Fiction logo

Birds Do Not Sing In Caves

By Christian P. Benotto

By Christian P. BenottoPublished 25 days ago 60 min read

Birds Do Not Sing in Caves

By Christian P. Benotto

I

The sun bathed the curved heather in a sort of golden gleam, the mauve heathers shone beautifully under the lovingly warmth of the scorching luminal, their ravishing pallor of violet that gave the stooped land a certain amiable countenance. The heather extended in such a way that it stretched over the rocky alps like a young woman whose nude body gleamed golden, washed in perspiration and the splendor of such a magnificent ardent beast. The sea washed against the high mountainous cliffs that stood before the littoral, the holler of the ocean as it crashed against the latter, her wallowing waves curving and melting into one another in a single aphrodisiac motion. The plains followed the cliff until these led to a steep fall into a lonely abyss of sea and land, these plains also followed the mountainous range that extended in such a way that their feeble body met with the megalithic mount that stood before them. The mount, was truly a behemoth, a beauteous woman of such a height that her edged peaks were shrouded from the eyes of people by the clouds, of such stout limbs that they crashed into the earth and the skies in a single stretch of land, of such caramel skin that her gleaming sides were engulfed in that same golden veil that covered all of the land. She was dressed in a white cloak that opened at the front, leaving her verdant skin from the navel to the breasts visible to the watchful eye of the mortals that could not even touch the reflection of her silhouetted skin. Her vigil peaks penetrated through the clouds and went past them, standing as if it were a stagnant goddess, asleep. She was covered in the flora and snow that had accumulated over the many millennia that she had been asleep. Her shrouded peaks never had storms and she was basked in a cloudless ether that housed the Gods. She was created from the ardent fires that once engulfed the earth and now engulfed Hades, she was forged from the blood of the Titans that had fallen lower than the Olympic Gods themselves, for they had fallen onto the arid land that would later become the land of men.

Not long after, Prometheus caused for the dust of the earth to amalgamate into three pieces of mud that slowly amounted to such a degree that it formed the silhouette of three upright men, made in likeness to the Gods that predeceased them, yet not quite so, for man was not the flesh, but what existed somewhere in the recondite and vacant corners of his body, and in these, there existed nothing but a void, one that presently appeared in their lusterless eyes. The soul and spirit of man had to be blown into them like the gales of May that soared the skies, an ether, a divine, rational, pure, and implacable majestic beast that was to exist for forever and forever and forever. It was after the gales of wind blew to and fro into the carcasses of each of them that they would later become human. Three sexes of humans were created, the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the androgyne of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth. This last one was created with two palpable hearts intertwined as one, with eyes like Aphrodite, with a rising and falling chest, with an existence unavoidably, and undeniably his. This primeval man was round like the silver orb that passed at night, his back and sides formed a circle. He had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking north and south, as two halves of a lighthouse that stared watchfully into the darkened waves. This man was also constituted of four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright like the Gods, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace. He found great pleasure in this himself as he whirled down the curved heather, guffawing the entire way down as the heathers brushed against his soft cheeks, and he felt each individual touch of every mauve flower. His cheeks turned crimson. His heads were in a way melted into the other, and at times it was as if these halves shared the same mind, but this was obviously untrue, for both their natures were of opposite paths and not one could be arranged in such a way as to make a single entity. This man was not made into a single being like the other men due to the necessity of the duality that lurked under his nude skin, for even though he was a single body, he worked as two different beings, two different set of eyes of contrasting visions, one that looked north and one that looked south, but due to them staring into that never ending horizon that reached the far extents of the place where the sun was born, somewhere a place they could not reach. He knew that even as a single being he could not be thoroughly as one, he could not have one heart, two eyes, or two legs, for his completion laid in that separate and seemingly independent attribute of both that made him so frantically dependent on the other; each step had to be taken with both partaking, (though this might occur unconsciously). In the same manner, each step ought to be taken together, as a single movement, taken by two uniquely separated yet amalgamated beings that worked as a single one, for this man was made from the moon, the unison of sun and earth. Yet still, though one side of this man may not have wished it to be, still, they walked together, in this unison that was so unavoidably his; the ties of skin and spirit which held them together could hold them in absolute unity even though they at times held extreme contrasting actions. It was of such an extent, that if at some point one half was to be killed, the other one would die soon after, like the body after the heart halts. It was during this time, when this man roamed the earth, that the winds soared with joy, the sea’s holler turned to a sweet singing melody, and the trees all waltzed on the land, even apollo climbed down the steps of the Heavens with his lyre to play for all these new men, “Glory to the Gods!” They all shouted as one.

The gods enjoyed this above all, they had created the men out of their own cosmical enjoyment, for how entertaining it was to see those amalgamating bodies tumble down the plains. Their enjoyment was great when the heads could not decide on where to turn, or when some affliction bore heavily at them as if they were little children. To the gods, those creatures were the jesters, and those who placed the gods in such a desired height. The celestial council functioned as it always did, while somewhere on earth the men loved and tumbled down the hills. These men were of such stubborn mentality that they would climb up hills of considerable size to then tumble down into the heather once more, and in their actions, there was no true purpose, though they believed that it was that which caused for the sun to go under the horizon. Similarly, they believed that if they did not do that, their bodies would burn to death. Almost desperately, the men would halt eating and drinking to serve the gods, and in this manner, they would tumble down and clamber up until the sun was to fall behind the horizon and they would then consider their task done. Tired, beyond exhaustion, the men would then lay on the heather, recuperate, to go on with the same acts the very next day, while in the celestial council there was the overcrowding voices of the gods arguing over some celestial matter.

Soon they were to discover how terrible the Androgyne’s might and strength was, for the thoughts of their hearts were great, so much so that even at war they rejoiced at the heather, wallowing like loving felines. One day though, they all gathered, and they made an attack upon the gods, all steadily stomping and climbing towards Mount Olympus with their chest plates and spears. They were the men that dared to escalate heaven, and would have been remembered as the only who ever tried to lay hands upon the gods. Doubt reigned as a thickening mist appeared in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race, as they had done the giants? No, for then there would be an end to the sacrifices, their jester, and worship which men offered to them, and that would simply not have been an option, for if so, the chasm between Gods and humans would suddenly become miniscule and one that could be jumped over with almost no difficulty, for what is man reduced to but gods after the latter has failed at being so. At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. He spoke thus,

“I have a plan which will humble their pride, and make these beast into the men that we had once molded; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two with a lightning bolt and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us.” He said. The mist by now had settled all over him, but his voice gleamed in such luminosity that Olympus again shone like the sun.

“They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg. That would then be dignitary of a true buffoon.” He spoke.

A storm of raining thunder bolts suddenly fell upon the earth, and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as one might divide an egg with a hair. As Zeus cut them one after another, he bade Apollo give the face and the half of the neck a turn in order that the man might contemplate the section of himself. He would thus learn a lesson, and that none hitherto bestowed the power of man, for none of woman born can or will lay a hand upon the gods. Apollo was also bidden to heal their wounds and compose their forms. He gave a turn to the face and pulled the skin from the sides all over that which is the belly, like the purses which draw in, and he made one mouth at the center, which he fastened in a knot, which became the navel. He also molded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker might smooth leather upon a last; he left a few, however, in the region of the belly and navel, as a memorial of the primeval state. Once more, to the celestial council it was as if the men had never existed. After the division, the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one as a single vine, they were on the point of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart. It was the worst of all when one of the halves died and the other survived, for the latter would soon after succumb to his torn spirit, and his corroded heart. This way it was to remain for the rest of the existence of man, a constant and almost eternal yearning for the other, until this other half was found, and at once they would become intertwined like two growing trees that at some point find their fates interweaving at the center, and from then on they would grow as a single tree, yet existing with their contrasting duality, and always, always, at the brink of death, and the mercy of the latter. For the joyful and feline eyes stared, and from staring they never were tired.

The men were then scattered all around the world, and soon, they indulged in all sorts of pleasure as an attempt at forgetting the other body that for so many centuries had been attached to them, at least to a level which they did not conceive. Finally, one night, Zeus, in the behavioral trend of a drunkard cut the string that held them to the other. Humanity then became absolute, undetermined, slaves of the Gods, and here, reader, our story begins!

II

One autumn night, as the darkened sky flared flashes of ardent rocks, all of which seemed to burn with their blazing tails, amongst the flickering and miniscule luminals of the sky, a man was seen in great haste. This man was Zeno of Cynossema, he was a man of serious countenance and sad eyes, of which were surrounded by dark rings of sleepless nights. He was a languid man, very thin, though not of the likes of the ill-stricken, but rather that thinness that comes at the changing times of the year. He was dressed in ragged robes and was in great haste and visible agitation placing objects into a simple bag of cloth he had made. His eyes of decaying luster stared into the darkened horizon to see the endless waves of dark that at times flashed bright ardent colors, which burned with their tails the sky, leaving the latter lacerated, and the stars with a solemn acerbic itch in their throat. He could see the colossal ships with their megalithic masts that posed monstrous silhouettes onto the sea, and the little men that stood at the sides of the vessel, all with the same anxious fire that burned somewhere in their empty stomachs. Then, tranquility would mistakenly fall upon his view as the flaring comets of red came to a halt, while in the south, the other ships burned greatly. He turned his view away as tears balanced themselves on his eyelid as if they were swaying on a hammock, while the stars pulled the great curtain of darkness that surrounded them and hid under it, for the view was too much to bear. Soon after, he grabbed his little bag and left. In the room there ruled a pressing mist of loneliness that stretched his hand out of the aperture, just to feel the unbreathable air.

Zeno placed a piece of cloth against his mouth, every breath felt as if the humid and ardent workshop of Hephaestus was being buried into the depths of his throat. He walked hastily, without precise knowledge of where he was to go, but with the certainty that at some point he was to arrive somewhere. It did not matter so much the destination then, as it did the fact that he was to escape his nameless country. Some star stood its little white flaring head out, and him, listening for a moment to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon that star, figured then that for all of his existence he had truly loved his country, and it did not seem to be him as such till the moment on which he was forced to leave. “If I could spend just another season with you…” He whispered under his breath. Never had he thought he would be forced out of his home, exiled out of the aquarelle which painted his skies, or the loving warmth with which he was received. He trudged with his head lowered through the empty streets of cobblestone, and to his side, there was the sea of dark. It was a sea of unquenchable fire, the skies and clouds were ablaze, the stars were trembling in their little corners as the treacherous beast of incarnadine fangs breathed into them mountains of red swirling flames. The blaze, like huge sea waves, would suddenly surge up, rising to the blazing sky and then falling into the fiery ocean. Zeno’s lips trembled, and his legs suddenly grew weak. Meanwhile in his home, there stood a pale woman next to the aperture, a phantasm, it was solitude. And the solitude of his home would stretch her hand out of the aperture to try and beckon anyone into her home, because that night, even solitude was alone. Her beautiful old and contorted body would melancholically waltz from the aperture to her bed, and from her bed to the aperture, with the lonesome hope of ever seeing anyone again. “They ought to come back, they always do.” She would whisper painfully in between sobs every night.

Zeno walked for such a stretch of land that at last he found himself in some recondite corner of the world, where the only thing seen was the great smoke that went off into the wind that swirled up onto the sky. He was at a place where the stars had now grown ill and had even been opaqued by the great smoke. If one listened closely, one could even hear the coughing stars. At this hidden corner, he saw a cave on which the dark cerulean water flowed in. He slowly paced down the steep and mountainous terrain of dirt that led to the littoral, and at contact with the water his robe turned a darker shade as the cold penetrated into his bones through his nude feet. Meanwhile, in his hand was a torch that illuminated the cave with a dim flame. In the cave, covered by hanging vines, he saw a beautiful skiff. She was a petite boat of miniscule expressions, her sides were languid, and she seemed only a tiny thing against the infinity of the sea. He got in with a certain modesty which he kept only to himself, for he had stepped into the beautiful and miniscule angel that stretched over the romping waves, her young body had never looked as ravishing as then, and it was all for himself, yet he had attached to her no property whatsoever. The sea was blissfully silent, it was as if the unquenchable battle of fiery comets had come to a halt. He dipped the oars into the profound waters, feeling their balanced weight upon his hands, the creak of the oarlocks, the wooden hull, and the gentle swish of water against the hull of the skiff, which were the only sounds, presently, at sea. He rowed and rowed for what seemed like an eternity, for as soon as he came out of the cave, he completely detached himself from the littoral, the calling of his home, and the ablaze sea that awaited him at the other side of the peninsula. He saw, though rather faintly, at the edge of the peninsula, his home being engulfed by the flames, and the pale apparition of solitude practicing a sad smile through the aperture.

III

Once he had made it to the littoral, Zeno went in for the main avenue of the new land he had discovered, in here, he found many officials dressed in their cloaks, and slaves with just enough covering for one to not turn to the obscene. He figured that there must be the white wings of some bird fluttering somewhere for when he stepped forth towards the officials, their countenance was that of a man who had just seen a murderer. His throat was parched, and due to this, he approached the man with the inquiry of water in mind. He pressed lightly against a tall man’s bulging shoulder to which he responded with an abrupt turn and pointed his spear to his face.

“Who are you citizen?” Pronounced the soldier firmly.

“I’m Zeno of Cynossema.” He said in a tremble.

At once Zeno realized his mistake, a slip of the tongue it was! He realized his mistake when the man forayed him with the back of the shaft in the leg, causing him to tumble down into the ground. Zeno, in great pain and distress looked at the stagnant rows of slaves, and in them he could recognize people that had walked amongst him as free men. Men who had at some point had any sort of luster in the eyes, and whose physiognomy seemed healthy, were now decomposing carcasses that walked, for they had all been stripped of their humanity. He could briefly see them as men, for they were far enough for him to not discern their individual blemishes, yet close enough for him to recognize their individual characteristics. There were boulders, rocks, and sharp pebbles. The sharp pebbles, with their edges like blades, were ready to cut through the feeble membranous skin of the men, prepared to cut through like a scalpel through an ill-stricken man’s skin. In fact, the path which they were about to venture forth into, was filled with these sharp pebbles, for which the nude feet of the men were not ready for.

He suddenly looked up at the colossal man that stood above him, the hairs on his leg seemed to reach out and attempt to touch Zeno’s face but he moved back like a snake. The man above him was megalithic, and to him belonged all authority, Zeno was powerless. Above all, the man had gray eyes, as if there were a megalithic thundercloud of many levels inside his retina, he was blind. Another soldier arrived, and with him two more, and soon enough they began kicking his side. His innards moved with each perpetual kick that announced to his body that he had now crossed over to hell, his heart was no longer human but rather it adhered itself to the animalistic duality of him as each kick caused for his heart to pump blood heavily to the rest of his body. Zeno growled and gripped onto the creeping sand of where he lay, while in front of his eyes were all the emaciated black faces of the slaves filled with misery. He found that their empty eyes stared back at him, with not one of them moving, they were like terrified deer. The soldiers finally left him alone, and then, they shouted at some man that had fallen out of line. He did not have shackles, his skin was not black with dirt and soil, but he did look extremely frail. As any logical man would do when faced with a mountain of flesh coming towards him, he began to run, but unfortunately, behind him stood another soldier as colossal as the one prior. They grabbed him and tossed him to the ground as if he were a limping dog, he had scrapped most of the right part of his body, and his incarnadine flesh began to appear and begin to amalgamate with the sand. The soldiers grabbed him, one of the giants got on top of his neck, with his thighs pressing onto the miserable man's neck as he put over his head a mantle which covered it. The men, similarly to Zeno, began to kick him and foray him with the posterior part of their spears. Zeno could hear his endless holler, as if they were ripping him apart. Meanwhile in the endless row of that dark, there was not a single movement, neither was there any compassion, the man on the ground deserved it. His body contorted as if he were a snake trapped inside a bag, this continuous movement caused his wrists and ankles to bleed as the shackles scraped against his membranous skin. He had been stripped of his dignity and humanity. Right after all this, the man rose with the help of the soldiers, and he was tossed back into the line. Zeno, who had stood stagnant on the bloodstained sand was suddenly undressed by the guards, then shackles were placed on his hands and feet, and finally he was tossed into the line with the same sparing clothing as the other men. He looked behind him at the men, they had a disdainful smile in their face. (Like the unbearable)

The soldiers asked the name of no one and marched without anyone, for those men on the line, had lost all resemblance of humanity. With the back of their spears, they pushed the dark mob to lethargically march forth as they scraped their feet against the sharp pebbles. In this manner they walked through the city, and he was suddenly taken aback by the sight of a beautiful mansion that appeared through their transit. He could recognize the mansion, it was as if he had seen it long ago in some sort of ethereal dream, or simply in his childhood. The stomp of a boot next to the atonic bell, under the fading white entrance, was the print left behind, and it was the mark of a past life. The mansion was megalithic though the plaster had failed to last, it was frail, and it was falling apart, the white walls were crumbling onto themselves and the concrete under was visible from afar. The frail walls were surrounded by a vast pine forest, the many weeds which seemed to slowly overtake the home, she could barely stand on her own support. As Zeno looked with wonder at the home, with the sort of wonder a married man looks with at his old mistress, he saw as the wind shyly went in, making the white curtains inside dance as if they were fluttering white birds attempting to get out.

He felt precisely that, he felt as if he were looking at an old mistress, and the reminiscences of that love which were still impregnated on his skin. He wished he would touch her decrepit walls, and whisper onto their crack, “Do not drown in the forest.”. It seemed to him that it was obvious that the home suffered a great abandonment, and though he could see her standing morbidly far from him and deep into the woods, he knew that she had been forsaken. “The city has grown, there is no people left to live in a place like that when everything’s at the city.” Said some man from the line. In the pursuit of a life which was not theirs, they lost the beauty which was that mansion, which he had never seen before. “She must have been so beautiful, that even old and feeble, she is still so.” Zeno thought to himself as she suddenly began to fade into the forest. In an outburst of feverish necessity, he grabbed a pebble and threw it at the house, and though he did not know whether it had reached it or not, he could not help but imagine that it did. He fancied the pebble arriving on some spacious living area, where the ceiling is almost seamless. He could hear the initial crash, and the empty echo that followed the pebble as if it had fallen in a peaceful river from a great height. The lonely echo would be the only lively thing in the house, like a phantasm. She would pass through every forsaken room and feel with her vibrating hands the moss on the walls, and the curtains she ought to grab and pass her hand through them so their dust may fall. The echo would go on in such a rumble that even the atonic bell would sound and resound, and the white curtains would become white birds which ought to flutter away, and fly away from the house into liberty. Then, he saw the pebble fall, it stood next to a pine far away from the house. He knew no one was to come back into her premises, he knew well that no one was to take care of her if her owners had already forsaken her in such a manner. And those who went to the city, not only abandoned the beautiful mistress that she was, but in the house, they left the reminiscences of their uniqueness accompanied by that of the ravishing mansion, for in the city there ought not be any anomaly.

Finally, Zeno was taken to the city.

IV

He had been tied to one of the metal bars of a cage which stood just adjacent to where all the animals were kept, while outside there was the continuous death of a droplet that fell with a certain susurration to her doom. He stood under the shadow of a megalithic wall, one which separated the cage and the animals from the rest of the world. The wall had in its corners a growing mold which he dared not touch, and this darkening matter reached high into the wall, and he was sure that even those on the other side could smell it. At first, he began pulling hard onto the chain which he was confined to. Then, he rested and looked up to see where the wall would end, and though he felt he saw an ending, he did not really know how to identify this limit, and so every night and day in this manner he would dreamily look up. The nights specially, he would await for the crawling orb to appear. One night she shyly snuck through the clouds, it had been long since he saw a crescent moon, one which he saw wavering in the distance, and that was slowly fading into the darkness of the universe. He found this comical for he had forgotten the last time he had seen a crescent moon, and he saw her to be so beautiful, so special, such a unique luminal indeed. He reasoned that a full moon was easy to see, even he, more often than not, could see this orb take over the sky, and though she looked beautiful, she was to an extent disgustingly beautiful. She required everyone to look at her, for otherwise she would be melancholic. This crescent moon wished for nobody to look at her naked body, she was beautiful as she was, and though she did not necessarily feel so, she did not wish to attract any unnecessary attention either. Every day, Zeno would wait for night to fall, not because he awaited the arrival of sleep, for he slept during the day to elude hunger, but because he got to look up at the sky differently each time.

Zeno did not speak during any of these days, his lips were parched and sealed. He had gained a countenance alike to those of the ill-stricken, he looked terribly emaciated, and there were heavy bags under his eyes. One day though, his chain clattered loudly against the metal bars of the cage. A pair of eyes emerged, they were two deep eyes, whose depth were like that of the Atlantic Sea when a storm was approaching, it was unlike anything he had seen. He did not feel terrified at all by these eyes, but rather he felt a certain comfort, as if they were a pair of eyes which he had seen long ago but could not precisely picture where. They slowly came closer to him, as if a boat was being dragged onto the littoral by a single man of sun kissed skin and languid arms. In this moment, the sun snuck from behind a cloud and an implacable seam of light escaped, going into the cage, and making the face of this entity gleam. She was a beautiful woman, and though her lips were dry, and under her eyes were bags, and she had the same physiognomy as him, she was still beautiful. Both their cheekbones were protruding and deeply accentuated. It seemed to him that their bones were groping through their skin as if they were attempting to flee completely, and only their fragile skin held them together.

Finally, she arrived in front of him, dragging her body as she moved. She smiled at him with a certain pity, but most importantly, with an absolute compassion. This compassion though, did not stem from that of someone who was above one and proceeded to lower themselves, not at all, her compassion was at the same level. Zeno and she were hand in hand, they were not walking behind or in front of each other, but side by side, at least in this metaphysical sense. It seemed to him as if she were coming close to him, grabbing his fingers, and kissing them repeatedly while saying, “I can see you, I can feel you.”. Zeno felt for a moment this impulse to sneak his hand through the gap in between the bars, but something halted him in that moment. In all truth, he did not know this woman. Her tear-stained eyes at once appeared before him, and he could not help himself before her. There was a bluebird in his heart that was fluttering rapidly, who wished to be let out, and in this manner, underneath his breath, he desperately whispered thus, “Help me.”. He realized his grave mistake as soon as those words had escaped his mouth. How could this woman aid him? He did not know her in the least, she could have been worse than him for all he knew, but there was simply something so beautiful in her eyes, something which, like the crescent moon, he would not have realized was there until he gave her his absolute unwavering attention.

She reached out with her foot for something heavy, a set of keys which she dragged along the wooden floor of her cage. Those were the keys which unlocked her cell, the same which would free him of his shackles. He could not understand how or why this woman had the keys, or precisely what sort of benevolent impulse caused for her to bring them close to him. She smiled behind the imposed shadow of the metal cage, and in this manner, she gave him the key which would liberate him from the bars. The shackles finally fell down his wrists, and with them was brought a clamorous sound. He looked at her, and spoke thus,

“Why have you not freed yourself yet? You have the keys; you have freedom in your hands.”

“Why would I? I am free, I have found freedom within the limits of this cage. I can tell you that liberty is adhered more to me than those who seemingly walk down the streets as free men. I have felt more than them, I have cried rivulets of joy, of sadness, I have seen the most beautiful sunrises, and the moon in every stage. I feel like a little swan, weightless, on top of a lake, looking at the world.” She said in a weak voice, almost trembling.

“How are you joyful if you don’t eat, and you are in these conditions?” He whispered.

“I am well, I eat just enough to live, why more? I found myself here not so long ago, and at first, I was drowning in contempt for those who had placed me here. It is now that I saw, I heard, and finally, I felt.”

“Would you not prefer to roam the streets freely?”

“I have already, and I have not appreciated those walking as I should have. But every day here, someone passes in front of my cage, sometimes I talk to them, sometimes I don’t. But I do give away my absolute attention, and always, I get a present in return.”

“What will you do then?”

“Stay. And you, my child, must leave. I can see in your eyes that there is an ambition which ought not to be confined in between the limits of any cage, and not even by the limits of the world itself.”

Something must have fallen because her eyes were directed somewhere in the depth of the cage, some loud sound of a deepening bass, which soon after caused her beautiful eyes to return to his.

“You… your heart must bear an immense weight, and your wit does not aid it much, does it?”

“How do you know?”

“You have cried too much, I cannot help but look into your tearstained eyes, and the bags under them that have felt the rivulets of amelioration run past them.”

“Well, every once in a while, one needs to breathe, whether that means a need to be like the rest, or simply from the consuming waters of life. But I have this feeling that you and I are not like the rest, are we?”

“I could be.”

“But you are not, you may wish it, fancy it, you are the sheep that has been left by the flock.”

“That rejection requires a sacrifice.” He pronounced.

“My martyr lays in the cage with me.”

“Who is it?” He said. She suddenly turned behind her, and the cascade of hair attached to her scalp flowed behind her shoulders ravishingly.

“My orthodoxy.”

“I feel mine is bound to be caged also.”

“To an extent, everyone’s is, but most people prefer to cage their hearts and not their society. The worst of man lays in his decency and not his lack of it.”

“What is one to do then? When a bluebird is gnawing at one’s heart, wanting to be let out.”

“You do what I did to your wrists, you let him free. Because if you do not, like any unattended caged bird, he will starve to death… But by letting him free, your heart, like the anchor of a ship, begins to go deeper and deeper into the ocean, and you ought to lose your civility for the price of humanity.”

“What if once that anchor is under the sand, I come to love the warmth of the sand, and her loving touch. What if a current takes her away? Am I to lose my grip then? And forever be left uncovered.”

“Isn’t it better to feel the warmth and then have it taken away, than to not feel it at all.”

“I suppose so.”

“Above all, do not forget to resurface like a buoy when that occurs, an anchor left uncovered sends the ship astray. In those moment, you ought to need that resurfacing, and more when a loving mantle has been snatched away.”

He looked deep into her tear-stained eyes, they were not melancholic but rather, they were of those eyes which felt with passion, and those which understood everything perfectly at first sight. It seemed to him that between them there had already formed a camaraderie like that of a pupil and his mentor, which made the sight of her eyes an unbearable sight as now he had to leave. He wished to crawl into her cage and just talk with her, but he felt he would have to be in every possible scenario with her at every possible moment to somewhat understand the weight that bore her heart. Suddenly, there was a certain metallic rattling that could only belong to a set of soulless prisoners, which could only be accompanied by guards. In that moment, he looked at her, and with a certain reproach he fled, as he always did. Thus he spoke, “Goodbye, thank you. May we meet at the other side of the crescent moon.”.

He snuck behind the cage, which was engulfed by a dark mantel, as the stomping bodies passed by the soiled road that was in front of the cage. In the same manner that they trudged through, he walked silently behind the cage, looking through every open alleyway where the sun snuck through to be met with their shadows racing past him. He pressed his hand against the crumbing wall, groping it as he followed every edge and corner as if he were a blind man, until finally freedom appeared close at bay. As the sun began to engulf itself under the incarnadine sky, allowing for the stagnant moon to appear, Zeno arrived at sea. This time, he had no skiff, and no oars, he only swam against the current. He could not forget the woman that had aided him just moments before, and as he swam it was as if she were waiting for him at the other side of the port. She ought to be the recurring story in her mind.

V

He found himself amidst the sea, his languid arms were tired, beyond exhaustion, and he was lost. Unfortunately, or fortunately, though it was only an occurrence, the sun began to hide, and night began to appear. The moon came out, and she had never looked so cruel as then, and though she wasn’t precisely cruel it was only the fact that his exhausted weight was slowly sinking that made him feel that she was giving him her back. “Turn around!” He yelled in a muffled holler. She did not turn around, and this caused in his heart to be lit a certain flame. He had been forsaken, and in this manner, the mansion he had seen suddenly returned to his mind, and he found her to be not a physical monument which ought to be kissed but a physical embodiment of himself. The moon did not turn around, the sky did not suddenly become clear, and the current did not change direction. He was alone, but precisely how alone? He was as alone as he was to ever be. In a certain abrupt coincidence though, he saw as a fire was lit somewhere far into the sea, and though it was against the current, he knew that there ought to be land. He swam forth with faith, swam forth against the mountainous waves that crashed onto him, sinking him and at once pulling him again into the surface.

His tired arms like the sun falling into night fell into the darkened sea, and with every propulsion forth there was a certain dragging back, as if he were carrying a long and heavy chain attached to his feet. His muscles began to hurt, his chest specifically, and his calves were at the brink of cramping which ought to leave him dead. The pain was so great, and the current so mighty that he felt his only salvation was to be taken by the latter, to be taken far and deep into the ocean, away from the light. His feet began to sink, and he closed his tearstained eyes. Somewhere in his recondite self though, he felt it to be unforgivably wrong to not swim, to not march forth as he had done as a slave. It was easy to march as a slave, but now, in the midst of the most exasperated sea, moving forth seemed an obvious impossibility. Suddenly a mountain of blue vegetation rose, he did not know from where she had appeared, but her megalithic size was so mighty that the dim light of the house suddenly ceased to exist; and as it had never existed, he suddenly found himself surrounded by darkness. The cruel wave, like Lucifer, fell from the heavens, and fell upon him in the same greedy, cruel, and laughable manner, submerging him fully. The current under him pulled him by the invisible chain that was attached to his feet, and the perpetual pull caused his gaunt body to give a sudden jerk into the depths, as if he were being dragged by a great white. The salt found itself in his eyes and they began to burn, the current tore his foot to one side causing a stinging sensation while he felt the water become colder and colder. The emptiness that surrounded him forged in him such great anger; he thought suddenly that the sea ought not to be forgiven for all the deaths she had caused. He could not die; he could not give in to the current and be dragged into the perpetual depths by the chains of the sea. In his last true breath, he let out his arm, and then the other, and propelled himself upwards in the motion of a medusa. He did this desperately time and time again until his anguish came to a temporary halt when finally, the privilege of oxygen was at his disposal. Once his head was weakly out of the water, he simply went on towards the littoral. His arms, like the oars of a great boat, rowed forth, against and away from the current. This all occurred as from above, the great pallid back of the moon stood stagnantly.

Finally, he arrived at the littoral. By that point the dark sea must have grown tired and irritated by him for she tossed him onto the littoral. A wave raised him from his watery tomb and threw him aggressively onto the littoral as if she wished for him to never step close to her again. He lay on the milk-lighted sand, softened by the cold water, as the moon’s back stood authoritatively above him, but now, she posed against him no curse. He looked up at the rocky hill that was next to him, (for his body was so exhausted he even found it difficult to breathe), and in it shone a bright light, and the seams of the latter escaped through the apertures on the walls and went into the dark world. The shadow of a woman suddenly appeared, and this shadow spread over the sand as if it were a colossal creature. He felt an overwhelming necessity to yell, to move, to cause any contortion in his body that would call for her attention, for she had saved him, but he had none. He lay there, fully paralyzed as her shadow passed him by, and her shadow passed over him in the same disrespectful manner as that of the light of the moon. After her perfect body had disappeared from his view, he saw the house more clearly, and in the background of that room was a painting, a beautiful and seemingly ancient painting of the woman with eyes like a lingering storm amidst the sea. He smiled, and by the tightened seams of his smile there ran short and stout rivulets, his tears fell down and became one with the returning sea. Then, perhaps because of the great exhaustion or the mingling of that and his tears, he fell asleep as the calm sea washed into the littoral, caressing his feet with her salt of amelioration. The next day, the woman was no longer there, and neither was there a painting inside the home.

He was suddenly awakened by the loud crash of a wave that arrived at his feet. His exhaustion had not worn off, and in fact, he was in more pain than the day prior, but in contrast to it, at least now he could move. Sluggishly, he dragged himself along the beach as the cold sand scraped his abdomen. He looked like a snake, dragging himself along the littoral, until the moment he stood up and he became a man once more. As Zeno came closer to the house, he saw that inside there were no inhabitants, there wasn't the woman of stormy eyes or the megalithic woman whose shadow had passed over him the previous night. It was empty, the home was as if inside there had never lived anyone, it lay absolutely inhabited.

Zeno stood in front of the house as if he were a spectator, as if he were patiently waiting for the women to suddenly spawn inside. But there was nothing except for a heavy and stagnant silence that was prevalent in the house. Suddenly, there was a rustle and bustle amongst the leaves of a tree, and from the same source there came the beautiful susurration of two birds. The ceiling of these two beautiful creatures was seamless, and so their joyful song sounded and resounded through the unbothered air and sea. They seemed to be romping around with one another because the male sored high into the sky, with his wings scraping the lingering cerulean of the latter, to then plummet down the tree in a single graceful gesture, almost as if he wished to take a deep breath before feeling with his claws the soil. This bird alighted at the entrance of a megalithic and dark cave, he tilted his head towards his mistress and then he went inside. His miniscule body posed no significance against the cave, he was like a fisherman’s boat against the enormous and omnipotent sea. His lover chirped, and her endless holler caused Zeno’s heart to contort in pain. But birds do not sing in caves, and this is because the light they are used to is stripped away, the seamless sky abruptly becomes a vault, and their company becomes an endless solitude. Only his lover, who stood outside suffering, was bound to truly be a bird. But the imprisoned bird was bound to abandon his old ways, he would forsake his attributes for they ought to fade the further he goes into the cave. He would then spend the rest of his short life attempting to metamorphosize into a bat, and due to this, he would die.

After seeing this, Zeno made his way towards the soiled path that most likely led to the closest road. He marched arduously as behind him the little mistress of the bird sang with her husky voice, exhausted from the strain she was placing on her sweet voice. Her holler gradually became less and less prevalent, until it finally ceased to be heard. As he walked, he rummaged the woods for something, he longed to see the shadow of the woman, and if he was fortunate enough, the woman herself.

VI

Zeno waited and waited till the fruit that hung from the tree at the thicket was ripe enough for him to grab, and in such a manner he waited long, yet not long enough, it was never long enough. Then he continued his path, and he did not grab it. He then heard Prometheus coming down from the heavens.

He marched forth in the endless woods, with the pines passing him by repeatedly. It was in this labyrinth of pines that he thought of the shadowy woman, she reminded him of a siren, a beautiful siren whose nude body he did not deserve. He only deserved the shadow of her body. Her shadow was indeed so ravishing that he would have done anything to look into her eyes, which he thought would be even more beautiful and graceful than her shadow would ever be.

He trudged his way through the soiled path, and when the path turned left, he saw that the yellow wood diverged into another path, one filled with overgrown weed, and through it he went. He trudged forth until he was met with a cobbled road, with its cracks and blemishes, as if through storm after storm it had gone. Once he had exited the yellow wood, he was met with a moving flock of people. This flock marched forth like the slaves, in the same sluggish and hesitating manner, without halt. Amongst the scraping shoulders of the men, and the endless heads that walked towards the same place, he saw a beautiful woman whose back was a mirror of that he had seen in the house not so long ago. He saw her amongst that cloud of hair and flesh, her beautiful reddish hair in its outermost splendor as if it had been washed under the beautiful rivulets of golden from the sun. Amongst an army of strangers, she had become the only known sentinel body. So, at once, he stepped forth into the pressing clouds of strange bodies that did not breathe, think, or see, for they only walked. He did so because there was something different about this woman he was attempting to approach, and though she was far, he could sense her almost next to him. He felt that in between them had formed a secret comradeship that neither of them was to admit. It must have been that she saved him and she did not know, or that she had saved him and did not know really how deeply so. Their hidden comradeship had not faded, and it was not going to regardless of the distance. It must have been an impulse or a hecatomb in some way foreseen because he pushed the sharp shoulders aside and through the aperture he marched forth.

He would have wished to have given her a rose, a kiss, or perhaps some flower instead, something that would somewhat remind her of him. It was a need that arose as he was right behind her. He was the swan that looked up at the moon just to see her nude back, and this swan would swim back and forth and kiss the reflection of the moon on the lake, but the moon would feel no warmth, no tenderness, and no love. She would only look onward towards an eternity of darkness. So, at once, he stretched his arm and felt her soft, almost porcelain skin.

“What are you doing here?” He asked.

“Excuse me?” she asked, confusedly.

“You don’t belong here; you don’t belong amongst these crowds of strangers.” He said.

“I believe I belong more than you do.”

They both stopped as the endless rows of flesh passed them by.

He reached and from the sprouting verdant fields next to them, he retrieved a single flower, one so miniscule and delicate that he felt miserable just from breaking her away from her stem. The problem lay that the flower was prenatally chosen to find itself at the other side of abandonment, it was to belong to The Siren’s hair. In this expressive manner, and almost in the manner a dancer moves his body during a dance, so did he as he placed the flower in her hair. Her soul seeped through her cheeks at the moment he put it on her hair, and he knew, and in all sincerity hoped, that that smile would last him an eternity. He managed to stop her from walking any further, to keep on walking purposelessly, towards an infinity of bodies that did not seem to go precisely anywhere, and neither did she. But in that moment he found her, it seemed to him that he had stopped the world from its normal turning, as the clouds around them began to fade and disappear. The sun began to fade also, and the last few foraying rays washed her hair and face in a golden gleam that he could not stop seeing.

“Isn’t it lovely?” He said.

“What is?” She inquired softly.

“Those moments on which looking at you is simply an eternity arriving at last.”

He knew not of the reasons for their rendezvous, or precisely why it was that they now stood in front of the other, or what words beckoned him to her. It was as if the trees and roads stooped over, pushing him towards her. It had not been her beauty for he had not seen her in that initial moment, it was not wit for he knew not of her intelligence, and it was not her tongue for he had not heard her yet. Whatever it was, he was sure, was in complete disregard for anything of the flesh, and in fact was something weightless, light, positively light. The lightness attributed to this entity lurked somewhere behind her eyes, which served for him as the light of some lighthouse through the stormiest night. He believed deeply that some people’s eyes gleamed more in regard to others, while some had lost all their luster. Hers though, were filled with luster, they gleamed and shone, and though he could not see this at the initial moment, he could feel it. This lightness of the soul is brought down by the heavy weights and depths of the heart, for the heart and mind alike bare a weight and depth similar to those of the perpetual seas. Man often mistakes the soul for certain pleasures of life, but the soul is that which even a blind man can see. The soul, like a child, is easy to fool and corrupt, because it loves deeply and believes all truth. The mind, if anything, serves as the wall between soul and another fellow soul, the bulwark most people place in them to halt anyone from deeply affecting them. Most people end up living in a perpetual state of detachment, a wanting to not feel. Many, carry a flag of detachment proudly, which serves the sole purpose of stating that they have not felt, that they have not been attached, and they hold this title to themselves as if they had won a war of some kind, but they have only lost themselves in the process. Those pale people that walked adjacent to them, whose steps echoed, were completely detached from one another. The caged woman was not detached, the error lay in that through her cheeks seeped her soul, and this bore an immense weight on her heart for she was defenseless, for she had loved too deeply.

“Accompany me to the sea.” He said.

“The sea? Now?” She said and the echo reverberated through the empty crowd.

“Yes, now. All can be postponed except a visit to the sea.”

He grabbed her hand and they fled together, while the empty carcasses would collapse onto them as an attempt to halt them from leaving, it seemed almost an impossibility for they were like crashing waves of flesh. The world again stooped over, and now the last reminisces of the sun did too, with its rays stretching and bending over them as it formed an arch. As they passed under this arch, the men marched forth perpendicularly, and in between their bodies, like a river, they sneaked through. The cobbled road also stretched and folded, forming a tunnel through which if they were to pass, they could only do so together. They were confined to their world; he belonged to the sun, and she to the earth due to the flower in her hair.

They met the sea in a single wallow of effervescent emotion, and he felt a yearning he had never felt before, as if at some point they had truly been one. They walked a few steps more till the frothy sea washed their feet in her salty endeavors, leaving behind the salt of amelioration, sewing their cuts by a single red thread. Meanwhile, the moonflower still held tightly to her hair, and he tightly to her hand. In her face was painted across the natural beauty of her, and that through every smile, her soul seemed to ooze out of the pores of her skin as the sea washed into the littoral, wetting their nude feet.

She could not bear the look in his eyes; it was as if at every moment she were afraid of amalgamating with the individual soul of his lonesome self. He was also afraid of her eyes, but more than being afraid of their luster, their joyful luster, he was more afraid that she was to find in his something that would cause her to turn at once.

If at some point she was to recognize a seam of love as he looked at her, let her not raise her spears, nor think, “What a delirium!”. Perhaps it is because of the seam or the certainty that it exists, that generates the sole reason as to their strange unison.

On the horizon they saw megalithic masts with their sails, moving, as they call it, forward. One of them was burning, and the smoke was so much that one could almost mistake it for an approaching storm. They both turned away at once, the ebb retreated, and the sun was opaqued by a dark cloud. They walked away from the littoral and left the place where they sought solace and solitude, to be met with the multitude once again. A bird alighted at a nearby tree, he was ablaze, and as soon as he alighted, he plummeted to the cold sand and died.

They then met again, and again, and again, as if it were by a strike of the divide, and each time there was less timidity. They met at night, and only the nocturnal orb was witness of their doings, and for what it mattered, for the luminal confused them with the sea for they would not halt wallowing like the latter.

VII

Soon after their initial rendezvous, he figured he could not leave her, he at once knew that he could not abandon her. After their feet had been washed by the sea of amelioration, she placed her arms on his shoulder, and he felt her to be weightless, as if at any moment she was to convert into a thousand daisies and simply flutter away. He would then run after each individual petal to try to grab them all, but through his hands they would creep. He had this irrepressible gnawing at his heart, a feeling that she was a child who had been put in a bulrush basket and sent downstream to him. He did not know what to do with it, but he knew it bore an immense weight, and that now as they were, they had begun to be intertwined. That night they silently went to sleep at an open field. He had lost his home, it had been burnt, and she had no wish to go back to hers. He grabbed her hand and led her through the silvery path, lit by the milk-lighted moon, the splendor of a cat’s nail, engulfed by an army of colossal clouds. This open field had a lake, and around it was nothing but an absolute nude field.

Around them stood a small thicket, an amounting copse of large trees that served as a bulwark between them and the rest of the world. They lay beside each other, and she somehow found a way to snuggle under his arm. “I have no idea who this woman is.” He suddenly thought. Yet when he pondered longer, he realized that it was not precisely that, he did know the identity of this woman, and somewhat knew of her life, and of some chronicle which she told him at some point during their rendezvous, one which he laughed at with her. But still, in this manner, he knew he did not know anything concrete about her, and that in fact if she was to do anything, he would not be surprised. In the same manner, anything that she did would come out as an infiltrating surprise, something which could not have been prophesied, and which would irreparably cause a change in his idea of her. Simply put, he knew her from the moment he saw her shadow, everything else was just details.

They felt the trimmed grass on the back of their necks, and though they were alone, they knew they had not stepped on a place that had not been stepped before, but now, it lay completely forsaken. It had not been used, it had not even been properly touched, but it had been kept, and only for that night it belonged to them. It was due to them also that the grass was greener, and the stars twinkled with greater light. She was one with him, and they both looked up and onwards into the infinity of the sky. A darkened sky on which a whole galaxy shone through. The stars and the planets all reverberated happily as if they really were dancing, their twinkling flame was the shadow posed by the other as they danced, two eternal bodies simply shifting and swaying through the perpetual dance floor of the universe. He waited for the stars to stop dancing, but they did not, the thicket stooped over to look at the couple. Meanwhile, Margaritari looked up momentarily at him, and the curtain of her eyelids promptly fell, causing her to fall asleep on his hardened chest. Her head slowly became heavy, until he knew she no longer could resist its weight, and she let it all succumb to his breast. It was only while she was asleep that she physically bore him any weight, but metaphysically, she was as light as the shadow of the dancing astros. Suddenly, the heavy curtain of his eyelids began to fall, and he was taken to the memory of a beautiful night he had shared with her. They both lay in the same manner, though the place was thronged with overgrown weed.

“The soul? What is the soul?” she asked, perplexed.

“I would like to believe that it is that which I would be able to identify across all lives.”

“But how would you know that it’s me?”

“I wouldn’t. I would just feel it, I won’t know, I would just feel it.”

“I do know that whatever it is, I love it now.”

“Do you love it? Or do you simply love what hitherto I have allowed you to see?”

“I think I love it.”

“But you have not and will never see everything.”

“Then I suppose I’ll learn to love it.”

“If I had met you in any other body, or if you were indeed not the woman that is now next to me, I would have probably not have felt the same way about your eyes. It is definitely strange, I will state, to look at a single person that poses no true difference to the rest of the crowd, and somehow feel this overwhelming attraction to them, as I felt for you.”.

“Then there is a true difference between me and the crowd if it grasped at you.”

While asleep, he heard the soft susurration of the undulating water in his ear. The rippling tide sang with its chorus such beautiful lullabies that he could not help but dream. He had a dream in which every night they went to the same field, and slept in the same manner, and each time she looked as happy if not more. She would peacefully snuggle her head under his arm as the grass caressed both of their necks, and their cheeks would feel the gales of the nighty wind. In this mundanity of arriving at the same safe location, at the same field that isolated them from the harsh world, he felt stagnant. Suddenly he thought of war, but most importantly his time as a slave, when there were shackles around his wrists and ankles. During this time, he wished for nothing else but freedom or, in the case of war, peace. While laying with her, he wanted nothing more than to kiss her, and this thought alone was unbearable. He would wish for winter in summer and for summer in winter, and though he was where he wished to be, he could not help but begin to be consumed by its mundanity and wish for something else right away. This was until he finally succumbed to the grass and her warmth. By succumbing to her warmth, he also succumbed to the ardor of their two bodies as they began to cleave to the other, and in that moment, the most important thing would be to be conscious of this cleaving. It would be then, and only then, that he ought to wish for nothing more for it is a world waiting to be uncovered.

He was suddenly awakened by a gale of wind that must have struck some side of the lake, for the water rippled and from it leaped out a few freezing droplets that fell upon his face. His face was marked with misery, he had soot on his cheeks, and had scars that went deeper than the lake adjacent to him. Upon his awakening, he looked at her and found them both to be engulfed by her embellished and enveloping hair, and he could not help but find himself immersed in the story of the child that had been sent in a bulrush basket. Was this child meant to find him down the river? Or was it a mere coincidence that they found each other at the end of the river?

Before finishing his thought, he promptly fell asleep again, and this time he had another dream, an aquarelle dream. The ocean was ravishing, and it was meek, but in this ocean, there were no people standing, there was nothing except water, and afar appeared the littoral. The coast though, was too far, so much so that he felt as if he were never to reach it, as if the littoral were never to put an end to the arriving waves of the sea. In the dream, he was a wave, and he realized this after he turned to his side and there was another wave, and though nothing about her was distinctive, he could tell it was Margot. They were both moving continuously, rapidly breaking through the tide, approaching the littoral. But how could he recognize her? Was it the soul embellished in this body of water that made her now into what he sought after? Whatever it was, he could tell that they were both slowly approaching the littoral. They were two dancing waves that spiraled through each other in an amalgamation of water which would then cleave and head out in opposite directions. These waves would soon after be cleaved back by the tide forcefully, uniting their soaked bodies. They were like two boats against the current borne ceaselessly into the other by the great pull of the sea. He feared their watery crash against the littoral, he feared that they would both become froth and that they would only be that. He feared simply that by crashing against the shore, they would become foam, and simply be a brief frothy statement on the corroded shore.

The sun awoke them both, it was the sort of sun which marked the beginning of life of a new man, one no longer confined to his habits, but one devoted to his intellect, and the exile of all baneful instincts which plague man’s existence. This rising sun gave him hope. She was awoken by the sun also, but the moment he looked at her, he figured the rising sun had a completely different effect on her, because for the first time, she could endure the sight of his eyes. More often than not, not even he could endure his own sight in a reflection. He could not understand if the case was that she finally loved him, or that they both had had the same dream of the waves, and wished to never be half-lovers, and never part.

They both knew the myth of creation, and that perhaps and they were meant to be, perhaps and they were meant to love eternally. Though the waves were not eternal, their travel towards the littoral indeed was atemporal.

“We must go.” He said, in a moment of weakness.

“The sun just rose, why must we go now?” she asked perplexed.

“Precisely because of that, if the sun rose, it means that we cannot stay here another night.”

“You know as much as I do that you would wish to lay here asleep night after night, talking about nothing.”

“But that would make our tryst too banal. And I don’t want you to reserve your judgment about me, for you ought to engage with me in every possible setting at every possible hour.”

“That’s impossible, and you know it… Just lay here with me.”

He raised his body slightly and posed the shadow of his body upon her frail body, creeping up from under the rising sun that stood behind him, as if it were a blanket which he just pushed upwards. His head eclipsed the incoming seam of light. Their lips were in the same infinite distance that made the sight of the other an unbearable sight, for it was an unbearable distance. Then he stooped over and kissed her. Her arms fell lightly on his neck as if they were the feathers of a passing raven, and her hair engulfed them in a single mantle of warmth, as it seemed to push their mortal bodies closer to each other. This mantle of warmth which he could feel on his face, made any assail of the rippling water futile, for nothing could now reach them. But most importantly, he did not feel any desire to be somewhere else.

“I don’t know you.” he said, in a brief pause. Parting their lips and sharing a breath.

“Love hasn’t got to do with knowledge.” She said,

“Then with what?”

“With whatever gnaws at your heart.”

They saw in the eyes of the other a great seam of light.

“We ought to leave, I do not belong here. But I know you do, and it is a misery you cannot see the world through me.” He said.

“I’ll go with you.” She pronounced with joy.

In this manner they left with their hands entwined as if they were two vines wrapped together around the trunk of a tree. Together they sailed into the seasons, and he broke the setting silence as he spoke thus,

“I love you in my paradise, that’s to say that in my country, people live happily, even if they do not have permission.”.

Once more, the myth of creation appeared in his mind. Were they really meant to be together? Or was it just a series of coincidences which lead to their rendezvous? The woman that freed him from slavery, what if he hadn’t hit his chain hard enough against the bars, or what if Margot had turned off all fires in the house. It was a sort of accidental purposefulness. He thought of how the androgyne was created for the enjoyment of the gods and how soon after he was neglected by them. In this arrives the contrasting nature of lightness and weight. The gods were perfectly light, and in this lightness of them they created man, a certain indifferent enjoyment without any true coherent purpose except that which the men gave themselves. The fact that they were made in the image of the gods caused the men to think of themselves as gods, and they would find selected individuals to be revered as the latter. The biggest problem of being created in the image of the gods was that man finds himself constantly wrestling with this idea, with the potential of man becoming a creator. But the idea that they were created for a different purpose than that of which humanity holds themselves so proudly of, made of the universe a certain absurdity. It was in that moment that he pondered and thought that whether they were meant to be or not, whether it was part of some comical prophesy that the gods had made up for their jesters or not, he felt that the fact that it was all a series of accentuated coincidences made of them a more important event. To him it lay not in the prophesy, but in the necessity that he needed to gift her his outermost unwavering attention, and in this manner, everything would be amplified in accordance with his emotions. They were like two waves that formed next to each other, perhaps and it was chance that they moved towards the shore harmoniously. A series of coincidences to which he gave out his complete attention because otherwise, he would have missed it. If he had been looking up at the moon that night, he would not have seen the fire in her home. He would not have seen her.

VII

One autumn day, once the war had halted or at least seemed to for that day, they found each other at a beautiful long and narrow lake. It seemed more like a canal but for all it mattered. They had fled the burning city, the ablaze clouds, the fiery sea. Their hands were intertwined as two vines that amalgamated and grew as a single one. The sky was deeply gray, as if some grave occurrence had happened, it looked dead, yet those ash-carrying clouds were more alive than whatever the fiery sea had left alive and covered in ashes.

“The day looks mournful, as if the clouds had been washed in a cologne of misery.” She said, pensively.

“They are still beautiful.” He said.

“It gives it a certain weight, the clouds don’t feel light, they are heavy, they have a deep longing to fall down to the earth, like a black angel.” He continued.

“But they won’t fall on us, they don’t seem to.”

“I would wish they did.”

There was a thicket that went on for forever, probably even reaching the place where the sun was born. They sat side by side, Margaritari posed her young body against his as the rippling water of the lake came to a halt, and the lake lay completely stagnant. It was blissfully silent. Above, soaring high into the heavens, penetrating with their inky beaks the soot-smeared clouds, appeared rapid markings of the sky whose feathery and darkened bellies shone golden. At times they would come down and wallow at the lake, it looked to him as if they were male and female, and the male would go under the female’s long wing and bury his head in there, massaging her with his head, as when ostriches bury their heads in the dirt. Their black elegant feathers crashed against the other like waves at sea as they continued to move and roll on the water, at times sinking in it, causing repeating rings to form, and in a single movement the birds would wash themselves in the everlasting essence of the loving lake. At the surface, where the fertile soil bloomed with flowers, they loved like those ravens, their beaks locked in the other, and in their joyful and feline eyes, those which stared and from staring they were never tired, they found something that did not belong to the physical body. He found that in that intertwining of the other, in that nestling against the other as dogs do against trees, or wallowing as waves at sea, he found then that there was nothing in the world that would finally completely merge them, for he knew that as they were, they were just beginning to grow, as that interweaved tree that amalgamated at the center and from it grew, and that everything else that existed or happened, was just a fatuous attempt at forcing the physical world into the mystical.

Before them stood, the leaves of a tree all sprouted above them, as a ship turned to pieces on which the cloth of the sails had fallen upon, covering it all in its green translucent mantle. It had a stout grayish bark, and from its branches hung beautiful fruits of which he was not to take from, for he felt as if he did, the ravens would then not have made sense, for he knew then that they were at the brink of having a passage through eternity, a brief one. He could see that from the leaves there passed a ravishing heavenly light, making its way through the agglomerated leaves, not so fierce as to lacerate his eyes yet fierce enough to pass through. Beside him lay she, vainly asleep, tranquil like those wet ravens that now nestled against the other on the littoral, sharing the same recurring warmth. She opened her eyes momentarily, her big absorbing and even beckoning eyes, they were like translucent chestnut, with a clarity that illuminated him, so if an affliction occurred, a blackout or a moonless night, it was convenient and even indispensable, to have her watchful eyes by his side. It was then that he knew that it was her whom he had looked for, that it was her the embodiment of the apparitions of his reveries, and her, only her, that which had become his home. He knew then also, with the posing shadow of her cloudy lips, that they were doomed to find each other on the other side of abandonment, yet he promised they would love each other like the ravens of that day.

He looked to his side and saw beside him, the carcass of a smaller raven entombed under a dozen dead leaves. The dead raven had its spine sticking out of his black feathery body, while around him some of his feathers lay in disarray. He placed his head against her chest and felt that if her young body was ever to detach from his that he would feel an overwhelming mortality, and death’s mumbling voice speaking behind his neck, and even breathing onto the latter. He would hear the hoarse voice of death, just as how the raven heard it.

IX

Many months later, Zeno found himself on a skiff that sailed perpetually through the grey sea as the yellow half-moon stood stagnantly large and low. The startled little waves leapt out in fiery ringlets as he roared and rowed towards the coast. Reaching the cove with a pushing prow, Zeno forsook the skiff, with the certain knowledge that he was bound to not return. He then trudged past the frothy sand as he felt the cold gales on his face like a roaring bird. A mile warm of sea-scented beach followed him after as if they were to coincidentally meet there. Three fields of ashes and burnt trees he passed by until he was met with a verdant field once more. In front of her house, he stood. He tapped at the wooden shutter, and a sudden apparition of a blue spurt turned into a fire that illuminated her. Her translucent and feverish eyes stared at him, and from staring they were never tired. They spoke with a voice less loud, and through their joys and fears, than their two hearts beating each to each!

They found themselves alone at her room as it began to be flooded by a peculiar and even magical incarnadine tinge, as if a luminist painter had caressed with his loving brush the four corners of the room, on which the cobwebs vibrated and reverberated happily as they were filled with the light and splendor of the raising sun. The room though, was suffocatingly hot, a warmth produced by the endless attempts at amalgamation of their two bodies. Inside, they held in the echoing depths of their chests some loving and tender coetaneous rhythm.

The entire home was swathed and engulfed in layers and layers of a sort of perpetual feverish blanket that covered them both. It seemed that this was a sort of setting spell that was only to go away if they were to simply fling their clothes off. Perspiration was smeared all over their two bodies as if it were love’s paint, for their hands had become the brush posed against their feeble skin to create some beautiful painting that only they could understand. As they pushed through the crowding and dense air, the room began to burn as if under them there was a great bonfire, but really the only fire that existed was that behind their eyes.

Soon after, with the moon’s last desperate rays, he found her covered by the approaching colors of the day. The only completely stagnant object in the room was the bed, while above the white sheets floated and levitated as if they were merely anchored at the ends to the bed, with their white selves rippling and fluttering as if they were trapped birds flying about their cages. Amongst the brush and snap of the white sheets against the two of them, he suddenly found her completely metamorphosed into some other being. She had become a beautiful and beckoning siren, whose innocent eyes looked joyfully and curiously into his. It was at his moment that the pieces traded places.

Outside, the war continued mercilessly, and they were reminded of this when a little bird alighted at the open aperture, he was burning, his ablaze feathers were flaking and going into the ashy wind. They were both taken by surprise, and like the bird, engulfed in feverish fire, they were left.

Promptly before their death, Zeno saw as there were flaming birds fluttering about the room, desperately, yet with a certain enchantment to them as if they were only shedding their ablaze feathers. He saw the flaking fragments of their wings lingering about the room, and suddenly he thought of the nude field. No one had seen them that evening, hand in hand, while the golden day was born into the world. Their lifeless bodies, like the flaking feathers of the birds, with souls clenched, fluttered away into the forests, into the seas, and into the wind. Man and bird became one with the trees and sea. And now, who was there to ask whether it was meant to be, whether the gods were right? No one.

Classical

About the Creator

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    CPBWritten by Christian P. Benotto

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.