“I must say you, this place offers nothing of interest!” The peculiar cat hinted at as he started guiding his visitor through deserted bricks that were being taken over by nature. “Well, I will never know until I take a look at my new surroundings. Also, you are quite something of interest!” After a few steps he stood in front of a building that seemed to have been left behind for quite some time. No one had spent any time making sure that loose bricks would stay in place. Only a cat guarding this place to ensure that while history forgets about it, no one would do more damage to it. Vines and trees have already made these places their own home, as humanity has left it behind. Yet, it does not help the wanderer to question why his new furry friend was still doing here.
“How long have they been gone?” he asked calmly as he pushed away some rubble with his foot that was lying right outside the entrance. Under it was buried a small piece of cloth, which seemed to be from a dress. For just a split second as he looked towards his current companion he could see the grin fall, as he looked off into the distance. “Pardon my curiosity, I sometimes just can’t help myself.” Nero kept walking around the house, as he looked through the small window. It may have been full of dust, but one look inside he could imagine a happy family sitting in there enjoying their time together. What joyous occasions they must’ve had, as they read stories or laughed at some old joke their grandfather kept telling.
“I cannot remember the last time someone has entered these woods, even less when someone lived here. Like many things, nothing lasts.” What a philosophical cat he was. A big grin hiding a darker past that it wishes to hide and never relieve. Could the stories have been created on purpose? Was he simply keeping people away so that his home would stay the way it was? “Even these bricks, which were meant to last generations will fall apart one day.” The young traveler brushed his hand on the dust of the wall, as he looked around him to see the many houses surrounding him. Never had he imagined that Tulgey Woods would hide so many brick houses that were once homes to many.
“The irony lies in the darker truth that haunts our existence. Meet a man, who claims he could live forever and he might tell you he will live his life to the fullest. One day, even he will accept the fact that eternity is much shorter than one would wish it to be. So much loss, so many forgotten and he would still stand. At the end of time, he will stare off into the distance wondering, is it finally the end?” His tale of a never-ending life seemed to captivate Cheshire, who followed him towards a small fence, which was perfect to sit on. His new visitor used the opportunity to sit down, as he pulled something from under another piece of rubble. This time it was a broken picture with that of a beautiful blond girl. “And even after a world beyond our own capabilities, he will always remember one person. A beautiful smile that will make his heart jump and a voice that soothed his inner turmoil. Turning even the most ferocious tiger into a soft-hearted kitten!”
His words confused the cat, as he was unsure if they were truly meant to provoke him. Somehow it felt more like he was being haunted by a memory that may haunt him for quite some time. Perhaps it was the reason he travelled even in such dangerous areas. “Eternity is a lie that we tell ourselves could be achieved one day, yet no matter how many times I toss and turn on those stones, they do not crumble. I cannot recall how often I have scratched the trees around here. All I leave are small marks that will one day be overgrown and once again forgotten.” There seemed to be an acceptance within his heart that there was no other choice. No matter how long one can live, we may only leave behind small fragments. “Man’s obsession with leaving behind something monumental leads to creations that they believe lasts forever. In reality, it is their darkest actions that may lead to that exact creation no matter how much they feared that from happening.”
Both sat there silently as they stared off into the distance. Cheshire seemed the most distracted, as his mind wandered around the small forest town. His memories started to play their usual tricks on him. He could hear their voices echoing through the winds, as mothers called after their children to finally come home for supper. The town’s elderly joking around about their adventures and a war, which many have long forgotten has ever happened. Sometimes he could hear the old piano player, James, still singing his tune, as many children danced in circles around the foundation near the bar. They had such joy in those days, but now nothing is left.
Out of all the voices one rang the most familiar. “Chesh! What are you doing? I told you that you shouldn’t stare so much!” It was as if she was right in front of him, scolding him as she gave him a fresh fish that her father brought home. He can remember the man telling her to stop feeding the village stray, as he wanted to surprise her for dinner. “Eat up! We don’t have much time left before he realizes I did it again!” No matter what he told her, she never listened. At nights she would leave her home and tell him stories of wonder that she read in the many books she owned. “How much I wish I could see more of the world. I was promised a trip once I am old enough, but I doubt we’d have the money for it.” He truly missed her out of all the many people that petted him once they returned home. They considered him a good luck charm, as he always slept at the entrance, their little guardian. “How come I failed them all?”