She only comes out at night by R. Andrew Heidel
It’s late so I brush my teeth, turn out the lights, strip down and go to bed.
I wake in the middle of the night to the yowling. If you’ve ever heard a cat in heat, you have the beginnings of knowing this sound. Remember that sound, the one of the cat in heat. Now imagine it is plaintive instead of urgent, sad instead of excited, emerging from the soul of the cat, instead of its sex. Now you know the sound of “yowling” and how it can wake you in the middle of the night, full of fright. I call to my cat. Make the clicking sounds with my tongue against the soft palate to gain her attention then call her name. “here, Sally Brown.” I hear the pitter pat and click-clack of paws and claws against the linoleum floor. There is a pause as the sound reaches the edge of my bed, and then I feel the tell-tale landing on the mattress besides my head. I reach out for her, to stroke her, to calm her night terrors, but my hand doesn’t meet her warm soft fur. It passes through a freezing cold bubble and my body becomes paralyzed. She is not there. She died, a few days ago and now that I’ve buried her, she only comes out at night. I feel her climb up onto my chest like she used to and lay down, her whiskers barely touching my face and remember, cats can steal your breath. If that is the case, Can a ghost cat steal your soul?