Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 5 October 2016
A black cat in the dark
When I was a child I used a short-cut for the long walk to school, which was a steep and sandy path running past the edge of a wood, on one side of a small valley.
There was a big, old, derelict house on the far side, and it had not been lived in for many years, plus many more years after I first went into it with a friend to explore. These were the days when places were made more charming and mysterious by having paths left unmettled and houses left unoccupied. The days before property became an investment and not just a place for families to live, grow up, and move out or die.
The evening that my friend and I ventured into the house was on an Autumn night on the way back from school. Before climbing in through a broken window, we noticed the far-gone remains of a dead dog in the garden outside, and wondered if this was the family pet who missed the last removal van and waited for his owners to return.
Inside, various articles were left just as they had been put down, and the place had an air of Miss Haversham about it.
As darness fell, we searched for the light switches, but a combination of no power and missing bulbs meant that the place became too spooky to stay, so we clambered back out and climbed up to the other side of the valley, where we sat down and viewed it in the gathering gloom.
As we watched, all the windows lit up and began flashing on and off randomly, as if there was a person in each room, madly flicking the switches.
We looked at each other in disbelief, and vowed to go back in next day to check again for light bulbs. We did and there were none.
A few nights later, I was walking down the same sandy path in a dream. It was the dead of night and I did not think it odd that I was only about fifteen inches high. I was on some sort of urgent mission, but it was such a secret one that even I did not know what it was.
Walking was too slow for me, so I climbed on the back of a black cat which had come to check me out, and spurred it off, galloping in the darkness.
I could feel the wind in my hair, the cat's shoulderblades rythmically going up and down beneath its fur and my hands, and a fantastic sense of exhilaration as we sped along. I tried to have the same dream many times afterwards, but to no avail.
I remember this now because of a dream I had last night. I was a dog, running fast and effortlessly through the shallows of a wide beach.