Friday, 27 February 2015

On Cats

Dragons Eye - Interlude III

Imagine the deserted stead of Tharia and Gossamer. An old house sitting forgotten in an old orchard, close to the woods and a little town. 


The mists rise and in the distance an owl calls. In the distance the monks are singing their early service against the dark. The mouser Tiger stands frozen watch. She is a purebred Maine Coon Cat claiming descent from the original Norwegian war cats. The Vikings are said to have brought these cats – Skogkatts – to Massachusetts 1000 years ago.

From a distance, white against the snow, Quappala, watches Tiger with growing apprehension. Quappala is a trapper. Like his ancestors, the dogs and cats of the Nimacook Indians, he hunts squirrels and woodchucks through the shadows of the leaf litter of the forest floor. He refuses to learn the language of the Boston cats, calling them “Chewatch” (in the language once understood by bobcat and raccoon – “those that blew in from the East”). Like the Nimacook, he can speak a little French, and so can argue with Tiger, in a fashion.

She will not accept his counsel.

So now Tiger crouches alone, waiting the approaching storm.

She cannot face the approaching shambles alone – but still she hesitates.

Soft light falls through the window onto the open book. The calf skin covering it has dried and begun to crack, scattering browning at the outer edges of the boards. The title on the spine is fading – a translation of the letters of the younger Pliny. A small piece of shot from a past accident is lodged below the title, buried just below the surface. The pages are lightly browned, delicate tracery from a long dead worm is in a lower margin avoiding the printed words, which dance on the page, as sharp and distinct as the day the book was printed.

Tiger shimmers in the light, alone. Low thunder rumbles in the distance.

She steps from cat to human form and reaches out to the book.

She whispers:

Come, travel to my home.

Static electricity jumps from her hand as lightning crackles outside. Light sweeping into the house, illuminating the darkest recesses.

The mousers Rowdy, Teathyme and Blanket answer her call – bounding across space towards Tiger. As they come, they too grow, filling human forms.

But Quappala knows such a summons is not free from risk. And in the dark a dozen eyes turned to make the same journey.

Peter Quinton
February 2015

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Image – Green dragon, Yandyguinula Creek, Molonglo High Plains

(No dragons or cats or spiders were hurt writing this part.)

This is a continuation of a story (a "braided yarn") that started on an earlier G+ post. Details and story are Here
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