When I was a little girl I was one of those kids who ALWAYS suspected that something lurked just outside my view. Who, or what, was in the attic when I heard a creaking sound like footsteps on the ceiling above my bed? Even on the brightest summer afternoons, the basement was dark and strangely cool. I had to force myself to go down there alone. If a creature was hiding in the house, the basement was the obvious lair.
We had a cat — a very beautiful and small cat, with long, white fur and green eyes. She’d been a stray found by neighbors that already had two Siamese. We adopted her and she immediately became a member of the family. She also became my supernatural, early warning system. When her silky, pink-lined ears twitched and her eyes glowed in the dark, I KNEW that she was sensing a presence in the house. When she flew up the stairs in a blur of white fur, I was sure she’d seen a ghost.
All these years later, in my little apartment with another less delicate cat — Morse — I rely on his acute hearing to let me know if something is wrong. If he doesn’t jump at a sound outside the door than it must not be anything that would cause worry. Still there are moments when I shiver or wonder at a sound outside my window, a voice in the hallway or an unexpected breeze.
Venturing into the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe is a good way to spark an imaginary train of thought. This passage from his poem ‘Imitation’ captures that fleeting, disoriented moment between waking and dreaming, when anything seems possible and the border between the two is blurry.
I say that dream was fraught
With a wild and waking thought
Of beings that have been,
Which my spirit hath not seen,
Had I let them pass me by,
With a dreaming eye!
What monster lurks in the dark corners? Does my cat know?