Written in dust

Dustcats are clearly flavour of the month, so here’s a bit more dustcatty goodness!

Dustcats sleep in the air, often floating in profoundly undignified positions. It makes them attractive to other sorts of cats, who will, if chance arises, lunge after their wafting tails and dangling tongues. On the whole, this causes the dustcats very little trouble.

To protect themselves while sleeping, dustcats exhale small clouds of dust intermittently. It is enough to inconvenience a would-be predator, and the ensuing coughs and sneezes will wake a vulnerable dustcat, usually giving it time to flee upwards. The lingering taste of dust makes it more tempting not to eat a dustcat, but merely to try and play with its tail without suffering too much. Sometimes small children will participate in this sport as well.

Theophrastus Frog is probably the only person, living and not living, to have paid much attention to the dust that emerges from the tongue of a sleeping dustcat. Often it is of no great consequence. Sometimes however, patterns emerge in the cloud of exhaled materials. A person might observe landscapes – familiar and unlikely. There may be faces – horrific or identifiable, or both.

Theophrastus Frog has kept a diary noting the forms the dust takes. Or at least, the forms he perceives, for there may be some element of interpretation involved. It gratifies him to know that on the day before he died, three different dustcats made a dustface that he recognised as his own. He wonders if there is a predictive quality to the images made of dust. He wonders if these might be fragments of dustcat dreams, given form. He wonders most often if it is just that he is entirely mad, and seeing images where no images exist.

In the dust, he has seen shipwrecks and monsters from the deep. He has seen views of the island as though from above, and wonders if dustcats themselves go high enough for such views. His own dustcats seldom leave the snug safety of the library. He does not think they can have witnessed these perspectives first hand. Do they share their dreams with some other being? Or does the island perhaps breathe out through them sometimes as they innocently exhale?

(This piece was originally posted on Patreon some years ago. Making comics is time consuming, and does not pay a living wage, so Patreon support is really helpful for keeping us going. https://www.patreon.com/NimueB )

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