Volume 5 Number 2


Spring 2007


by Jillian Boand

The cat, a gray-striped tabby, eyed the window above the lilac bush. There was a gap above the sill, a small one. It would have to be enough; the woman inside was having one of her dreams again.

Taut muscles coiled closely together. A slight twitch of the tail, a carefully controlled spring, and the cat was inside. It sauntered past the edge of the bed, contemplating possible positions, and finally pounced, landing squarely on the chest of the fitfully sleeping woman.

She rose with a gasp, images from her nightmare still more real than the existent absurdity, her eyes open but unfocused. The cat, peering into the wide, gray eyes of the woman, saw clearly what had been troubling her:

The lights of a house fire playing over a lawn, always too distant to save the loved one inside. Thick smoke, choking the soul and clouding the memory. The smell of wet ashes, always conjuring despair.

The woman's eyes remained locked in place. She stared directly at the creature on her chest, yet remained unseeing. She was aware only of the eyes -- the cool, green eyes piercing the smoke and clutter, eyes that filled her with tranquil images:

The enveloping warmth of the sun, high overhead. The quiet mysteries of the river-dwellers. The serenity one encounters fading into an afternoon nap.

The woman lay back with a sigh, deeply somnolent. The cat left through the window, satisfied.