Clowders by Vanessa Morgan Genre: Horror, Suspense
Clervaux, Luxembourg. This secluded, picturesque town in the middle of Europe is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this place – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.
When Aidan, Jess and their five-year-old daughter, Eleonore, move from America to Clervaux, it seems as if they've arrived in paradise. It soon becomes evident, though, that the inhabitants' adoration of their cats is unhealthy. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is horrifyingly real.
Initially, Aidan and Jess regard this as local superstition, but when Jess runs over a cat after a night on the town, people start dying, one by one, and each time it happens, a clowder of cats can be seen roaming the premises.
Are they falling victim to the collective paranoia infecting the entire town? Or is something unspeakably evil waiting for them?
Their move to Europe may just have been the worst decision they ever made.
“Who is she?” Eleonore asked when Jess drove her to school Friday morning.
“Who's who?” Jess countered, not sure what her daughter was talking about.
“The girl. The one who's always watching us.”
“No one's watching us,” Jess said.
“Yes, there is. All the girls in my baking class say the same.”
Normally, Jess wouldn't have put much thought into such a remark - children can say weird things sometimes. But now it seemed Eleonore might be right. Jess felt like there was indeed someone watching them, no matter what they were doing.
She felt it everywhere she went. When she took Eleonore to baking class, when she was lying in bed at night, even in the shops. But not all the time.
Some of the time.
More often than not, everything seemed normal, and then all of a sudden, she felt as if someone was checking up on her. Sometimes it was only briefly, like a minute or so, but at other times, she could feel it for several hours.
Sometimes she could feel it on the streets.
But mostly at home.
And never outside Clervaux. You're imagining things, she told herself.
In fact, every day since she'd arrived in Europe, it had gotten worse. More and more, she'd get that tingly feeling, and know that someone behind her was watching her. She'd try to ignore it, tried to resist the urge to look over her shoulder, but eventually the hair on the back of her neck would stand up, and the tingling would turn into a chill, and finally, she'd turn around.
And nobody would be there.
Nobody, except for the cats. The sight of cats waddling along the pavement had never seemed eerie to her, but the fact that they were always there, no matter where she was - on the sidewalk, at the main square, in a café, in the forest – made her skin crawl.
Whenever she was running errands in Clervaux, she kept looking into store windows, but it wasn't the merchandise she was looking at; it was the reflection in the glass.
The reflection of something sinister watching her.
Sometimes she could have sworn she saw something. The reflection of a small, squatting figure. But then she glanced over her shoulder and all she could see once more were the cats of Clervaux staring back at her.
She decided to not let her imagination get to her, to resist the urge to glance over her shoulder every few seconds.
And then her daughter muttered the words, “Who is she? The girl. The one who's always watching us,” and the paranoia tightened its grip on her once more.
Vanessa Morgan is known as the “female version of Stephen King.” Three of her works (The Strangers Outside, Next to Her,A Good Man) have become movies. When she's not working on her latest book, you can find her watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats (http://travelling-cats.blogspot.com).
Clowders, a supernatural thriller, takes place in an isolated town that is home to more cats than people. For years, tourists have flocked to this area – also known as “cat haven” - to meet the cats and buy cat-related souvenirs.
But something uncanny is happening there. According to a local legend, each time a cat dies, nine human lives are taken as a punishment. To tourists, these tales are supernatural folklore, created to frighten children on cold winter nights. But for the inhabitants of Clervaux, the danger is horrifyingly real.
To celebrate the release of Clowders, let's dive into five disturbing facts about cats that are sure to creep you out.
1 People report more sightings of feline ghosts than human ones
More people claim to have seen, heard or felt the ghost of a deceased cat than that of a human spirit. The feeling of a cat jumping on your bed and taking place on the pillow next to yours. The clicking of claws inside the house. Hearing soft meows. But not a single cat in sight.
2 They sleep with their eyes open
Being asleep with open eyes reminds us of death, which is why so many of us find it creepy. Luckily, cats only do this once in a while, but it happens more frequently as they age.
3 Cats have a third eyelid
This third eyelid – also called palpebra tertia or haw – becomes visible when cats are ill or when they are dozing off. It's a creepy sight but completely normal. It's supposed to keep their eyes healthy by removing debris and redistributing tears.
4 Cats see things that you don't
Cats can stare at the same spot for minutes at a time or follow something unseen with their eyes and heads. Some people believe cats can see ghosts and aliens.
5 Cats make weird sounds in the middle of the night
Cat owners often wake up in the middle of the night because their cat is 'talking' to someone. With whom are they communicating? And aren't cats supposed to meow only at people?