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Bitu's Diary

The Ghost Cat of the Highway (A Story Inspired By a Friend)- By Bitu McClintock

October 25th 2007 2:49 pm
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There once was a cat with the sleekest black fur that anybody had ever seen. The fur was rather long, though it was rumored that he was only partly Persian. Though he lived in a city apartment, he found that living a life of leisure didn't seem to be enough. He craved excitement and found it by defending his territory against all the neighborhood cats. He'd venture outside, scanning the street up and down from his favorite vantage point. Then when he thought that a strange cat was coming too near his apartment building, he'd confront the intruder by blocking his way with a silent challenge. Those not wise enough to back down right away were in for quite a fight, and they'd always come out on the losing end. When he wasn't busy adding to his victories against the neighborhood cats, he liked to climb his favorite beech tree. He thought his idyllic life would never end. But one day he chanced to fall asleep under a car whose driver didn't know he was there. After the car accidentally ran over him, he was so badly hurt that he had to be put to sleep. His heartbroken people buried him near his favorite beech tree, hoping that he could now climb and play on it without the pain that so tragically cut his life short. He did climb the beech tree and play on it, though nobody saw him. But sometimes, if an unsuspecting passer-by came too close, they would sense that something was blocking the way with an invisible, silent challenge. If they tried to dismiss the invisible presence as nothing, they were soon reminded by a scratch such as the neighborhood cats always got in their fights with him. People learned to give wide berth to that beech tree without knowing who was protecting it so fiercely. But in time there were plans to build a highway where the beech tree was. People who were familiar with the legend of the scratching ghost cat begged the developers to let the tree stand, though some of the developers didn't believe it. When a surveyor was sent out to the proposed route of the highway, he was stopped near the beech tree by the same silent, invisible challenge that had stopped so many others. Though the surveyor tried to dismiss the invisible presence as nothing, he was given the same kind of scratch as all the others who had thoughtlessly tried to invade the ghost cat's territory. When the developers saw the scratch on the surveyor, they went to the beech tree to see for themselves. When they came in sight of the beech tree, nothing could be seen, though they were confronted by the same silent, invisible challenge as all the others. But not even the expensive suits of the developers were enough to protect them from the same fiercely-delivered scratches that all the other intruders had received from the ghost cat. The highway eventually went through, though the route was changed to allow the beech tree to stand. There were even signs put up saying "Ghost Cat Crossing - Proceed With Caution". One day, the ghost cat's people happened to drive past the beech tree, thinking of the cat they so loved. They slowed down a bit as they came near the tree, sensing the same silent, invisible presence as all the others. Strangely enough, however, that presence wasn't as frightening to them as it had been to everybody else. Suddenly, it appeared as though a black cat with rather long fur streaked across the highway, first one way and then the other. As he started to climb the beech tree again, he disappeared. As his people went on their way, they were sure that their beloved cat's favorite beech tree was in good paws. They hoped to be able to see him again someday, even if only for a moment.


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