Next time you need an ordinary fear to escalate into horror territory, check out the Twitter account @bestofnextdoor. It highlights the oddest and funniest posts from the Next Door social media platform. Frequented mostly by older homeowners, it provides a forum for people to talk to their neighbors. Often this talk concerns yet other neighbors they’re worried about or wish to air beefs with. One thing most of us humans fear is other humans—generally with good reason. But what happens when the malign, unknown persons who share our quiet street with us band together with the animal kingdom, as seen here?
“HARASSMENT CAT?!” pic.twitter.com/j08HFLGibx
— Best of Nextdoor (@bestofnextdoor) January 20, 2020
All you need to venture into horror territory is to take one of these neighborhood fears and give them a terrifying reality.
In Fear Itself, some sinister force could be marshalling area felines as spies or killers. They could have gained a collective sentience, perhaps putting humans back on the menu. They could be controlled by aliens, their old friends the witches, or demons of the Outer Dark. A nasty creature could be mistaken for a cat when seen fleetingly—or when observers’ minds reject the weirdness of what they did see, in favor of the comfort of what they must have seen.
In Trail of Cthulhu, weird cat behavior could suggest Dreamlands activity. Dreamland residents entering our world could bring cats of Ulthar in their wake. The appearance of strangely stealthy and intelligent cats could appear as an early symptom of a rift between waking and sleeping realms. Maybe they’ve come to find Randolph Carter to confront a dread manifestation back in Ulthar, but instead have to settle for the player characters.
Obsessive thoughts about cats in The Yellow King Roleplaying Game might likewise be a symptom of a shift in subjective reality, or a rupture in the objective one, particularly in the “This is Normal Now” sequence. Carcosa might make you think the cats are at fault, as a cover for its own actions in the neighborhood. But who’s to say that the alien realm of the Tattered King isn’t crawling with evil, sentient tabbies?
A pair of new Shock cards might help you develop that further:
-1 to Focus tests.
No more than once per scene, confide your fear that cats are up to something to a witness, suspect or authority figure. Even: discard.
Before taking any Presence test, roll a die. Odd: you see a cat or an image of a cat, and lose 1 Composure.
If that test succeeds, trade for “Ailurophobia.”