Vivian sat for a long time staring in the direction the cat ran. She was afraid to blink for fear of missing its return. Her eyes began to get very dry from being held open by force for so long. Her corneas became brittle and tiny fissures were snaking their way across the breadth of her eyeballs.
The skies opened up a torrent of rain clouds propelling a sticky adhesive everywhere. It took a Herculean effort from deep inside Vivian’s soul to get up from her familiar guarding post and move. She had to get out of there quickly or she would end up being literally glued to that spot.
The searing pain she experienced as she involuntarily allowed herself to blink again nearly knocked her back down. It was like rubbing course grade sandpaper over a blackened roasted marshmallow, in both directions. She could feel the burnt layer peel forward as her lid closed and then rip back upon itself as her eyes opened again. And even though the entire action was complete within a millisecond, her brain waves slowed the transfer of the electrical signal for pain down to where it felt as though the scalping of her eyes had lasted for hours.
The second time was still excruciating, as well as the third but less so with each blink. Her legs were carrying her faster and faster without benefit of knowing where they were going. Vivian simply ran for cover from the gooey rain. Before she could decide on whether to duck under a stack of partially crushed Pontiacs or inside a cave carved out of the center of James’ rotted peach pit, the ground gave way and Vivian slipped beneath the surface.
The free fall to somewhere other than there was exhilarating. The air coolly rushed around her limbs and smelled of honeysuckle on a damp Sunday morning. The world above faded into a weak buzzing she could barely hear anymore. The action of falling cleared away any debris remaining on her body and clothing.
Vivian stretched out her arms in front of her, put her head down and aimed for the pin light.
When Vivian opened her eyes, it took more than a moment of concentrated focus to figure out what was right in front of her. The sky appeared to be a deep glowing hazel green color with tiny specs of gold dust. It was as if she was looking into the eye of a giant tabby cat.
And she was.
Sitting up, Vivian could see that it wasn’t the sky her lenses couldn’t adjust to, it was an up-close-staring-contest with the biggest cat she’d ever seen. Oddly, Vivian did not feel fear. The echo of the enormous voice box sending out waves of gentle purring calmed Vivian’s heart rate and soothed her achingly tensed muscles. She was completely cradled in the grasp of this tremendous tabby and she felt completely safe.
All around them there were brambles piercing balloons, mysterious shadows filled with moon dust and solar flares, and grandfather clocks chiming at a frequency so high it was almost imperceptible to anyone but Vivian. There was a definite murmur of rushing water on the brink of overtaking everything. Flying above it all were countless striped hornets with wings of woven lead and toxic stingers filled with a syrupy venom.
The cat continued to cuddle Vivian providing protection and warmth, however Vivian could sense it was about time for the cat to move on. Its eyes were fixed on something shiny among the tall blades of grass covering the meadow before them. She could tell it wanted to run and chase down whatever culprit had garnered its attention. In her selfishness, Vivian began to cling tighter to the soft fur enveloping her body. She did not want to loosen her grip. She did not want to face the rest of the journey without something familiar.
The cat turned its face back to hers and looked longingly in her eyes. The gaze spoke with an unconditional crest of compassion and solidarity. It reminded her that if she were to make it through to the other side of this universe she had tripped her way into, she needed to let her cat play and trust it would be there for her when she needed it.
She let go.
And the giant cat quickly disappeared in the distance.
There once was a girl hidden far from view
before mine eyes yet easy to pass through
Trading on sharp pickles
she spit acid nickles
And chased purple meltdown drops with brain flop stew.
Wandering deliberately through the valley of limits and fuse-less bottle rockets, Vivian feasted on empty pomegranate arils and crackled brown bark. She smelled fudge somewhere way in the distance but could not find a path in that direction that wasn’t laden with briers or cockroaches or both. Instead she chose to tenderly pick her way through the acres of memory chips still sparking from their improper device removal procedures. Several had burst into soft blue flames creating an eerie luminous field resembling the fireflies of Vivian’s youth on that first warm summer’s night. It took painstaking caution not to stamp one out. And even more will power.
She had found herself lost in this wilderness before and knew it was surrounded by an endless oasis in all dimensions. It was a place where everything was the same and nothing was familiar. Where toy guns equaled marshmallow pie and the skies were definitely cloudy all day. It rained dry tears that exploded radioactive maggots on impact. The trees gobbled up the oxygen only to convert it into malignant malfeasance. The only color the flowers could generate was absence.
Vivian needed to rest. She had been fighting her way through for long enough today.
A pocket of peace appeared and plopped down at her feet. She stretched out next to it and closed her eyes, hoping sleep would overtake her for a good long while.
It did for a while at least.