Mirabelle the cat flattened her bones until she was more or less existing in only two dimensions, and slipped under the locked heavy wooden double doors of the Bazaar, rising from the floor on the other side as if re-inflated by the displaced air around her.
She took a moment to allow the scents to settle. Her eyes had immediately adjusted to the half light as the illumination from shafts of moonlight fell into the centre of the main hall and echoed out through trails of dust on either side. What she had to do. of course, was concentrate on switching frequencies in her feline vision so that her view was not crowded by the many hundreds of spirits that were wandering around the Bazaar, some repeating the same sequence of movements in an eternal loop, others seemingly more aware of their surroundings. Mirabelle did not want to see them today. She had learnt that they could not touch her, or, crucially, feed her, but it was mildly irritating when they obscured the clear line of sight to something that she could catch and eat.
She slunk along the dark side of the corridor, scanning the lunar powered spotlights for signs of small four legged movement, but was distracted by an unfamiliar smell that threatened to overpower even the normal assault of spices, rusting metals, dubious fabrics, ancient paper, and various dead things that continually collided in an olfactory whirlwind inside the hall. Something else was here, something that was alive and not alive at the same time.
Opening her jaws slightly she drew in more of the foreign scent. It was so sharp that it was almost painful, so she closed her mouth and began to track the invisible path down the corridor. Within a few steps she saw the new thing. It was a plant of some kind, a giant plant god of some sort, bigger than a man, and covered in spiny needles, like a million tiny claws. A memory that was not hers directly, but was preloaded into her species finally woke up - she knew now it was a tree, even if she had never seen one before. Why was it here? And how had it got in? Most importantly, could she eat it? It smelled strangely intoxicating. She sent a factional signal through the electrical centre of her brain and brought back the ghosts to try and get a clue.
The half solid people swarmed around the huge green plant, alternating pawing at it and then stopping to stand and stare. No one ate any of it. Mirabelle began to loose interest.
Just to be on the safe side, she thought that she should claim ownership of it anyway. Less hesitantly, she strode up to where it sat, murdered and imprisoned in a large metal basin, and rubbed the side of her face along the lowest branches, nonchalantly giving the very edge a little chew, just to see.
What she was not aware of was that in reaching up for that illicit taste of a forest she could never see, another inherent cat characteristic had kicked in. Her tail, consumed with the conflict of eat/don't eat began to thrash about in an sign of conflicted nerves, striking a small plastic box on the edge of the basin.
A carnival of light flashed across Mirabelle's startled eyes. Colours alternated patterns on the floor and, with diminishing strength as she raced back toward the door, onto her back. Flat once again, she exploded out into the familiar desert darkness. Her panic subsided and she pulled at it until it became anger. She turned towards the shack she shared with the shape they called Faziz and began to think about when she would let her claws out on him to restore her equilibrium.
Inside the Bazaar the lights played on, reflecting either on the empty stalls or the empty crowd depending whose eyes were not there to see.
I will celebrate a shoestring Saturnalia