Title: The Hollywood Unmurders (The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles):
The opening page:
[Ray, This was a delight to read. Commentary below.
I knew that if the coyote ate me he would end up with a terminal case of indigestion, which is what you deserve if you chew on a vampire kitty-cat chock full of the vampire virus, but by then I wouldn’t be in any condition to say gotcha. Although being undead wasn’t much of a life, I preferred holding on to what little I had. [Seems like a lot to cram into an opening sentence, but it also seems to work.]
If it had been a dog instead of a coyote, I wouldn’t have worried—who worries about a creature that has devoted eons of evolution to mastering the arts of tail-wagging and drooling? But this guy was from a long line of finely tuned hunter-killers. And the word around Los Angeles was that coyotes had never met a cat they didn’t like. [Interesting recycle of an old phrase without going corny. To me, it is an example of ‘voice’ that compels with its charm. ]
Crouched behind a scrub oak underneath the H in the HOLLYWOOD sign, I hadn’t heard any movement from the direction of the O where I’d spotted him—and he’d caught sight of me. The scrub oak, barely three feet tall and about that wide, was more bush than tree, and no barrier to a determined coyote. The full moon I’d been enjoying now felt like a spotlight. I slunk low and peered beneath a branch. He wasn’t beneath the O anymore. [Use of the HOLLYWOOD sign provides a sense of place that nearly anyone can instantly visualize. At the same time, this famous location seems to add its own touch of a story question: What an odd place for a vampire kitty-cat to be. How and why did he/she get there?]
Uh-oh. [Good tension build up. Gets us wondering where the evil Coyote has gone. Is he about to pounce from an unknown and surprising direction with awful results?]
What would being chewed up do to my undead self? How much could he swallow before the virus turned him into a vampire coyote? Would I be an indigestible lump in his belly, giving “hairball” a whole new meaning? Creepy. Not to mention disgusting. [Kitty-cat is expecting the worse here and the tension seems diminished a bit, but the wry speculations of the ‘authorial voice’ add charm and humor which I found compelling. I had to turn the page amidst a belly laugh.