Κυριακή, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

CASSIOPEIA IN THE ISLAND OF CATS



She was lying lazily at the harbor, her favorite spot. She used to lie down on his tangled nets at dawn when he got back from fishing. She sometimes hid in the boat but he didn’t see her or pretended not to have seen her. She was the only black cat of the island. Her tail made the difference among the other hundreds. It was really something when the cats outnumbered the residents, fishermen the most, who respected them and thought they were almost holy, strong, with the knowledge of the universe in their look. She was the most distant and mysterious, wild and untamed, dark as the night. That’s why she liked it that much. She used to catch the sun in the morning and sleep by his boat. At dusk it was as if she woke up and sucked all the energy, ready for strolling. She would get lost up in the hill but she would get back just to be with him, like a schoolgirl in love she would meow and rub on his feet while he smoked and watched the stars. Ηe loved the night sky and he would gaze it  for hours. He named her Cassiopeia one night after the numerous zig-zags that the cat made while chasing a large mosquito which looked like the constellation. She always looked at him in an inexpressible look but he always found all the tenderness in it. 
She approached no one else on the island. She showed them all her nails and her aggressiveness. The strange thing was that the other cats of the island paid no attention to her either. They kept a distance as if they were afraid of her. It was that thing that surprised the locals and started thinking of her as a curse and a sign of bad luck instead of well-being and wealth as the rest of the cats. She would stay calm to be caressed on the head and on the tail only in his lap. He was the only one to feed her from the fish he caught.  The only one to care for Cassiopeia, to defend her when the others started drawing the doors of their houses white just to resist her power, the only one who scolded them when they gathered at the port to see what they would do since they couldn’t get her off the island. He was furious at them for their unreasonable attitude. «She’s no more than a cat, calm down. As you take care of the others, you will take care of her as well » he shouted for his voice to be heard. It was usually drowned by their indignation and anger. As time passed the locals stopped talking to him, they put him in a social isolation. Cassiopeia was turning into a cold creature as if she understood that everyone hated her more and more each day. She had became aggressive to people and cats from indifferent. Her body was full of scars from every day fights and chase. Her only consolation and serenity was near him at the harbor. She felt secure and he now considered it his duty to protect her. The two of them with a secret communication code against insanity and stupidity.
The summer passed with the two of them being a threat. They avoided him. Some had written threats and insults on his boat but he had painted them the next day. Bonded in his boat, during fishing, at his nets, in his microcosm where no one could enter but with words that he managed to erase. He tried not to leave marks behind. Winter passed with an intensity that magically stopped in early spring. They left them alone, nobody bothered them. They saw him in the market and changed their way and he became colder and wilder than his cat. Cassiopeia no longer left by his side, followed him everywhere and stayed in his boat all the time. She had transformed into a scared and weak cat.
The attack took place suddenly at dawn. There were shadows at the harbor, careful steps, measured, something shining and looking like a knife, a cry taken by the morning breeze, Cassiopeia’s attack with her claws and miaows that rouse the place but soon got muted, flames wrapping the boat, shadows now openly running in all directions and then silence covering everything. Only the flames licking the rotten hull could be heard until they were silent.
The cat island continued from that point on with the care of the innumerable members that bring good luck and fortune to the fishermen.  Cassiopeia was never mentioned. She was a constellation in the sky you could see with a little bit of effort.  Nothing more.  

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