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Through the Eye of the Beholder (03, 15, 21)

Part One

By lj blickensderferPublished 3 months ago 11 min read
Through the Eye of the Beholder (03, 15, 21)
Photo by Clay LeConey on Unsplash


Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. I am walking with my head up, down crowded streets, people laughing and yelling and crying. They look at me with furrowed brows when I bump into them.

I think that maybe the Dawn Bringer has lost track of time, but I can't find it in me to mourn the darkness and the way the world has changed; I want to become the color, I want to touch the clouds and dance with the sky.

The city that never sleeps is awake in the way the night is awake, and I walk the streets in the light of this purple midnight and watch the way the skyscrapers touch the sky. I want to touch the sky like they do.

The purple clouds are like waking up from a dream, and I watch the way the skyline cuts a sharp line between them.

I don't know where I am walking to.

I think that Tyche herself guides me to the doorway. She leads me to the revolving door, and when I push it open, there is no lock to stop me from entering.

Prometheus greets me in the lobby and he is in high spirits, jovial in a way that puts me at ease. The fire of mankind clings to him like fog and he looks at me with something like curiosity. When he offers me an arm, I think that maybe the fire will burn me to ashes, but in an act of recklessness, I take it anyway.

The lobby is elegant, in a way those fancy hotels always are, with light casted white. It makes the world bright in a way that Eos’ dawn isn't.

I match Prometheus in his steps; I follow the way he moves, and try to mimic his grace and forethought, but my feet are clumsy next to his and I feel a flush spread across my face; I avoid his eyes in shame. We weave through the hotel patrons, yelling into phones and laughing their fake laughs, their features practiced and painted.

Prometheus doesn't speak but somehow I hear him all the same, and he is telling me about the floors and the windows and the way the chandelier casts shadows that we walk through and become only to walk away and unbecome. He tells me that I am entrancing to him, with my humanity, with the way I feel and the way the world changes me.

I don't quite understand his admiration. I look at the people we pass, living in their worlds and using their time. I tell him that in the presence of one who could change the world, there is nothing so special about being changed by the world.

He only laughs, and somehow I think he can see the way I don't understand, and I think that maybe he admires that too.

I don't know why I follow him, but I think that maybe it is because he is beautiful in the way creation is beautiful. My humanity makes me foolish, I suppose, chasing beauty as we do.

When his footsteps slow, I find myself standing in front of the elevator, intricate and gilded in gold, he presses the call button and there is something in the way he marvels at me that is almost unnerving.

Someone talks on the phone as they wait behind us. They tell the listener of wild adventures and longing and the way a person can make everyone laugh, and I think I like the way their voice sounds.

The arrival of the elevator is mundane and when the cage doors open, Prometheus waves me in, peeking through to press the numbered buttons in a way that feels almost human.

I turn to the person beside me. They pay no attention, laughing into their phone, and press another button that glows with the rest.

I ask Prometheus what he is doing but he doesn’t answer. He smiles at the person beside me and I think that maybe they are blushing. The birdcage slides shut and I am moving up, but I try to keep my eyes on him, and I think that maybe he disappears as I vanish from his sight.

I look at the buttons and the way they glow; the numbers seem random to me, but there is something about his precision that leads me to believe they are anything but.

I listen to the easy flow of the voice beside me. The dog bowl is where it always is! No, I swear the neighbors did it! What are you doing tonight? Want to go to that bar uptown? I don't want to go alone.

They glance at me and I can see the way they regret the confession.

I watch the screen display the current floor. The elevator passes by a number of them, but I can see through the cage door to what lies beyond.

They don't look at me, buried in their work or laughter or anger.

They type and click and walk through the cubicles to lean on another’s desk. They scribble on sticky notes and press them to their monitors. One makes a joke that I can't hear, but the woman beside them laughs.

Floor two two blinds me with its daylight; but Aether doesn’t notice when I pass and I think that his attention would burn me to ash.


The elevator stops when I reach floor three. My companion doesn’t move to leave and I come to understand that this floor is one meant for me. I don't touch the door, but it opens anyway, and I am drawn from its safety into a floor that is cloudy. I can see everything in the clouds; they tell entire lives in flashes and when I move toward them, it is with a pull that is mesmerizing. I let Mnemosyne draw me into the fog.

She is made of remembering. She is the mist as it clears and the feeling of retrieving lost memories. There is a softness to her, the way it would feel to sit atop a cloud. When she offers me a hand, I don't stop myself from taking it.

She leads me through things I have forgotten, things I can't believe I have forgotten, but when I vow to keep hold of them, they have already disappeared again; I can feel the way they turn to fog, and when I reach for them they slip through my fingers. I watch them fly away from me.

She seems to know her way through the fog and so I follow her. I don't let go of her hand as we walk; it is cool in the way clouds are cool, delicate in the way it feels to forget.

The memories curl around Mnemosyne’s fingers and dissolve into her cloudy form. She is watching the way I reach for them, and there is a sadness in her that I don't understand.

Her voice is the feeling of mist, and she tells me of things lost and things that won't come back. She shows me the way things fade and how she collects the world’s lost memories.

I am confused and so I ask her why. Why keep these things that don't matter enough to be remembered?

Her laugh is almost inhuman, but something about it calms my fears.

When she shows me the lost memories, I understand. Sometimes the most important things are forgotten; she holds on to them so they don't fade.


I pass the floors and watch the number climb; there is nobody else in the elevator but it rises and I can see the floors through the cage. Atlas holds the sky on floor seven, roaring from his burden even when I am the only one listening. On floor eleven, the corridors are quiet, doors line the walls and it feels the same as walking through an empty building.

The winds of Aeolus blow through the elevator on floor twelve and I feel the cold of Boreas and the playful spirit of Notus. Zephyros and Eurus blow in opposites, lucky and unlucky.

Floor fifteen feels like watching the sand of an hourglass drain it's seconds away.

When the door opens the world is slow. I can feel the way I want to move, but there is no time here that Cronos does not control.

The hourglass rises in the center of the room, towering above me with undeniable menace, and when he speaks, Cronos’ voice moves like honey.

He tells me of the passing seconds. He shows how they might be retrieved. I don't see him, but I can feel him everywhere, in the time it takes to move myself toward the hourglass, in the seconds I lose to my own hesitation. The room is a sort of temple, worn but striking in a way that is terrifying for reasons I don't quite understand.

The sands of time litter the floor, time of the past and time of the present and time of the future that have blended together across the centuries.

I can feel the way Cronos watches me. He is cruel like nothing else will ever be.

I fumble with the sand at my feet and try to grip it in my hands, but it spills from my fingers and there is nothing to be done because my time is slipping away.

I rush to the hourglass and empty my hands, over and over, but it is still running out and I am not fast enough to stop it.

I take a fleeting glance at the hourglass and run in seconds of sand, back to the elevator as the last grains fall to the bottom.

Cronos laughs. He has no need to chase me.


The floors are passing again, a woman stands beside me, her eyes fixed on the floor. Through the bars, Crios and his constellations spread across seventeen. I spare a glance at her and find nothing has changed. A man yells at his employees furiously on nineteen, but I can tell they are not listening. Somehow, I understand their familiarity; they know his anger like an old enemy.

I don't know whether to dread the door opening again or rejoice in it, but when it does, I find Hypnos leaning against the doorway. The woman looks up at me and her smile is warm, comforting almost; I glance at her, meeting her eyes. She nods at me and something about it feels reassuring.

Hypnos’s smile speaks to me playfully, devious, and I let out a tight breath as he speaks in a sleepy voice.

He tells me to go right, to follow the feeling and that I would see the dream soon. I don't understand his words, but I turn right as per his instructions and when it strikes my heart it is like a daydream and it spreads wings that carry me over the city at heights that render me speechless.

When the wings fade, I find myself on a bridge, high above the ground; I take delicate steps, because it seems to be made of steam and Mnemesyne’s lost memories.

But it is Morpheus who walks beside me and I can feel his presence in the way one might feel a dream. His features are blurry but when they come into focus I find that his face is one I recognize; before I can remember he is blurry again.

I ask him what his real face looks like and he laughs.

I find his presence calming in the most unnerving way. He is here and everywhere, there and nowhere. He crafts his dreams and shapes the way they feel in your head. He twists nightmares from the darkness and taunts you with shadows.

He tells me that his face looks like the feeling of waking up and the moment before falling asleep. He tells me of ideas lost to the moment between wakefulness and rest. We laugh because some of them are good and some of them are bad.

I should fear him, but his presence is almost comfortable, a reunion with an old friend, and I think that maybe dreaming is the best place to be. I look at him again, and the request to stay is on my lips before his face comes into focus.

The way he burns with dark fire steals my words. I see my face. My terror.

When he speaks, it is hoarse and rough and brutal in a way it wasn't before.

The sky turns dark around us, stormy and electric; Morpheus tells me that I should not dare to dream because the world only listens to nightmares.

I feel his hands push me off the bridge and I am falling through open air.


About the Creator

lj blickensderfer

much better in writing

twit/insta: @ljblick

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