I remembered someone calling out to me. They said something important as well, but I don’t remember what. The voice was warm, parental, but strange and distant, like someone calling to me through a radio with low battery. I remember thinking, it’s time to go. But that didn’t mean anything to me–or at least I didn’t think it did.
So you can imagine my surprise when the dream ended and I awoke someplace entirely different from where I had gone to sleep. A bed of moss growing on shallow rocky dirt. The occasional red, blue, and purple flower sprang up from the moss to greet the bright afternoon sun.
I sat up in a panic looking around to try to figure out what was going on. It was a cave, rocky, and damp. But there was a hole in the ceiling where the sun shone through. My warm bed and blanket were nowhere to be seen. The usual smell of my mom cooking breakfast was replaced by the damp smell of dirt.
“Mom?” it was a waste of time, I was alone in that small cave. But calling out to her first seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe I had sleepwalked right out of the house and she was running around frantically looking for me. But if a place as cool as that cave had been anywhere near my house I would have found and explored it already.
I wasn’t wearing my pajamas either, the comfortable cotton shirt and pants had been replaced by a short purple silk robe, with loose silk pants. It was a little creepy that someone had changed my clothes.
The cave wasn’t that large, so I could see from end to end without much trouble. The light that was shining in from above allowed some plants to grow. But the light that had woken me up was already fading, the small hole was only big enough for the sun to shine through for a little bit. And the worst part was the hole wasn’t even big enough for me to crawl through. And I was rather small and skinny then. But even if I could fit through the hole there was no way I could climb up the side of the cave since it was slick with mud and water.
I stood up, it seemed too pointless to bother. There was no way out of the room, no door for me to walk through, no hole for me to crawl through. There was no way I should have been able to get into the cave, to begin with.
There has to be a way out of here. Giving up isn’t something I’m good at. Mom always said that learning when to quit was just as important as spirit and willpower. But that never made any sense to me.
I took a step forward–and immediately tripped on something. My arms instinctively moved to protect my face. But the ground was still wet and mossy where I landed so there really had been no need. Then the thing I had tripped over started to move. I jumped moving my legs away, as though whatever was moving might bite me. But all it did was arch it’s back.
I scrambled around to face the other living thing in the cave with me. It was an odd cat-like creature, it had green fur, with grass and flowers growing out of its body so it camouflaged in with the mossy ground almost perfectly. While it was mostly green it had slight blue streaks that moved from the front of its body all the way down to it’s–two tails? Yes, it had two cats like tails instead of one, both of which originated from the same spot on its butt. Its eyes weren’t cat-like at all though, they were a solid blue color with no pupils that made it impossible to tell where the creature was looking.
“I’m sorry,” the cat spoke somehow–though it wasn’t sound that it spoke with something else. I could understand it perfectly, probably better then I understood other humans. “I took a break to photosynthesize, I hope you don’t mind.
“Wha…?” There really wasn’t a whole lot I could think to say to the creature that shouldn’t have been able to talk, yet did. But after searching for a while I did finally find something to ask. “Who are you?”
“How forgetful can you be, forgetting someone’s name so quickly, especially after asking them for a favor?”I stared blankly at the cat monster in response. She stared back, her strange eyes impossible to read.
“My name is Roygi–it’s uhh–nice to meet you.”
“Well, Roygi you certainly are a strange human. You personally asked me to bring you with me and then somehow forget who I am.”
“I don’t remember asking you for anything, where are we, who are you?” I’m not usually prone to panic. I’d certainly done stupid things before in the name of adventure. But I remember all of those. “Can you bring me home at least?”
“Unfortunately I can’t take you home even if I wanted to, we’ve passed the Aeon Boundary, it’s a one-way trip.”
“So you’re stuck here too then?”
“Well I want to be here, I’ve heard there was a spot that was a paradise for monsters like me.”
I looked around at the small moss-filled cave. It seemed like it might be nice–but I didn’t think it looked like paradise. I must have worn my thoughts on my face because the Cat monster laughed at me. Her laughter sounded very much like a bunch of high pitched meows.
“Don’t worry we’re not there yet–like I told you earlier–once we got beyond the boundary I stopped to photosynthesize. I cannot teleport unless I have enough energy. And even going with the flow getting beyond the boundary is taxing.” The cat monster paused and examined my face for a moment. Seemingly pondering something deeply. “You know, you had said you didn’t want to stop and take a break–when I asked why–you said you had a time limit. That didn’t mean anything to me then, but something seems to have happened to you. You’re different now.”
I wasn’t really sure what to say to that, was there some other kind of person living inside of me. And if there was why did they want to go somewhere that they were never going to be able to come back from? There were too many disturbing thoughts racing through my head–and I don’t have words for some of them.
“Well, there’s nothing you can do about it now Roygi–so my advice is don’t worry about it.” The plant-covered cat started to lick itself, my mom once told me that cat’s do that instinctually to groom themselves. Of course, that was when I refused to take a bath and she was trying to convince me that it was a good idea to clean myself. I had started licking myself in response–she hadn’t been happy about that.
Suddenly the cat stopped licking itself and looked back to me. “Since you don’t remember my name is Magicae.” It was a strange name for a strange creature, but then again I didn’t have any right to talk. I was called Roygi for some reason.
“Well let’s get going to wherever you’re going to take me.”
“Come over here and put your hand on my back.” There wasn’t anything else to do or say, so I walked over to the cat and put my hand on her back. This is just the start of my story.