My story begins in the summer of 2008 when I was living blissfully wild on a large acreage immediately to the south west of the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. It was extremely hot as I remember. I’d been living life large, a fine country existence, gorging on prime field mouse steak and languishing in the strong Albertan sunshine. I amused myself daily exploring the grasslands and wooded areas in and around the lands of the Enoch Cree Nation. Life was good.
I’d had limited exposure to human folk up until that point in this life. The human folk from the old house would sporadically leave milk or water for me and the other feral cats and sometimes they’d treat us to leftover scraps of food. The only cloud on the horizon at the time was the gang of marauding coyotes but they were more of an irritation than threat to me. They would howl and yip throughout the night which, believe you me, becomes most tiresome when living at such close quarters.
I’d had a couple of confrontations with them on occasion, the young ones trying to make a name for themselves as they plundered what they could from the area. They never really bothered me, I was much too smart for them but they were a mischievous bunch. I’d heard many a worrying tale about their antics and raids, some of them shockingly violent and blood thirsty and so I remained wary of their presence.
It all started the week leading up to the full moon in July. The Buck Moon as it is known by many of the native bands in the area, where the new antlers of buck deer begin to push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. I prefer to think of it as the Thunder Moon myself since it occurs exactly in the middle of the spectacular thunderstorm season we see here in the Prairies.
On that first night, I could not settle. I fretted and paced, I was inexplicably anxious beyond belief. My dreams were vivid and disturbing. I barely slept. Something was pricking at my subconscious frustratingly just beyond my comprehension. I realized on a deep level that the dreams were probably messages but at the time they did not make sense. I experienced a sensation of déjà vu as many of the images were strangely familiar.
As it turned out, I was receiving glimpses of my previous lives, long forgotten places, mistresses and deeds. My ancient knowledge was returning. It came to me as a battery of rapidly flickering images in my third eye with little time to absorb what I was seeing. I felt like all my senses were under attack. There were a lot of metaphysical and symbolic references. I knew full well what they were and what they meant. It provoked a sense of foreboding deep within me.
I began to see and hear things while I was awake and soon every shadow or sound on the acreage had me on edge. Someone or something was calling me and forcing me to remember my past. I saw otherworldly beings, elementals and spirits moving around me in my physical world. Some were going about their business seemingly oblivious to me, but most were vying for my attention. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut. If I couldn’t see them then perhaps I could convince myself that they weren’t really there. But it didn’t stop the roar of their voices.
I became physically exhausted and energetically drained very quickly but at the same time I had an insane urge to travel north. It plagued me during my waking hours. I could not eat. Every time I thought about it I’d wretch painfully, the contents of my stomach long since emptied. My heart raced, my stomach lurched, my head swam and my body ached horribly. I felt lost and empty and desperate. I was utterly tormented and miserable.
I realized then that I was experiencing a Restoration, something akin to the immortal Highlanders’ quickening except that the power was all mine. I’d heard about the phenomenon before but had never experienced it. I was receiving a massive and sudden cosmic download of all my previous power and mystical knowledge from past lives – except … except I was madder than hell! I had not signed up for this! I resisted with all my might and howled.
In previous lives, I was born into the familiar role and trained from a young age. I knew what to expect. It was all I’d ever known and wanted. I’d chosen each and every single one of those lives. In this life I’d opted for simplicity. To live a life as a normal feline as a kind of resting reward for all the pain and sacrifice I’d endured. Some blessed peace after assisting my many Mistresses with their magic, for the greater good or otherwise. That was certainly my understanding of my most recent negotiation with one of the Akashic Record Keepers. For once, I wanted to experience life as a simple creature.
It was unbearable. I was completely overwhelmed.
On the first night of the full moon, I finally succumbed. I allowed my feet to take me where they wanted to go. As soon as I started moving, an odd sense of relief flowed through me. I didn’t think, I couldn’t, I simply placed one weary foot in front of the other, allowing myself to be drawn hypnotically northwards until I came to the edge of the Enchanted Forest on the furthest western edge of Edmonton.
I’d heard stories of the forest but I’d never been there myself. In fact, I couldn’t think of anyone I knew who’d been there either. There were lots of terrifying and gory stories, each one worse than the last … the kind of stories that no-one returned from. The tales were so exaggerated and wild that I almost believed the forest didn’t exist. And yet here I stood, right on the edge of it. I shivered with dread.
I didn’t need the light of the full moon to know that the forest was teaming with movement. My senses were on high alert and my heart was hammering in my chest.
All around me I could hear rustling in the undergrowth and twigs snapping under many feet. I could hear the moans and groans of the other worldlies as well as the cries and sounds of the breathing forest creatures. Strange lights glowed and dimmed as they moved gracefully amongst the trees. Shimmering ghostly faces appeared and disappeared as if eyeing me up for ambush. Luminous eyes blinked from everywhere I dared look. And that smell … the rancid odour of death and decay reached my nostrils. Coyotes, fresh from scavenging a dead body. I felt my bowels loosen and my stomach clench.
Then suddenly the dense bushes directly in front of me parted and seemed to invite me in. The light from the full moon illuminated a narrow beaten path. As if in a trance, I was drawn hypnotically forward. I couldn’t stop myself. My hair stood on end as I heard an abrupt loud rustling noise and realized the bushes had closed in behind me. I flattened my ears against my head, sinking closer to the ground, my back legs coiled and ready to spring into action. As the adrenalin raced round my body, I was in full fight-or-flight mode. I was in the total grip of fear.
Holy shit! I was completely surrounded …