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Submitted on
January 5, 2013
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The Mirror Cat by AngelaSasser The Mirror Cat by AngelaSasser
11x14 inch, charcoal. With a little reference help from *SenshiStock ([link]).

My 'quick' contest entry for the 'Mama Scared Stiff' contest. We were to draw a creature from our scariest childhood memory.

This was harder than I thought it would be, as it seems I wasn't afraid of many monsters as a child. There were movies that had me nervous about things grabbing my feet at night, to be sure, but those phases passed quickly for me. I knew they were not real.

Rather, I was afraid of particular situations. I was afraid of rooms filling with water. Of being lost at sea. Of wandering with no way home.

This particular situation began with a scruffy stray Siamese cat named Mr. Tee, whom we adopted. So named by my brother and I when we were eight or so. He was a free-spirited cat who came and went as he pleased. Every adventure we had hunting tree frogs in the yard was supervised by Tee, who was never too far from us with his watchful blue-eyed gaze.

One day Tee died of feline leukemia. It shattered our small world of ballet recitals and baseball practice. We were heart-broken.

Afterwards, I used to see him in the mirrors. Just a glimpse in the reflection of the surface of my mirrored sliding closet door. I used to feel his warm body sleeping by my legs, as he always had. I would see him padding alongside me in the bathroom mirrors. In life, if I didn't let him in the bathroom with me when I went, he would stick his paws beneath the door to remind me he was there.

I grew up and moved on with my life. Years later, I lost another beloved Siamese cat, but this time, I did not feel she lingered. When asked why I didn't feel that way by my brother, I told him it was because I felt Tee never left us back then. Much to my surprise, my brother told me he never felt that Tee left us either. I had never spoken to anyone about Tee in the mirrors, not even him.

In life, my brother would call Tee and Tee would always come. Even after he died, he would call Tee, and he still felt like he came, even if he couldn't see him.

Even still, I could dismiss this as an overactive imagination, a child's way of dealing with grief. Only a small few years after Tee's death, I saw another cat, just a glimpse of a gray tabby padding quickly between the bed and the dresser in the mirror of my aunt's bedroom. I had been staring off into it while she was getting ready for a date.

I asked her if she ever had a tabby and she paused, finding it an odd question. She did, in fact, have a very sweet gray tabby whom I had never met, for he had been killed by the neighbor's dogs before I could ever make his acquaintance.

Seeing my own cat was one thing, but seeing someone else's was entirely another.

I don't see things in mirrors anymore, for those who might be wondering. A good thing, too, because my bathroom walls are covered with mirrors and I should very much like to do my business there without concerning myself with who might be gazing through the other side.

It only crossed my mind as an adult that if Tee was in the mirrors, what else could be? At the time, I did not worry about this overmuch, however. He was always there, always guarding us.

My fears, I realize, are of what I can't see, what I cannot prove is real. It is the creeping shadows and the hidden things that threaten me with the promise of suddenly becoming real, should I become too complacent with the rightness of the world.

As for the cats? It is in their nature to show up where we least expect them and where they please. I have long since learned not to question that.
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Darkendrama Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013
You should send this story and illustration to 2013 Halloween Splash Art & True Ghost Story Contest‎
... in the creative forces of various ghoulish minds out there to compete in The JeffRense - Brad Steiger 2013 Halloween Splash Art & True Ghost Story Contest!

I think you could definitely win!!!
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
I did this morning!  Thanks for the tip.:D  We'll see how it goes!
MrsNox Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Mirrors really freak me out! But I like the idea of a cat protecting you from within one. I really like it. :D The tones a d shades, especially around the cat, are awesome.
Kurieta Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
This reminds me of something that occured with my dog, Honey. She was an old dog, blind in one eye, going blind in the other, slightly deaf, and scared to be touched. My mom eventually had to put her down. I was upset, 'cause I never got to say goodbye, and sorta, yelled at her. Then, one night I had a dream about her, healthy, able to see and hear, and played with our original dog Lucy, who is still alive. I think she was telling me that she was happy, and in a better place, where she would enjoy herself, and I could've sworn I saw our dead diabetic cat, Spot, laying on the couch with our other cats, too... And now I'm tearing up...
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thinking about all the loving pets I've lost in the past makes me tear up as well. It's amazing how many people have been inspired to share with me after seeing this piece. Thank you for doing so.:)
Kurieta Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
You're welcome. I went to mass in my old town, and the priest was talking about how memories and your mind can recreate something to the point that it feels real. I think that is a part of how some people may see old pets or friends after they die or move away. My old teacher's younger sister went to the edge of her street, where there was heavy traffic, and a huge german shepard as big as a table with teeth as long as a finger came over to her and grabbed her wrist without biting and pulled her back. Not long before, their own german shepard died after being hit by lighting.
MariaArnt Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
Awesome. Since cats can see ghosts, it would make sense that they could be ghosts too, although I've never seen one.
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
You know, I wasn't surprised at all when I grew up and saw cats presented as spiritual creatures or 'doorways' in literature and beyond. They are such mysterious creatures. I really do miss having a kitty of my own since my last Siamese, Holly, died. Maybe one day!
SenshiStock Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
very nice! Thanks for showing me :D G/L in the contest!
AngelaSasser Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
My pleasure! Your stock was the perfect springboard into a really engaging composition and pose. You are the best!:D
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