It’s amazing how we can wake up, starting a day with thoughts of what we had to do and thinking we know how the day will go. We walk around in genuine oblivion about all the possibilities, I was working at our family bar and grill, as it was any other day of work. Per usual the game was on, I was working the tables as a waitress, and I smiled although I was thinking of a school assignment due tonight. Laughing at a joke a regular customer made whilst pouring him a glass of water.
“Breaking News! All around the world there are reports of domestic cats suddenly turning into humans! Thousands of sightings and people reporting that their household cats and street cats had been acting normal until suddenly poof! Where once was a cat, straight out of the blue appeared a human being in what looks to be ancient Egyptian clothing!” The shrill voice of the newscaster shattered the life of the mundane.
The room had gone quiet, my hand had frozen mid pour as I stared at the screen as pictures flickered of a scene straight out of a high end Hollywood movie. Dozens upon dozens of pictures from phones, displaying people of all ethnicities, genders, ages, and body types. All dressed in the clothes that were unmistakably of Egyptian origin.
It truly was a Hollywood movie, as pictures continued flashing thoughts of my own black Savannah cat at home sent my world spiraling.
For the next 15 minutes, my mind and body were not my own. As I feared what I’d find when I got home…or what I wouldn’t find more specifically.
I’d had my cat Crème now 9 years, I’d met him when he had arrived at death’s door to the pet shelter I’d been volunteering at, and at the time I could only stare as he took a swing at anyone who came within a foot of him. Everyone in the room had been telling me to scurry off as the doctor and nurse fought to get him to cooperate, arguing if he didn’t they’d have to put him down.
My panicked brain had pushed me forward to touch him, he’d tried to rear his whole body until his eyes caught my tear stricken face. I was a blubbering mess, in pain for him, and he seemed to recognize me as friend as he magically calmed down. Throughout surgery I was allowed to stay by him, I stayed there while he recovered; I catered to him, nurtured him back to health, and he became my shadow. Always following me, even to places he shouldn’t go, like braving into the dog’s side of the facility.
Except one day he’d been adopted, I ran home in inconsolable grief of his loss; Reasonably I knew he was not dead, that he should be happy, but still I had selfishly wanted him to be mine and never have to say farewell. My parents had come home to find me in such a state, and without as much as a word they disappeared, only to reappear with a shaking box.
That heartache ensured that I kept him happy and healthy so I wouldn’t have to experience that heartbreak for a hopeful eternity.
Alas, we live in a world that as one of Robert Frost poems say, “Nothing gold can stay,” and I deteriorated to my knees staring at the ajar door until it faded from view with everything else in the world.
My crème… he was gone, my crème never would’ve left the house, even if I’d left the door open. Occasionally he left to stretch his legs, but he was always home within an hour if he was gone while I was home…always in my arms before bed.
He…didn’t even get to say…goodbye… I didn’t get to say goodbye…he didn’t let me say goodbye.
A bleeding heart, that was the feeling of losing home, it rips uncontrollably ugly body shaking sobs from one’s lungs. Hideous thoughts plagued me as seconds to minutes, minutes to hours, and eventually hours became days.
Ultimately, the story of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians from the time of Ancient Egypt came to fruition. Men and women younger than 30 had traded their lives to be stuck as an immortal cat, and then they were scattered all over the world. Now with the curse lifted, humans walked amongst humanity amongst a shaken world, filled with people greedy of opportunity.
Museums, Egyptian themed places, schools, historians, art galleries, architects, and many other places were experiencing Christmas trying to hire as many as they possibly could. It was Night of the Museum, as all types of people came out of the bloodwork’s.
Nearly every country was giving free citizenship, offering free healthcare plans, free 401k’s, free mansions, trying to keep the people in their country and from returning home. Not all countries or people were as generous, concerns of billionaires and people trying to hold the people hostage or keep them as slaves; then of course the crazies were trying to shoot them, calling them witches and devils.
Another problem lurked in the corners, as a new fear of cats crept into society, as some questioned if there were more cat Egyptians, or if there were Viking cats, Mongul, Roman, or Greek cats. Scientists were trying to buy cats by the dozens to do experiments.
Yet the biggest problem that would occur was the Egyptian government was pressing charges and suing the world, no joke, they announced that legally the people were still Egyptian citizens and were illegal citizens. It was after that story that I had decided, lest I wanted to lose my sanity, that I would tune out the news and hope for Crème to be happy from then on…wherever he was.
18 months Later
Who knew to knock upon a door would be a harder choice than to the choice to roam the earth in another form for an unspecified amount time?
I’ve faced Greek soldiers, mumification, the afterlife, and yet upon this door I was a coward who could not conjure the will of the God Sobek. I invited strength and power, praying to the deity my military skills to be of purpose amongst the battle of wit that befall.
My owner never let any challenge best her, facing any mental or physical dilemma in such a way I was sure she was a reincarnation of the Goddess Pakhet, the feline Goddess of War.
Over 4 millennium’s I had walked this earth as a Midnight colored Savannah cat, after I’d made a deal with the Goddess Nephthys, who was friend of the dead, in the Hall of Truth. That was where I declared my forty-two negative confessions, all in hopes that they be lighter than the feather, so I could pass to the Field of Reeds and rest in peace.
Instead, like the hundred of thousands of my fellow people, we were granted a second chance after all our sins had been paid off. No one had known how long all our combined sins would add up to be, but we were free at last… and yet we were desperately lost.
My time spent with the Pharaoh and as one of the oldest amongst us, they acknowledged my reincarnated powers of Sobek, and nominated me to act with the God’s powers. Still, even with so much power, it took me another millennium to knock upon the Goddess of War’s door.
“Look do you have any idea what time it is in the morning! Who greets someone as the ungodly time of 10 flippin A.M! Why don’t you…” The door opened, papyrus green eyes stared back, and for once I was not beneath the Goddess.
“Hello Vera, please open the door and let me in, I know you don’t lock the door, but I would like you to be the one to open the door like you’ve always done for me. I wish to finally talk to you as I’ve never been able to before.” I spoke with soft words; the sound conflicted the demanding political tone I’d grown accustomed to using this past year.
I had expected many things from my goddess, I’d spent many nights gifted by the God Bes with dreams of what this moment might look like. However, as the new people say, hindsight is 20/20; as I had never predicted that she’d slam the door right on my face, clearing my throat awkwardly after the initial shock faded, I continued.
“Please, let me speak to you as I’ve dreamed of doing for so long, my real face to yours, eyes to yours. Allow me this great goddess? Lest you want me to go home to Egypt and fill the Great Nile of Egypt?” My deity rivaled my own’s, yet I was humbled when the door open, and there she stood with fountains of waters spilling from her eyes. Knowing her so well, I knew she would not have the ability to move anytime soon, so without thinking I swept her into my arms to carry her to her couch.
“I am sorry Goddess Bastet, for all the misery I have put you through, I have failed the Goddesses Hathor and Hemsut. Meretseger does not have a punishment harsh enough, but I hope she can find one so that you could find some way to forgive me.” The words could not capture the sorrow that her silent tears caused me, when I would eventually go to the afterlife once again, my forty-two sins would be every wrong I’d done my precious deity.
“Why?” She asked in a small voice eventually, gazing into her eyes with my face of confusion, she used her shirt to scrub at her face and cleared her throat before continuing. “Why do you think you deserve to be…punished? You did nothing wrong.”
“I should have found you as soon as I changed, I should have stayed and waited for you, I was not here to protect you. I know I did not need your permission, but I should’ve asked for it nonetheless. You never had to ask for my permission to leave or live your human life, yet I can not recall a time you did not ask for my permission. You asked to go out to work and in exchange you offered gifts and treats, you rewarded my trust to be here for you, and I could not do the same for you. You were my God Shed from the moment I met you, and I continue to hurt you.”
“W-why…why did you return?”
“Because I had been too ashamed and cowardly to come back after I had rejoiced with my people, I was once a Great Pharaoh’s Personal Guard, and I had failed a Guard that had taken better care of me then the Deity themselves.”
“That doesn’t answer my question, that answers the question of why you…stayed away…but…not why you…ya know…returned…”
“The day I met you, I was tired of an eternity as a cat, many of my people had grown tired of walking the earth stuck in a world that was a fallen kingdom. Some even felt the destruction more horrific than our own people’s destruction, hearing them I came to realize I felt more sympathetic than empathetic, I had once felt that; The goddess Serket must have foreseen that the day our curse lifted that I would be the one to lead, that even my connection to the God of strategy, power and strength would fail me. Her name means ‘She who causes the throat to breath,’ I believe she conspired so that you’d fill me with life the day I wished to stop breathing.”
Whilst I could see that she understood me, I could see that she did not believe my words; But who would?
Truthfully, these words were long overdue for needing to be said. Placing her down gently on the couch I bowed before her the same I would as any deity.
“Over 4 millenniums I have lived walking this earth, witnessing sorrows that outweighed even the most beautiful of sights, but you kindred heart would inspire 9 years of rejuvenation, somehow it’s even fitting to say you restored every cat life I believed were all desolate. That is why I return here, to ask for your blessing that I may be allowed to continue my duty beside you…?” Silence then reigned the following moments, as they both barely breathed, until finally from the corner of his eye he saw her hand reach out. Hesitantly he felt her palm settle on top of his silky black strands.
“The truly unfortunate thing is that I never got to see you in your Egyptian attire. Perhaps if you came in that I could’ve forgiven you, so many men wear black tailored suits, not many women get to enjoy a real life Egyptian guard.” She gave him a humorous smile as I met her gaze with a heated intensity, our moment was broken when two champagne colored Burmese leapt onto the couch settling beside her.
“It seems you have two new guards that have replaced me at your side.” I said with mirth, still she blushed and attempted to hide her face.
“It was my parent’s idea…and well, I don’t think you’d return to play cat… I mean you’re a human now! I wasn’t delusional…I saw your name…in the news…I thought it…suspicious, didn’t you want to use your human name again, unless I magically guessed your name right.” Her normal sarcasm was a welcomed fantasy come true.
“No, the man I once was is dead along with his name, the man I am now is Crème, I remain your Crème, that is why I beg for your blessing to come home?” I could not stop the plead from escaping my lips.
“You want to come back here? To this house? There offering you mansions! You could live like a Pharaoh with your expertise and…and…and what will you do?! Surely you can’t be happy here! A normal human life of misery, tax, and debt! What about your people?! Besides, surely you’ve realized you’re not a cat, even if you once were.”
“Then you do not forgive me.”
“WHAT?! How is that what you get out of all that I just said?!”
“The life you condemn me to is a life that is not what had made me happy, therefore I can only assume that in rejecting my wishes that you want me unhappy, and therefore do not forgive me.”
“That is…unfair! And you know it. You know I’m a sap and I forgave you the minute you left. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I did…because I love you too much, the same when I thought you’d been adopted. It was a selfish grieving that I would not be your family, but I’ve always wanted you to be happy, you never need my permission or forgiveness to be happy because all you have to be is happy. But I cannot offer my blessing for you to stay here, when you’re a human again! I read that you guys are mortal again, everyday counts, and I’m a boring person who like waitressing at the family business. I love books, sleeping in, writing, cooking and…”
“I cannot lie, I will continue to have responsibilities, working to help my people adjust to walking amongst society instead of below it. That will continue to be my job, it is very boring, I return to a large empty house that has relics of a dead man. Crème is reminded that he does not belong in this time and place, and I cannot lead my people as they deserve…Then… I come here…and I wish to be a cat again. So that I can take my place beside you, so that I may once again feel at home, feel the weight removed from my shoulders...”
“This is…really what you…would want?”
“Even as a cat I was a man, and as a man I still have the same wants as a cat. To sleep on a comfortable bed, to have human comfort, and to let my guard down.” My eyes clothes as the God Bes showed me a daydream of a life that I could seem to ever only get to dream of having again, alas, I was lucky to have a deity that was willing to show mercy.
“…Fine, we’ll… have to work out…the in-betweens, as I’m still not completely sure who you are now… but I’d be lying if I said I did not wish to find out, so until we figure out everything out, you get the couch.” My eyes snapped open to give her a piercing look, when there was no trace of pity or reluctance, my heartbeat skipped a beat as I saw what I knew without a doubt was the Goddess Pakhet’s sly smile.
“Why would I take the couch when I can lay in bed with you?” I gave her a rivaling look of genuine puzzlement.
“I think you turned into a hound dog rather than a human! You enjoyed the couch in the past and you can do so again.”
“That reminds me that I have to thank you for not neutering me. Nevertheless, I must make the argument at night I’ve always slept in bed with you in the past and you’d never voiced such complaints. It is my duty to stay beside you, and the best part of this form is I can finally stay by your side outside of this home.”
The Goddess of War ensured that nothing would be easy, but with her blessing to remain by her side, he was more than strong enough to forever live with war.