Isaac returned to work after a long weekend. He felt rather tired. It would be nice to have an extra day to just rest. Of course, if he had another day off, he probably would fill it up with more things-to-do and be even more tired.
He smiled at the thought and reached down to open his desk drawer and retrieve some forms. A smokey black paw reached out of the drawer and batted away his hand. The drawer snapped shut.
Isaac scooted his chair back and looked at the drawer. It looked just like it always had. He crouched down and examined the outside of his desk. There weren’t any obvious ways for anything with paws that big to climb inside.
What was it and how did it get in his desk?
Isaac slowly pulled the drawer open a crack and peered inside. Golden eyes peered back. There was a black cat in his desk drawer. It had whiskers and paws and a tail and little triangular ears like any other cat, but there was one difference. He could see right through it.
He pulled the drawer open a little more. When the light hit the cat, it disappeared completely. He reached into the drawer and flipped through the files inside. There was no cat. He took out the forms he needed and closed the drawer again.
As he straightened up, he saw something move off to the side of his desk. He turned and looked down. Everything looked normal. Maybe he’d just seen his shadow change as he sat up. He was about to turn back to his work, when he saw gold eyes blink from the middle of his shadow.
There was no cat attached to the eyes. Had it somehow melded into his shadow? Was it some sort of shadow cat? The eyes blinked again.
He probably scared it when he opened his drawer. Maybe it came into the office at night, and hid in his desk when the lights came on. It might need a safe place to wait for dark, but he did need his desk drawer for work.
Luckily, he had a shelf of binders full of old information he needed to save for his records but never actually used. He moved his wastebasket under his desk, and then he piled the binders next to the corner into two stacks to make a drawer-sized well. Then he balanced one on top to make a roof.
Isaac leaned over the binder house so that his shadow was inside. He waited a moment or two and then sat down. He looked at his shadow. Golden eyes blinked back. That hadn’t worked.
He’d try again later. Maybe the cat was too scared or tired for shadow hopping right now. So, he might as well fill out the forms he needed while he waited.
Isaac typed and calculated and wrote reports and filled out forms. Soon enough, it was lunchtime. He stood and stretched. He shadow stretched too, and golden eyes watched him from his shadow’s heart.
Isaac sat back down. He couldn’t go to the break room. The lights there were much brighter and came from multiple directions. They’d completely erase his shadow, and what would that do to the shadow cat? Would it disappear too?
He took his lunch out to eat at his desk. As he picked up his sandwich, a bite disappeared before he could eat it. The shadow cat must be eating the sandwich’s shadow. Isaac set his sandwich in a pool of light on his desk.
It wasn’t that he minded sharing, but if the cat was eating shadows, would any shadows do? If so, he would be happy to feed the cat first and then enjoy his lunch too. Isaac took out a sheet of paper and some scissors and started to cut out fish shapes.
He held up one of the shapes next to his shadow. Bites began to disappear. Soon, the paper fish was gone. He held up a second fish and a third. A paw batted the fourth from his hand. His shadow started purring.
Isaac grinned and ate his sandwich. He leaned over and reached out, just above the golden eyes looking up at him, and tried to pet his shadow. He could almost feel where the air was thicker, like mist. The purring continued.
When it was time to turn in his paperwork, he stood next to the binder house and coaxed the shadow cat inside with promises to return. He left, made copies, turned things in and gathered more work to do. He checked his shadow several times, but there were no yellow eyes staring back.
But when he returned to his desk and passed the binder house, he felt something lightly hit his shoulder. He looked down. Golden eyes looked back.
“Are you planning on coming home with me?” Isaac asked.
The golden eyes blinked.
“You’re welcome to come, if that’s what you want.”
Isaac finished a rather boring work day and returned home. At dinner, he ate twice as fast as normal. “You must be hungry today,” Marianne said. “Did you have a hard day?”
“I’m just sharing my dinner with my shadow,” Isaac said.
Charlie laughed. “Shadows don’t eat.”
Isaac just smiled. And that evening, when he sat down at the edge of his bed, he felt paws bat at his ankles. He took a ball of yarn from his pocket that he’d picked up from the craft closet, and he tossed it under the bed. He heard a soft thumping sound.
He looked under the bed. In the darkest corner, he could just barely see a black cat wrapped around a ball of yarn. Isaac smiled. He’d always wanted a cat.