I’m so pleased that my first Middle Grade short story won first prize in its category at the Wyoming Writer’s, Inc. conference in June. Ringo the Ghost Cat tells the story of a recently-ghosted tomcat who must earn his angel fur by helping other cats in need. In this, the first of what will be a series of shorts, Ringo stumbles across a lost kitten named Jack and has his paws full getting him home safely. Here’s a snippet:
My name is Ringo and before we start, let’s get one thing straight. I’m a ghost, not a zombie. Zombies are only half-dead and I never do anything half-way. I don’t understand the fascination with zombies. Have you ever met a zombie? They smell bad, they move slowly and they can’t carry on a decent conversation. Honestly, I’d rather be a dog.
Have I mentioned I’m a cat? I know what you’re thinking, since cats have nine lives already, why bother being a ghost? Well, whether you have one life or one hundred, it’s never enough when you know how to live. Of course, I didn’t set out to be a ghost. It just, sort of, happened. I was lazing around on a comfortable cloud, sunning myself as I always did at that time of day, when the call came.
Clouds can be a little damp and awfully noisy if you pick one with thunder in it. The trick is to look for one that’s light and white and nothing but fluff, then settle gently onto the very top of it. Never leap onto a cloud as though you were leaping onto a human bed. You’ll shoot straight through and be on your way to a rude landing before you can say Cat Robinson. They got a good laugh at my expense that day! All of them except that pretty little Kat. She just reached down and pulled me back onto the cloud. Her long, gray fur seemed to shimmer in the sun and her ears were tipped with white. She had sky blue eyes that twinkled as she touched noses with me.
“You’re Ringo. I heard you finally ran out of lives.” She nodded at a black cat seated beside her. “This is Johnny.”
Johnny was twice her size, with jet black fur that stuck out at wild angles. He was a little cross-eyed and his tail had a funny bend in it, as if he’d caught it in a doorway. He shuddered when he saw me, then slowly grinned, showing a big gap where one of his teeth was missing. “Nice to see ya!”
I lifted a paw and started grooming, trying to pretend I hadn’t almost hurtled out of the sky. “What’s your name, beautiful?”
She smiled and the sun shone twice as bright as it had a moment ago. “You can call me Kat.” Her voice sounded like bells ringing. My humans put a bell on my collar once, thinking it would warn the birds. It didn’t work, but it did slow me down since I’d had to move very carefully so the bell wouldn’t jingle. I hated that bell, but I would have worn a hundred if they had sounded like her voice.
“How do you know my name?”
Kat and Johnny looked at each other, but neither answered. I licked my paw again and wiped it against my cheek. I brushed and brushed at my long orange hair but just couldn’t get it to lay flat. “It’s the cloud that does it,” said Johnny. “You never get your hair to look right up here. Static electricity.”
“A charge in the cloud that causes the lightening. Makes my hair stand on end too. I gave up.”
“It doesn’t bother Kat’s hair,” I noted, working on an unruly spot.
“Of course not,” said Johnny.
Like what you see? Ringo will be available soon as an e-reader exclusive.