On Thursday afternoon Rudy went looking for her friend. She went out to the garage and called for him but he did not answer. This was odd, because he was almost always there when she went outside. She looked around the spot where she usually talked with him and noticed something strange. There was no hole at the bottom of the wall where he could get under the garage. She walked around the outside of the garage and could find no holes large enough for a cat. Then she went inside to the room where she’d stayed when she first came to live there. There were no holes there either. This was a mystery.
She went back out to the spot where she usually talked to him and called again. This time he answered. “Rudy, I didn’t know you were here.”
“Isn’t it about time you were straight with me? I don’t see any way that you can get under the garage if you’re a cat. Are you really a mouse or something and just learned how to speak cat? I don’t know how you could if you are a mouse, because mice squeak. What’s the story?” Rudy was getting agitated.
“I guess I do owe you an explanation. I knew I couldn’t keep it a secret forever. When I first saw you I was so lonely and you looked like you needed a friend too. I’m not a mouse, I promise you that. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am a cat, and my name is Harry. I have long black hair like you, although a little bit shorter. I have a white tummy, and the tip of my tail is white.
“I moved here with my owners when they decided that this was a good place to drill for oil. There were hardly any houses here then. My owners bought the land across the street near the lake and hired someone to sink an oil well. It made a really big mess, and although they were able to get a little oil there was never enough to make the well a success. They built this house and the garage to stay in until they made their fortune. Obviously, they never made any money. Then one day they moved away and abandoned me here. That was a long time ago.” Harry sounded sad as he said this.
Rudy was sitting up very straight and her eyes were wide. “But Harry, this house and garage are really old. How could you have lived here when it was built? Cats don’t live to be that old.”
“Well, that’s why I never wanted anyone to see me. You see, I’m not really a cat anymore. When my owners moved away I lived on mice and bunnies for a while, but then I was attacked by a bobcat. You’d think that a bobcat would leave another cat alone but I guess he was hungry too. The next thing I knew there were people living in this house and using the garage but when I tried to talk to them they didn’t seem to hear me or see me.” Harry’s voice was soft and apologetic. “I never meant to deceive you Rudy.”
“Harry, are you trying to tell me that you’re a ghost?” Rudy was now very scared. She never considered herself a scaredy cat, but this was too weird even for her. All of her hair stood on end making her look like a giant fluff ball.
“You got it, Rudy. I’m a ghost. I’ll show you if it won’t scare you too much. Would you like me to come out?”
“Um, I guess so, but let me back up a little bit. I mean I don’t want you to materialize in my stomach or anything.” Rudy walked a couple of feet away and sat as calmly as she could. Out of the wall walked a transparent black cat. He looked just like he’d described. He bobbed his head and twitched the tip of his tail.
“Hello, Rudy. How do I look?” Harry tipped his head to the side.
“Quite handsome, actually.” Miss Rudy walked over to the apparition and sniffed. The ghost cat had no scent. She walked a little closer and put out her paw to try to touch Harry’s paw. Her paw went right through his and she jumped back quickly. “I’m sorry, I hope that didn’t hurt you.”
“Not at all. I can’t feel anything, and I don’t smell like anything. I guess I wouldn’t have to groom myself, except that I still like to look nice. I also don’t need to eat which is good since I’ve never seen any ghost mice around here.” Harry batted his eyes to show that he was joking.
“Well, if I ever see any I’ll let you know. They won’t be any good to me, so someone should get some use out of their sorry little ghost behinds. It’s a shame I can’t touch you, you’d probably like a good grooming from another cat, wouldn’t you?”
“I sure would, but just having you as a friend has made my life so much nicer. You will still be my friend won’t you?” Harry’s voice was wistful.
“Of course I’m your friend.” Rudy settled down next to him and began to purr. Sometimes just being there is the best thing you can do for a friend.
Photo courtesy of Jessica - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesspics/59610234/