THE FIRST TIME I saw her I was meditating in my studio. She walked up to the window I was looking out through, and when she looked inside our eyes met.
Then she started visiting us at our front door too. We’d find her meowing at the gate when we went out for the mail or lolling on the driveway when we opened the garage door in the morning. She was thin, hungry we imagined, and when we’d pet her her hair would come off in clumps.
I didn’t know she was a she until she emerged from the holly bush near our front door last Saturday. She circled my feet as I slid the key into the lock then sprawled out in front of me to tap the tips of my shoes playfully with her paws. I’m not saying she didn’t have a penis — she was furry enough down there that a small cat penis could have easily gone unnoticed — but from where I was standing it seemed like only nipples.
We knew she was a ghost when we started seeing little placards planted on our front lawn, cat-size yard signs with threatening messages scrawled across them in bloody capital letters. FEED ME OR ELSE. YOUR NEXT. YES YOU. And others with language I’d rather not repeat. We shuddered to think what poor animal she’d used for her paintbrush. Not only was she a ghost, she was a vengeful one.