LXVIII | Solitude

I let Rowan go

and regret it instantly.

Now I’m all alone
in this strange place.

What am I supposed to do here?


The luminous white branches
that form the wall of the hollow
are uncomfortable to lean on.

Even with my eyes
white light seeps through from outside

and turns red.

So I open them
and see
a strange creature

sitting across from me.

It looks like a cat

it has thick grey scales
instead of fur?


It licks its paw,
eying me with

‘You’re kinda foolish, aren’t you?’
it says.

I compose myself.
‘Who are you?’

The cat yawns and stretches
as if to say, ‘booooooring.’

‘Are you like the donkey
‘or like that parrot?’

Its long tail
is the only part of it
that doesn’t have

Instead, it has

that takes on the colour of its surroundings
(like a chameleon).

The cat curls its tail
above its nose.

‘Something like that?’

Some sort of spiritual guide?
Do all christians get one?

‘Is your name weird like theirs?’

The creature wrinkles its nose.

‘We don’t tell you our names.
‘What you call me doesn’t matter.’

Can I tell this cat
to piss off?

I hate it more than the donkey and the parrot


The cat seems to know that
but doesn’t seem to mind.

‘Then I’ll call you Mr. Ahmad;
‘he’s the worst teacher I’ve never had.’

The cat blinks.

‘Do you know what Ahmad means?’

I don’t.
‘You said what i call you
‘doesn’t matter.’

The cat flicks
its tail.

‘It doesn’t change my real name.’

‘Can I have a different pet?’

A cold stare.
‘I am not a pet.’

‘You’re a cat.’

‘I look like a cat. I am not a cat.’

If I close my eyes,
will this annoying creature

I close them for a while
but it’s still there.

Maybe if I ignore it,
it’ll just leave.




‘When will the rowan tree bloom?’
I ask after some time.

The cat
who has settled into a
sitting position

and remained unmoving for a long time,
waves its tail.

‘You have to keep ignoring me
‘if you want me to leave.’

‘If I don’t talk to you,
‘you’ll really leave?’



‘That’s what you think though.’

Have I mentioned
that I really


this cat?


It licks its paw.
‘It’s true.’

‘The tree,’
I say through gritted teeth.

Is swearing is allowed
in this strange museum?

‘When will it bloom?’

The cat gestures
to the book
Rowan gave to me
with its tail.

‘That depends on you.’

I sigh.

Since the book
looks better
than this creature,

I’ll look at it.


unlike watching performances
or listening to people speaking,

gives you full control
of what you’re thinking.

It’s hard to brainwash people
with just a book.

I flip the pages.

The paper
is thinner
than I expected.

The first few pages
are empty.

The contents page lists
66 books
from Genesis to Revelation.

But the page after that
is the start
of the book


I flip through the rest of it.

Other than
one page of John
right after
the contents page,

the black leather tome
is empty.

It’s so thick for nothing.

I’m about to say that
but it’s watching me in amusement

so I don’t.

‘Where’s Genesis?’ I ask instead.

‘You’ll get there
‘It’s listed in the contents page.’

I stare at the list of 66 books.

‘Isn’t it supposed to be
‘the first book.’

But the first book is
titled ‘John’ instead.

‘The order of the Bible
‘as you know it,
‘was decided by man.

‘Here, it starts with whichever
‘you should read first.’

‘What’s the point
‘of a contents page then?’

It looks at me
like I should

know that already.




When I finish the first page,

there’s words
on the next.

I read until I reach
the last page

of Revelation.

‘That golden city,’ I say,
‘it’s the same one in here.’

The cat looks different
now that I look at it again.

The scales
that covered its body

lie at its feet
like a pile of shedded leaves.

It has fur now.

The same chameleon-like fur
as its tail.

‘Close your mouth,’ the cat says.
‘If it doesn’t benefit others, don’t say it.’

Then, it hit me.

I know exactly what
I hate about this cat.

‘You know me.’

A yawn.
‘All your filthy thoughts.’

It looks like the network of branches
sprouted a cat face.

‘Go away.
‘I don’t need someone to nag
‘all day long.’

I step out of the hollow,
look up at the rowan tree.

‘Facing yourself
‘is the only way to learn the truth.’

The rowan tree
looks the prettiest right now,

with white flowers
blooming all over.




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