“Coquettrice”

vilethings

  • Genre: horror

  • Year written: 1999
  • Year first published: 2009

Where You Can Find It

Vile Things: Extreme Deviations of Horror, print anthology, by Comet Press, 2009.

Order it online.

Reviews

  • Fangoria Magazine, Rebekah McKendry
    “This book is a definite for any extreme horror fan. Full of terror, sex, and gore, I don’t recommend this for the faint of heart or for a light read at a beauty salon.”
  • Fatally Yours
    “I also enjoyed Coquettrice, by Angel Leigh McCoy, a disturbing look at a satanic cult hatching their very own cockatrice…and watching the main character change from innocent to deviant was pretty jarring as well!”
  • Rue Morgue Magazine, Issue #93, Jessa Sobczuk
    “The most striking fiction is often rooted directly in reality, and this is especially true for the stories found in Vile Things. Most of these tales, collected by editor Cheryl Mullenax, begin with plausible, everyday situations and then darken quickly to trap the reader in twisted supernatural plotlines that teem with the imagination’s most repulsive creations, including parasitic mutations, a spate of festering fungal rashes and many other rancid and, well, vile things.
    “But dismembered members aside, there are no cheap gross-outs here; even though the focus is clearly on the vile and unpalatable these don’t feel like stories that were written with the sole purpose of being labeled “extreme horror” or to merely revel in their graphic, gory descriptions. Simply put, Vile Things is every deviant horror fan’s wet dream.”
  • Toxic Graveyard, March 26, 2010.
    Coquettrice by Angel Leigh McCoy, about a demon that steals men to breed with, was unique and graphic. In fact horror mainstays Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton’s stories are the weakest of all which should tell you something.”

History

1999. I was making plans to attend the World Horror Convention when I saw that they were hosting a short story contest. I wrote “Coquettrice” over the course of several weeks and submitted it at the last minute.

At the time, I was making my initial attempt to focus on fiction. Unfortunately, the timing was off since I was also planning my move to Seattle. Ten years later, I’m finally getting back around to my fiction.

That World Horror Con turned out to be rather monumental for me. It gave me my first taste of what it was like to be a professional fiction writer.

Of course, I went to the awards announcements. There were so many people in the audience. My heart was hammering. Mr. Neil Gaiman got up on stage, along with the other guests who had judged the final stage of the contest.

They announced the first prize winner: Yvonne Navarro. They announced the second place winner. Not me. By this time, my adrenaline was out of control. And then, they announced the third place winner: me. It took my brain a moment to parse that he had said my name. My friends were all looking at me, and I was in shock. Somehow, I got out of my seat and up to the stage to accept my award.

I shook various hands, though the only one I really remember is shaking Neil Gaiman’s. He smiled and congratulated me. I managed NOT to puke on his shoes. Thank God, I wasn’t expected to actually say anything.

For weeks, I was high.

Then, it took ten years before I found a market for this vile story, because vile it is.

The Story

The title of the story is a play on words, combining “cockatrice” with the French “coquette,” which means “flirtatious.”

The seeds for this story were two mythological creatures: a basilisk and a cockatrice. Their myths go back before Christ, thousands of years.

I took liberties with the myth and twisted it to my own cruel whim. I capitalized Basilisk’s name and made him a demon. Then I proceeded to further warp the myth and give him a servant called a cockatrice.

This story alternates between points of view: the cockatrice (a cold-blooded killer), William (a medical intern), and a priest (a Catholic knight). The lives of these three beings come together on a foul Halloween when nothing goes as planned, and yet family wins out in the end.

Excerpt (Warning: gruesome)

The German shepherd growled and bared its teeth, so the cockatrice twisted its head off. Afterward, the monster looked up at the house, holding the decapitation by an ear. Blood and other fluids drained from the dog’s neck onto the lawn. Stepping over the twitching body, the cockatrice rounded the corner of the house and peered through a window. It purred deep in its throat at what it saw. It cut through the screen with one, sharp claw and crawled inside. Television noise came from another room. The cockatrice quietly shut the nursery door. It walked to the crib and held up the dog’s head for approval, bobbing it above the railing like a puppet with a ribbon tongue and blank, button eyes. The child giggled. For several minutes, the cockatrice amused itself, making the baby laugh. Predatory peek-a-boo pleased it for awhile, but not forever. The sour-sweet aroma of infant-meat made its mouth water.

Others in the Anthology

  • Editor: Cheryl Mullenax
  • John Bruni
  • Garry Bushell
  • Ramsey Campbell
  • Randy Chandler
  • Tim Curran
  • Ralph Greco, Jr.
  • C.J. Henderson
  • Z.F. Kilgore
  • Sean Logan
  • Graham Masterson
  • Jeffrey Thomas
  • C. Dennis Moore
  • Stefan Pearson
  • Brian Rosenberger
  • Cover Artist: Phil Fensterer