My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 13

“It doesn’t feel like a dream,” Daniel said aloud to himself. “But it doesn’t feel like reality, either. And Sophie couldn’t use reality-changing magic to get things here the way she wanted. So this must not be reality. I’m still not dreaming, though.”
“You’d be right about that,” came a female voice from straight above.
“Who are you?” Daniel called.
“You know me,” the voice said. “You’ve always known me.”
“Well,” Daniel called back, “knowing is different from recognizing. And right now, I DON’T recognize you!”
Whatever the creature was, it jumped from its perch on the top of the ice wall and landed gracefully on the cloud next to Daniel. Daniel could see now that it was a gray cat with bright green eyes that blinked thoughtfully, more than most cats. It shook water droplets off its paw before turning to gaze up at Daniel in an almost omniscient way. Then she sort of grinned, if a cat can grin.
“Messenger,” it said. “I see the blank look in your eyes. That’s me. Messenger.”
“Hm,” Daniel said. “I don’t recall…”
“I’m that voice in the back of your head. Only you can see me. If we talk, the others think you’re crazy.”
“A conscience?”
“No, not exactly. I’m…” the cat paused… “sort of a source of knowledge. It’s quite hard to explain, but I am what I am.” The cat went back to licking her paw.
“Are you real?”
Messenger looked up. “Are you real?”
“Right now?” Daniel asked. “Right now, I don’t even really know what’s real and what’s not, even myself.”
“Ah. Well, I’ll tell you: You’re real. The cloud is real. This book in the ice is real. The ice itself… well, I’ll let you figure that out on your own. Let the magic figure that out if you can’t. People with magic can see what other people can’t, if they try.”
“Gee, thanks,” Daniel said. “You still didn’t answer my question. Are you real, or are you unreal?”
Messenger grinned again. “Take your pick.”
“But I could be wrong,” Daniel said.
“No, you couldn’t. I’m partially a figment of your imagination, and that’s why other people can’t see me. But for other reasons that even I won’t understand, I’m real if you want me to be. Trust yourself.” Messenger blinked in the slow way cats do. Daniel had never noticed this before; he certainly couldn’t have imagined the way cats blink, even imaginary cats. Messenger must be real, Daniel thought, because I couldn’t ever imagine such a realistic cat. But… how does she exist?
Daniel asked himself this question even though he already knew the answer: She existed because he existed. That’s real nonfiction.
Daniel blinked. Nonfiction. Things that are real are nonfiction. That means things that aren’t are fiction. Messenger hadn’t said the ice was real. Maybe that was fiction. He stepped towards it, and put a hand out. He touched the ice. It felt like glass. It wasn’t cold, and it didn’t feel like ice. Messenger said one word.
“Illusion.”
Illusion.
Daniel drew in a sharp breath, and thought, People with magic can see what other people can’t.
He released the breath, closed his eyes, then drew in another sharp breath. He walked forward, ignoring everything, including the pair of green eyes belonging to the cocked head belonging to the cat Messenger, who had wandered over to see what he’d try.
Magic could see what was real.
Little gold specks.
Fiction and nonfiction.
Fiction.
“Nonfiction,” Daniel whispered.
The little gold specks rearranged to form a different picture: A skyscraper, a window. An open window. Daniel, careful not to open his eyes, climbed through it and over to a desk which had a book on it. This, he thought, could possibly be where the book’s copy resides in the regular world.
He crawled out the window again, fell onto the cloud, and clutched the book to his chest. Then he blew the whistle.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 at 10:14 am and is filed under Mirrorworld. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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