- 1 -
But if that were the case, then why am I breaking into the museum?
The windows of the heavy, dark doors splay the light on the floor in suspicious angles, and the night’s darkness feels so unnatural and lonely in this public place. I check left and right for a guard or a camera or something, but Tembley seems unfazed. I still don’t understand what kind of name ‘Tembley’ is for a cat, but then I don’t understand very much about this cat anyway.
The cat stands at the doorway to the exhibition room, beside a table piled with pamphlets. The cat is waiting for me, beckoning me with each curly whip of its fluffy tail. I slowly approach him and look into the room. It’s not pitch black, but an unsettling darkness makes the mannequins and hieroglyphic masonry seem like forbidden treasures. At the far end, there is a display with an eerie spotlight still shining down, detailing the contents of the glass case. It is this case that the cat moves straight toward, and I can’t help but follow, out of intrigue, curiosity and perhaps even fear. After all, the cat has taken me this far, and I still don’t know how or why. I had always known that I wasn’t chasing the cat, but rather that he was leading me somewhere, perhaps this is finally it.
Inside the case I see a human skull. As a young boy, I had always been afraid of skulls, so cold, dead and empty, but for some reason this one seems . . . nicer.
It has wide cheekbones, and an almost cheerful, skeletal smile. The skull is sitting next to a closed, old, weathered book that looks like a diary.
That’s when I notice Tembley. The cat is staring deeply into the empty sockets of the skull. Just like cats, the face is completely emotionless, but as he stares at the skull I swear I can see something in those eyes. Recognition? Memory?
Then the cat looks at me. I look at it, I glance at the skull and look back. It feels almost like telepathy as it stares right into my eyes, expectantly. I feel uneasy, I really don’t want to.
“No.” I say. The cat looks at the skull and back at my eyes again. I exhale dejectedly,
“Alright then . . .” shielding my eyes with one arm, I raise up my fist and bring it crashing into the glass. I expect some loud klaxon horn to blare at any moment, but there’s complete silence, perhaps there is no security in this old museum, but I won't risk for a silent alarm. The skull feels like cold wood or stone as I pick it up, taking care not to drop the jawbone.
“Come on. Cat.” I say, quickly moving towards the entrance.
Man, I bet I am going to be in so much trouble tomorrow . . .
- 2 -The cat sneaks straight through the wrought iron gate of the Cecil Street Cemetery, but I’m not so skinny so I have to climb it. I prop the skull up on a tall pillar and pull myself over the fence.
As I drop down the other side and pick the skull back up, I see that the cat is already there, waiting for me.
I walk right up to it and take a look at the grave it is sitting beside. Its headstone reads:
Here lies what remains of Marcus D. Richman, 1886 - 1923
‘Well, cat. This is it.” I say to Tembley.
I bend down and place the skull in front of the headstone,
“There you go Marcus . . .” I tell the skull as I place it on the grave.
As I stand up tall I turn to the cat,
“You’ve done well, Tembley. Perhaps now your master can rest in peace.”
The cat looks at me with those brilliant eyes,
“Your welcome.” I tell him, “And now you can rest too.”
I smile as the cat wanders over and curls up next to a nearby grave with a small plaque embedded in the ground. It reads:
Here lies Tembley; a faithful cat