Tales & Wails: Banshee

Entry 4: Have you ever wondered if cats know something humans don't? This spooky story is based on a real-life account of a ghost cat!



I try to manifest myself, but a pathetic meow is all I manage. The humans look around, but my message clearly wasn't understood.

Even though they're not my humans, I’m going to warn them I can see their cat’s ghost. It won’t be long before he slips out of his body permanently, and I want to give them the chance to spend his last moments with him.

This is something I have done for every human that has lived in my home. Some shoo me away, others come to see me as a bad omen, but I don't let that deter me. The humans deserve this kindness.

I curl up in an unoccupied chair and lick my paw. I’ll just take a catnap until I have the energy to try again.

Once I recover, I leap up onto the dining table. I attempt to appear again and this time, I’m met with success. While I have a few seconds of corporealness, I brush up against a vase until it tips.

Both humans flinch.

"I thought that woman was crazy when she said a cat haunts the house," the man muses.

"Didn't she say it only shows up before a death?" his wife asks with a quaver to her voice.

They simultaneously stand and seek out the cat I’ve heard them call Buttercup.

I follow them up the stairs as they race to their bedroom, Buttercup’s favorite napping spot.

I wait with the humans, brushing up against them even though they can’t feel me. I want to reassure them; there’s nothing more they could have done and this is the exact right place for them currently.

My other reason to be here is for the new ghost. The transition isn’t always easy, which is part of why I stay in this realm.

Once he’s only a ghost, I curl up around him and purr softly. I'll invite him to stay here with me if he wants, though no one has ever taken me up on the offer. If he won’t, then I’ll show him how to get to whatever comes next.

But first, we rest.

About the story

I live in Colorado with my husband and cats whom I adore. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, photography, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. My favorite things about autumn are the colors and the cooler weather, my cats love it because I’m more likely to take them outside for a little adventure when I won’t melt.

This story is based on my husband’s aunt’s belief there is a ghost cat in her home. The ghost is said to only be visible when a death is imminent. She has been seen knocking things over and meowing down the hall to mark deaths. I’ve always found the idea spooky, so I chose to focus on the ghost for my story. Plus getting to add “based on a true story” to a tale about ghosts adds to the fun!

Follow Molly

Twitter: @PaladinMot

Tales & Wails is an online writing and cosplay competition is a chilling combination of spine-tingling stories and costumes co-hosted by the Slush Pile Monster Writing Group and Fantasticarium.

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