Temple of the Moon
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Iris Yefremov 11/11/2022 8:15pm
They don’t allow cats in the dorms. They allow fish and hermit crabs and various forms of ectoplasmic familiars. But no birds, no dogs, no cats. No pets with poop you can step in, I guess.
“It’s not on account of the poop,” said my cat. “But it’s a good cover story.”
My cat is never shy with her opinions.
“It’s to control the gods,” she continued. “The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one. Keeps them out of the dorms.”
I had been unaware of this policy.
“That’s because you spend all your time in that Hall of Numbers of yours,” she said.
After dinner, we spent some time planning next week’s menu, then hung out on my bed together listening to music. I figured it was a better night to stay in and not visit the Hall of Numbers.
God that cat box is really starting to stink.
Iris Yefremov 11/16/2022 10:36pm
Since cats aren't allowed in the dorms, you have to be a bit sneaky about disposing of the kitty litter. Because if you get caught--
"Hey there! Iris! I see you have procured the consecrated sand!"
It was Doobermann, the RA.
"What's up doobs? Yeah I'm just... headed to the dumpster! I, uh, broke an hourglass. And a plant fell over. Science experiment."
Doobermann was usually pretty spacey. It's part of why I could get away with having a cat in my room.
"Ha ha, yeah, sure." He gave me a big phony wink. "That's right! We keep it on the downlow. Hey, it's dark. I'll walk you there. C'mon -- let's go."
Doobermann headed out the door and into the commons. There was moonlight on the sidewalks and the grass.
It looked like my jig was up.
Iris Yefremov 11/25/2022 4:20pm
Doobermann wasn't taking me to the administration building. Or to the office of Esoteric Security. Or even to the dumpster.
"And here we are!" said Doobermann. He looked at me like he wanted a treat.
We were down on lower campus, in a nook of the gardens I didn't recognize. Maybe it was the moonlight. It was a small house made of stone. The entryway was dark. Maybe it was a pool house? But where was the pool?
"The Temple of the Moon," he said. Then he got down on all fours and sniffed the ground.
"Uh. Ok. Thanks," I said. "Why are we here?"
"For the SAND, man!" he said, getting up off the ground. "I thought you'd done this before."
He was referring to the sack of used kitty litter in my hands. The one I wasn't supposed to have.
"Oh! Uh... cool. Do I just dump it on the ground here?"
"'Do I just dump it on the ground here?' Jeesh! Why do you even have a cat?"
I really did not know what to say. I like pets? I'm lonely because I spend most of my time in the Hall of Numbers? Pets give us unconditional affection and--
"Aw, c'mon. Time to pay the piper," he said, and walked into the pool house.
Iris Yefremov 11/28/2022 10:24pm
Inside the pool house the air was fresher than I expected. Not moldy and abandoned smelling like you'd guess. It was like spring, when the world was new.
Doobermann was sparking a lighter.
"A torch? Seriously?" I asked as the flame lit up. "That doesn't seem safe. What if it catches fire in here?"
"Made of stone," he said, watching it burn. "And you can't use a flashlight, anyway."
Doobermann raised the torch and lit up the room. Turned out there was a pool in there, but it was filled with sand.
"Okay!" he said. "Sprinkle away!"
It all seemed like an overly complex way to get rid of old kitty litter, but I untied the little garbage bag and poured it in.
Shadows rustled on the far side of the pool A bird-headed one, a dog-headed one, and a cat-headed one.
I suddenly felt irrationally nervous about dumping the used kitty litter into the pool. But when I looked into the sand, there were no clumps. No crusty kitty poo.
And everything smelled great.
"Okay! Time to go," said Doobermann, snuffing out the torch.
I was fine with that. I couldn't say why but I really wanted to get out of there.
"Yeah, it's a lot," said Doobermann as we started the hike back to the dorms.
On the way, we ran into @Moon Kyle
"Evening, pet lovers!" Moon Kyle said.
God did everybody know about my cat?
Moon Kyle 12/1/2022 11:23pm
"So, you must really be into ancient Egyptian stuff, huh?"
People are always asking me that.
"No, not really," I told @Iris Yefremov
"But, the 'Temple of the Moon' and all that," she said. "The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one. Were you like, worshipping or something? I mean, that's totally fine and not weird at all. Oh god am I being weird about your religion? Because I am totally not racist I swear..."
"No. I mean yes. Well, you are being weird." I didn't mean to embarrass her. "But you're the ones who were making an offering, right?"
Iris looked surprised. Doobermann had a hangdog expression.
I was a little out of practice doing my psychic vigilante thing, but I stood up straight and put my fists on my hips and tried to look credible.
"I am a friend to all the creatures of the night," I said. "But mostly the raccoons, the possums, and the skunks."
Iris and Doobermann nodded like they knew what I was talking about. But I don't think they did.
Moon Kyle 12/12/2022 10:38pm
I have a kinship with the animals of the night. The suburban night. The raccoons, the possums, the skunks. Especially the skunks. And the bats. The owls. Fireflies if I'm lucky. The occasional mole. Rats.
Naturally, many of them are attracted by garbage cans. Unnaturally, they're attracted by the Temple of the Moon.
There's really nothing "natural" about the Temple of the Moon -- it's inhabited by the manifestation of human imagination, anthropomorphized human-animal hybrid intellects, springing from our earliest dreams and stories around campfires in caves. Powerful and real, but just as much a human made intrusion into the natural world as a strip mall.
If there's one thing we share in common with the gods of the temple it's the moon. All creatures have a sense of the moon. Even when you can't see it, knowing where it is helps you navigate the darkness. It's a beacon whether it's risen or it stays beneath the horizon. Understanding its position at all times helps you triangulate the unknown.
Which is why I sometimes parley with the gods of the Temple of the Moon.
Moon Kyle 1/2/2023 6:07pm
“Quite a moon out tonight,” the bird-headed one said.
“Sure is,” I said.
We were hanging out in the little yard around the Temple of the Moon.
“Still getting bigger,” the dog-headed one said.
The dog-headed one spoke with a commanding bark. One of the raccoons stood up on its hind legs for a minute to check us out, then went back to foraging.
The cat-headed one didn’t say anything. It just stared at the moon.
Moon Kyle 1/8/2023 10:07pm
The nocturnal animals and I enjoy a bit of night golf.
"Fore!" I holler in the moonlight. Don't want to hit a possum in the head.
I've got just one club. It's a seven iron, I found in the dumpster behind the tarot and palm reading place. Challenge, competition, protection, perseverance. Though reversed, it's exhaustion, giving up, and being overwhelmed. Which, obviously, you're bound to be if you use it reversed.
My night vision is, of course, pretty good. But the possums have surprisingly good night vision too. Plus, they tend to be more attentive than the skunks and the raccoons.
"Thanks Bessie!" I call back. "I see you! Heading there now."
The golf course is on the far end of the forest from school. The skunks have been trying to work a deal with the beavers to damn up the streams and flood the course and drive the humans out. But the beavers are skittish about making any big moves. Especially with the nutria already on the "shoot on sight" list.
I'm on the green now, and can make par if I make this putt. Which is a little bit of a trick with a seven iron.
The full moon has passed. It's getting smaller now, but still gibbous.
I think about the bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one. They generally don't leave the temple. But I wonder if they could be convinced to--
"Oh... so close!" says Bessie.
Moon Kyle 1/16/2023 10:06pm
We discussed it over dinner. The dumpster behind the staff cafeteria is always well stocked, and it's close enough to a stream in the woods to accommodate the raccoons.
"Hey! It's Croque Monsieur night!" said Misty Skunk.
"No, that's Tuesdays," said Bessie.
"I dunno... seems like a sack of Croque Monsieur to me," Misty answered, pulling out a pair of neatly cut sandwich halves. Melted cheese glinted in the moonlight.
"The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one would never agree to move against the golf course," said Richard Raccoon. "They aren't into the 'take back the land' thing at all. They're the gods of the Indoor Animals."
This was true, but wasn't there some common ground between us?
"Not at all," continued Richard. "The bird-headed one: total caged bird. Not a goose at all, amirite?"
The bird-headed one was very colorful, and did tend to preen.
"And the dog-headed one," he continued, "well, not a 'wild' dog, is he?"
It's true the dog-headed one was exceptionally well groomed.
"And the cat... still a killer, but she's no mountain lion, is she?"
It was easy to pick on the cat-headed one, because she was so standoffish.
"Ewwww, what's this?" Bessie asked, tossing a small drawstring garbage bag my way. It felt like it was filled with lumpy sand, and smelled---
"Oh god it's that cat poop," Misty said. "Disgusting. A complete abomination. Everything about it."
"At least it was sealed up good. Didn't get on everything," said Richard, taking a bite of his Croque Monsieur."
I picked up the sack of litter.
I figured I could at least bring them a gift.
Moon Kyle 1/21/2023 10:03pm
"You have a cat?" asked the bird-headed one.
I was sprinkling the sack of kitty litter into the sand pit in the Temple of the Moon, and the bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one appeared on the altar stage.
"Oh, no, not me. I just happened to run into this, and knew it was your kind of thing," I said.
The bird-headed one, the dog-headed one, and the cat-headed one looked at each other.
"Allow me to let you in on a secret, kid," said the dog-headed one, "since we're all kinda in the same biz." The dog-headed one somehow said this with a stubby cigar hanging out the side of his mouth. "It ain't about the poop."
"It's about people," said the cat-headed one. It was unusual for her to say anything at all. "It's about access," she continued. She slinked off the side of the altar and walked along the perimeter of the pit of sand. "We need people on the inside. Avatars. Birds in people's homes. Dogs in people's homes. Cats in people's homes. So long as we have a presence, we're not forgotten."
"People serve them, and through that service serve us," added the bird-headed one.
"Well, you see," I said. "That's what I want to talk about."
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