There was once a village up in the mountains. Fig trees everywhere! It was
inhabited by a clowder of cat people. Mountain cats of varying shapes, sizes, personalities, livelihoods, and relationships. It was
an odd town. For in
the center was an amusement park. Villagers would go
to the park solo or with familiars. This town was also victim to the strangest weather,
but only on certain days. On Fridays it would rain fish scales, so everyone would
stay inside to avoid getting cut by the falling shards. But the following day would
provide the loveliest of fogs, a sweet smelling fresh delicious mist. Just as beautiful and mysterious as the cats themselves.
Beau was not like the others. He was afraid of heights, always
yearning to be lower. However he had certain abilities that the others did not
Possess, and he employed them in the town's bakeshop, which was a cover for a secret
alchemy laboratory where he apprenticed. Artifacts of the outside world,
samples of all sorts of elements, and astrological cycles were stored here. The
bakeshop owner Eugenia was a strange woman and had many routines regarding the
goods. They specialized in a unique bread that was outrageously popular, for the
simple fact that it was considered a communication medium, and was the town's only export. The bread
allowed certain villagers to send out messages to whatever lay beyond the town's boundaries. For, it was common knowledge
that many denizens had been adopted long ago from other lands. Therefore the town consisted of other creatures, but the
majority being cats. Those who felt it in their bones that they did not belong would whisper into a
Freshly baked bread and pray that it would be on the road to their true home, revealing
the message to the mind of whomever consumed it.
Beau knew that the day would come when he'd venture to the bottom of the
mountains. Some gravitational pull always had him facing that
way. Beau had two younger sisters, an older brother who never spoke, a father who spent most the day picking fruit from the
orchards and partying at the amusement park, and a mother who kept everything together. At night his family was accustomed
to locking his door because he was a
nightly sleepwalker. He had ended up in all sorts of places--the bakery cellar,
stuck up in a fig tree, or at the town's edge in a ditch. And in the morning a little
ditty would always linger in his mind. He was very accustomed to it and it would
evaporate as the day wore on. As he grew older, his sleep-walking only grew more persistent. One night when it was his
mother's turn to check in on him and
lock his door, yet she forgot. So naturally he managed to escape the house. He
walked far far away. Through the center, over the bridges, across the fern forest.
Unscathed, he came to consciousness. He sat up, assessing. Running his claws through his fur, and breathing in the new air.
He found himself in a vast field of tall grass. It was not windy as up in
the mountains. The skies were clear. And still. Everything was still.
The melody in his head was louder than usual.
After what seemed an hour of wandering
around, it became even louder. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from outside him
Self. He followed, pulled by the sound and fell upon a shadowy figure.
"What was that tune you were
whistling?!" asked Beau excitedly. Startled, it turned around in astonishment. "It's a melody I've been hearing my whole life,"
creature whose fur was a metallic bronze with rainbow sheen, like that of a pigeon's neck. Her face was so magical that he first
hadn't realized she was composed of contrasts. Like a griffin. He explained that he had also always heard that singular tune,
waking with it every morning. “My name is Shanel.” He was in a daze watching her wings ruffle as she spoke, and her mighty
paws gripped the earth as she paced. Shanel came from a
town occupying the sky space. There, they lived up in mighty trees, their heads were
always in the clouds, and they never walked the earth. Beau and Shanel decided to continue together, to keep each other
company. They had been walking for
a while, passing all sorts of strange things. Loaves of bread ripped apart now
littered the path. Half eaten loaves could be seen sitting on rocks. The two kept walking
and encountered a clearing with the most gorgeous garden ever. Plants growing
jewels and sparkling crystals, trees with branches bowing down with outstretched
limbs offering a seat. There were fruits everywhere, the most delicious. The
garden emanated the purr of a familiar tune. The ground crunched beneath their
feet as they walked atop shimmering fish scales, forming dunes here and
there. Two months later Beau found himself awake in a dream. He was talking to a bowl of batter that told him they must leave
for time was not what it seemed here. And it was a very familiar bowl, the kind they used in the bakeshop he worked back home.
Realizing he was at work back in mountain town, it felt devastatingly like a regular day. But upon closer inspection, it was
Eugenia's bowl, her special bowl which only she could use. That morning Beau
relayed the message to Shanel imploring her to leave while they still could. Because what felt like a minute actually meant ten
Finally, as they left, the foliage around them began to change. It was spring
when they had arrived but now the air was crisp and the leaves were dry.
Bare trees now paved their way.
Regaining a clear mind they walked a long time in silence. A sea breeze
picked up and the salty scent of the sea emanated. Beau had
never smelt the sea or even seen it. And neither had Shanel.. All of a sudden, a gust of wind so strong
lifted them off the ground. Shanel's wings grasped onto Beau
as they were being pushed out over the sea, hovering above the deep waters.
Shanel's wings were soon to give out as she was no match against the
winds. They crashed. Under the waters though it was
delightfully warm, they were both gasping for air and terrified of drowning. As they sunk deeper
and deeper they realized that they were breathing. As they chilled beneath
the waters, looking up at the ocean ceiling growing farther and farther away, they
descended gracefully into a giant coral reef. Neither had ever seen such
colors. As they watched they noticed that little caves and openings occupied
every nook and cranny of the reef.