Upon a stone fence along a country road, a cat rested in the warm sunshine. It was doing that thing cats do where they stare into space at something invisible, perhaps at a lingering spirit, perhaps at a mere dust mote. This cat’s eyes moved back and forth, like the perpetual swinging of a clock’s pendulum. Curious and lulled with the heady scent of lavender and honeysuckle, I paused next to it. Squinting in the direction of its gaze, I expected to perhaps find that the passing of a distant train or something had its attention.
After a moment, the cat said to me, “What do you see?”
Excitement surged through me; at last I could ask a cat why cats did this. I said, “Nothing that I expected.” Certainly, no train or anything else of interest appeared in this direction. “What about you?”
“I see the passage of time,” the cat replied. “Streaming and streaming and streaming by.”
I blinked, at once uneasy. “And… how does time appear?”
“Like a road of stars leading into eternity. But the ones which have passed glow brighter than those still to come.” Now the cat looked at me. I saw its pupils had become ticking hour and minute hands, spinning around the clock faces of its eyes. “Your time is running out, Wanderer.”
The afternoon closed in, the musty scent of rot rising with the wind. I took a cautious step backward. Though my heart tapped against my collarbone at this brush with the future, I kept my voice calm. “Time runs out for all eventually.”
The cat returned its gaze to the horizon. “Small comfort, that. But if you must.”
I hurried on down the path, prickling with the sense that as the cat watched time, it also watched me.
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