Comments for Fergus
The second story in the June issue of FSF is "Fergus" by Mary Patterson Thornburg. Fergus plays on a parent's worst nightmare: a child going missing.
After naming a new cat Fergus, the narrator of the story learns from her friend Eileen's lost son, also named Fergus and the number of times his "ghost" had visited her, each time appearing as the four year old he was when he went missing.
No explanation is given behind the appearances of Fergus or the many times Eileen has run into people (or in the most recent case, a cat) named Fergus even though it's a rare name in the United States. One of the children she meets was found under the same circumstances that her son had gone missing but it had been too many years for it to be the same boy. As the story is so open ended one can draw conclusions about the reason behind these many appearances. Eileen could be imagining them, it could be one of life's many coincidences, or time travel, or changelings or any of a number of fantasy or science fiction cliches.
What struck me most about the story was the circumstances of Fergus's disappearance. As a three year old, Sean nearly got lost in the Berkeley math building after he figured out how to make the elevator go. Ian, though, managed to stop the elevator before the doors could close with Sean on the inside and him on the outside.