By Contributing Author/Artist Carl Franz
Illustrations by Emma Franz
By Contributing Author/Artist Carl Franz
Illustrations by Emma Franz
Something had been digging up my veg plot.
Determined to discover what despicable critter was set on ruining my precious crops, I sneaked out one night into the garden.
The torch picked out the path with a weak yellow ellipse at my feet. Recharging the batteries might have been a good idea I suppose.
Despite my lack of foresight I managed to navigate unscathed as far as the beetroot patch.
Or what was left of it. The remaining plants cringed nervously amidst the empty hollows where their siblings once thrived.
I played the jaundiced light over the tender leaves. They responded with a yoyo-ing shadow dance but yielded no further evidence.
As I left I made one final sweep around the garden. The gangly form of the bean sticks froze in the torch light as if caught playing statues in the dark.
I wandered over to my bony companions.
The beans were still displaying their beautiful and delicate flowers.
The violet petals never looked so perfect and so incredibly beautiful as they did by night.
I marvelled at their fragile elegance, fearlessly blind under the black sky.
Lost in thought I hardly noticed the first of the fine cobwebby strands of intelligence sweeping over me.
I was being observed.
The sensitive touch alone was enough to inform me that this was a non-human presence.
We humans, even the most gentle of our kind can be remarkably blunt in empathic conversation.
Resisting the instinctive temptation to turn and catch it in the torch beam I exhaled slowly to calm and centre myself. As I did, my mind's senses unsheathed and rippled out through the night's velvet robes to explore.
The unknown creature was still casually observing me.
Successfully turning the tables on my somewhat short and hapless spying career.
I sensed the mind of a calm and confident personality. An intelligence imbued with subtle senses which still lightly feathered over me.
I felt a very relaxed playful acceptance from the creature. More than that, I was considered a familiar figure, hardly warranting more than faint curiosity.
Familiar? Wait a minute. Then it knew me?
I wondered if I was in the company of an elemental.
But what elemental could be so familiar with me?
Surely I must have at least some inkling?
Intrigued, I reached out an inquisitive feeler.
Easy, easy. The elementals are very sensitive entities, I reminded myself.
I knew my visitor was just a few metres behind me. That much was clear. But I should have picked up much more than that.
Already anticipating the bright humour-spiced mentality of the elemental, I searched a little deeper.
But I was disappointed to find no such pleasurable exchange.
This inexplicable lack of response was something new and curious.
I stretched out still further. The peripheral of the elemental's consciousness had to be there.
Still nothing. Was it moving away?
Forgetting my previous reserve I chased after it.
Then at last I began to feel something. It was a much slower-moving mind than expected. That would account for the unusually distanced feeling.
A shiver ran through me. There were, I recalled, some very large and fortunately very gentle elementals to be found in the garden.
It was rare for me to perceive them.
Could it be one of those? I dismissed the idea. No, that would have been an experience far too powerful and awesome to confuse with anything else.
So just what was going on here in (my?) garden, I asked myself.
Fuelled by an intoxicating mix of frustration and avid curiosity my senses swooped outwards, abandoning all polite decorum along the way.
My target was much closer than I suspected though, and I met it with unstoppable velocity.
The energy of the senses has of course no inertia. It can speed, stop and change direction instantly. But that is not the case with my somewhat denser mind.
I confess, I blundered full into the poor creature.
To my surprise I was simply absorbed. We melded gently together with graceful ease.
At once a clamour of extrinsic sensations overwhelmed me.
I might have immediately ejected myself from the foreign environment. But then the identity of my mysterious creature filtered through to me.
He and I were in fact well acquainted.
The puzzle was finally solved.
Of course, it all fitted perfectly. The calm playful nature. The passive acceptance and the slightly arrogant, confident attitude.
My garden visitor in the night was none other than the neighbour's cat, Henry.
No harm had been done. Henry was typically relaxed about the whole situation. In fact he seemed quite happy to accommodate his garden gatecrasher. Encouraged by his kind hospitality I decided to stay for a little while to share and enjoy his perception of the world.
Henry's view of our garden was far brighter and more vibrant than mine could ever be.
His pale green night-sight eyes transformed the dark waters of the night's ocean into a blue-grey jungle.
The foliage around him was a magical pencil-etched forest. It reached up into the violet air, which had become a shell curving protectively over our secret garden.
I (we) yawned with contemptuous boredom, which brought my attention to the length and shape of our fur-clad jaw. It protruded much further forward than my own. Somewhere far away my own jaw attempted to lengthen. My chin likewise lifted, imitating the angle of his.
Our eyes were deep set and felt oddly high placed. Between them a fuzzy nose ran down in a ridge, which ended just above our sharp upper teeth.
A very practical arrangement for pincering lively delicacies.
Something fluttered above us. A moth perhaps? We followed the arc of its flight path precisely, simply by the faint fluttering of its wings.
I felt my own far away head, attempting to mimic the same movement as Henry's. It is however impossible for a human skull to pivot in such a manner.
The wrench of conflicting biology returned me to my own body.
Momentarily disorientated, I found myself enclosed within a round boulder of bone. This, I realised, was my own human head, which balanced precariously on a high ledge formed by my shoulders.
My sharp-clawed feline senses slipped away, leaving me with dull sleepy fingers of perception. They pressed in vain against the thick blanket of muffled dark around me. With no cat's eyes to assist me I was reduced to fumbling with the torch to find Henry.
The white splodges on his fur gave him away. He had lost interest in the moth and was casually strolling towards me.
Henry paused at the beetroot patch to sniff around the remaining plants.
Having made his decision, he then began scooping out one of the delicate seedlings to make room for a suitable hollow.
“Henry!” I growled through gritted teeth.
He languidly eyed me.
“What?” he innocently inquired.
About the Author:
I am a retired engineer living in the beautiful countryside of Yorkshire, England. Often to be found striding along the country paths alongside the rivers, or ambling through the local woods, lost in my thoughts and happy as a lark. I enjoy painting and writing. Through them, I try to describe the spiritual experiences encountered during my daily and nocturnal travels. These experiences have always heavily influenced my life and now I have time to explore them and perhaps share my deep interest in all peaceful spiritual practices which celebrate and respect nature.
Carl Franz can be contacted at: