(Writing by Issa Dioume & Picture: by artist – V)
Sometimes, before shutting my eyelids and drifting into deep slumber, I imagine a miniscule-looking black cat standing firmly atop clouds, around midnight; bathing in the moonlight. Like a piece of charcoal in the night’s sky; only made visible by the grey clouds beneath its paws and a tail-shaped lantern. How he got there is a mystery. When I think of what its name must be, all that comes to mind is Ruby. Ruby the cat: a cat sailing the clouds of the sky at night when the sun is no longer bright and the moon has come shine in its place. Darkness suffused through and through like a dark mantle with tiny beads of light. The clouds leave trails in the sky as they drift by like exhaust pipes of city cars or factories.
Ruby’s coat matches the night, but it’s blue eyes match the day. Sometimes I wonder: what is Ruby doing up there? all alone. Perhaps lost and unable to find the way back to the moon. Calling out every night for it to come down and bring him back to his world of magical cats. Or, perhaps, Ruby is just a cat and sleeps eighteen hours a day waking only at night to chase around cloudmice or starbirds. That sounds like it would be fun.
Sometimes, I am Ruby and just let myself drift along looking down at the kaleidoscopic landscape, sharpening my claws on some cloud rock. Yawning as I feel the zephyr blowing in the welkin. Walking on the edge of the veils coating the heavens, opening my mighty jaw. A powerful roar streaming out, echoing throughout the stratosphere.
As I stand ,proud as a lion, watching the cloudmice run away in fear. I feel like the king of the ether jungle.
Then sleep ineluctably clocks in and I sail away into the river of dreams.