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January 5, 2020 at 11:39 pm #4632RibiParticipant“the woods are lovely, dark and deep,but I have promises to keep,and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.”
the cat stumbled along, the forest alongside them in a blur. their paws drug through the mulchy soil, spruce needles unforgiving as they edged into the fur of their paws. they moved so slowly, but could make out nothing of their environment, almost as if they were in a stupor. the smudges of spruces and hemlocks, the squeeze of soft muskeg ground, the cacophony of rushing water. it all felt so real yet entirely a fantasy; their brain hurt just trying to piece it out. they were everywhere, yet no where at all–they were no one, yet everyone. the forest hung with anticipation, egging the cat forward, towards the water, as if it was waiting for something. something hinged on this cat bumbling along drunkly, subdued, out of their mind. a promise.
suddenly, they felt the urgency. it was like the water was so close–close enough to touch–but they couldn’t reach it. their heart started racing, pounding, aching through their toes as they tried and failed to reach the stream they knew in their soul was so clearly afore them. in their mind’s eye, they knew they had visited here before, in a different life. but there was no time to dwell on that now; they had miles before they could reach that.
❄when they believed they were right upon the river, the urgency muddled itself into heat. it was blistering, so painful, that they leapt away with a cry. the shock shook them of their stupor and their vision cleared. greyed eyes became fiery amber ones as they took in the flames nearly under their paws. was this a vision? they wondered briefly, confused how they could be witnessing such a thing.❄the abstract event was difficult to understand. the river, they knew in their bones that they recognized. that was where the similarities stopped: the river was aflame. the sky rained clouds of black ash over it. fire crackled and snapped with vigor. they looked down–their paws were sheathed in smoky grey ash, as the swaths of pine needles they’d been walking through earlier had somehow already burned and were smoldering. they couldn’t feel why, or what had happened: they could only feel the the fire. from somewhere, a raven’s feather rained down into the middle of the flaming river. when the cat woke up, their paws were still dusted in ash.
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