THE RETURN




The funeral pyre was lit and the long boat containing Spooky's body was set set adrift in the seas on time on its journey to Valhalla, as it disappeared from sight a rainbow appeared in the the sky.

Later aboard ship Topcat looked over all the nice guestbook entries and email all of our critter friends had sent us. There was even one from our little friend the Sardine but attached to it was an entreaty from the people of Atlantis they needed our help.

Topcat deleted the email without reply.

"Hey we have to help them after all that darn fish did help us several times." Panther said.

"You are supposed to be the practical one Panther. We need Spooky here to help us. Besides which our ship the CatAvenger is in desperate need of repairs and here we are stuck in dry-dock, ( in Portsmouth England in the year 1836 ) they won't do anymore repairs until we pay what we already owe. " Topcat replied.

"If only I knew where Spooky had hidden those diamonds, I found misplaced in the coal bin." Panther said referring to our holiday adventures.

Several weeks later things had gone from bad to worst we received word that our canine friend Asia had passed away, she had been a good dog and of course a great help to us in defeating the Gorgons.

Thus down hearted we retired to bed. Later that night Topcat awoke; the whole ship was shaking and bucking as if we were in a storm. This was inpossible as the ship was safely in port at dry dock. Topcat got up to investigate, blocking the door was a great black presence, the spirit of Spooky.

"Shame on you for not helping that fish."

"But we cannot go on without you Spooky we need your knowledge, courage, and skill. Not to mention that bag of diamonds you hid. We could really use those to pay for our repairs and provisions." Topcat replied.

"Pay for repairs and provisions! Hah what kind of pirate are you Topcat? The eighth commandment was never made for cats. You sound as lily liveried as that human Shel!"

With that remark Spooky winked at me as I peeked out from under the covers trembling in fear. She then vanished in shower of rainbow sparkles. Strangely enough as she disapeared we heard the "woof" of a great dog!

"Was that a g...g...ghost!" Said I, Shel trembling in terror. "Yes that was Spooky's spirit; she never hurt you when she was alive why should you fear her now? " Said Topcat rhetorically. As we went to find Panther and tell her the news I passed the spot Spooky had appeared upon. I hurt my foot by stepping on one of the "sparkles" a very large well cut diamond.

We found Panther in the galley trying to pick the lock to the pantry. She was muttering; "...wish Spooky was here, I never could figure this out, guess I will just break it down."

Topcat halted her. "Before you go breaking down doors and eating the last hundred pounds of salt pork for your midnight snack, listen to our news. I saw Spooky's ghost with my own one eye, Shel did too and he found a little something she left us" Topcat showed Panther the diamond.

Panther quickly retrieved a jewellers loup. "Why this is worth easily fifty thousand pounds sterling in this year and place, that should be enough to pay the amount we owe and the additional

expenses of repairs." She calculated: "Spooky of course was better at this but, I believe after paying for our repairs and other provisions we should have around thirty thousand pounds for food, thats enough for me, don't know about the rest of the crew." Panther laughed for the first time since Spooky's demise.

The next morning Panther had the diamond officially appraised by a jeweller. Topcat showed that document and the stone to the owner of the dock. He locked it in his safe as pledge against our debt, the repair and reprovisioning of the Ship resumed.

The work upon the ship was quickly completed and provisions laid in. Late one dark night the ship covertly slipped out of the dock and drifted away Topcat at the helm.

"Why are we sneaking out the dock owner has the jewel as pledge against your debts." I naively asked.

"The dock owner had the diamond you mean!" Panther laughed and held up the stone. "One does not need Spooky's skills to open a simple nineteenth century safe."

As I looked on flabbergasted, Topcat grimly spoke " I have need for the money that stone will bring." The ship sailed off into the night.