Goodnight Shadow
(Based on a true story)

“Here, Shadow. Go outside,” Amber motioned to the open door with her hand. “I don’t want you doing your business in here on our carpet.” The jet black cat gave a soft “Purr” as she went outside. Amber watched as her cat went behind the grey silhouette of the pepper tree in her backyard, illuminated only by the moon’s pale glow. The tree’s ominous branches looked as if they were arms reaching out to grab any trespassers.
It was always slightly nerve-wracking when she let her cat out at night, only because of all the raccoons. Around here, they were oddly larger that most raccoons. There was also the occasional coyote or two, but they were even scared of birds for some strange reason.
Tonight was particularly scary, since she was home alone. Her parents were at some sort of “event” at her dad’s work, so it was scary because of the fact that her mom usually “took care” of the raccoons for her. Amber’s mother did this by hurdling a bucket, or spraying water with a hose at the animal. But since Amber was all alone, she didn’t think a raccoon would be very scared of a ten year old girl.
As her eyes scanned the area, keeping a lookout for anything suspicious, her gaze quickly darted to a bush that she had caught moving out of the corner of her eye. Sure enough, a black shadow shot from bush to bush, creeping it’s way closer to Shadow, as if it was some sort of assassin.  Amber stood there, motionless, almost paralyzed with fear. Her heart was racing, and she was barely breathing.
“Think, Amber! Don’t just stand there! What can I do…” She thought aloud, breaking out of her paralyzed state, and looked around for anything she could’ve thrown at the raccoon.
Amber shifted her gaze to the window once more, watching in horror as the raccoon came out of the bush it had been hiding in, and crept up behind the tree.
What followed was a series of yowls coming from both, the raccoon and Shadow, growls, and finally, silence.
She buried her face in her hands, fearing the worst. When she peeked out through one of her fingers, she saw the fight re-continue. Shadow had climbed up the tree, and jumped down on the back of the raccoon, clawing and biting.
She left the window to go upstairs to her room, and grabbed her bag of rocks she had been collecting for almost three years, and ran downstairs to the door, taking a deep breath. Once she opened the door, the crisp air hit her like a punch in the face. It smelled fresh, since it had just rained. She mustered a slow walking motion, finally standing a couple feet away from the racoon, flinching from the battle that was continuing. Opening the bag, she put three rocks in her right hand, and got ready to throw them.
“Hey! Mr. Raccoon! Get off my cat!” Amber exclaimed, hoping the raccoon would just leave. Although, in her mind, she knew it wouldn’t. The raccoon’s eyes glowed a bright yellow in the light from the porch as he turned his head towards her, and like a deer in the headlights, it stood frozen. Finally, it chattered a loud noise, and lifted its large paw from Shadows’ stomach. Amber clutched the rocks tightly in her hand, standing her ground.
“Don’t make me throw these rocks!” Amber threatened, knowing full well that it couldn’t understand her. The raccoon bared its teeth and growled at the girl, then started walking forward. When she tossed some of the rocks, her limp throw landed the small stones around the animal in front of her. Looking at the bag again, she made a fist around the opening, and held it like it was some sort of crude baseball bat.
When the raccoon pounced, she swung her bag of rocks with all of her energy, and hit him square in the face. The blow knocked him onto the brick pathway. Slowly, he got up, chattered something again, and scrambled down the stairs to our driveway, disappearing into the darkness of the starry night. Amber ran over to Shadow, picked her up, and ran back inside. After carefully setting Shadow down on her bed, - which was made of a soft and furry cotton, riddled with cat fur - she examined the cat’s body, making sure she wasn’t bleeding too badly.
“Wow, you don’t even have a scratch on you! Maybe lost a bit of fur, but still, very impressive!” Amber grabbed some of her treats, and put a few next to her. Those treats were Shadow’s favorite, so the black cat happily ate them, and laid her head down right after.
“Goodnight Shadow.” Amber’s soft and sympathetic voice put the small cat to sleep, her belly slowly rising up and down as if it were jello on a platter, about to fall off.  “You did good.” She smiled in approval.

Image by Etsy

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