Fiction: One

1.

One day, when the world was young and the people innocent, at the place on earth where night and day smile at each other across the horizon, a child invented the Word.

This child had a shadow over his head, and as he sat, a drop fell. And his hands leapt to his face, for the first time knowingly, and he felt his eyes, and the lips that still bore the nectar of ripe fruit, and at that moment, with the first ray of the first Sun, “I” dawn onto him with all the glory of the new beginning.

And as the child, now no longer a child, but a Man, took this “I” and split it into a million pieces of himself; into arms and legs and bones and blood and wishes and memories he didn’t know he had, he jumped to his feet and ripped free from his roots, tearing himself a Future and a Past.

And the man ran home, naming the World as he went, and as he ran he saw a beautiful girl playing naked in a stream, and he took that girl for himself, naming her Woman and Wife, and she did not cry, only grieved silently what she had lost because she now knew Grief and also Silence.

 

This man passed on his words to other men and other women, and soon people came to rely on those words, no longer trusting the hush of their hearts.

 

And Time, born ancient and weary, stretched into being as the man called onto it, and Time began to wander around the Earth, with every turn taking his toll.

As more people learned the power of the Word they became more cunning in employing it, some even seeking, through Stories or Magic, a livelihood.

Those trading Stories, traded a tale for a head and song for a dance, two yarns for a pound, happy endings by the dozen, and as these stories were made of stuff so pliable, so porous as words, they took from life and made into fiction and made rumours into fact.

And then there were those who turned to Magic, not like the pure, easy enchantments of old stones; those spells so ancient they are part of the marrow of our bones. This New Magic of the Word was a magic of ensnarement. It was wielded by simple men and women who sought to satisfy frivolous desires of love and greed, and who cast spells to draw the attention of a pair of blue eyes or the weight of a pot of gold. This Magic was also employed by those who wanted the power to rule over others, and they used the Word to make false promises and make enemies out of brothers and sisters. And people forgot that they were one, made of the same stuff and sharing one life of many lives, and they started pointing and calling their brothers the Other, and filled with fear of this Other they drew lines in the sand, destroyed cities, sent children to burn, all while their leaders continued to whisper Words.

Good and Evil, which had been one, began to pull in opposite directions, stretching the bond that held them until they could go no further.

Eventually all things came to follow either Good or Evil, and the people suffered because this is not the true nature of things but only an illusion borne by the inexorable breath of change that is neither sweet nor foul but just is.

2.

A very long time after that first dawn, a woman was born under a familiar shadow. She lived her life in fear of Time, and though Time was to be generous, this woman starved herself of living for fear of death. In turn, throughout her life, she processed innocence, beauty and youth, talent, and love, but nothing gave her joy.

When her end finally did come, and she was crooked and grey, the woman wept for the life she thought wasted. She looked around her beautiful home, filled with beautiful things, and wished to understand why nothing had ever made her happy, begged for a lifetime of living in that one, final breath.

With her last crumb of life, she gave away all her memories; the paintings on her walls; the money in her purse; her name; and every word she had ever known. The very last word to leave her was “I” and as it went and nothing remained, the woman was granted her wish.

And all that the boy had done, so many years before, was undone. All that he had made was unmade, as Good and Evil snapped back into each other and Past and Future were set free, and everything was pulled together; pulled in from a great distance of unimaginable years and miles, but pulled together none the less by that dying wish, pulled together into One.

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