The Longest September Ever


Like a lunatic, I keep writing. It is fun to do though. I wish I could take a paid sabbatical from work and really spend time on my writing. But if wishes were horses…

In any event, thanks for reading!

The Oracle and her apprentice sat across from each other at a thick, broad wooden table. Papers and books lay scattered and piled between, but only the girl was writing. The Oracle, her her hands overlapping on the table, waited until Tas lifted her pen.

“A very long time ago, a scientist on Earth conducted an experiment with a cat.”

Tas lowered her head down to the paper and blew on the ink. “Poor cat.”

“Perhaps. You can read about it if you like, of course, but it came down to the cat in a box with a vial of poison.”

Eight-year-old Tas sat up and focused on the woman across from her. The Oracle always looked the same, same high twisted hair and same high-collared dress, never appearing to age or be caught in a strong wind. It was unnerving some days, yet comforting on others.

The Oracle continued. “You don’t know until you open the box if the cat is alive or dead. And until you know, both things are true.”

Tas titled her head to consider this. “But that cat knows.”

“No one ever asks the cat, child.”

“I’d ask the cat.”

The Oracle smiled. “I know you would.”

Tas waited to go back to her writing. The Oracle didn’t mention things like cats in boxes just to make her think about the terror felt by a cat.

“Certainly the scientist could open the box,” the Oracle continued. “And if he didn’t open it, he could listen to the box, a mew and scratch from within, or he could rest his hand on the box to check for warmth. There are often severals ways to find out the truth.”

“You could shake the box,” Tas replied. She thought more about that. “But that probably would kill the cat, wouldn’t it?”

“Indeed.” The Oracle reached over to pick up the parchment in front of Tas. She looked over the writing and handed it back. “What I’d like you to remember, Tasanko, is that sometimes the box is out of reach. You will never be able to open it. You will never find out the fate of the cat.”

“But if the box is there, somewhere, we can get the box. We just have to look for it.”

“You may look for it. And sometimes you may find it. But be prepared to never find it and to never know.”

Tas frowned. “So, you’re saying give up?” No lesson had said give up.

“I’m saying decide how you’re going to react when that happens. When the universe refuses to give you an answer, what will you do?”

Tas moved the parchment back into place and flipped the page of the book next to her. “I’ll keep asking. I’ll never stop asking. All boxes can be opened. All of them.”

The Oracle clasped her hands together again. “We’ll see, child. We shall see.”

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