We were dining on the terrace by the Plaza Figaro on a cool autumn evening.
The square was lit with lanterns whose yellow glow bounced off the white bricks ofthe buildings and there was the music of violins and guitars. Kaiser and I were dining on buttered fillet and cheese, enjoying the scene of merry couples dancing and the fresh breeze that ruffled the folds of my dress.
Mario had added, to my delight, a special vintage wine from the cellar to celebrate our anniversary and the rich taste was making my head feel light. It was the perfect evening. Our conversation was abruptly intruded with the sound of a siren that echoed through the crooked alleys and shook the crystal hangings from the lamps.
“They are here!”
Panic arose as everyone scampered away to his or her lodgings. Kaiser grabbed my hand as we tore across the plaza and down Rue St. Etienne to our humble lodgings in the Seventh Quarter. When we arrived, it was already silent, all the others had evacuated and windows and doors were shut tight.
We ran down the final flight of stairs which seemed to go on forever and finally reached the front door of our apartment. Kaiser scrambled for the keys, but someone had already opened the door for us. “Quickly, come inside!”
I was about the enter when the buildings suddenly turned yellow, bathed in a sinister gold glow.
“Laana, come!” Kaiser called, but I was too curious. The light seemed to hypnotize me and I wanted to see where it was coming from.
“You will be eaten! Come inside!”
Kaiser tried to pull me in and I struggled to resist when I saw the Cat.
The Cat was peeking around the corner of Rue Gavonne and Fitch and its glowing eyes were far brighter than the lamplights or any other light I had seen before.Its ears were pointed towards the sky and its pupils narrowed as it started at me, whiskers quivering on its nose. By then Kaiser had managed to drag me into the apartment, where several of the tenants scolded me for my brash behavior.
“Do you know what happened to the last mouse that was seen by the Cat?”asked Madame Giry. I did not want to know, nor did Kaiser, and silently we went to our apartment. “Don’t ever do that again,” he said quietly. “I don’t want to lose you.”
But I could barely hear his words, so mesmerized was I still by that pulsing gaze of the Cat. Those eyes that seemed to read inside my soul and challenge all desires that I had never even before imagined.