Picky-Picky's body was tucked carefully into the cardboard box. The two young girls stood awkwardly beside the shallow hole that the older child had just dug.
"I don't know what we should do right now," the older girl, Beezus, said. "I wish Mom and Daddy were home."
"We're not supposed to bug Mom at work, remember?" said the littler girl. "Besides, I've seen funerals on TV. They say prayers over the grave and then someone tells the wife of the dead man that she looks beautiful in black."
"Oh, Ramona," sighed Beezus. "I don't know any prayers for a dead cat."
"Poor Picky-Picky," Ramona said, "He was such an interesting cat."
"Remember that time he peed on Daddy's shoes?" Beezus said, smiling. "That was interesting of him."
"Very interesting," Ramona agreed, and smiled too. "Do you know what Howie says? He says his Uncle Hobart says that this whole development was built on a ancient Indian graveyard."
"Oh, Ramona," said Beezus with exasperation. "Do you have to be so immature during a funeral?"
Ramona wanted to explain that she had thought that it would be a good thing to talk about graveyards during a funeral, that she hadn't meant to be so immature. But she looked at Beezus's face and saw the tears in her eyes and decided that right now wasn't the best time to explain this. Instead, she reached over and held Beezus's hand. Beezus squeezed her hand back.
"I'm really going to miss Picky-Picky," Ramona said.
"I know," said Beezus. "Me too."
Ramona woke up with a start in the middle of the night. She had been dreaming terrible dreams, dreams that the spot where they had buried Picky-Picky was the wrong spot, that Picky-Picky had been shook back to life by something old and angry and that he had clawed his way, green-eyed and furious, out of the cardboard box and through the heavy dirt, that he had made his way, stagger-legged, through the backyard and was up on the porch trying to make his way to the cat door.
She was about to call her mother in terror when she remembered her father's praise over how she and Beezus had not bothered their mother when they found Picky-Picky and so she pulled her blanket over her head and closed her eyes tightly.
"It was just a dream," she told herself. "Don't be such a baby."
In the hallway outside her room, a cat meowed softly.