Image by Alejandra Coral
When it was realized that the Ancient Egyptians had got it right I was presented with the role of Temple Priest. This was to be expected since it was my sister who had received the Initial Vision. I come from a smart family. All of us received prominent employment in devotion. Both of my parents worked on improving the Sacred Recipes. My Aunt designed the Ceremonial Garments and overlooked production with her cruel attention to detail. My brother sculpted marble pedestals for the Temple and granite statues for street corners. I was known in the family for being a night owl, the one without a skill, so it was clear from the start I’d be put in charge of the Temple when all good Cat worshippers were fast asleep in their beds.
I’d arrive at midnight and endure a meeting with the Day Priest where we’d discuss any outstanding issues like the Temple becoming unbearably hot in the afternoon (write to the Chief of Temple Radiators immediately!), or the Deity being noticeably displeased with Her bowl (write to the Chief Potter to have the colour changed forthwith!). These issues were never of great importance. I never wrote any letters. There were security guards outside the walls and many hidden in trees. They, like me, were bored. We lived in a time of impressive obedience.
The Deity’s pedestal was sculpted by my brother. I had time to study it and noticed many flaws. There was a slight dip to the surface he’d deviously placed at the rear to hide it from view and if you took a few steps back you could see the pedestal wasn’t perfectly straight. For his safety, I kept this to myself.
I’d slop some fish gloop that had been lovingly prepared by my parents in an ornately decorated factory somewhere into a porcelain bowl and plonk it on the ground. There was a velvet cushion with an indent meant for Her food but the Deity knew my ways and She’d pounce off Her pedestal and scoff the rancid chunks quite happily. I’d shake one of the Holy Beanbags free of Cat hair and read my book.
Then one night this happened: the Deity sneaked over and began kneading my arm. She purred. Subsequent nights I brought lengths of wool and a golf ball. There was a spot behind Her left ear She loved me to rub. The evenings would end with Her rolling onto Her back and me tickling Her belly with both hands.
At yesterday’s Ceremony marking the New Season She saw me in line and jumped from Her throne, rubbing into my legs. My sister immediately had another vision: the Deity was angered by my attempts of domestication. There was to be no affection, only worship.
The torturer approached wearing a mask, the head of a cat. I come from a smart family. When we were kids I accidentally killed my sister’s little dog. She has been making me pay for it ever since.
More Visual Verse stories by Simon Webster here