City of Cats 2: body, in the rain House weeps, Bridge and Tunnel

body 250 words

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Cats’ are protected and maintains equilibrium with the outside by its largest organ- skin and coat- which also acts as waterproofing, insulation, and cooling, through various aspects of its structure. Skin is composed of inner dermis, where organs, glands, and nerves sense and actively sustain healthy cats- and outer epidermis, which is primarily passive and through which hair is rooted. Foot pads are 75 times thicker skin, and specialized, thin cells surround mammary nipples on females, but the most remarkable extrusion of skin is in the claws of cat- not skeletal but hardened skin tissue. Hair is designed in two types- guard, which is harder, thicker, less common than the second- down, built as if a ladder, which traps heat close to the body. Cats have fine muscles which can tighten essentially loose, soft skin, drawing guard hairs together so cat appears far larger threatened or threatening. Cats also have dozen whiskers, twice as thick as guard hairs, sensitive even to air pressure, particularly useful in darkness. Cats leaves its scent from glands on sides of head and around anal region. Catslick its coat with sweating tongue, to there evaporate. Cats cool, as humans do not.

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in the rain,

House weeps 2 500 words

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It is a House of bad dreams- his first sense- strange, powerful, impossible. He smells the river and the streets, sees the parked cars, and hears constant rain prickling the flooded corner in rapid scattered impact. Rain is a deluge- in his senses solid brick, solid concrete, and opaque windows soften, melt, weep. Only humans can create such unreal reality, of no self-awareness, no quiet sense. Cars outside are immobile guardians, shaped metal, glass, empty of true emotions. Human tools, cars drain earthen blood, trail noxious pollution, lay a constant, suffocating overcast testing limits of a healthy natural world. Humans are humans, idly willing the rain to cease. The cars are motion inert, waiting. The building is emotion made material. The building is Pain...

Pain.

It is a hurricane evening, turbulent clouds swallowing city glow, in downpour only enough light for cat. He waits, attentive, under shivering umbrella of an elm tree of midsummer- even it bends away from this building that shrieks pain to city groan. Wind slips across his short fur. Rain stings his blinking eyes, but he learns nothing more past first glance in constant, careful, vision of rainy evening or sunlit midday. Thunderous rain falls on his shoulders, his back, dripping down from leafy branches overhead. He is not cold. He is waiting, spirit drifting before, behind time of his body. He senses a gathering, coming, inescapable Pain...

Pain.

It is not physical pain, so he does not fear for his physical safety. Pain is focused in that house, a building named by enameled metal sign- ‘Animal Neurological Research Center’. Marks that mean nothing to him, insult to those humans close to spiritual elevation of cats, referring to erroneous conception of animals not spirits- tools- a reduction of living beings to dead sciences, in use according to medical evaluation as Safe for humans. Marks as similar oblique titles for research institutes, usually quiet, modest, as if words themselves are ashamed at deceit, of words, words, words as tell truth can also tell lies, lies, lies. Words that name obscure abstractions rather than literal realities reveal humans willfully separate spirits from any and all life of this entire world. Words as speak only Pain

Pain.

In contrary the plate here is proud, name markings clean, recently replaced- an obvious, deliberate assertion of value of work within. Neurological refers to the brain- despite white rats, chimpanzees, dogs, cats- this brain is finally human as extrapolated from research on animals, in perhaps futile attempts to create a scientific theory, to resolve consciousness, to integrate questions of first-person and third-person perspectives. No one incorporates subjectivity of animals on which investigations are conducted- there is no reason to include evident horror of torture. Science is a current manifestation of human needs, similar to dogs, to have a Master, some physical structure in time or as time itself. Cats sense that the brain is temporary home organ from which mind embodied will receive its perceptions- sight, sound, taste, touch, heart- then express itself to paws, to claws, to teeth- to all aspects of feline body in thought, always returning to material brain, of which mind is temporal. Humans are humans. Would such answer satisfy their relentless pursuit of chimera even noted in documents as freedoms, as desires, as achievable states of being rather than individual emotional realities- what is this elusive goal Happiness, where is this place called Liberty, when this lost infant conception of Self-evident Truth.

He briefly muses on complex, highly developed minds in massive brains, which convince humans to alter the physical world- forever looking for answers to questions suffered, deliberately ignoring uncontrollable Time. Where do I come from, Where do I go, How much time do I have. He is sad but uncomprehending for such inability to sense, to shift, to play Time resembles impotence of youngest kittens- until then revealing innate bravery to proceed in healthy and dangerous ways to adulthood. A natural development- yet no less brave- for when young you do not sense where this life leads, nor remember previous incarnations, nor sense if this is final- live every day as if it is your last, for someday it will be- yet, live every day as if you will live forever…

Pain.

He shifts time…

Pain.

He is still, quiet, under shivering umbrella of elm tree, feeling sidewalks pulse with memories- but sharpened, heightened sense does not warn approach of that final intersection when even a true cat, a Searcher, can no longer see the other side. Rain continues deluge, rumbling clouds and stabs of lightning leaping from grounds of the Park, yet he does not fear even a Block cat, natural storm, nor unnatural vessels in which humans race from point a to point b, unaware that the universe is infinite in all directions and wherever you are is focus of that moment. Humans have made journeys from point a to point b more difficult by physical constructions, buildings, streets, vehicles only anywhere near capable velocity in early mornings on empty country roads. He is cat. He senses how to shift time, how to always land on his feet, how it is only youthful illusion that one moves and the world is still, the truth is that we wait, the world moves to meet us, this is a wisdom only a wandering Searcher as himself will sense through flesh and bone. Humans are humans. It is only rarest who learn anything approximating shifting time, and only possible futures, for their minds insist they flow with turbulence- they do not shift time even past blinks, let alone days, seasons, lifetimes. It is only rarest humans who decide to create a form, a painting, a sculpture, even an artwork as uses time as its medium- music, opera, plays- who communicate even slightest true senses of time and space. It is only others or the same rarest who sense an error in human conception of velocity equals distance divided by time, as any kitten quickly learns it is time that equals distance divided by velocity- for time is an invented permanent illusion for all manner of animals, is it hard to recognize this for humans, yes. Humans are humans…

Pain.

He blinks in downpour- he saw something- he blinks again. There, by this front doorway of the House of Pain, he senses it again and chill penetrates his bones, chill not from unending rain, from gusts of wind, not alone in deliberate lack of emotions surrounding this building. He sees un-cats, clouds of spirit only rarely seen by humans, milling around the doorway with agitation blind to even following moments, fortunately blind to him a gray cat across the street under an elm tree. Un-cats are gathered in hierarchical band as is more common with dogs, this one here, that one there in continual dispute over who leads, who follows, remaining defiant against each other- no, these are not true cats. He watches unseen. He waits as they wait. In close inspection he can see forms in blackness only death might carry, if human would have screamed in horror, and as cat feels stomach rebellious, senses turbulent, Who does this, How have they come this way, it is pain simply to look at in emotional spectrum, Who would torture fellow beings like this, Who and Why. This is not a true question. Dead, yes, beyond pain, but in shades left behind he can see ways of their deaths. Here, one leg broken in three places, three legs broken in one place each, poorly reset so limping in discomfort and wounds speaking slowly, endlessly, that humans had done this and were experimenting with a technology to quickly reset broken bones and Do they not have skeletons as humans do, let us try our idea out on cats. He remembers one, two, three cat survivors of similar torture, at another human research place. Humans are humans. Here another cat, who disputes leadership as if a dog well it is obvious he is mad- see his brain, fur shaved, skin pulled back, this and that wire pin inserted and sparkling where electricity had once flowed according to human intent. Here another cat, distorted in a similar way but here is a patch over wounded right eye. Here another cat, who mewls constantly though his shade seems whole, undamaged- then he senses humans have used him in behavioural studies- monitoring only that which is to them visible in this world, only acts, not motives, not mind- he is now no more than a human machine, who will respond in one way to always the same stimulus but no way to any others- jumps from place to place, painfully nervous, afraid of an overhead streetlight where rustling rain moves leaves, branches, hurt, afraid, always searching for comforting shadows...

Pain.

He wonders what the un-cats wait for. He shifts time forward. He waits.

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He watches the building in pelting rain one, two, three nights. He is now familiar with repressed hurt visible in crumbling, melting aspects of its structure- false doors as never open, false windows are always closed- concrete and brick and architectural design each named to a human, several humans, who knows if they knew what this building would be, who knows if they would have cared. Policemen park their car nearby, sit bored, drink coffee, eat deep-fried pastries, stir air in the manner of saying that nothing which is everything, in sharing in limited human ways, and only a leap from the used doorway. A newspaper, which by incidence carries one of the few, small, ignored articles that summon the policemen here, in reference to a radical Animal Liberation group who threaten Freedom for animals used in experiments, promise some sort of retribution to tainted material objects, torture devices, crowded wire cages, not forgetting those immaterial data within computers, studies, thesis, words, numbers, graphs that record this and that experiment. Property Crimes, well, this is what absorbs the most attention and protection, and in such unenlightened care will anyone think that those lab animals are anything more than Property. When a researcher arrives, early third morning, police extract themselves from important debates on this or that game, this or that team, rise out of the car, with exaggerated care look up, down, across the street- of course not registering motionless gray cat under the elm tree- and wave by one, two, three, more colleague researchers who walk quickly through the way directed, to the only door he has ever seen open on the front of the building. Unseen, also, are many un-cats milling about human feet entering or emerging from the building, moving in un-cat tensions, nervousness, agitated, easily erupting into brawls at wrong glances from another un-cat- but none of this halts either researchers or policemen from Just Doing their Job as all the un-cats are unseen in common spectrums of visible light. Other buildings, an aggregation called a University, now become more widely awake that third morning. Humans are humans. Elders move to their offices first, followed by staff, by students who will doubtless leave last, in the middle of the next night.

Rain has ceased but now there seems an equivalent concentration of water in the air, he watches with more certainty now, for un-cats are more numerous, more combative, and even under unbroken sunlight become darker yet. He senses he will see why they are here, why he waits here, this coming night…

Pain.

He senses what the un-cats wait for. He shifts time forward. He waits.

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He moves unseen by even un-cats down the alley. He can smell the river and the sea. He is sad. He senses what will happen, he senses how it will all go wrong, but he is himself, he is cat and no humans will stop to hear him, no humans will follow his gestures, his eyes, his voice. Humans are humans. He smells pungent aromas of garbage- calms appetite, for it is attractive in the scent of delivery pizza boxes but he is here, has been here for three nights, waiting, and will not lose this night in distracting pleasures- he is a Witness. An alley door opens, more trash is ejected- but this is strange, the human who does this task carefully neglects to completely close the door, this an unfamiliar human follows trash to the alley with a giant purse insulating other boxes of pizza under his arm, a dismissive grunt back to apologetic voices inside- then he gets in his car and goes down alley then street. No one closes the door…

Pain.

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He expects rain that fourth night and the sky does not disappoint- tonight it seems even heavier, but this is the effect of emotional pain that reshapes the world according to his sense. As if human itself, in the deluge it seems as if the House of Pain actually begins to express sadness in weeping, in mourning, in grief over sad death- but no one yet dies here but those animals which are confidently less than real because they no more than experimental objects. Humans are humans. No one mourns animals here...

Pain.

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He watches the lights in the building go down one, two, three, as researchers, students, staff leave out the front but none through the back. On the third floor a light remains but he is uncertain if it is always this way, he has not counted exodus and senses an awkward aura emanating from that window. Golden, silver, glowing-ember red, dark as death, web around faint desk lamps. He senses what will happen. He senses he cannot prevent it. Un-cats are now so many that they surround the building from front door down alley to back door- not sad in waiting but in joyful anticipation. None notice the gray cat on lowest balcony fire escape of an opposite building, in this are as blind as humans, and is it now clear how un-cats are derived from human acts, how their sickness is a human plague, of no comfort in seeing it afflicts humans perhaps even worse than all our brethren animals. He must have sensed this before. He must have tried to forget it...

Pain.

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He shifts forward to the heart of the night, the time of gray shadows, and senses inescapable Pain will come soon. A sliver of light stabs out from the narrow opening of that door which was never closed. On the third floor a lamp still glows, shadows dancing across the ceiling- a student staying late. Leave, he sends hopelessly, Leave. Police sit in their car on the front side of the building, arguing with real passion over this or that essential game, this or that important team, completely oblivious to gathering thunder of pain in all these eager un-cats. Come here, he sends helplessly, Come here- there is still time to stop it. Humans are humans, so there is no answer.

This is not human story.

Dark van approaches down the alley. Secret.

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Bridge and Tunnel 8 750 words

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Silver would like to forget his mother, but this is not possible, here and now. Each and every moment of the birth of this life seems determined by how, where, when, he comes to awareness even as his senses are not yet complete or so clear and distinct as those of an adult cat. He does not remember his birth, though there is a residual sense of having been rejected by comforting, enveloping, protective warmth of womb. He extends his senses, for he is cat and so his being is more in his varied ways of perceiving the world inside and outside, than how his flickering mind integrates, judges, acts on what senses demand. As cat- more than many, many other animals and most certainly more than humans- he realizes a fuller reality than distorted refraction of that disease many human sufferers have elevated to defining and honorable quality- that disease called Representation, in which the world is at one two three or more removes and so the world is not immediate and true sense but somehow only a representation of sensory data that flows through that human labyrinth of thought, from senses to terminate in consciousness. As cat, through his infancy, his youth, his maturity to his old age, Silver is by nature early inoculated against this failing. As cat, there is an immediate sense through what seems like sleeping to observers, when any cat drifts from time through time, following, leading Life through its invisible topography. And it is this natural sense that confuses the infant Silver, he would rather not be here and now, intense suffering as his littermates and their mother, but these are moments impossible to evade, he lives through pains as he lives through pleasures and who can know beforehand which is in the next heartbeat.

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Silver is not ‘Silver’ of course, not even in limited naming of that familiar quality of his thoughts. Silver is that name which seems most appropriate for, even in incomplete pale remembrances of times past, his spirit recalls that once he lived on an Estate, that once he sensed two boys, a mother and a father, and there is some sense of continuance of who he Was then and Is now. As cat, he need not search for substance in thought or memory of any recall, he knows that it is the insubstantial passage of time he remembers, that it is that essential process of becoming and not the chimera of stable substance, that it is not substance in motion that manifests the real, but the stable motions that manifest the relevant substance. At this moment, here and now, he recalls sensory portraits of that beautiful life, and whether it is memory or dream it has insistent reality even in this infancy he returns to that paradise many, many times in each and often all his senses. Silver knows there must be more than where he is born, knows there is or was or will be some original garden where each animal will rest in correct relationship to each other, some world that may have existed before or independent or after human cities which expand, consume, so threaten our shared world of all brethren animals. Humans are humans. And is it ever possible that such large minds and such limited senses could come to know what this lost or not yet achieved correct relationship, this is a question that drives any compassionate sense, that forgives humans for their reckless damage, for cats in particular must become aware their being is intimately entwined with humans, in some ways more than dogs. Cats are cats. From their ancestral feline lines, when first they came to hunt out rodents who infiltrated stores of grains that humans had so carefully directed to grow at their needs, from the first pact between rat-killing cat and human, any cat must be alert that this relationship fraught with misunderstanding, this as any city is what has made cat cat as much a human a human. Interdependence is never failure more than recognition ones are part of others, as others are parts of one.

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Silver would like to forget his mother, but this is not possible, here and now. If Silver sensed what a dream is to humans- some mental illusion that is finally powerless to truly affect physical being- he would desire this birth to be a dream. He could then discount what horrors he lives through, terrible, eternal, unavoidable, this deathly struggle of infant and mother for some constant quality beyond either, as if living is a tangible stolen object rather than a rightful gift. Perhaps it is only their unconscious animal selves that each try against the other, but this does not make this birthing struggle less real, more dream.

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ilver is blind, is lost to senses, but his nervous system is alert through pain and he does not want this horror to be possible- his starving mother is engorging each of the litter whose gestation has rendered her so thin, so frail, a skeleton which promises Death more than Life. She is becoming a un-cat, invisible in visible spectrum, in emotional spectrum dark as only Death can be, and there is here a sort of knowledge of inability to gather senses of this final intersection. Innocent, innocent, innocent his heart cries out, asks why he has come to suffer death so only born to suffer this pain over and again, protests the unstained sense of spirit of himself- indeed he is not alive long enough to commit any transgressions rightly punished by rebirth and attendant anguished death...

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Silver is unable to find consolations of philosophy, for this pattern is as cyclical in an immediate way, this move is no more than evaporation of river, lake or sea water, condensation into all manner of clouds, drift, swell, collision and downpour elicited in rain or hail or snow- this process inarguable and results extravagant or secretive, but this process unseen, unheard, unfelt no matter how obvious a result. He can sense only in abstract any sort of clear and distinct pattern, for, as cat, one precipitation is all precipitation and all this causes is a desire to hide under safe cover appropriate to that time and place. Rain comes into sensory contact with least force, in some cases only a scattering shower, in some cases from rumbling thunder and crackling lightning, and from under this or that tree or vehicle cat may retreat to pausing safety. Hail is threatening, missiles clattering on roofs, off windows, but it is only snow that cat escapes to indoors-

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Silver is born in this quiet, still, empty darkness that would not answer opened and soon educated eyes with any further description. His mother has found this place to give birth, who is he to argue for elsewhere, and there are only his memories of falling water, of an open sky, of any sort of difficult weather. Here and now, it is a dry place no warmer nor cooler than himself. He emerges with his littermates, all the same, and one would ask the others and the others ask the one, Where are we, What is this place, Who would claim it is here we come to life after comforts and safety of the womb, for they all sense the same portrait of their birthplace. Stone stone stone, above below and to all sides, this is a human place, an unnatural place, a cave on which walls only occasionally flicker lights and shadows no less real for an infant cat than those humans who carry torches and cast their shapes. Stone stone stone not carved by eons of water or sudden slippage of rocks against rock, no, this place is human creation where rigid, sharp edges and planes disrupt even faint flow of the air his newborn whiskers can feel. His body is newborn wet, his coat sticky with afterbirth, his eyes closed, but all he truly needs sense comes through tangible senses as describe those few lengths of cat beyond encircling legs of his starving mother. Is there any more horror than that he and his littermates had naturally incorporated energy, flesh, body of their pregnant mother, Is there any more horror than this should happen to forming consciousness rather than her body reabsorbing their fetuses…

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Silver comes to a decision to abandon himself to this natural process- the next time, the next, the next- for this determination does not transmit to the next life no matter how forcefully and sincerely he insists. Silver now senses that this is a kind of demand only the most selfish creature, a human child perhaps, would dare place his own life ahead in worth over his mother’s. Silver senses that this is a mirrored reflection of how any mother would in turn put the life of her offspring ahead of her own…

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Silver wants to die so that his mother shall live, she wants to die so that he lives.

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Silver and his mother contest in sacrifice with such efficiency, such force, that he has come to this place, alive yet soon eaten by his mother- this is not expression of animal disregard for offspring, lack of maternal instinct, no, this is rather the completely sincere result of competing love of the other which traps both spirits until all other options are closed…

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Silver is unable to count how many universes of possible worlds he and his mother contest in self-sacrifice, one two three more or if indeed our multiverse is infinite in all directions, then there are no descriptive numbers however great, all is infinite and this is the end of meaningful numbers. Silver would leave such investigation and many, many theories, to those dangerously large brains of humans. Humans are humans. Cat is in process occupied in pacing through life or reliving as memory, to be one who abstracts the world in the merely physical way, to be like those unfortunate animals under that disease of Representation and oppressive constant removed perception is a prominent symptom of the disease it is meant to cure...

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Silver is unable to offer a count, then, but that does not mean any previous world is more real than another.

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Silver knows a pleasing sense of continuity, of consistency, that leads through each world- a spirit he is attached to and even finds in its ever-evolving a sort of comfort. He is not here and now, so anxious to grasp a name that is constantly added to, that describes instead a self that is a metaphor, a relationship- in space and time. He is only fleetingly concerned that his process stays in this particular universe, in dark oppression of stone stone stone tunnel like as possible a coffin for these massive machines to carry humans from place to place. Humans are humans. He feels his eyes cleansed off by barbed tongue of his mother, but there is less than zero visibility, only a portrait all those other senses relay in this darkness in visible spectrum and emptiness in emotional spectrum...

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Silver is quickly aware of how this place affects his mother, thereby him, and if he could express this sense it would be limitless horror- pain, terror, that not even the emotional shield of her love can protect him from. Stone stone stone- there is an unresponsive nothingness that surrounds, there are no questions answered or even heard, there is only completely inert mass that will not respond to his or any creature’s life. Absolute nothing, what he will later imagine is no more than Death, no more than bedrock from which a spirit rises, persists, lives. At the moment of his birth, for the time of red wetness, of blood, of placenta, he is so hurt and fearful that natural processes such as Death are particular and personal and he will wonder what his spirit could have possibly done to deserve this silent, implacable, inevitable birth into this death. It is not immortality and pleasure of birth that is promised on the cycles of life for our spirits, no, it is ceaseless arising of living senses only to degrade too quickly through pain of Death. As much as any spirit might insist that Death is no more than a natural process, an illusion transcended when it is known as integral and not to be feared, well, these are pleasant senses from some detached viewpoint but not truly comfort when it is our own spirit that suffers Death...

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Silver is attached to his own spirit. Silver, as cat, even so newborn, shifts time but the space of this living coffin of stone allows no escape- only from previous or later perspectives does he know any other lives. He is not those other selves, not even as he finds himself an awareness of their lives, they are forever beyond his senses, they are perhaps cruel dreams for in their experience seem oblivious or useless of him here and now. To sense his sort of immense joys, his lives in memories of the Estate, of the mother, the father, the two boys- these senses happen to another, never him, even if he should recognize some continuity of now from then. He is blind so it is not that entire sense of whiteness that approaches and swallows this world but instead darkness so complete only Death owns.

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Silver dies, dies again, dies over and over but each time he returns to this stone place.

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Silver is born only to die, a final, complete absence that does not deliver his spirit from this stone place.

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Silver is unable to offer a count, then, but that does not mean any previous world is more real than another.

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Silver is a young cat here and now. Silver is alone together with spirits invisible of many, many others, but each isolated and none communicating sense or emotion, for what is to be shared of the blank wall of stone, under a high ceiling of stone, from a dry floor of stone, what can one cat know that another is not also too aware. Humans are humans. This tunnel is of human fashioning, not shaped through eons of rushing water, not smooth, naturally curved- this is built of sharp edges, of right angles, of planes abstract as human thoughts. Silver shifts time, shifts again, shifts in that patience only cats and other predators may exhibit, but the tunnel remains at an end here and now, and even so far as he extends his senses to the past he cannot find evidence of that time past it did not yet exist. Silver is no longer blind, though it is no matter, he sees nothing for this stone place is underground and not the slightest illumination answers his questing eyes. Silver is waiting, though he does not know for what, does not know for how long. Silver breaths still, cool air that cannot offer slightest tang of smells that prompts no answers to this lost curiosity. Silver hears a rumbling, a sudden gusting roar from behind him, rising, doubling, trebling, quadrupling in each blink as he senses- by tugging whiskers- the air around him rush forward in a way as though a huge animal forces it in gigantic exhalation-

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Silver wakes to texture of his mother’s barbed tongue coursing over his closed eyes, forward, back, swirling with an obvious gesture of a kind only paranoia would characterize prelude to Death. His mother, obviously, intends only a gentle waking that replicates warmth and comfort of her womb- here and now, there is no sinister ulterior motivation, no recall of similar murder, these memories, as cat, he lives in again and as much as future is open to change- so is the past. Cat is cat. His fading memories are clearly mistaken. His eyes remain closed but with all his other senses multiplied and intensified, he is safe amongst littermates, even as none communicate with the others and each infant senses only each self, it does not seem possible there are any others. His mother is his mother, it is only true, that there are senses for the others along the same certainty, this is dream, selfish, senseless error. She is his mother, and in this relationship there is only fragmented rumor that ever she could have devoured the others, himself, no matter how it is desperate, final, and unconscious act. His mother, as any animal mother, would promote survival of offspring to the last extreme. How can he have sense otherwise, How can he charge she who had nurtured his life, however brief, however hopeless in this tunnel of stone stone stone, How can he accuse her of his Death, here and now or there, ever. Her tongue answers his own questions, Quiet quiet quiet my son, Questions such as these matter nothing, Questions of no worth, Questions can be answered later, if they persist, for it is your Life which first must be tended, Quiet quiet quiet...

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Silver senses a world even more terrifying than stone outside of her circling fore and rear legs, than this way of suckling with littermates, a world he cannot immediately name, but this ignorance is not fatal, it is enough that his mother protects him. Perhaps it is better this way, for if his eyes were opened, his senses alerted, and he saw the still ranks of un-cats invisible in visible spectrum, dark as only Death can be in emotional coloring- if this world born into is so abruptly revealed is it not true he would try futile and helpless to return to that lost womb.

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Silver is blind. Silver is yet untaught to absorb and understand even the simplest emotions, but there is here and now, a kind of innocent trust in his mother, the first female he will love even for these few moments, this kind of love never replicated, this love which has no other source than she whose womb and flesh were one’s own home. He feels the companionship of his littermates suddenly withdrawn, himself becoming limp, passive, when she bites on the soft fold of his coat at the neck and lifts him up. She does this without prelude or warning and even if he did not so implicitly trust his body would automatically so relax to this grip.

Silver senses the air through which she carries him, but no revelatory remembrance tells him he has been here so many, many countless times before. He bobs to her swift padding, leaving behind cadres of un-cats who may in some ways be curious but whose greater intentions are focused on that sheer plane end of the tunnel, waiting, so certain that in their patience they summon that future world when it comes to another tunnel. He senses the unvoiced sad mourning in their waiting, mourning that end of their purpose is inevitable, but there will always be new tunnels to attend. Tunnels are often in process, often hewn by humans who bring their artificial suns, their extended technology of the physical world- this is another example of human lives. Humans are humans.

Silver can sense how their entire world recedes as his mother carries him in the opposite direction, where a wind of saltwater, a wind only here and there extending polyps into the tunnel, a wind that is strangely a promise and not a threat, comes against his skin and coat.

Silver does not recall previous lives, but even should he there would be no name, no sense, either in multiple or singular shape that would explain where he is carried and how this might best be sensed. Cat mother, as any animal afraid of predators over safety of her infants, is in the process of the first of an unknown number of transfers from original birth-den. Subtle signs of once birthing safety have become too noticeable. Silver knows on some level that this shifting is necessary, but there remains what humans would recognize as anxiety each time he is separated from his littermates at one place and carried to another place. He is fortunately never the first, who must suffer in for the next to come to his empty waiting, he is never the last, who is abandoned until his mother returns to rescue him.

Silver is each time afraid, though this is the third transfer, for that tang of salty air is strongest, strangest, increasing on each move, though this tunnel does not come to an end but bifurcates, one, two, three or perhaps in infinite times- well, then all is infinite and there is no sense in numbers.

Silver tastes the moist air and wonders where they have come to. He has no memory in this life, in any life, of this place.

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Silver is aware of light now, as his eyes open, though of course details and perspective, focus, tracking, wait to be so instructed by his mother, who seems comfortable here and now, or has she simply exhausted her energies to move them once again. He realizes that his mother’s fear cannot be outrun, lost, evaded or hidden from, for that complex of many, many fears is resident nowhere in this world we are proud to call Exterior, call Objective, call Real. Her fears, no less Real, are carried within her every stride, will never be answered to her satisfaction as long as she is a mother. Had he some way to tell her this, it would not matter, the only voice she would attend is her own, some seasons after he is an adult and so responsible for his own safety-

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Silver finds that this last place also carries on inevitable salty mist, faint promises of edible memories and dreams, of fish and other marine life. He senses now great space- senses no walls, no ceiling, no flat stone beneath his tread- for around him, drifting, gusting, comes texture of air smooth and quiet along gradual waves that betray no barriers in each or any direction. He crouches in feeling so open, free, not protected and shielded by stone stone stone. He is momentarily so terrified by exposure to pervasive kind elements, which also reveals his body to rare imagined unkind predators. He embodies this fear- and in so doing, in timeless fears, he realizes that this is indeed a sensory portrait of Fear that will infect his most trustworthy perceptions and cripple his awareness. He tries to know, here and now, what his next move should be. He cannot turn back, something that has no name insists he travel only forward through time. He cannot argue. He is alone. His mother or his littermates no longer accompany him. He is no longer a mere kitten, no one else has responsibility for his life. He is an experienced cat, not old despite streaks of white around amber eyes, quick, agile and a determined fighter. Younger hunters admire his elegant kills, his daring hunts, his generous spirits- a few are drawn to dangerous lives of a Searcher by he alone…

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Silver knows here and now, that as one cat in fear he is all cats. Silver senses that at this time and place all names are vanity, illusion, mistaken failure which would have each of us believe we are not kin, not brothers, sisters, fathers or mothers or any other relationship- no matter how many, many cat-lifetimes after or before. He lives that complex sharing of memories with all our cats, most useful here and now, in memory that allows him to share sense of a Searcher, who can tell what this place is. A great red-iron bridge, a human construction of many, many years, on which humans travel their metal and glass bubbles that could travel faster and more powerful than several hundred horses, that are instead moving fitful, belching, snorting, no faster than a human might walk. It is evening falling, not too dark for cat but for the humans come on lights above the roadway, bright white lights approaching, red lights besides receding…

#

Silver is waiting, out of the mist now coming down as clattering rain, underneath a raised walkway for those humans as would walk across the bridge, but there is no traffic there, no walkers, no runners, no other cats. There is a metal-fenced area on which pulsing yellow lights warn of that walk ending, for here the humans are repairing some sort of girders beside the roadway and there is no passage. He would be disappointed, but he has been here before, he anticipated this barrier. A fear he wearily accepts, a fear he sensed coming, a fear he has faced in this lifetime, in that, in his uncounted dreams, is nothing new. He is tired, but there is no choice, no waiting. Fear usually intersects lives at specific points on continuum of space-time, barriers, obstacles, and geography such as one busy street crossing another. Fear rarely troubles a true cat. He approaches it, sees the other side, crosses, leaves it behind...

Silver pauses, sensing futility as he tries to sense a rhythm of the passing cars- sensing that if such dead constructions or the humans borne within were to say anything, were to follow any pattern, the nearest cat could name it would be Chaos. Cars not so fast, perhaps, but in great mass he would die under their wheels in less than a blink, while that construction would not even recognize him as more than a bump on the road. Because of the work here in suspension, he cannot pass those few car lengths on the safe sidewalk, no, he must brave a quick dash on the roadway...

Silver watches the cars flow homeward, leaving those towers of the city behind, blue, cold, patient.

Silver scrambles out from underneath the walk, beside the yellow warning fence, pounces forwards as to a target rat, mouse or bird that is not there- but pausing only for fractions of a breath before leaping forward again, but now the splash of water from a fore-wheel knocks him sideways and faster than he can even close his eyes, faster, he senses the approach of the rear wheel-

#

Silver is suddenly distorted, pulled through unknown, unknowable, perhaps illusory topography of a spirit in transition from one life to the next, the next, the next again- and this is not in return to a familiar self, though there is a kind of kinship in embodiment as cat again. Silver senses that relationship with an emotional pause, a jolt of surprise, and he thinks of original emergence from a warm womb, but this experience is from another perspective-

#

Silver is his mother.

Or rather, Silver is a mother- not a self-creation, not independent, but here so immersed in that development of self and world that expresses interdependence complete, as cat, as a spirit, such obvious truth is elided and invisible. Silver is confused- it is not himself suddenly a mother, it is a mother cat recalling lives of his spirit as hers. He knows She. She knows He. She has found a safe, quiet, warm place to bear her litter, then knows well to transfer the litter one by one to a new place, secure, unknown to those others who might attack and devour kittens as yet unable to defend themselves, to run away, to hide, and she a mother too exhausted to resist and protect. She has found this place, does not wonder that if maybe there is somewhere else safer- the human park of countless trees of falling leaves, the estate of persistent summer, that endless mall where she would be only one of however many other cats tolerated to curb populace of vermin. She has brought them here, instead, in a tunnel that ends here in stone stone stone. She knows there are roaming bands of un-cats, of sewer cats, but these are possible to evade by so carefully sensing what she as any cat would do- and then rigorously performing the opposite action, this is how to avoid cats, but she has come to the literal bowels of the city, the place of such certain, inescapable, physical sense, that true escape is denied this way.

Silver knows there is only true escape by finding a pathway, a narrow defile, a tunnel of some sort whether natural or of human construction- some might proclaim that such escape is Not Real, by meaning as so defined by that limiting disease of Real. Were she to argue, were she to patiently enumerate all the ways we must believe in the Not Real, that is in the nature of living to one day die, that there is no escape, ever, in this way of being- of this stone stone stone place. Any cat searches thus for a way transcending this implacable ending, to tunnel through from one moment to the next and is it to surpass Death as only a momentarily distraction, that soon one returns to the paths of the Living. Each moment is separate from each other and it is only through tunneling from one to the other that we feel we are Living- we are moving, for is there any other truth than certainty of change, are Birth and Death any more real that permanent illusion of Time-

Silver is moving kittens one by one, senses aware, pricked, sensitive- but there is no sense until too late, no sense anticipates and warns, rumbling, a sudden gusting roar from behind, rising, doubling, trebling, quadrupling in each blink as she- by tugging whiskers- senses the air around rush forward in a way as though a huge animal forces it in gigantic exhalation-

#

Silver watches the cars flow homeward, leaving those towers of the city behind, blue, cold, patient.

Silver scrambles out from underneath the walk, beside the yellow warning fence, pounces forwards as to a target rat, mouse or bird that is not there- but pausing only for fractions of a breath before leaping forward again, but now the splash of water from a fore-wheel knocks him sideways and faster than he can even close his eyes, faster, he senses the approach of the rear wheel-

#

Silver is a mother.

Silver is returned to this consciousness sometime after she has given birth, is now energized, tense, afraid as she faces down a pride of un-cats, How did they find us, How can we escape, Is there escape, all questions irrelevant now as she tenses and arches her back and raises her guard hairs to increase apparent size, but this has no effect on the others-

I had thought humans would direct this end, she wonders.

It is, the other vibrates as if this is a great end, a great hunt, rather than he and his pride required to end a solitary cat- this an un-cat sort of behaviour, this grouping, this way of being, yes, there are many of them but in this way are lonelier in numbers than he would ever be, Humans have made us, there is misplaced pride in this claim, but she can only recognize cold falseness and pity those spirits distorted in agony so constant they have forgotten it.

Silver counts the eyes that face her, one, two, three, more- some which float unanchored by pairing, for they have lost its others in some cold battle with humans for their Experiments. Humans are humans. Yes, this death is directed by humans, this death, it is no more than here and now, in this tunnel that ends in this stone stone stone place-

#

Silver is now eager to the care of his mother’s barbed tongue over his head, neck, and part of his back. He is comforted to find himself under her care, where he can dismiss senses of that red-iron bridge as illusion, false, as senses which belong to another cat, memories lost in its searching so settles on him. He prefers recollection of that Estate, even as difficult it is to name, even when those summer days fade in the next breath and soon he is unsure whether actual past or dreamed future. He is a kitten, not yet aware of how to properly sense either past or future as equally flexible. He is a kitten, and what seems fixed by the flowing nature of time as irrecoverable past, has solidity and certainty lacking in all other moments of his life.

Silver has come to birth, the beginning of his being separate from his mother, though as with death the shift from fetus as element unborn to newborn life to cast-off carcass no longer suited to carry his spirit, this natural shift is not so easily defined. His body is waiting patiently but only captures an animating spirit somewhere between this breath and the next-

Silver hears a rumbling, a sudden gusting roar from behind him, rising, doubling, trebling, quadrupling in each blink as he- by tugging whiskers- senses the air around him rush forward in a way as though a huge animal forces it in gigantic exhalation-

#

Silver is a mother.

Silver has found another tunnel incomplete that promises a place better for he delivered kittens, this is a place equally stone stone stone, but there appear to be no others, no threats, and it is warm as if flowing water is fire. Silver finds routes that deliver her to basements of human buildings, but those places seem as abandoned as below but she does not move there for even the rats seem mutant giants almost as long as herself tip to tail, certainly long, big, hungry enough to attack her kittens. Outside of those buildings there are empty streets of no city he has ever known- a city of ruined, empty buildings, structures leveled by roaring descent of unseen and unstoppable missiles from so far away. Silver sees waves, currents, eddies, of humans themselves fleeing or others as come into the crumbled blocks with strange poles waving about and guns launching deadly force, killing force, on other humans. Do they not recognize themselves as all humans, Who are these opponents, Why do they kill each other, What do they want, these are questions that might occupy senses of a Searcher cat, but not her. She watches from safety, unseen, beneath what might once have been a loading dock, in day and night as she captures smaller rats for her litter to learn how to kill.

Silver does not know why the water is slowly climbing up the street from edgeless ocean, but this adds only further dramatic insistence that she must move her litter before the water swamps the building, for the water be not only on streets but now bubbling through concrete floors, spraying out of cracking pipes. Soon this basement, that one, will flood.

Silver watches great metal and glass human-tools come out of the sky, not supported by flapping wings, no, instead with whirring planes above the clear bubble- disgorging more humans and their poles of death, who run from here to there, who attract to each hiding place subsequent eruptions. Do they do this, Do others do this to attack them, whatever the case, days and nights, ceaseless, this raises many, many questions but who will answer them.

Silver never senses the shrapnel that kills her.

#

Silver, as any cat- shifting time, living time, sensing time in extensive investigation as might be characterized as an unhealthy obsession in a human- asks a question with each breath, answers that question with each heartbeat. His motionless time, shifting sensual perception from right to left, left to right, as those raw stimulus become sensations even as humans would mistake it for sleep. Life is the question, Death is the answer, humans tell humans. He senses about this question, he wonders, he senses in a way that surpasses the simply rational as limit other beings, indeed how can it be said those others, those humans in particular, are truly utilizing the advantage of such large brains when their minds are bound and abandoned in linearity. Humans at some levels have come to understand that cause and effect so in physical worlds, but not so successful, not even the correct way of musing in the more ambiguous synchronicity of sense and being. Humans are humans. Enlightenment comes slowly, perhaps never in human forms though we would rather believe- ourselves as cats- they are only then unable to recognize dawning recognition of the interdependence of all life…

Silver is on the red-iron bridge in the rain, a last place, a last hope to escape- but he knows only that he flees, that he falls, under those splashing wheels of suddenly arisen cars or trucks within which carried humans do not even notice unseen gray cat, notice that Death of which there is no greater dimension. Death of oneself, this is all and everything to oneself- is it more than selfishness to imagine the entire world dies also- this question is never formed by the dying, for what comfort that sense offers is illusion…

Silver scrambles out from underneath the walk, beside the yellow warning fence, pounces forwards as to a target rat, mouse or bird that is not there- but pausing only for fractions of a breath before leaping forward again, but now the splash of water from a fore-wheel knocks him sideways and faster than he can even close his eyes, faster, he senses the approach of the rear wheel-

#

Silver is a mother.

Silver wakes to quiet padding of a un-cat, of one, two, three, more who are passing through the basement with dripping, cold, salty water. She has not been sensed, she is safe, and her litter is safe. She does not move, does not breathe, and as the last unaware other slips into that passageway is ready for quiet celebration-

One of her kittens mews-

Faster than that sound could ever be captured, faster than her fear, the un-cats are back and surround her safe place- but it is not the pleased face of one generation confronting the next, in their narrowed eyes.

And what do we have here, is the question that the others share in carnivorous smiles.

Silver attacks.

#

Silver is born with only pale memories of previous incarnations. Here and now, it is stone stone stone and could it ever in truth be otherwise- he is naturally convinced there is only the struggle of his life, his transcendence, against his world. He is, of course, unaware that his birthing struggles much as his deathly rattle are significant aspects of this world he foolishly imagines opposing rather than nurturing his life. He is sensing as humans might think. Humans are humans. He senses his moist enveloping birth-flesh mucous, his body, now so clearly accepting this or that touch as if immediate counsel against such flawed conception of the world. His body, his freedom, is not in conflict with his world but rather only insistent proof he is not so independent from the myriad limitations of his cat’s body, and all the ways it is senseless pride, senseless withdrawal into his self, that he would dispute material limitations as if throwing his full weight against this wall of stone at the end of this tunnel. This stone will not move, will not open, in his thoughts no less than his body, at this time. Humans are delving this tunnel, this tunnel will unite with another then another that course beneath this city, that city, all the cities of human lives, leading glass and metal bubbles from point a to point b as if blood cells in the arteries that sustain the city as an organism. Human cities are not organic but mechanical, so insistently abstract, that these metaphors of life- of heart, of blood, of other organs- might be thought as fanciful illusion, but is not this proof of how even in most deliberate human construction there is unanswered those demands of the living world, how even mechanism will emulate a more truthful organic creation. Only humans could create such unreal reality. Humans are puzzled that the gradual decomposition, gradual chaos, gradual increase in disorder can actually summon further yet further order, but to cat this is only by refusing to admit the process of life which arises out of death, as a question renewed, for death is only a passage of being and not something that blocks all further investigation as this stone wall ends the tunnel-

Silver hears a rumbling, a sudden gusting roar from behind him, rising, doubling, trebling, quadrupling in each blink as- by tugging whiskers- he senses the air around him rush forward in a way as though a huge animal forces it in gigantic exhalation-

#

Silver is a mother.

Silver is wounded from a desperate final battle against those feral sewer cats, all of them, who discover a strategy that exhausts her and ensures defeat- one cat attacks her, two at once, and then a third leaps forward while she is occupied and grabs a kitten in a soft grip around its neck. Kittens mew, questioning, as they now become hostages she cannot rescue, for each time the others join to protect their other, and so in fury at this particularly un-cat strategy, she becomes almost too exhausted to follow them away.

Silver notices the un-cats are now no longer fleeing rising ocean water but moving along its front.

Silver is tired, so tired, and questions cannot aid her.

Silver comes to a huge covered space whose roof allows a white glow to illuminate all the stands of some human Sport, that surround a great flooded space that might once have had guiding lines and numbers on plastic turf. Here and now, the area is now no more than untended swamp, wetlands, jungle and no empty, still humans as watch other humans in demonstrations of physical prowess. Great trees rise as if pillars to the domed roof, but they do not serve as support, rather are themselves diverted from farther heights, instead splaying on that white barrier and entwined with other canopy vegetation, other trees, vines, branches. Birds, of a sort that must be human-fashioned as much as any un-cat, fly from trees to stands. But it is not birds to whom these many, many un-cats walk, it is to the edge of an island extended into the swamp, where a creature she has never even heard rumours of- hard, scaled as if a giant sort of snake, no, this one has four low legs out its opposite sides, as if forever crouching, trails a sluggish long tail, a head that seems mostly jaw of sharp teeth, squinting eyes and narrow nostrils as long as cat’s body-

Silver watches in horror as one un-cat dances forth and releases a kitten just before its flexing mouth-

Silver attacks.

#

Silver watches the cars flow homeward, leaving those towers of the city behind, blue, cold, patient.

Silver scrambles out from underneath the walk, beside the yellow warning fence, pounces forwards as to a target rat, mouse or bird that is not there- but pausing only for fractions of a breath before leaping forward again, but now the splash of water from a fore-wheel knocks him sideways and faster than he can even close his eyes, faster, he senses the approach of the rear wheel-

#

Silver, a true cat, senses his current life in this dark, horrific, inescapable world through his senses in a way beyond a human might- in recurrent desires to appreciate this puzzle of living this way, that way, in all innate pragmatic ways. He discovers that his senses are inundated and overwhelmed with infinite branching Choice. Here and now, each breath and every step is a matter of Choice that leads him only to further bifurcation or multiple avenues, endless apparent freedom that condemns all final escape. Humans are humans. Silver is cat. Silver flows through this life, that life, and must constantly accept that he is given absolute responsibility for following his paths, there is no one who or no force that compels Choice of each moment. Even if he is enduring torture that present no options to escape it is finally his Choice as to when the torture is enough to lead him on any of those paths, to allow that the pain is now insufferable Yes whatever you want, Yes whatever you say, his Choice, his Choice, his Choice- he recognizes, senses as if barbed tongue on newborn coat and skin, a kind of elation when he allows himself to accept this way of being. He is free. He is more than his actions in all his pasts, he is each Choice, each moment- such inexpressible freedom, such inviolate freedom, there is such joy in conceiving himself free of all constraints on his dreams, even as too quickly he becomes aware of that way’s illusions, even when he admits this idea is more particularly human and not realized by them or by cats. Humans are Humans. Silver senses now too much joy for this way of being to be irreparably false. There must be some truth here-

Silver, a true cat, is unafraid of this assertion of complete responsibility, but however argued intuitively refuses to sense it as true. Well did I choose to be born here, Well how can you say this world, this horror, this repeated birth to death is a Choice I made, here and now, or through any of my past lives that deliver me here, Well how can I choose to leave this life any way but through desperation of suicide but is not that the only Choice I have. These are the questions that come to him.

Silver, a true cat, knows only that disease of Rationality could have ever argued this way True, only humans could ever pretend their spirits so isolate and independent of our shared world, only humans would contend their proud minds are somehow dominant over mere flesh, that what correctly is One through aggregate senses is actually Two. Humans are humans. There may be many ways, on some inaccurate levels contradictor, that any animal is in this world from fleeting insect to lumbering elephant, but it is only humans who could allow abstractions of dead science any primacy over living being.

Silver, a true cat, does not question his initial conditions, his origins, his spirit is beyond petty discernment of this or that way of being deemed punishment for errors of a previous life. He lives in an eternal present, shifting from past to future from future to past… he knows there is no purpose to question beyond each moment, only flawed beings such as most humans would seek answers and believe some meaning accompanies this or that answer.

Silver, a true cat, could express his intuitive sense of exactly What are the flaws in those who search for the ground beneath their feet, as if one cat does not always land on his feet, as if it is not an ability youngest kittens learn without instruction- he could say this best as a question. How can you earnestly believe that you are only a human going through a spiritual experience, rather than a spirit undergoing a human experience, if you ask your heart rather than your mind you will see this error.

Silver, a true cat, knows that in immersed concentration on the moment he is most immortally present in past and future, is most alive, is bringing any vagrant aspect of his spirit closer to that way of being that is cat, there is nothing more than this as could be asked of any animal. Humans are humans. Should a spirit remain curious of their violent possibilities in humans, well as hard as it is to believe humans can offer any experience worth investigation after that of a true cat, as senseless it seems, there are many human bodies, many, ready now and ever to become a spiritual residence. Silver is cat.

#

Silver watches the cars flow homeward, leaving those towers of the city behind, blue, cold, patient.

Silver scrambles out from underneath the walk, beside the yellow warning fence, pounces forwards as to a target rat, mouse or bird that is not there- pausing only for fractions of a breath before leaping forward again, but now the splash of water from a fore-wheel knocks him sideways and faster than he can even close his eyes, faster, he senses the approach of the rear wheel-

#

Silver knows textures of time, how being transcends each moment, each blink, and each gesture leading through an understanding of causality that mere humans can never comprehend. A persistence of perception is unified by a singular cat’s consciousness, where each brief flicker of each present is whole, real, insistent of the soft embrace of the world- yet at the same structure must extend through, allow within, that illusory experience of time. Time, for cat, more than humans, is naturally malleable such that neither past nor future is less real than the present. Being and Time are not competing, antagonistic, eternal enemies but each relying on the other for completion. Time is blurs and senses of elusive tangibility of what universes we pass through, like the prickling caress of raindrops, in mist or in bullets, and apparent solidity of stone that ends this incomplete tunnel is no more insurmountable a barrier than between one moment and the next, in the way humans discover in that counterintuitive realm of quantum physics- when at a certain scale, in a certain way, one particle collapses before one junction and another forms beyond- but there is no explanation, no communication, nothing that can unite this fact in any causality a human mind can see…

Silver is cat.

#

Silver waits.

Silver is an old cat, or rather, a spirit whose embodiment is now that of an old cat. Silver is waiting, returned, this moment and the next, through all his lives, drawn back to this stone stone stone place. He feels his fur wet as a newborn, wet as cat who never escapes the next wheel of a car on that bridge but is drenched in a splash and falling under its tire. He is not here alone, waiting. He is aware, in emotional spectrum, of many brethren cats who have likewise gathered before this tunnel end, and though there is no communication, not even simple recognition of each other, it is comforting and dispels any intimation he has been mistaken to come here. He is not cold, he is not hot. He is embraced by our interdependent world as once a fetus before birth was enveloped by a womb, he knows a birth trauma is soon, but he senses it is not a life as any that he has lived- perhaps life as a human, as a dog, as a bird- no, it is nothing in this world, in any world that even the most dedicated imagination of a human could predict. He is perhaps at that final intersection of which not even a true cat, a Searcher, can see the other side- but there is no fear, no anxiety, and no scramble to evade. All the moments of his lives are clear liquid as warm as mucous of his birth, for is this final intersection anything other than a sort of birth to be braved, a melancholy anticipation of that unremembered birth into this life...

Silver waits.

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