Ghost Cats

Ghost Cats

by Susan Shreve


He wasn’t sure if it was a ghost or the real thing. But there sat Parsimonious, licking his paws on the stoop of a neighbor’s house as if he’d never gone missing. As if all the family’s cats were alive and well, and paired off with one of the Hall kids. As if his siblings were sitll his best friends, inseparable. As if nothing had changed. But everything had changed. Boston was supposed to mean permanence for the Halls, the final stop for a family taht had moved every year to countries all over the globe. And permanence is supposed to mean comfort, stability. So why does it feel as suddenly everything Peter has loved is spinning away¬† from him? His sisters find other friends; his brother develops a learning disability. His mom goes back to school. Peter is the only one who seems to have time on his hands. Too much of it. For the first time in his life, change is the enemy. And it has him surrounded. Then the ghost cats arrive…


Yesterday after school, I walked home in a terrible storm. I let myself in the front door of our town house in Boston, turned on the light in the hall because the rain had darkened the day to almost evening and there under the round table where the mail is kept, was my ten-year-old cat, Rrrr. he was dead.


I could tell immediately. The way he lay stretched out, his head flung back, the way his legs and had stiffened, his absolute stillness, his half-opened eyes.

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