Sogwa was visiting the sea-view deck at Fort Funston. It had been a busy day for her; she had walked a long way. Her paws ached, her legs were sore, and even her tail was tired.It was midday, which is sleepy-time for cats; and it was warm; so she went to the secret clubhouse clearing in the bushes. There in the cool and the shade she sat and closed her eyes.
Suddenly Time stopped. Waves stopped splashing, the wind stopped whistling, the windsock stopped flapping, leaves of the bushes stopped rattling, people stopped talking, the seagulls hovering in the stiff sea breeze stopped going SCREE SCREE, and a boy’s bouncing rubber ball froze in midair. The world was as still as a picture.
Sogwa too was frozen in the moment of time, so she couldn’t move; not left, not right, nor up nor down; so instead she went inwards. Sogwa entered the Forest Behind The Eyes.
It was weird in the Forest Behind The Eyes. Lightning flashed in a cloudless night sky. The moon was full, and wolves howled. Snakes hissed and rattled underfoot. Owls with sharp beaks and claws dived at Sogwa. Undead monsters dug themselves out of the ground. The trees had skeletons hanging from them. Sogwa went to the very center of the Forest Behind the Eyes, where it was darkest and scariest, where she found the Castle in the Woods.
The Castle in the Woods looked millions of years old, and it smelled it too. There were hoots and creaks and screams. It had spooks, cobwebs, scuttling bugs and eeking rats. There were trapdoors to a black hole underfoot. One corridor had a stream of blood running down the middle, with vampire bats lapping at it. Another hall was full of disembodied hands scuttling around. Another hall had plaques on the wall, each one with a head, and the heads on plaques bounced off the wall and chased Sogwa into another hall, where she ran right into a moving knight statue. She bounced off it and ran, yowling, up a spiral staircase. The pictures in that staircase had eyes; and those eyes tracked her as she passed.
The highest room of the highest tower was the throne room. There Sogwa found an old man with a long white beard. He was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the air, hovering five feet above a big poofy pillow. His eyes were shut and he was quietly humming.
Sogwa said, “Who are you?”
The old man murmured in his sleep, “Father... Time...”
Sogwa said, “What is Time?”
“Cheese... cheeese...” Father Time moaned in his sleep. “Olld... stinnky... cheeeese...”
Sogwa jumped high up, and hollered “HEY, WAKE UP!” right into Father Time’s ear.
Old Father Time went “unh!” He snapped open his eyes, and fell five feet butt-first onto the pillow. He landed on the pillow at the same moment that Sogwa landed on her feet.
The air in the pillow leaked out with a loud FWEEEeee...
Sogwa and Old Father Time politely kept quiet while the pillow had its say. When it was done, they talked.
Father Time said, “I must have been dreaming.”
Sogwa said, “You said that time is cheese.”
“How silly!” Father Time laughed, then said, “I change my mind.”
“Then what is Time?”
“Change of mind.”
Just then Sogwa noticed something funny. She noticed that her upper eyelids were touching her lower eyelids. Her eyes were shut, closed tight shut, and they’d been shut for awhile; yet she could see Old Father Time as plain as day.
“Oh!” said Sogwa. “I must be dreaming!”
So she opened her eyes.
She opened her eyes and she saw.
She saw that she was at Fort Funston.
She was at Fort Funston, in the secret clubhouse clearing.
She was in the secret clubhouse clearing, and Time had started up again.
Waves splashed, wind whistled, the windsock flapped, leaves rattled, people talked, and seagulls, hovering in the stiff sea breeze, went SCREE SCREE. A boy’s rubber ball fell to the ground and bounced, bounced, bounced.Sogwa rose to her feet and stretched. She arched her back, bristled her fur, showed her claws and yawned wide. She’d had her nap, and it was time to go.