The man was 10 minutes early, yet she was already there. Ever the Cat, dark,
, an athletic, feline gracefulness
about her. She lived -- he knew
much – in a world far removed from his own
. That he even knew
grace of Good Fortune
, and he knew you could never ask too much from Fortune,
who had a nasty habit of turning Her back on you. The Cat was attractive, to
say the least, and he felt inexorably
drawn to her… But Fortune would
dole out that much, and he was contented, and resolved, as he had a thousand
times before, to allow affairs to stay that way.
The Cat looked up from her book, and gave a thin smile. She looked just
like she did when he first met her those four long years ago. Leaning against
wall, she projected an influence small enough to evade notice by the thronging
masses, yet massive enough to engulf him. He greeted her, and she did the
same, hurriedly stuffing her book into a large backpack dangling over her right
Her hair was swept back, tied in a ponytail, which jiggled merrily in rhythm
to her gait, brushing ever so often against the back of the tiny blue tee which
defined her miniature frame.
Seconds later they were in the open… where dusk was winning its daily
battle. He noted with concern a small mass of dark clouds huddled in the sky,
right where you could spot them if you craned your neck just right. She didn’t
seem to notice, moving on purposefully, cutting through space with swiftness
apparent to none but him. A cool evening breeze swept through the area, its
wispy fingers playing merry hell with his carefully parted hair, frolicking
with the trees, dancing with their leaves. He would see the Conductor soon,
he supposed… but only the Cat knew where, and they plodded on, engaging
in cheery conversation.
The door of the Conductor was shut tight, and the two of them stood without
for a considerable amount of time… each daring the other to call. The
Cat gave in, and reached for the bell. With the depression of the tiny button
beneath her fingertips, the Music began to play.
It was sweet Music. Music of the past, bittersweet memories defined its melody,
its rhythm, its tempo. It was Music composed by Fate, taking shape, filling
space, echoing through the long dark passages of Time, awakening memories
long forgotten. The Conductor opened the door, and as the Music flooded out
the darkening world, they began to dance.
Oh how they danced! They twirled and spun and pirouetted the whole long
night through. She, moving with her trademarked grace, and He, stumbling along
her, swept up in the current that brought them back in time. The Conductor
waved his wand again, and the Music rose to a new crescendo. He shut his
eyes, allowing his mind to roam. It rushed back through the years. Memories
and they joined in the dance. The Cat saw that, and she laughed. The Conductor
was happy too, and he joined in the dance. It soon became apparent that the
Conductor was the best dancer of them all, leaping with
such vigour and speed even the Cat struggled to keep up. And as they spun,
Through the rise and fall of the Tune, the man noticed the Conductor, unlike
the Cat, had changed through the years. The Conductor was weary, and had
grown wiser since the man last saw him, yet this didn’t detract from
his ability to conduct the Music, which enchanted all present.
The hours flew by, and the night was ending as the entire party stepped once
again into the cool twilight air. The Conductor bade them farewell, and good
luck. The dancing was over, yet the man could still hear strains of the Music
echoing in his mind. They bounced around, screaming for an exit, but there
was none. He doubted he would hear the last of it anytime soon.
They parted company shortly after. The Conductor went off looking for more
tunes to direct, and the Cat slunk off into the night.
The man went straight home, taking with him a piece of the Music stolen
the night the three of them danced.