(Page 2 of 3)
Ascendancy Day by William Goodman
The scale of the hatred which buffets me is like the shockwave ahead of the hurricane, the outrider of the firestorm, the groundswell to the lead of the earthquake; it is the storm front of an extraordinary, astonishing, colossal fury. The conundrum is that if I stand just here, if I stand just so, it might, just possibly, just conceivably, slip around me and merely singe the edges of my existence, destroy only the peripheral me, claim nothing more than my tangential continuation. If I can keep from moving, stay static and immobile forever, then there is a slim and slender chance that I might survive.
It looks down on me from my outstretched hand, caught the same way a balancing stone is snared on the single fragile point which holds it against desert winds, hinged on desperation, trapped only by its own fury. I know that it isn't really caught, and I know that it isn't really what it at first appears to be; it is a metaphor, a symbol, a representation of something that is what it is, but not in the sense that we would first see it. Caught in my grasp, spitting and berserk, is a cat.
Oh, please don't misunderstand me, please do not get me wrong; this is not, this bears no resemblance to, this is not the same thing as, the passive, docile pet you might stroke on your lap, or put down a saucer of milk for, or stuff into a sack and throw into the river on a dark moonless night. This is the creature which the mighty God-king pharaohs of Egypt worshipped and supplicated to, this is the legendary demon which misogynist witch-hunters used as a fevered excuse to burn wise women at the stake, concealing their own sexual gratifications and revelling in the agonies of others whilst too terrified to address the real substance of their own fear. This is the beast of delirious legends, from the Norse-lands to the Australias to the Japans. This is the Grimalkin, this is Mafdet, this is Mahes, the Lord of Massacre, this is Menhit, or She who Slaughters, this is the Raiju, Sakhmet, the Tjilpa, the Para, the Bakeneko, the servants of Freija, Narasinha, the fourteenth incarnation of Vishnu. Do not misunderstand me, do not get me wrong; this is a monster.
A monster, which seemingly by some monstrously improbable feat of chance I have caught, trapped in a grip that splays its arms, is too close for its mucus coated fangs to reach, too high for its scything claws to slash. Like the tossed coin that lands on its edge, this chance in a trillion catch is all that saves me from its fury, all that keeps me from its killing passion, its insane lust for blood and flesh and tearing and death. If I were to move though, if I were to just turn my hand a hairs breadth to the left or to the right, it would have me.
I know it is an illusion, I know it is an analogy, I know that the truth is infinitely more compound and subtle, but this is the way in which the layers of complexity are presented to me, this is the way in which they manifest themselves. A cat, a chance grasp, and a power beyond human imagination, a sign and a token of something much more, a symbolism which stretches back to the earliest of race memories, an image of ferocity and cruelty and utter mercilessness that haunts our mythologies from the dawn of time.