GETTING WIDE WITH GHOSTS
“Here.” the other mau said. He reached into his pouch and pulled out one whole mushroom and one whole cookey and handed them both to Khamet . “Now this took me a while to figure out, but your understanding is going to go kingsome chumperudders after this.”
Khamet held the two and simply stared at him.
“Never mind,” he said shaking his head. “Many don’t use these because of what happens to the body. It’s illeagle to be too big or too small in some parts of Heere.”
“Yeah, apparently there once was an eagle that used them to hunt with. He would make himself larger depending on the prey and ruling class didn’t like that. It made them sick. After a little experimenting I figured something out. Mix equal parts of mushrooms and cookeys together and the effects cancel each other out while giving you this amazing feeling.”
Khamet looked at the pieces questioningly, “And that’s it?”
“Well you might notice an engorging of some of your extremities at certain points, but it’s more fun than anything else. And for dessert I have…” he opened up a small tin in his pack and smelled it. “Yesss. Oh too much too soon, sorry.”
Khamet caught a whiff that smelled familiar. “What’s that?”
“That is Piassograss. You were lounging in a whole field of it when I found you. I couldn’t come to look after you because once the Piassograss gets you oh… it’s like heaven and you forget about everything else.”
Khamet remembered feeling long and spry and languid and having no clear thoughts. If he hadn’t been snatched up he realized he might have laid there forever.
“If you leave the Piassograss field you won’t remember where it is until you find it again so I filled up. This should last for a while. Now just eat everything all at once.”
Khamet stared at the mushroom and cookey in his paw. Then he ate them both and waited. It didn’t take long they were both fresh and potent. His stomach had that loose shifty feeling again and Khamet felt himself become very light and loose as if his body wanted to grow and shrink at the same time.
“That’s it. Here now,” the other mau took a pinch of Piassograss from the tin, “Now eat this.”
Khamet took the small pinch and put it in his mouth.
“Chew it for a bit before swallowing,” the other mau said taking a large pinch for himself.
Khamet felt his body getting warm and had to move away from the fire as the night grew darker, but his eyes suddenly adjusted and the entire forest became clear. He could always see at night, he was a mau after all, but now it was as if he could see even better than before. The hairs on his back stood on end and he stretched as if someone was petting him and he let out a long growling purr. He shifted stretched out on the ground and. The hard earth felt so good he stretched and rubbed against it. Suddenly he felt his front paws reach way out past the camp sight and into the forest for a moment then then come back again. The sensation gave him a head rush. “Wow.”
“How is it going?” he heard a voice say.
Khamet looked up and his other who was sitting on the branch of a tree… “You’re the other mau…. My twin… My brother…” He started to laugh.
“Yes, how are you?” he took a step and slipped. He caught himself and hung dangling from the tree.
Khamet stared at the other mau hanging and watched as his legs extended to the ground. The other mau released his grip and suddenly was enormous. His great mau head looked down on Khamet from the darkness of the trees above and he was menacing. Then he was back down on the ground and the two were eye to eye again.
“I said,” he said. “How is it going?’ His eyes and his head were still enormous with long sharp teeth. Then they shrunk.
Khamet was frightened for a moment. He reached out to the other mau and watched as his paw grew enormous then shrunk. “You’re my brother,” Khamet said dreamily.
The other mau’s face was suddenly right in front of his. Their noses touched and all Khamet it looked like the mau had one big eye. “Are you having a good time?”
Khamet didn’t answer. He stared at the other mau and felt his whiskers pull back in a very strange sensation again. He made a very real, very human smile that almost hurt. He was showing all of his teeth. He turned to the fire as if noticing it for the first time. Then he began to stare at the flames and suddenly he was lost.
Khamet stared into the flickering orange light that became the bright hot sun and he was back home, learning and leaping and following the humans. Then he was in the palace following the man who smelled of dogs listening to Chione scream. Her scream became the scream of the dog whose ear she had grabbed. The dogs scream became the weeping cries of the people as pharaoh was carried into the palace. Suddenly the man who smelled of dogs grabbed him by the neck and threw him over the balcony. He landed in the waste at the bottom and found himself eye to eye with Chione who was wheezing and dying. There was blood coming out of her mouth and her bad arm had been chopped off.
“What is it?” the other mau asked.
“Chione,” Khamet was suddenly back in the forest staring at the fire. “I had a friend. Her name was Chione. She died for me. I couldn’t save her,” he said letting the tears run from his eyes.
“Hey don’t cry.” The other mau ran forward and stumbled. Khamet watched as his brother tripped past him and fell right into the fire. The flames went up and the fire consumed him for a moment before he leapt out, his hair smoldering. “Stay away from the fire,” he said. “It’s hot.” His brother stared at him seriously then at the fire and the two began to laugh again. “You know something, sometimes I think about eating a bunch of mushrooms, getting really big, and taking a walk. Then eating everything I see.”
“That would give you a tummy ache,” Khamet said and the two of them laughed again.
“Yes it would.”
“So tomorrow we go to the looking glass?” Khamet asked.
“That’s right. I want to leave!”
Khamet noticed that the other mau sounded menacing and clenched his teeth as he said this.
“By the way, we are cats. I have been here for too long. Some people have heard of us, most haven’t. What did the Roadscholar tell you?”
“Oh we need to rescue him!” Khamet sat upright.
“Can’t. No one can get up there. Do you want another pinch?” the other mau threw a stick onto the fire.
Khamet stopped and turned suddenly alert. He crouched and began moving slowly.
“What is it?” his brother said crouching down beside him. The two began stalking side by side.
“I hear something.” Khamet was looking into the dark forest. His mind’s eye was going wild. Images were coming at him from all directions like white wisps of light and energy. “Something is coming through the forest and its close.”
“Really,” his brother listened. “I don’t hear anything.”
“I do,” Khamet said moving forward. There was a sound of rustling and crunching. Then it stopped. “I think we are being stalked.”
His brother paused and looked at the ground. He raised his paw and crunched another leaf.
“There,” Khamet said. “Did you hear that?”
His brother grabbed another stick and threw it on the fire.
“And that! We need to be careful.”
His brother smiled and took two careful steps back. Then he leapt high in the air and landed on all the leaves behind Khamet releasing a great “MEOW!”
Khamet leapt into the air at the shock and literally jumped out of his skin.
“Wow, I have never seen anything like that.” His brother said.
Khamet was clinging to the side of a tree and when he looked down, he saw himself standing where he had been.
The second Khamet turned and said “Hello.”
“Well now, who is who?” His brother said.
It was not hard to tell. The second cat was just like the one that had appeared in the field of Piassograss, a pale ghostly version of Khamet.
“I am me,” said the ghostly cat standing on the ground.
“No you can’t be, for I am me.” Khamet said leaping down from the tree.
“Yes you are, but I am I, and you are you.”
“Who are we then?” Khamet asked.
“That sounds like a conundrum,” Khamet’s brother said rubbing his head. “Oh I’m confused.”
Khamet stared at his other self. Slowly he reached out to touch it. When they made contact the other cat merged with Khamet and he saw everything, which had just happened, repeated from the point of view of his other self. “Woah!”
“What was that?” his brother said.
“I don’t know. The same thing happened when I was in the field. When it’s over I see what it saw.”
His brother stared with his eyes bulging. “Do it again.”
Khamet looked around the camp fire. He tried to have himself separate again, but nothing happened. Then he closed his eyes and calmly imagined himself jumping out of himself, then stepping out of himself, then moving out of himself and felt nothing. “Okay then.”
“Um, you better open your eyes,” said his brother.
“Okay then,” a group of voices said.
Khamet opened his eyes, turned around and saw three other ghostly cats that looked exactly like him. One leapt back and forth through the fire, one was lounging on the ground, and the third was up a tree and staring down from a branch, “This is great,” it said.
“Not as great as this,” another said. It was standing in the fire unaffected.
“Hey wait a minute,” Khamet said.
They all turned to look at him.
“Comeback here now.”
They all did, leaping into the air and gliding right into him. In an instant Khamet was seeing each of their points of view for the few moments they had been separate.
“Wow.” His head was light and overwhelmed. “I should let the Roadscholar know I’m okay,” he thought, just as his body collapsed and he passed out.