Episode 20: A Halloween Special In Which a Scaredy Cat Gets Spooked
The winds of change are upon us, sweeping over the earth. I felt the terrestrial shift as the earth settled upright for the autumnal equinox. Sunshine still warms the windows, but for several mornings in a row now I have sensed cooler air caressing the glass. Fall is playful, inviting all living things to come outside. Its soft touch on each leaf sets the foliage ablaze with color, and it must paint an impressive portrait for the birds I have seen flying south. Some days, the azure sky is pure, and others it becomes marbled with the grey threat of precipitation. I rather like the mornings when the clouds hang low, giving an impression of closeness in the air and turning the world silver. I watch the squirrel, gathering his sundry harvest, preparing for the cold to come.
The pleasantness of this season during the day is accompanied by a certain spooky atmosphere that seems onset by darkness and the approaching end of October. I have heard my friends discussing spooky stories about ghostly programs they watch, and mostly I scoff at the ease with which they become fearful of fiction. Tonight, however, they are gone and their stories have lingered in my mind. I begin to hear noises and my peripheral vision is haunted by flickering shadows. Does the roof always creak so? Do I see a deeper darkness lurking in the shadows? A flash in the corner of my eye makes me whip my head around, only to see nothing more than my familiar surroundings. And then, footsteps echoing in an empty hallway. A voice in the darkness; “Hello?” it calls, and then dies in the silence. Every hair of my coat stands on end, and my whiskers are buzzing. Who’s there? I meow into the nocturnal obscurity, and my own voice sounds strangely distant and timid. I am answered only by the usual noises of the hospital at night; the occasional beeping from laboratory equipment, and the warm air pouring out of the heating ducts. I become conscious of my heart pounding, and am forced to admit it; I have succumbed to the hype of Halloween.
Upon this realization, my fear is replaced by indignation at my own silliness. My people would be flabbergasted by my weakness in letting my imagination run so wild. I allowed my fear to manifest itself in trickery of my senses, and worse, that even if it truly existed I would let some unknown entity invade my space without putting up a fight. After all, I am a cat! This is my house; I rule over this domain. The darkness has always been a friend to felines; a cover by which to accomplish stealthy endeavors. We are the darkness in the shadows, and the padded footsteps of the night belong to our surreptitious paws. There is nothing to fear here, in my home, in this place I have come to know so well. With my nerves returned to steely normalcy, I finish my nighttime rounds and return to my window-ledge bed to pass the early morning hours in peaceful slumber. As I drift off, one last thought enters my mind; maybe tomorrow I won’t listen to my friends tell those spooky stories anymore…