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Walking In Darkness

January 14, 2012

Sumo (alias Indi) is always laying in the corner of a big couch in the sitting room, looking into the kitchen and watching what is going on there. Sumo is the cat who after 12 years of her life decided that she rather should stay with us than with the neighbors. A move which the neighbors grudgingly accepted not at least because they considered Sumo as a difficult and unfriendly cat.

But Sumo is neither difficult nor unfriendly, she is a lovely old lady with a few quirks and caprices (like everybody of us has). She is still not fully integrated into our cat family but the other cats seem to accept or at least tolerate her. Violent behavior is not allowed in this household and though the cats occasionally hiss and growl at each other, they never have a fight.

Sumo will probably always be an outsider, she was a loner for so many years and now, with 14 years of age she will not change very much. When I look into the sitting room Sumo meows at me. She meows quite a few times with a variety of expressive sounds and she really tells me a story. The story is: “You see, I’m sitting here all alone the whole day and you have to come now and spend a little time with me because nobody else will do it. I don’t ask for much, I just want a little bit of attention and friendliness. I need to feel your warm hand gently striking my fur. You are spending so much time with the other cats, a little bit of time for me should be okay! You did sit together with me before, please come, please don’t leave me alone”.

Of course I sit down beside Sumo and she instantly makes herself comfortable on my lap. Sumo is a big cat and she is well-fed, a discourteous person could even call her corpulent. She is not as big as Harry was but she weighs about six kilogram. Sumo has a very thick and fluffy fur and despite her weight it is a rather pleasant experience when she sits on my knees. As I touch her and pet her, she starts purring and keeps on purring all the time.

Despite the fact, that I’m busy all day long and often behind schedule, I don’t mind spending time with the cats. These moments are welcome breaks that help me analyze and reconsider, what I’m doing, breaks that enable me to recharge and reenergize. Beside that, cats are quite beneficial for my brain chemistry, especially the oxytocin levels (in non scientific terms: they keep me sane). Sometimes, when I sit quietly with a cat, I make breathing exercises or various meditation experiments or I reexamine a recent problem.

After some minutes of quiet contentment I accidentally turn my head and look into the kitchen and I see Princess Min Ki sitting there, staring at me and Sumo. Her eyes are vertical slits, like little arrows. It is quite obvious, that she doesn’t like what she sees. Min Ki is ambitious and jealous, but she usually gets along well with her fellow cats.

After looking at me for some moments, Min Ki quietly walks into the sitting room and lays down beside my feet. Sumo is not intimidated because she doesn’t realize that Min Ki is laying just below her. So we three sit there quietly and peaceful for some time, the only sound is Sumo’s soft purring.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end at one point and as dusk draws near and daylight gets dim I tell Sumo that I have to go now. She curls again in her nest in the corner of the couch and I go up to the music studio, Princess Min Ki is following me.

As soon as I sit down on the piano, Min Ki jumps onto my knees. She normally is not a lap cat but she seemingly needs a reaffirmation that she is my favorite feline friend (she is for sure, every member of the cat family is my favorite cat!) Initially I wanted to practice a tune with the title: “Walking in Darkness,” but playing piano with a cat on ones knees is nearly impossible, so I work on the song mentally and think about the meaning of the title.

As I do so, an odd and creepy story comes into my mind. These kind of stories often appear suddenly and then slowly fade away, leaving nothing than splinters of vague memories. Sometimes I sit down on the computer and try to reconstruct a story from the few memory splinters, but in most cases that doesn’t work out so well and the story is lost forever. In this case though I can write down the story instantly because I simply turn the chair to the right, switch on the computer that is beside the piano and type in the sentences as the story is unfolding in my mind. Min Ki still sits on my knees, but writing on the computer with a lap cat is much easier than playing piano.

This is the story, courtesy of Princess Min Ki:

When you walk in the forest, you better walk fast. The forest is not big, but the way, that you have to take, goes one for some six kilometers. This way is only used by lumber workers, who occasionally retrieve logs from the wood with a little tractor. On some points where the ground is muddy the lumber workers have poured gravel onto the way, so that the tractor doesn’t get stuck. The gravel is now covered by moss and grass, most times the surface of this way is just moss and grass and you can hardly see the tracks of the tractor.

You cannot call this a road, it is only a rugged way and for long sections only a narrow path. There are some other ways criss-crossing the forest but they are even more coarse and overgrown. You will need boots and very robust clothing even if you never deviate from the few pathways, that lead through the wood.

This forest is quite diverse. There are areas with big old conifers and other areas with young trees that are only a few meters high. The younger trees are mostly mixed, there are pine trees as well as maple, ash, poplar, oak and other species. People have found out, that a monoculture of spruce trees has it’s downsides.There are a few clearings, mostly filled with bushes and little young trees. In some places the underwood has been thinned out, but in many areas the vegetation is so dense, that you cannot pass.

There is a big clearing in the middle of the forest where only a few high pine trees are left standing. Some years ago a severe storm broke down many trees, only the biggest and strongest trees survived. This place is littered with decaying trunks and branches, young trees and bushes are growing in between. It is a paradise for animals of all kind because nobody can go in here and disturb them.

The vegetation looks very different as the seasons pass by. Some plants appear only in spring and others only in autumn. In spring the landscape changes in a few weeks from shades of brown to incredibly bright colors. The colors are very intense, nearly psychedelic. In the course of the summer the colors lose their intensity, though every now and then seasonal flowers with wonderful blooms appear for a few weeks and paint the place in yellow, blue, red or white. In autumn everything slowly changes to brown and when the snow falls the forest is painted white.

But as you walk in the forest just now, you cannot see this, because it is around midnight and completely dark. It is a cloudy night and there are no stars and there is no moon in the sky. Sometimes a little breeze makes the leaves whisper but otherwise it is eerily quiet. In the daytime you will hear birds twiddling and branches crackling and all king of strange noises from the animals that live here. Just now you hear only your footsteps and your breath.

When you walk in the forest, you better walk fast. The forest is not big, but you are right in the middle of it and you have to go another three kilometers to reach its end. You better walk fast, because in the forest are the ghosts of all the animals that you have killed. The ghosts of all the animals that died because of you. They are waiting for you and they know that you are coming this way. They are waiting for their chance to take revenge.

You better walk fast, because the ghosts of all your victims are gathering in the underwood beside the way. They are watching you, they are following you. They wait for the signal to attack.

When you reach the big clearing in the middle of the forest, an eagle owl will sail silently across the dark sky and sit down on the highest branch of one of the big trees, that were left standing by the storm. You will not see it and you will not hear it. You hear only your footsteps and your breath and you see only the faint shadows of the trees and bushes along the way.

The eagle owl will watch you quietly as you walk along and when you are right in the middle of the clearing it will give the signal and the ghosts of your animal victims will attack.

The little birds that were smashed on the windscreen of your car will fly right into your face and hurt your eyes, so that you will not see anything anymore. The chickens, that had miserable and pitiful short lives in tiny caches will fly against you. The chickens cannot fly high and they can fly only short distances, but they will take all their strength and they will reach your head and pick at your skull till blood runs down your face and neck. The pigs, that were held in overcrowded and dirty stables and that suffered terribly until they were slaughtered for you will bump into you till you stumble and finally fall down.

As you are falling to the ground all the mice and rats and dogs and cats that were tortured to death in laboratories for the purpose of testing your cosmetic and hygiene lotions and your medical drugs will jump onto you and bite you and tear out pieces of flesh. The mice will tear out tiny pieces of flesh, the rats and cats bigger pieces, the dogs will tear out bug junks of flesh. You will be eaten alive, you will scream in agony but nobody will hear your screams. The next farmhouse is four kilometers away. As your screams will die down and descent into a whining and finally stop as you lose consciousness and the worst and last moments of your life are ending the cows and bulls that were slaughtered for you will trample over you again and again till nothing is left than a bloody pulp with a few bones sticking out.

At this point the eagle owl will again give a signal and the ghosts of the animals will disappear into the underwood. They will be gone without a trace.

The eagle owl will slowly flap its wings and slowly close and open its eyes.

It means: justice is done!
Finally, justice is done.

2 comments

  1. That’s some scary story your cat is telling! The violence absolutely deserved, but still…violent. Cats, as predators, have always seemed rather on the side of the tyrants, actually–along with eagle owls.
    It seems to me that a story like this calls out for us to understand, learn, and change our ways. Vengeance without a change in the cause of the injustice only goes so far….
    Thanks for sharing this….

    Like


  2. I have to defend my cat friends. It was not a story they told me, it was a story that emerged in my brain — it was my imagination alone, no cats involved.

    And I didn’t mean revenge, I didn’t mean retaliation, I only wanted to make the point, that in case the tables could be turned and our notion of justice be applied it would look like this.

    Justice is only an abstract construction in our minds and it is is always a justice of the powerful, a justice of the victors. Justice therefore cannot give moral guidance.

    Like



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