Note: This originally appeared in the March, 2023 edition of The Sylvan Spy, a secret message ring devoted to all things Casey Grimes.
And now, onto The Ghost of CreepCat…my most controversial story.
Unfortunately, it’s gonna be hard to discuss this one without spoilers, so while I won’t spell out plot points, I’d recommend reading the novella before you read this.
Don’t worry, it’s a quick read.
Come back in half an hour. I’ll be waiting.
Of course, if you haven’t read The Mostly Invisible Boy, you’d better do that first—as we make very clear to everyone who purchases the Casey Grimes books.
Come back in two or three days and I’ll try to still be here.
Now, to be honest, I’ve received very little hate mail and I’ve been quite spoiled by my readers. Thank you. I suspect if you have problems with the books, you’re too polite to send them. Now and then I see an unhappy review or receive an aghast note—and those are usually about The Ghost of CreepCat. If not, they’re undoubtedly about—well, we’ll talk about that one later.
It’s difficult for me to respond the the occasional CreepCat critic, and you’re about to see why. But first, some secret background.
When I set out to write this story, I wanted to accomplish three things.
One, describe a monster attack in more detail than I do in the novels. If I gave the same amount of words to each monster attack in Casey Grimes, the books would be as thick as the later Harry Potter novels, and I’d prefer to avoid that...even though I love HP.
Two, I wanted to imagine how a civilian kid would feel if she stumbled into Sylvan Woods, much like Casey and Gloria—but without ever figuring out what was going on. Poor Lila.
Three, I wanted to include a mystery that you, the reader, could figure out.
As far as I can tell, I succeeded in all three things and the result was a story that’s a bit spooky, a bit gruesome, and a lot of fun for ninety-five percent of people.
However, if you enjoyed CreepCat, you were probably in on a joke...which is also the mystery. In other words, if you didn't solve the mystery, you weren't in on the joke.
So what is the joke in the middle of CreepCat? What is it that I can't explain to folks who refuse to read The Mostly Invisible Boy first and instead go straight to CreepCat because it's shorter?
I can only hope you know.
When people complain about the story, they say it’s gruesome…which it is, a bit. Fighting monsters is not all unicorns and sunshine. If all you have is a pedicure pocketknife, you’re gonna take that thing and do whatever you can to stay alive. And afterward, you'd be kinda loopy and in shock.
But usually that complaint is packaged with another complaint. And that second complaint is: This story is cruel to pet cats. Once or twice, someone has gone on to complain about the way a mean raccoon attacked a poor cat and ate all the meat off its bones. That part really seemed to strike a nerve.
So, have I felt regret…remorse…sorrow…for the way pet cats are portrayed in this novella?
I have not. And I think you know why.
I’ve been putting off the answer as long as possible.
But here it is.
No cats are harmed in The Ghost of CreepCat. No cats are eaten by raccoons. There are no cats in the story. Sadly, there is—or was—a raccoon who turned out to be a lot less tough than Lila imagined him. The other creature that appears is definitely not a cat.
It’s a monster. And the monster is not a ghost.
But of course you already know that since you read The Mostly Invisible Boy and you paid attention.
So, what species of monster appears in Ghost of CreepCat? Hit reply and tell me if you know. And for extra points, tell me how Lila and her mom were able to purchase one at PetSpectacular.