The Cats of Istanbul: Author's Note

Author's Note

As the story of the cats of Istanbul began to unfold, I found myself increasingly bound by the plot. As though a fly caught within a web, the strands of secretion, so interesting to behold, somehow became wrapped about my fingers and pen, and then so too about my arms and legs, until I found my very spirit rising and falling with the changing prospects of these characters that I had grown to love or hate according to their merit. Had I too not become a character in this plot by writing it down?

To hear the princess recount the early insights of the cats into this new technology set my soul in shivers. It seemed clear that it had been used on the Sultan, in this very palace, in which now I found myself residing, either by the princess' side or sleeping when I was not. So too then I considered might it be relevant to my own situation - could it explain my arrest in the Grand Bazaar? It seemed possible also that the presence in the hospital of the princess and the former members of the palace staff was also to be explained through the use of this new mysterious power. 

My mind began to reel as it slipped through interrelated layers of ambiguity. What was there now to hold on to?

If I accepted that such technology existed, it was conceptually possible that everything before my five senses was fabrication. If this was so then I was truly lost. Still, I took heart, for neither the princess nor the cats had presented it as so. It seemed that the victims contained within this history were only affected, not entirely deluded. Anyway it was a cause for great uncertainty, and thus concern. I was uneasy about suggesting it to the princess, but it occurred to me that this technology was the cause of her belief in talking cats. I also wondered what, if they could read our minds, and so knew of our sessions together, these people thought of me writing down this story. I assumed, as they had not tried to stop me, that they wanted me to be doing exactly this. But then why? 

I decided that I was obliged to discuss my fears with the princess, but before I had opened my mouth to do so she said,

'What is done cannot be undone. What will be will be. I do not waste my time, and if I didn't think you had a chance I would not be talking to you.'

She then smiled sweetly and asked that I dare not interrupt her again. 

Even if I could not discuss it with her, I was resolved to understand this matter further. The next time I saw the palace doctor I demanded to be taken to the British Embassy, that I might raise the alarm, of my detention in this hospital, and of the threat to our civilisation. 

The palace doctor was unmoved.

'Don't worry' he said, 'you must stay calm, for your own sake. As soon as the princess has finished her story you will be on your way. And please, no more mention of the British, we are very well acquainted with them, and they know all about your illness already. They are more than happy that you should receive our hospitality.'