Adele slept at the end of Janet’s bed as she always did. Rising through the levels of sleep, Janet could hear her purring. Daylight drifted gently in to her eyes, as she remembered. In a care home now, she did not know what had happened to dear Adele. Poor cat, running out the door as the cat charity tried to catch her. Maybe she found a new warm bed to sleep on. Maybe they would be together again one day.
Hannah tidied the living room, singing softly to herself. Greystone Cottage was her dream house. The old lady who had lived here had kept it beautifully, however it had been such fun renovating, bringing modern day mutes to this delightful little home.
Hannah stopped. It was there again. A cat’s whisker on the table. She had no pet, so where were the whiskers coming from? She looked round as if she knew she was being watched.
She was not alone. But it did not feel creepy.
Janet smiled as she watched television, her mind drifting easily to the past. So many memories, so many stray thoughts battling for precedence. But her most precious recollections, jewels in the bottomless handbag of her mind, were of sweet Adele. What a character, what a companion.
Hannah rose through the layers of silent sleep, the peace broken by the sound of purring. She rolled over. Such a lovely sound, the root of relaxation. Sleep evaporated, and she sat up abruptly. Purring? Did she really hear it? All was quiet to her listening ears.
Janet slept more and more these days, memories melding in to dreams and reality fading in to a collage of days gone by. Adele was by her side more often, although when she opened her eyes she was not there. However the purring continued. Always there, a hum in her mind, honey to her heart.
Hannah woke more and more often to the sound of purring. It had become a comfort. She decided it was just the dregs of her dreams: nothing more.
But the purring continued.
Janet slept more deeply these days. Dreams dictated her waking thoughts, as reality receded. Sometimes she thought of Adele, at other times she forgot, hearing purring that made no sense.
The sound of her mind unwinding, a lullaby to ancient ears.
Hannah found a whisker on the sofa , and an imprint, the shape of a small cat … Did she have a feline ghost? If so, she did not mind. The purring at night was a part of her life now.
Janet closed her eyes. Sleep was her favourite activity these days, a dreamworld where she was young again. Today was no different, her younger, fitter self strolling through a garden. Adele came running, tail up and delighted to see her. It felt so good to pet her cat again.
Adele looked in to her eyes, feline smiles in her stare.
The dream became real, as Janet breathed one last time. Then she was still.
It took several days for Hannah to realise that she no longer heard purring in her dreams. The house felt different, emptier. Weeks later, no more whiskers had appeared, and the purring was gone for good.
It didn’t feel right. But she knew what she would do.
The rescue centre was full of anxious animals, all staring senselessly, their eyes beseeching her to return their gaze. But she knew the one for her straight away, a small grey and white kitten. As they arrived home, she thought she heard distant purring. Then it was gone, replaced by a real purr as Alfred emerged from the cat basket.
That night, Hannah fell asleep to the sound of purring, alone no more. The house slumbered in peace: no unseen souls graced its corridors. Alfred turned over, then purred once more.
Far away in an unseen world, an old lady and her cat slept together to the sweetest dreams. A cat’s purr lasts forever.
Rachel H Grant