Shadows cavorted in the silvery half-light, slinking apparitions, caterwauling in alleyways. Beneath flickering neon rainbows – sudden illusions in florescent green, lacerating the night.
Hundreds of them. City streets overrun by these pocket-sized predators, a dozen litters birthed at once. Water cooler debaters recited their lines, unable to decide on the cause. An experiment in genetic engineering escaped onto the streets, some inexplicable conspiracy. The glow-kittens didn’t seem to care. Only a cat could lick its genitals with dignity.
Denial followed disbelief, ignorance led not to fear but to complacency. Front-page news is quick to become a page eight opinion piece, destined to fade into obscurity with the next big thing.
Cats grow quickly, from kitten to cat in less than a year. A cure to the plague of vermin who follow in the footsteps of man, as this new silent death stalked sewer tunnels, ever-hungry. “Let them hunt!” the grapevine twittered, parroting the laws of population dynamics. “The bubble will burst!” bankers and real estate agents chuckled, commuting into the city center.
Too cute to be feared, their adoption was inevitable. Crooning cat-ladies, ripe to be taken advantage of, the squeaking of can-openers replaced the now-silent mice.
We figured them out, in the end. Under UV they appeared in at least fifty shades of grey, their homeworld bathed by an ultraviolet sun, their disguises under-researched in their haste to this bonanza.
We treated them as we had always done, as pharaohs, as little emperors with inscrutable, private whims.
Once declawed they’ll be easy enough to round up. And if we don’t let the cats out of their bags we can dispose of them in the traditional way.
This story was written for the always excellent io9 Concept Art Writing Prompt. I also managed to squeeze in this week’s 3 word wednesday prompts Lacerate, Dignity and Ripe. Comments and criticism always welcome!