I remember waking to the sound of my cat, Jessica, howling into the night. This was strange. She had never howled like this before. The last time I had heard her like this was when the neighbor's dog had attacked her, but that had been a year ago. What would be bothering her now?
I looked out of my bedroom window down into my garden. I saw her shadow, dark and still, lit up against the wall by the street lamp. She sat there, unmoving. She was disturbing me more than I could say. I must have finally nodded off, because when I next woke, the day had begun.
The next evening, I found Jessica sitting outside on my window sill. She must have climbed onto the vines outside my window and climbed up. She stood there, her hairs standing on end, her tail high in the air, her eyes wide in both horror and apprehension. Despite the windows being wide open due to the heat, she refused to come. Despite me going to comfort her, she attempted to scram me and ran away.
It has been a week since I last saw Jessica on my window sill. She has been gone for a long time before, a few days, but never this long. I walked into town, placing and taping lost posters on every lamp post I could find. On my way home, I met one of my friends walking the opposite way. He asked me if I had seen his small tabby cat, Squeak.
I said no.
We stood there for a few seconds before going our separate ways.
The next day, after passing into town and seeing a dozen of my posters vandalized, I entered the news agents and found the local paper. The local headline read, "150 Town Cats Missing". This shook me to my roots. Where had all the cats gone?
On returning home, I turned on the TV and turned to BBC news. On the TV there was a story about a small town in Asia that had been hit by an earthquake, killing every animal and human in the town. The strangest part of this story was the name of the town.
The cats have been found, three months after the news of the earthquake in Asia. All one-hundred-fifty cats were found dead, starved and swollen, at the bottom of an empty water storage container at the water plant. The investigation suggested that each of the cats had crawled in and had died of natural causes. There was speculation that they had been hiding from something, suggested a visiting animal expert, although the result of so many cats hiding in the same place was unheard of. No one was sure what had scared these house cats to crawl together and die.
Jessica was there too. I was able to identify her from her red collar I gave her a year ago.