It took Ronnie Shaw a week to write up this little American gem. After going walkabout into the land of poetry for a few books, he’s got back to what he does best, writing novels and short stories.
He tells me about some of the inspiration that went into Uya, a 9000-word short story that was drawn on the Cherokee Native American Indians and his time as a police officer in Atlanta, Georgia:
It just came. It came on its own. I wanted to write about the mountains of Georgia and Tennesee. If you look at the state lines it’s beautiful, caves, rivers, mountains and Cherokee monsters.
I was thinking about the primitive aspect of it. Mountains are kind of ominous, so many creatures have been created with mountains in mind. So I wanted to have a creature like no other. And how could a human be changed to a degree that it’s animalistic? A lot of films you see, they change and become human. I wanted this to be totally beast like to the end.
But in the end, humanity comes in with Hix, who recognizes it’s a tragedy all around, including the prisoner, who seemed to have more control of his life. The mother died young. The daughter had absolutely no charge in her life.
Doing the research, I wanted something different. When I started researching, I looked for a good name. Originally the Night Feeder, then checked Cherokee for evil spirits, and there is was Uya, fitted perfectly. It was their evil spirit of the night. Wikipedia it, it’s malevolent spirit.
I’ve done the investigation about people being lost in the wooded area, in all kinds of terrain. What kind of units you need, and how you investigated it, and how you got to deal with evidence. I took a bit of poetic license with DNA.
I think the most frightening creatures are humans, they are the worse beasts in the Universe. I wanted some empathy and sympathy. I wanted a female to give the story a twist. I had to have her rip the throat of the copper, she had to have more kills than one. But what happened when she stripped the second kidnapped baby, she saw herself in the baby, it was almost like she was going to take it in like she was taking in by a wolf or a raccoon.
I wanted a humanistic flair that came through Hix (the police officer). I didn’t want a robotic and uncaring character. You can only imagine the battle he had to keep the monster out of a museum. ‘Of look, for five dollars you can see the monster.’