“Brrr… I don’t like this stuff,” said Luna, “it feels like ghosts.”
“Ghosts… what do you know about ghosts?” I asked, thinking that Luna was right and immediately crossing through my thought about whelks with a big red pen.
“See them all the time, most cats do, don’t you?”
But before I could answer the door to the lighthouse opened and there stood Soft Mick silhouetted in the flickering light behind the open lighthouse door. His yellow sou’wester gleamed, then darkened in the unsteady light of the lamp. He beckoned, looking nervously from side to side, smiling then grimacing as the shadow of the lamplight flickered across his face – light, dark, light, dark – like the revolve of the flashing lighthouse lamp, except the lamp was dark, unlit and still. Just why wasn’t the lamp on? Weren’t there any ships at sea to worry about on this not foggy foggiest of nights?
“Come on in you haven’t much time, the fogs coming down even thicker. They’ll be here any minute; I want the door shut, locked, and bolted before they arrive.”
“I can feel them coming, can you?” Whispered Luna.
I could but I decided not to say anything; young cats can be skittish at the best of times, besides I didn’t know what the ‘they’ that were coming were and it was taking all my concentration and effort to climb the slippery steps to the door.
“Inside, inside. Quickly, quickly.”
I stepped through the door followed slowly by Luna. She didn’t see to want to go in. Eventually she gently snaked through the opening as Soft Mick slammed the door quickly behind her and then locked and double bolted it – top and bottom – before propping an old reed bottomed chair under the handle.
“There that’s better, that should do it. We’re safe enough in here, can’t be touched, they can’t get in, and won’t get in. We’re safe and sound and cosy enough. All we need to do is h’hold our nerve, no panic, and they’ll go away; they always go away. ”
“Was it you?” Luna asked.
Soft Mick scowled and, turning to me, responded.
“Tell it I don’t holds with talking cats, never did, never will. No more that I holds with lighthouse keepers cheating his muckers at cards then killin ‘em, then killin those selfsame muckers wives and families un all. No more that I holds with said lighthouse keeper – let’s call him Michael for want of a dif’rent name - putting the bodies in a old wooden boat, holing it high, pushing it out to sea for the rocks, and all with a storm a’raging. No more than I holds with the ghosts of aforementioned muckers coming back on the h’anniversay of their murders, to rage, and pound, trying to turn poor Soft Michael who’s a gentle-hearted man, but maybes an awful bad loser when it comes to cards in truth.”
I looked at Luna. Luna looked at me. The clock on the table besides the flickering lamp, ticked, and tocked, and ticked.
“It was you then.” Luna softly said, looking Michael straight in the eye.
“Talking cats! I don’t holds with them. No more than I holds with meddlesome strangers a’ knocking on my door uninvited when all I want is a little peace, no more than I holds with being ‘sponsible for the consequences of them knocking, nor of them winning at cards should they win - your deal, and deal that cat in too.” He passed over the well-worn deck, a deck which he obviously knew too well.
And then there came a loud knock on the door.