The abrupt sound of multiple barks pierced the stillness of the night. It was an unsettling deviation from their customary sounds of squirrel greeting or neighborhood curiosity. The world outside lay obscure under the gathering storm, like the devil in a dark cloak. Guided by the insistent growling of Whiskey, Tango, and Piper, I ventured outside with only the thin beam of my flashlight for company.
My backyard, a diverse collection of untamed foliage, spanned a full acre, surrounded by a 6-foot privacy fence. It was a sanctuary for the neighborhood’s wild critters, which could climb trees or hide in the many woodpiles I had strategically placed. As I navigated the fallen tree and tall grass, the contrasting barks, as distinct as fingerprints, guided me. Tracing this symphony, I discovered them crowded around a snarling cat, a cat with red eyes.
Caught in the bright glare of my flashlight, I could see it more clearly now. It did indeed have red eyes and oddly long nails. How in the world could it have managed to creep over a six-foot steel barred fence topped with an electric wire? How could this creature manage that? While trying to process this appearance, my Golden Retriever, Piper, stood guard over it, protecting it from the big boys but growling nonetheless. My heart pounded in tandem with the kitten’s tiny flutters as I gently picked it up, rescuing it from possibly becoming a casualty of the three-dog night. It made an odd sound, a growl, almost as impassioned as my big Malinois dog, Whiskey.
In the sanctity of a spare room that Whiskey believed was haunted, I placed the red-eyed kitten in a box with a makeshift bed of torn newspaper and forgotten stuffed animals. The soft, soothing strains of Alexa’s melody drifted through the room as I left the kitten with its dinner: a can of cat food from years past, a bowl of fresh water, and those stuffed animals.
By morning, after a night punctuated by frenzied canine pursuits and relentless barks, I walked up the stairs to the ‘ghost room’ room only to find the kitten had inexplicably vanished. Not a trace remained. There was no place to hide, no place to run. The door had been closed tight, but the door to the closet was ajar. Despite a thorough search, assisted by my eager canine crew, the kitten was nowhere to be found. It was gone.
Strangely, that closet was the very one that had previously played host to Whiskey’s early-morning ghost hunts. My house was a carnival of mysteries, each question looming larger than the one preceding it. No doors or windows offered an escape, yet the kitten was no longer in the room. It had disappeared into thin air, leaving only a cryptic riddle. It was a vanishing act as befuddling as the elusive whisper in the wind.
I never found the kitten and have no explanation for its disappearance. Friends tell me it was a ghost. I find that hard to believe; after all, I don’t believe in ghosts…do I?