Last week I took a walk in the early evening behind the council estate where my flat is. There is a small pathway that goes uphill into the forest I can see from my window.
I walked passed a temple and some electric generator; then arrived under one of these gigantic highway pillars that are so common in the city. This one I had to stare at for a little longer because a large banyan tree was spreading from its base and it looked like one of these apocalyptic images where vegetation has overgrown a deserted human world.
I took to the right under the highway and arrived at a gate where I could hear dogs barking, excited by a cat meowing in the distance. It was a very strange meow, very loud, and it sounded so high-pitched I thought it might be a kitten. I followed the sound back down the pathway; two people were walking towards me. One of them was a young woman in sandals. She stopped in front of me as if I had caught her doing something wrong. Then rushed passed and as they were going disappearing in the curve further away, I heard her meowing and the dogs answer in my back.
Rather disappointed I started going uphill again. The path went from concrete to soil and from being a few meters wide to very narrow. Fences on both sides, enclosing large courtyards, stacked up terraces and smallish houses, barbed wire. In ten minutes I had gone from skyscrapers to a countryside landscape. I felt I was intruding and upon seeing the first people resting outside, I walked back. The night had fallen and there were a few orange street lights along the way. The dogs had gotten quiet. When I passed under the highway, I turned to look at the pillar again and there were two dark silhouettes, just underneath it, barely moving. I froze. Two dogs, growling. The rather deep and dry bed of a stream was between us. I stared at them like a deer ready to jump. Then decided they were not going to run after me and started walking again. They barked as if to say “Now, you know.”
I went back to the flat feeling I had left a portal to another place.