It’s been about two weeks now since the episide with the stranger in the garden and as they say “all’s quiet on the western front”. In my case ‘all’s quiet’ everywhere. My hours of peace during the afternoons have returned to just that and there have been no more disturbances, except those perpetrated by my furry family and those I am well used to.
Some days ago I had an uneasy feeling that I was being watched. I had no evidence for this except that sixth sense we all seem to have about these sorts of things.
I did a quick check through the front window and there were no black SUVs in the street that could be surveillance vehicles and no men, or women, in trench coats watching the house from behind lampposts with binoculars in hand. Similarly a quick scout around the house brought up no cameras watching nor microphones recording my every conversation with the cats.
I did wonder if my phone was maybe being bugged but dismissed the idea as complete paranoia. That was until this evening.
I had just returned from a quick trip to the bar on the corner where I had enjoyed no more than three beers, maybe four. I dropped my keys into the bowl on the desk in the hallway and kicked my shoes off leaving them under the desk as normal.
Most times when I get home at least one or two of the cats comes to greet me and more often than not they all end up in the hallway to say hello and meander about as if they have a plan to fell me before I get to the living room. This evening I was the one meandering down the hallway, no cats in sight.
“Miserable lot, you all are. No greetings for me tonight?” I shouted ahead of me.”Got something more interesting to keep your attention have you?” I added.
On occasion the cats acted like a pack and caught a bird in the back garden. This could mean they would be occupied for sometime teasing the poor creature until it ran out of breath and chances. They would then get bored and search me out once more. I guessed they were deeply involved in this torturous game.
Coming into the living room I flicked the light switch, flooding the room with immediate light only to see the cats sitting on their various perches around the room staring at the sofa in the corner. I turned to see what was holding them so rapt and quiet and there, once more, was the oddly dressed stranger, although this time his jeans, shirt and jacket were much more in keeping with the time and soundings. They just didn’t seem to fit him well.
Once more my heart leapt into my mouth which had dried as a result of the surprise and my mind tumbled over itself for words with which to assault the interloper.
“You again?!” Was all I managed to blurt out.
The stranger held out his hands in a “guess so / you’ve got me there” gesture.
“Ok. This time I want some answers.” My mind had caught up with the situation and I intended to take charge. “Firstly who are you and how did you get in here this time?” There, the first questions were asked.
“I too am Saul.” Was his succinct reply.
The possibility of us sharing a first name was too much of a coincidence. “You’re joking,” I told him.
“Not at all. I am Saul.” He folded his arms across his chest in a manner that indicated further discussion on this detail would be useless.
“It’s not like it’s a common name,” I commented. “So the chances of a housebreaker breaking into my house with the same name as me must be millions to one.”
“Much greater than that,” Saul replied. “But I am no housebreaker.”
Up to this point the cats had staued in their places watching the interchange between us. All of a sudden they leapt up as one and shot through the door in a flash of fur, headed towards the garden. Arson, thus named for his flaming ginger coat, was just ahead of the others by the time they passed through the doorway and it was his howl that pierced my ears first from outside. I knew each of the cats voices as well as I knew the voices of family and friends.
“Do you always create such disturbances?” I asked of my visitor as I gave chase to find out what had made Arson screech so. “And stay put this time,” I told him. I wanted to find out more and didn’t want him disappearing while I was out of the room.
I didn’t catch his reply as I exited the living room but it must have been in the negative for when I came back in sometime later he had indeed gone.