Greetings! Nila here, interrupting the regularly scheduled story posts with a showcase.
There are hundreds of stories on the site and a good number have been made into podcast episodes. The showcase is one of my recent efforts to help readers and listeners find the stories that they might be most interested in.
Between 5/11/21 and 5/16/21, I highlighted five cat-themed short stories right in this post.
In the full post, you can see the trailer for each story, a brief description of the story and how it came about, and links to the stories (and podcast episode when applicable).
I’m open to suggestions for future showcases. If you have one, please feel free to comment in this post (or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here’s the main trailer. Please do check it out!
Genres: Fantasy, Fable, Mystery, Mythology
Main trailer narration is a clip from the podcast episode for “The First Days of Moonlight”
Music: “Palaver” by ROZKOL
Scroll down for details and separate trailers for each story. Or click the button to jump to the bottom of the post where you can get quick summaries at a glance, and go straight to the stories.
[Video description: Trailer. Duration 55 seconds. Music plays: “Palaver” by ROZKOL. Center image of a cat’s right eye, surrounded by a burst of fur. Over the eye, an elongated rectangle with curved corners, circles of color radiating from the center, and text lies above, reading “Fives Days of Felines” with a cat’s paw symbol to the right of the words. The image recedes and a series of six images from the featured stories appear in sequence. First, the silhouette of a seated cat, three-quarters view, facing left. Second, the same image in four quadrants. Third, a robed figure with a cat’s head and arms upraised, standing under a full moon. Sparks of light stream down from the moon into the open mouths of cats in the foreground seen in silhouette. Fourth, a diffuse shape suggesting a cat’s head with a glow around it and bright red eyes. The head shakes, then fades. Fifth, a cat with patchwork fur sitting down on all fours with tail wrapped around itself and looking over at a mouse who stands on hind legs. Sixth and last, the face of a tiger staring forward. The final image expands slowly, and shifts color. Text boxes appear throughout at bottom in time with narration: “We’re fascinated by cats, aren’t we? Cats on the internet. Pictures, videos, memes. Cats in our homes. Ancient civilizations shaped statues of cats out of gold, ebony, and bronze. They have been associated with magic, with evil. They sometimes seem aloof and uncaring. Sometimes charming and playful. Sexy. Dangerous. Mysterious.” A watermark of the site URL appears at bottom center throughout, fading at the end when the poster image appears. Over the tiger’s eyes, the word “Storyfeather” appears. At bottom appears text, “A showcase of five short stories featuring cats.” Below the tiger’s eyes at a slight upward angle from left to right, a banner displaying, “May 12 to May 16 2021,”]
HERE IS THE STORY HIGHLIGHTED ON 5/16/21
THE FIRST DAYS OF MOONLIGHT
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, & Mythology
Cats…so mysterious. One minute they care about humans. The next minute they don’t. An ancient myth might shed some light on this mystery. A rare myth about how cats were the first beings to possess intelligence and consciousness.
A guest speaker is invited to a class where students are learning the practical applications of myth and legend, and “being trained to investigate, research, and even affect extraordinary things hidden within and around the fringes of ordinary life.” He presents a couple of stories about cats. One is a case that the speaker’s agency worked on, in which a cat is suspected of stealing a child’s breath while she sleeps. And another is an ancient, little-known legend that gives a deeper context to the case. A legend of how dogs and cats came to be the favored companions of humans, of how they had intelligence and consciousness even before humans did, and of how one of them wanted to befriend humanity, while the other deemed it wiser to rule over humanity.
[Video description: Trailer. 46 seconds. Digital drawing. Glowing robed figure with a cat’s head and arms upraised, standing under a full moon. Sparks of light stream down from the moon into the open mouths of cats in the foreground seen in silhouette. Title card over the image displays “Podcast Episode” and “Genre: Fantasy.” The card fades away, replaced by text box displaying, “Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and so on. Or listen on my Podcast page at storyfeather.com.” Text box fades. As the video progresses, animated sparks appear within the sparks of the still image. Subtitles appear in time with music and narration at the bottom: “The cats guided. The cats ruled. What the cats did not expect was that they would be equally as charmed by their human companions. They began to like and even love humanity, for the most part. They were perplexed by humanity, for whom kindness and wickedness were equally natural. What defined the nature of any particular person, it seemed, was choice. The choice to be kind. Or the choice to be wicked.” The story’s title appears at top with an animated glow appearing around the word “moonlight.” Website URL displays at bottom center throughout.]
HERE IS THE STORY HIGHLIGHTED ON 5/15/21
THE CAT THAT HAUNTED THE MOUSE
Genre: Fable & Fantasy
A mouse narrowly escapes a cat, and is later haunted by the ghost of the cat, who believes the mouse plays a part in the “unfinished business” of the cat’s life.
Music: “Hidden Fear” by Andy Ray from GameDev Market
I was thinking of the term “spirit animal,” as one sometimes does, and of how “spirit” can be synonymous with “ghost.” And I came up with my own prompt for this story, which was written in Year 7 (when the theme was prompts). What if a mouse was being haunted by the ghost of the cat who tried to kill her, but ended up dying instead? The question is why? Why is the cat haunting the mouse? Is it because the cat has unfinished business in life? And is that unfinished business the business of killing “the one that got away,” that very mouse? But the cat is a ghost and can’t touch the mouse. So the mouse has the upper hand…doesn’t she?
[Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 39 seconds. Music: “Hidden Fear” by Andy Ray. Digital drawing. A cat with patchwork fur sitting down on all fours with tail wrapped around itself and looking over at a mouse who stands before the cat on hind legs. The cat is surrounded by a hazy glow. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” lies over the image center. A title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Fable” are displayed in front of the image. The title card fades and lines from the story appear from top to bottom: “Rini woke feeling that cold empty dread in the pit of her stomach. Her ears went flat, and her tail went stiff. Two eyes, yellow with a green glow, hovered in the darkness. ‘I’m Patter, by the way. How do you do?’” The story title appears as the last line appears and fades. The site URL appears at bottom center throughout.]
HERE IS THE STORY HIGHLIGHTED ON 5/14/21
Genre: Mystery & Mythology
Is something supernatural haunting a young man at night when he’s sleeping? Or is it all in his imagination?
Three agents who investigate strange cases respond to a report of a potential haunting. A young man keeps feeling something touching him or rubbing against him when he’s sleeping, but whenever he wakes and turns on the light, nothing is there. In search of a logical explanation first, the agents discover a recent distressing event in the young man’s life, the death of his elderly neighbor. And the young man was the one who discovered the body. But he had started hearing strange sounds around the apartment building weeks before his neighbor died. Unexpected sounds that nevertheless could have a logical explanation: splashing in the pool after hours, the meowing of cats in the hallways of a pet-free building…and the breathing….in his room….when he should have been alone.
[Video description: Trailer. 45 seconds. Digital drawing. The hazy out-of-focus silhouette of a cat-shaped head with two huge eyes. Title card over the image displays “Podcast Episode” and “Genre: Mystery.” The card fades away, replaced by the story’s title. The title vanishes as the image shakes and the drawing comes into focus. A diffuse grainy shape suggesting a cat’s head with a dim glow around it and bright eyes. As the video progresses, the head moves out and in, as the eyes shift color from orange to red to glowing yellow. Subtitles appear in time with music and narration at the bottom: I can hear it moving, I think. It’s hard to tell with the other noises. A car whooshing by sometimes. Some cat moving through the bushes outside. A neighbor went to the bathroom a few minutes ago. I jerked when I heard the sound of the water moving through the pipes. If I squeeze my eyes shut and focus, I think I can hear it breathing.” Website URL displays at bottom & fades at end as a text box appears over image displaying the words, “Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and so on. Or listen on my Podcast page at storyfeather.com.”]
HERE IS THE STORY HIGHLIGHTED ON 5/13/21
WHAT THE TIGER REMEMBERED
Genre: Fantasy & Fable
While authorities search for a tiger that escaped from the local zoo, a group of people shelter in a diner, until a stranger appears who seems to have been attacked. But the diners soon realize that the stranger is stranger than they first thought.
Music: “Pitch Black” by Dark Fantasy Studio (Nicholas Jeudy) from GameDev Market
This is a Year 7 story when the theme was to write a story from a prompt. The prompt for this story: write about what happens after a dangerous animal has escaped from the local zoo and been spotted in the neighborhood. The first thing I thought was, what if this animal is not what it seems? Why? Because I like genre fiction, so this can’t just be a regular animal. (Even though an encounter with an escaped zoo animal would be extraordinary in and of itself). What are the results of an encounter?
[Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 41 seconds. Music: “Pitch Black” by Dark Fantasy Studio. Digital drawing. The face of a tiger staring forward. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” lies over the image center. A title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Fantasy” are displayed in front of the image. The title card fades and lines from the story appear from top to bottom: “‘Me and a bunch of other people are holed up in the diner until we hear that the tiger’s been caught,’ I said. I glanced at her arm. ‘If you need medical assistance, we can call an ambulance from inside.’ Please, don’t run! Please! I won’t hurt you. Before you call the authorities. Please let me tell you my story. I want someone to know.” The story title appears as the last line appears and fades. The site URL appears at bottom right throughout.]
HERE IS THE STORY HIGHLIGHTED ON 5/12/21
THE LAST OF
THE NINE LIVES CATS
Genre: Fantasy & Fable
Twenty-nine cats set out on a mission to find a rare resource that will save their people and their way of life. But how many will make it back home?
Artwork Copyright © 2013 “The Old Storyteller” by Sanjay Patel
In my first year of college, a professor in an elective course gave us an assignment. Vaguely remembered, it was to create a restaurant concept around the image of a dead cat. I went all out. I made up a restaurant name, menu items (catgut stew, etc.), and the image of the mascot. But I also came up with a backstory about how the cat had died while valiantly trying to serve his people. He lost all of his nine lives crossing highway traffic to recover a valuable treasure, something his people needed to survive. Over the following years, that cat and his story popped up every now and then in journal entries (and probably in the margins of class notes.) I’d done enough world-building to give the story a go (minus the restaurant part) for the experimental first year of Storyfeather.
[Video description: Trailer. 52 seconds. Digital drawing. A cat’s right eye, surrounded by a burst of fur. Title card over the drawing displays “Podcast Episode” and “Genre: Fantasy.” The card fades away, replaced by the story’s title in glowing letters. The title vanishes. The cat’s eye image fades, replaced by a digital drawing of an older cat at top left facing the viewer and facing an arc of kittens who sit before him. As the video progresses, the image shifts to show more kittens joining the group, and shifts again to grow darker. Subtitles appear in time with music and narration at the bottom: “‘It’s everywhere,’ the grizzled old cat said. ‘It surrounds us.’ And he heard the expected fear-filled gasps and muttering among his audience. ‘This everywhere demon, what is it called grandsire?’ one gray-striped kitten asked, his eyes round as saucers, his expression bold and bright as the moonlight above. ‘We don’t have a name for it, kit, but the Hind-leggers call it Traffic.’” Website URL displays at bottom & fades at end as a text box appears over image displaying the words, “Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and so on. Or listen on my Podcast page at storyfeather.com.”]
FOR THE PODCAST EPISODES:
The STORY flag under the button leads directly to the story post.
(Or you can go to the story from the podcast episode page.)
Here’s the last (and so far only other) showcase, from all the way back in February 2021.