Bone Cat (I of III)

 Bone Cat, Bone Cat, Where Is Your Flesh?

 

     Searching for what she could not remember, Cat took one step from her ethereal jungle and plunged into the hard world.

     Smooth and sinewy, the black paw silently padded against the asphalt.  A whisker twitched in surprise.  The blacktop was warmer than the ground, for the sun had only recently set.  A lavender glow still hovered above the rolling hills on the western horizon.  Her nose wrinkled.  Exhaust fumes clawed at her tender membranes.  She flicked her left ear toward a distant rumble.  She scented no rain.  The hard tar path wound over hills between the dens of men.  She heard one, one walking with hard soled shoes on the asphalt.

     She bounded off the man’s path and over a white picket fence to land on her forepaws, then hindpaws, easing the shock with her tender muscle, joint, and bone.  Opposable thumbs on her paws dug into the soft soil.  To ease the landing was to quiet the landing and never move after, never give cause to lose the edge of surprise.

     Become aware.  Extend passively.  Become aware.  Live!  Stroke the hunger, yearn for more, more sights, more sounds, more caresses, more tastes.  More.

     He was not slender, this man, neither was he fat.  She watched his gate with monochrome eyes.  Loud, proud walker.  She smelled no sour fear on him.  He had eaten recently, meat.  Her stomach rumbled.  But he carried no meat with him, dragged no herd beast behind him.  The scent came out of his breath from his belly.  She did not see him as food, not yet.  Where was his fear?  Was he that strong?

     He stopped in front of the picket fence.  Velvet ears laid against her flat skull.  The fur danced along her back to prickle her skin.  Something different, something close to her own world, lingered about this man that the other vertical people she had glimpsed on this world of asphalt did not possess–a hunter’s roving, far reaching gaze.  She felt the unconscious extension of her claws as they impacted and cut into the neatly trimmed grass and soft topsoil.  A twilight wind pushed away his scent.

     His head rotated on his vertical body, not larger than what she had killed in her time.  Eyes met eyes.  He saw her!  White, sharp death she showed him in her mouth.  He smiled an ape smile at her.

     He spoke her language awkwardly, as if the words out of his mouth were garbled but unravelled in her mind, "My spirit greets you, shade, beyond the need for tongues.  I am a shaman and you have found my house as I was blessing it for a great event.  It is good that you chose to visit me on this night.  I have felt you prowling ever closer to me in your backward running world and feared you meant to hunt those I love.  Now, I taste your pain.  We shall find your fossils that root you to where you do not belong.  Speak with me.  Bone cat, where is your grave?"

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