I was still purring with the amazing insights I’d gained in my history lesson, when one day I realized that cat spirits weren’t the only non-bodied entities around here.
The first time I saw one, it was just a shadow that crossed the very edge of my field of vision. I nearly jumped out of my fur! With a hiss and a fat tail, I whirled to confront whatever was coming after me … and there was nothing there!
Thomas padded over to me and whispered comforting things in my ear as he groomed my head and smoothed the fur on my back.
Ah, it’s just the spirits, Siouxsie said from her throne in the sun puddle at the foot of the bed. You’ll get used to ’em.
Glorious Flower of Wisdom faded into existence and sat next to me. Siouxsie’s right, she said. We cats are particularly sensitive to the other realms. You hadn’t seen the spirits before because you hadn’t been touched by the ancestors yet. But once you know about them, you’ll see them all around you.
And suddenly I realized she was right: now that I was paying attention, I could see them everywhere! I could barely turn around without getting my tail stepped on by a spirit entity! There were people of all ages and colors, dogs, chickens, goats, geese, cows, coyotes, foxes, deer, cats … and even fae creatures!
You can ask them to leave you some room to breathe, you know, Siouxsie said. Most of them are really nice and they’ll do what you ask. They’re just curious about you, that’s all.
All I had to do was think my request, and everybody took a step backwards. Of course, I thanked them politely for obliging me.
As I looked around at the spirits and ghosts and nature spirits and will-o-wisps surrounding me, one particular shadow caught my attention. He was somehow paler than the others, and he had a terribly sad vibration about him.
Every fiber of my being quivered toward this poor, despairing spirit, and I approached him. You look different from the others, I said. Why?
“I’m the spirit of a living person, and I’m looking for my soul,” the man-spirit said, wiping a tear from his face.
How did you lose your soul? I asked.
He drew a shuddering sigh.
“People can lose their souls in lots of different ways,” he said. “Sometimes they get left in the hospital if a baby is very sick and has to stay there without his mother. Sometimes children lose pieces of their souls when the ones who are supposed to protect them, hurt them instead. And the people who do the hurting lose their souls in the process, too.
When I lived here, I was not a kind man,” he told me. “I broke my wife’s heart and battered her body. I terrified my children and failed to protect them from those who would hurt them. I destroyed my family and my business because I was so sick that I couldn’t see the blessings I’d been given. And I lost it all.”
I’m sorry, I purred. What can I do to help you?
“I accept that I’m not going to be able to make up for what I did. My only hope is that the people I hurt will be able to find their own souls — not for my sake, but for theirs. Maybe that’s where you can help.”
I’ll do my best, I said, sitting proudly with my chest inflated. I’m a great, big, smart kitty and I can do it!
“You remind me of my daughter, little one,” the man said. I felt a breeze lift the fur on the back of my neck as his hand brushed by.