By Mike Steeden Link blog
When I last closed my drowsy eyes it was to the accompaniment of an apt, from my biased point of view, cryptic song. The song was new to me, yet notwithstanding my poor state of being, I fell in love with it at once. Its title? ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ sung originally, I was advised, by one most talented artist named Kaye Ballard, whomsoever she was.
Nurse Kristina, a dear girl and my day to day carer, had kindly purloined a new-fangled record player from ‘wherever’ and carried it all the way from her home in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, along with the vinyl recording, to my dilapidated, charity financed apartment in the Quartier des Invalides. I think the year was 1974 but cannot be sure, I’d been drifting in and out of consciousness for days on end. The presumption of le médecin was that I had lost my mind, my brain no longer signalling my body to swallow food and drink, nor my heart to beat beyond a fragile whisper. While I knew that that was not strictly so I stayed schtum, I had, after all, lost the will to live. Self-prompted starvation my new best friend. My sudden illogical aging from a desirable mademoiselle to wizened old bag and with it my loss of promised immortality proved to be simply too much to take.
Kristina, although never making mention of it, I could tell knew well my compulsion to end it all…indeed, the reference in the words of the song to ‘The Moon’ gave me an inkling that she had chosen this piece as a requiem in remembrance not of my soon to be rotting carcass, more my final, forlorn au revoir. How could she know that on my travels through time and space The Moon had been my last port of call outside of Planet Earth? Coincidence? I think not. Was she savvy to the fact that she, in a different particle of her own time long, long gone was the murdered deceased, former beau of my own sadly absent lover, sweet Eliza?
For the benefit of any sceptics as well as those thinking my musings little more than irrational gobbledygook, ‘yes’ you heard me correctly when I spoke of my once immortal status, time-travels, the alive and well ghost that was Kristina and my journeying to The Moon, all gifts afforded to me curtesy of time herself in the human form of one Lady Freya Hella, a remarkable woman born of infinity who, for reasons unknown, either lost me somewhere within the irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future, that is time herself however impossible as that might sound. Time was out of kilter, and me with it. Were I able to cleanse the time-line all would likely be well. Regrettably, such a thing was far beyond both my practical and academic capabilities. Besides, it mattered not, I was about to cast aside this passé mortal coil. I had been lost in the abiding moment far too long and senescence was never my dream of choice. Where oh where were Freya and Eliza? If only I could grasp to my breast the substance of that intense feeling of deep affection we shared one last time.
Should it be to your interest I, on a personal level, can advise that I’d lost track with the passing centuries yet can confirm I have lived in fragments of time covering several millennia. In my heyday they called me, ‘The Blue-Eyed Cat’ a name that complemented my solitary feline disposition and matched my glistening sapphire eyes. My real name is Zhanxwzch…which stands for ‘white princess’…I have always been known to one and all as Lily after the six-petaled White Lily flower that matched my crystalline pure white skin. Originally, I heralded from a land known as Circassia, a region situated in the North Caucasus and along the northeast shore of The Black Sea, north of the Caucasus Mountains. Once upon a time, prior to being granted immortality, I can boast…perhaps not the best description…that my body and I made the highest ever bid The Otterman hierarchy had proffered for a girl up for sale in the much celebrated slave market of Constantinople, yet now, all that was left of me was a bedraggled husk of former self.
That said, both Kristina and I knew for certain that my eyes, once resting behind wrinkled eyelids, would never open again. My time had come.
How…thankfully in hindsight, at least…wrong I was. When I unexpectedly returned to the macrocosm of the living, wide awake and fancy free, I found myself in a preserve like no other. A wispy, unlit yet visible to the naked eye, unearthly domain where gravity lent itself to leaden ceiling over misty carpet, a multi-shade cloudy entity high above the blue planet, I would learn was called ‘The Palace of Clouds’, a venue out of sight from below but, as I came to understand it to be, not that far away, and me, back to my former vivacious glory, only this time around with the surreal addition of astonishing fluffy milk-white feather ginormous wings. I so wanted a mirror. In short, I had somehow become the consummate feral angel. Whatever which way, Lily was back in town!
But how does one explore a land with no floor? Silly me, I had wings to fly and curiosity to appease. Initially I’d concluded I was alone, later I found that not to be so. Oh yes, I should add, save for the modified forelimbs that bore large feathers that were, thinking about it, now a permanent part of me I was, as per usual, naked as a jaybird, not that that mattered for as far as I could tell I was presently entirely alone. As such I found a paradoxical privacy inside The Palace of Clouds. Indeed, I recall thinking surely I cannot be domiciled within an impossible heaven, nor for that matter an equivalent hell. Mercifully, I would discover it was neither of those…
The Old Fool’s note: Bored within a sickly planet riddled in nasty things and lusting for something to do that might take my mind off humanities malaise I thought, why not bring Lily…also known as The Blue-Eyed Cat from my previous book of the same name…back to life? After all she had been left in something of a quandary upon the conclusion of ‘book one’, hence this first skeletal stab.