At the top of the stairs in my uncle’s house, a dusty bobcat once stood guard.
It was stuffed — taxidermied — its lips drawn back in a frozen snarl, and its big feet braced for a fight it had already lost.
In my growing-up years, this silent siren had the power to draw me and my cousins in fascination en masse up the staircase — and, when we were alone with it, to repel us in fear.
Bobcats still exist in the wild, although I have never seen one.
Some creatures simply are no more.