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Observations on the Recent and Continuing Unpleasantness

September 20th, 2007 · 5 Comments · Cats, Culture, Essays, Journal, Kiwi, Mr. Blue

Disturbing changes are taking place in the world, and we do not know what they signify. We are afraid that something terrible is going on, some fundamental destructive process that is entirely outside of our experience. You can read this in our wide-eyed stares, our defensive crouches, our tendency to go into hiding for longer and longer periods of time.

The clumsy and unpredictable god of this place seems to have gone out of his mind. The familiar landscapes we know and cherish are being destroyed, dismantled, rearranged before our eyes. Entire mountains disappear on a whim; the caverns where we seek refuge are excavated and turned open to the light. New towers spring up to loom over us, placed inauspiciously so that we cannot climb and conquer them. There are less soft places and more hard places. We’re not sure where to turn for comfort or certainty.

Also, the dragon comes more often now, with its terrifying and unearthly howl that destroys all composure and routs us from our nests. These rampages used to occur only once or twice a month; now the dragon wages daily campaigns of terror against us. The god walks behind the dragon as always, seeming to approve of its screaming and the whirlwinds that spring up in its wake. We wonder how he can ally himself with this abomination, why he does not seem to react against — or even perceive — its basic and inherent evil.

And: I cannot say for sure, because I do not count very high, but it is my suspicion that there are less toys around than there used to be. So far we still have plenty to eat, but given how destabilized our environment has become, how can we feel confident that this will not change?

There have been more strangers lately, too, and they always bring a plague of noise and clomping and raised voices, while engaging in all sorts of pointless and inappropriate activities. I do not trust any strangers since the Long War many seasons ago: For two weeks, all day long, an aggressive band of outlanders invaded and demolished our home, tearing every window out of every wall, covering all the soft places with filthy tarps, and leaving peculiar chemical smells in the air.

I can’t begin to describe to you the crashing and the pounding and the screeching of infernal engines that drove all sanity out of the world for hour upon unending hour. My adoptive brother and I had barely begun to forget one day’s horrors before the next were upon us. And though eventually the invaders left, and peace was restored, it was a hard lesson in the ultimate vulnerability of our situation.

It must be noted that the clumsy god did nothing to halt any of this. He is no reliable protector of the peace, and no comfort in times of crisis. Surely he could have employed the dragon to drive these vandals from our demesne if he had wanted to: but the dragon is never used to protect our borders, only to promote fear and confusion within them.

My brother and I have lived in this place so long, with the clumsy god, that we don’t even remember how we came to be here. I have dim dreams sometimes of another country, where there were many others like my brother and me, and a great many others like the god with their huge faces and grasping hands. I am always small and helpless in these dreams, and after a while all those indistinct hands and voices kaleidoscope into nonsense. But they are only dreams: I have no idea where they come from. The truth is, all I know is this one familiar place, the home my brother and I have always shared.

Now we are afraid that this recent erratic behavior is a sign of some greater catastrophe looming behind it—some awful impending fate that the god knows of but we don’t.

And I confess: I’m afraid that we are going to lose the world entirely. That soon the sky itself will be torn from above our heads, and the walls of the world peeled away to reveal nothing but an infinite barren void. That we will be chased endlessly from cold star to cold star by an army of howling dragons and brutish barbarians, never resting, never warm and fed again, while the god does nothing to help us.

Right now he is sitting quietly in his usual place, tapping out nonsensical rhythms with his claws: his usual way of amusing himself. My brother sprawls at his feet, sleeping. In this moment of quiet, one could almost believe that the world will continue as it always has. But I do not think so. I watch him warily, and wonder what’s ahead.


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