From time to time the Strong Woman Of Flanders, who has to the eternal delight of Grumpy Man produced offspring called The Mistress now 40 years ago, comes to visit the House of Chaos for a few days or a weekend. She likes to read a lot then, and drink a bit, and talk a lot, and smoke a bit. But the House of Chaos is strictly non-smoking and thus she is wont to sit in the Garden of Chaos several times a day -and night- no matter what season it is raging outside and have a quiet yet blissful smoke.
A week ago she was having her nicotine fix late at night when suddenly she came in to ask The Mistress to come out and listen. There was a forlorn voice in the darkness, crying out in distress and anguish. It sounded like a cat and it sounded like it was in big trouble. A quick head-count of the resident felines found us lacking one Hrimnir, and although the hapless voice didn’t sound like Hrimmikins it was always possible it could be him who was in trouble and so the SWOF picked up her coat and went out into the street in order to investigate, leaving The Mistress in the Garden of Chaos calling out to that poor creature in distress and trying to locate where the sound came from. It seemed that when she called Hrimnir’s name the voice would become more urgent. Which fanned The Mistress’ fear that it was her poor kitling out there.
The House of Chaos is located smack in the middle of a row of houses, together with another row of houses behind it it was a former possession of a plant that no longer exists and that used to house the foremen and managers of said plant. Next to that double row of houses is a small park with a huge house in it, former possession of the CEO of that plant that no longer exists. The park has been neglected for some 20 years and only recently the trees and undergrowth have been trimmed again, but the small more-or-less dried-up lake in the middle of the park was still overgrown with reeds and since the territory used to be swamp in the Middle Ages the lake would be a bog. Dangerous territory for a cat.
With every passing minute The Mistress grew more frantic. No sign from the SWOF that she had found the source of the distress-call and no sign of Hrimnir. The other feline denizens would gather with her in the Garden and were looking a bit anxious too. You may say about cats what you want but they do recognize a fellow in trouble and can feel some empathy towards it even if it is a stranger and thus not welcome. It distresses them. They were not at ease. But then a familiar “chirrup” suddenly erupted from the back door, when a curious Hrimnir egressed from it into the Garden and was clearly wondering what the heck was going on with that cat-parliament and The Mistress outside. One fear alleviated, but it still left the unknown cry in the dark to worry about.
A few minutes later the SWOF came home again and said the sound seemed to come from the park. She still feared a cat might be bogged down in the lake and surely it would die out there since it was Winter and although it wasn’t freezing it was cold enough to induce hypothermia – even into a cat and especially at night. But there was nothing we could do. These days you can’t even call the police or fire department anymore for a kitty-rescue without getting fined for the bother. And so we went to sleep with heavy hearts and dark consciences. The next day we would all be gone for two days, having activities planned for the weekend, and we knew there was nothing we could do for the cat: the park was closed and fenced off, we couldn’t reach it even if the owners of that park were home and they weren’t.
Two days later when we were all gathered back at the House of Chaos again the cat was still crying out on top of his impressive lungs.
It’s the stuff to drive you mad: knowing a sentient being is in distress and not knowing what to do about it. But that afternoon, when The Mistress was returning from her part-time work, she saw a neighbour who was walking her dog (friendly woofie that, a friend of Zorro’s) peering intently into the park and I heard people calling. A man and a woman were in the park, banging on food cans, and trying to coax a black cat out of one of the tallest trees in that park. It being black was the reason why the SWOF had not been able to see it that past night. The cat had climbed so high he was actually higher than our own rooftops ! And now he didn’t dare come down, the poor kitling, stuck for more than 3 or 4 days that he was. The people would call and entice but he refused to leave his safe perch, whilst still crying out for all he was worth.
A few hours later The Mistress heard a crash and no more crying. To this day we don’t know what happened but we can guess that the poor feline had weakened enough that it lost its grip on the branch and fell down.
It was a tall tree. And the undergrowth had been cleared. We can only hope that our furry forlorn friend had still the strength to land on its paws.
“Someone’s crying outside Mumkins ! We wantsa hellep ! Can’t we hellep ?”
I’m so sorry kitlings, but alas no help was to be possible from our side. Now go and drown your sorrows in some fun, at the Carnival of the Cats, where happy kitties gather and make merry. Life, as they say, goes on.