Stories about Purgatorium: Amanda Tompkins on Nekomata
Welcome to the seventh blog in this series, where we'll explore the stories behind the stories in ID Press' inaugural anthology, Purgatorium - The Element of Horror.
The anthology will be released on January 22nd at the Copper Branch Restaurant in Brooklin (see the invite here), and is currently available for purchase through Amazon (in both hard copy and e-copy formats), as well as Kobo.
In this series, we'll be talking about the stories in the order in which they appear in the anthology. Today, we tackle Amanda Tompkins and her story, Nekomata...
Where did it come from?
I’ve always had a fascination for monsters. I cut my teeth on myths of the Minotaur and Medusa, and eventually moved on to the Draugr and Djinn. Quite frankly, in another world where Cryptozoology was a more mainstream field, I would have happily spent my life as a park ranger telling people not to feed the lake monsters, or doing field work and writing about the ‘Manticores in the Mist’.
Monsters are cool.
And as any fan of old black and white movies can attest, the only thing cooler than one monster is two monsters. Especially if they fight. I blame my Dad’s love of Godzilla movies on that predilection.
The question that was posed to me was ‘where did this story come from?’
I honestly wish I had a cooler answer. The truth is, this story was born from a salami sandwich.
I was working at my desk, with my lunch balanced a little precariously on a stack of papers, when my geriatric cat came into the room. Of course, I didn’t notice her until she’d come up beside me and stood up on her hind legs, trying to take a nibble of my salami with mustard sandwich.
I remember saying “That’s not yours. ”It was ridiculous for two reasons. One, my cat is deaf. Two, she’s a cat and doesn’t actually understand English.
Neither mattered, because my old cat looked me full in the face, and reached out with one paw to try and knock the whole plate onto the floor.
The pose, stretched up on her back feet like she could walk upright as a human would, and the jerk move, reminded me of one of my favourite monsters; the Nekomata, a Japanese yokai who started life as a normal cat. Once a cat grew old enough, it gained a second tail and became a supernatural creature.
They tend to be malicious in most stories, in that casually cruel way cats can. But cats can also make you laugh, they can be loyal companions. You just have to learn to appreciate their sense of humour.
Cats have had a pretty bad rap throughout history, and they don’t tend to fair well in folklore and myth. So I wanted to give the cat a chance to be the hero.
So there it is. A sandwich and a lifelong love for world mythology turned into a story about a girl, her beloved pet, and a murderous ghost.
It was a bit of a weird path to follow, but I hope people can enjoy it.
Amanda lives with her dog, and a senile old cat that rules the house with an iron paw. When not writing, Amanda is usually reading anything she can get her hands on, or gaming.
You can find out more about Amanda on Facebook.
Watch this space for additional stories about the stories.