by John Vallen
Rated: E · Short Story · Drama · #1982907
A really short account of someone somewhere.
It’s cold. My day is spent staring into oblivion, my nights under the eaves of this great tree. There’s a stream curling around its roots, coming from nowhere and after winding to the far edge, dropping off into eternity. The world shimmers, but my mind is dark—I don’t remember, but for flashes of faces and times forgotten. I am compelled by purpose, but all I know is this tree. It is my charge and my confession, we are adrift; if I could discern direction I would, but the undulating clouds of light and shadow leave me wayward without a compass. My only impulse is the pressure of ten thousand voices, blowing in from the depths of a past shrouded in mystery. They are faceless, but for brief glimpses, brief opportunities to connect with my mind—but they are quickly lost.
I am compelled by an urgency that resolves in stillness; a stimulus to life that feels like death. Even these words come to me across a distant void—I don’t know.
A face, pure and bright, visits me in this sleep; a dream that seems more alive than this tree, these roots, these undulating clouds of light and shadow. But I am pained, the face—a woman—inspires both anguish and love. She summons in the depths of my mind senses that are foreign to this place: smells damp with mystery and danger, images ripe with pain and desperation. I see blood, but also light. I feel cold.
The woman returns often, sometimes clad in gold and white, sometimes in wool and sickness. Always, she smiles, and always, I am pained. When she is gone, I tend to the tree—it is my charge and my love. My dreams are more vivid lately; I find myself in dense jungles, stricken with mortal fear. In snowy fields, overcome with grief. Still further, in bed with a woman—the same woman, I believe—given to the throws of love. The image of the tree is burned into each of these moments: every impression, a branch from its trunk, every sight, sound, and smell, one of the delicate leaves blowing in an invisible wind. I am still, in search of something, and it still resolves in quietude. The pain is less lately, the chasm between my past and future narrows with every breath I take.
I believe I know where I am going. Amid the undulating clouds of light and shadow there is one which is both—it is gold and flowing, yet black and empty. It seems that I am taking the tree there; always it rests on a horizon that does not exist, but is there. I know it; it lies at the end of the distance between where I came and where I go. The tree is heavy now like a dying star, sagging with weight in on itself; its rhythm is breaking. Still I labor it; my devotion is a resounding thrust that repels this nihilism, filled briefly with fidelity.
Though I know it is inevitable. This inimitable scarcity of purpose derived from total isolation, breaching a void of self that I hadn’t yet perceived. Mailys, Demeter, this woman. Me, myself, this man. I am half of a cosmos and a slave to the inevitable. My being, an illustrious depraved illusion: a deceptive interior delusion. The valley in the shadow of death is bright with gold.
the Tree died. the ground is cracked and the water dried. the cloud on the horizon, our destination, barely outside, but this world decayed now forever gone. the woman, gone. myself, gone. in the emptiness left a seed of truth. my body naked, painted black but for shreds of fetid flesh. my soul, golden tempest, clotting shadow like that that lay ahead—selfless but for my Self, meaningless but for its infinitude. into a void devoid intrinsically, snatches of life fade as I stare into the end for eternity itself bows before the novel nova, the genesis of being collapsed into holey clusters of entropy, spawning light and life by way of death. awed by the awful, I, however dark, transient, Am.
ego carapace shelling foetal flesh: first father, end for beginning—summation. eternal return, I speak to you. ascent, therefore anew. into hell though it lay with heaven in a snowy field, somewhere forgotten.
the cloud consumes, the Tree is born with me—tentacles of potential ensnare my cosmos ripping its body to seed. infinite hue strips bare the blind of illusion. I ascend. I ascend, over the dead for death.
ascent down onto the mountain for love. in peaces escape our self; escape in destruction.