Of course, she told her neighbour, and Edith was not surprised.
“That’s my cat, Maurice.” She smiled. “He was run over before he was six months old, and we buried him in the garden. But he preferred your garden, it always was a bit of a jungle.”
The little old lady in the corner grinned, baring gums and a couple of teeth. She had a twinkle in grey eyes that probably saw everything, despite cataracts that eclipsed her irises like moons. She never spoke, nor did she leave the comfort of her chair.
“Does anyone ever sit on that chair?” Kay asked.
“Oh yes,” replied Edith. “Everyone who cannot see her, and I never tell them. You are the first to see her in a long while.” She rose with a groan from the armchair. “Oh, my aching bones. Getting old. Another cup of tea, or would you prefer coffee?”
Edith had been a widow for five years and Kay made a point of visiting her every day. Despite the gap in age – Edith was in her eighties while Kay was approaching her fortieth birthday – they had widowhood in common, both enjoyed a good chat and a giggle, they swapped books and recipes, and Kay weeded Edith’s vegetable patch in exchange for peas, beans, tomatoes, and courgettes.
She was out there, digging over a corner with a spade one afternoon, when a white rabbit with black spots hopped out of the shadows. She wondered if it had escaped from another garden. Perhaps it was a child’s pet. But when she reached out to touch it, she realised it was another spirit animal, and it faded back into light and shadow again.
“That was Spotty.” Edith chuckled. “He was always shy, even with the children. My late husband was the only one he came to.”