I was halfway to work when Orëveriel appeared in the car. She was, once again, in the form of a calico cat, but this time done up fully in “English officer in India” safari getup.

“It is supposed to be cooler today, Vanyanan. Let’s go for a good walk.”

“That sounds great, but I’m on my way to work.”

“And you have oodles of vacation time. Hiking.”

“Now that you mention it, I wouldn’t mind seeing the waterfalls. There’s a park nearby with waterfalls, but I’ve never been there.”

And so, I emailed in, went home and changed into a t-shirt, grabbed my walking hat, and was off to find this park with waterfalls in Fort Worth.

Right from the start, things weren’t going well. I couldn’t find the parking lot, even with Google’s help. Eventually, I just parked on the side of the road where I could see a trail extending off into the woods.

I turned exercise-mode on the Fitbit, which prompted a sigh on the wind and Orëveriel’s voice whispering, “Forget the Green-god for a day, Vanyanan.” I ignored her and headed off onto the trail.

I hadn’t gone fifty feet before the rain started. I hadn’t changed into my hiking boots, because I had expected a paved trail, and it wasn’t long before my work shoes were covered in mud. Furthermore, the trail itself was not flat, and sometimes it wasn’t obvious that I was even on a real trail anymore. At more than one point I moved precariously down a muddy hill only to look back up it and say, “I’ll never make it back up. It’s too slick…” And a few times more I was pulling myself up a hill by tree roots that were exposed from the hillside. I was, needless to say, covered in mud before I had gone more than a mile.

“Well, Orëveriel. You said before you wanted me off paved trails. That I’d find Isil here, and Ainofiriano. Okay. I’m off the paved trail, and so far all I’ve got to show for it is sweat and mud.”

She didn’t answer. Pft. Just like Orëveriel to disappear just as soon as one of her ridiculous impulses turned unpleasant. I did however frighten something else, some large animal, likely a deer, that heard my voice and bolted deeper into the brush.

I proceeded. More hills, more mud. My heart was racing, I was lost, and I wasn’t sure that even if I knew my way back, I’d be able to get back up any of the hills I’d gone down. Lake Worth was always at my right side, and more than once I thought a rock would give way, or a root or branch I depended on would fail me, and I would tumble down a hundred feet or more into the water.

“Alright, Orëveriel. Enough. I’m off the paved roads. I’m covered in mud. I’m late to visit my mother. I have choir practice in just a few hours. I didn’t think to even bring water, you had me in such a rush. This sucks! You said waterfalls, and I haven’t seen a single damn one!”

She appeared just a little further up on the trail, at the top of a hill of loose rocks that looked…not safe…to climb. “I didn’t promise you waterfalls, Vanyanan!”

“Sure. Fine. Where is Isil? Where’s Terabithia? Where’s Ainofirano? This is just mud and sweat!”

The cat shrugged, “I gave you the goat man.”


“The goat man of Lake Worth. You saw him.”

I stopped half way up the hill, clutching a rock, “When did you show me the goat man? There’s no fucking goat man of Lake Worth! It’s a campfire story for teenagers!”

“Maybe it’s a story, but he was there, on the trail an hour ago. You didn’t see him?”

“That was a deer!”

“So, you didn’t see him. Pity.” She licked her paw. “He follows Isil, you know.”

“Sure, that I believe.”

She looked at me silently a moment, then said slowly, “Are you coming?”

I sighed, didn’t answer, and resumed my climb. Five minutes later I was standing beside her at the top of the hill, glaring at her, and she looking calmly at me, the faintest hint of a feline smile.

“Give up on the Green God, Vanyanan.”

“I don’t follow the Green God.”

“Pft.” was her answer and she started walking again.

My eyes followed her, and I collapsed against a tree.

“Orëveriel…Orëveriel! Is that what I think it is?”

“The goat man? No. No, Vanyanan, that is a dam.”

“It’s the flood control dam. It’s the dam from my dream. Orëveriel, I used to dream about this exact dam!”

She looked at me calmly, and after a long pause, said, slowly, “It’s a dam, Vanyanan. They all pretty much look the same.”

“No, it was this dam!”

“Oh.” She looked at the dam, and after a moment said, “I’m sure you’ve just been here before.”


“Anyway, the waterfalls are over here…” She looked back with a smirk, “…on the other side of the dam.”

“Orëveriel, I thought it was something from Zork all this time. That my dream invented an image from Zork…”

Orëveriel stopped answering, and was making her way towards the dam and the waterfalls.

“Was it really the goat man?”

Without looking back, she said, “It was probably a deer. And, you’ve probably seen this dam before, outside your dream, I mean.”

I followed and as we were standing on the hill looking out over the water falls, she said, “Just like I’m sure all your prayers to the Green God are efficacious and his benedictions reliable.”

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14 August 2019