the Cockatrice - but the name amongst other things puts me off somewhat. My faithful Collins Concise Dictionary (2001) defines the creature as "a legendary monster part snake and part cock - that could kill with a glance." I just bet it could! Haha! Seriously, it's a wonderful mythological creature but alas, not exactly what I am looking for.

So, what creature? I need something beastly but not with human intelligence. It needs to be animalistic and primal. I also need something that I haven't read in any other paranormal story...  The list of useful beasts is shrinking. I could use some bizarre foreign mythological beasts, but many of those without human intelligence are benevolent and kind and I want something nasty. So...what about a Hellcat?                                                                                                                                                                                           

From what I've read (and it's remarkably little), Hellcats' seem to be  modern mythological creatures, used in Fantasy Gaming and that kind of thing. It's possible that they were created to be the opposite of Hellhounds, (if you've got a hellhound, you've got to have a hellcat, right?)

Hell hounds are generally devilishly large black dogs with glowing red eyes and are an omen of death. If you look up Wikipedia, you'll find that many countries have their own version. I do like the Hellhound as an interesting mythological beast, but some of my favourite authors have already used them. Laurell K. Hamilton in her Merry Gentry Series, and also JK Rowling. Remember Sirius Black from Harry Potter? His animal form was a big black dog, and they all thought he was a Grim or Hell Hound. It's interesting to note that the name Sirius, is actually the name of the Goddess Diana's head hunting dog  (she had a whole pack of them, there is even a constellation with the name) - you've got to love JK Rowlings cleverness!

Anyway, I digress!

I like cats. I even have one. The clash of super soft coat and intensely sharp claws is bizarre and conflicting. They are also intelligent, but without mercy. I love their unpredictability. One minute they are so snuggly and gorgeous and the next they are fuzzed up like a baby stegasaurous and racing round the house, yowling like a demented baboon. (Or maybe that's just my cat!?) The Hellcat in my opinion would personify that insane aspect of the feline personality - its incomprehensibility.

So here's to the re-birth of the Hellcat - (not the Cheerleading group, or the aeroplane), but the real deal. Big mean and nasty, with eyes that reflect the very fires of hell.

Sweet. I'm there. :P

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