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Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

A pawn, when separated from his fellows, will seldom or never make a fortune.

The slag heap must have been a few hundred feet, but from my position at the bottom of the pile it seemed like miles. Regardless, I began to climb. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Unfortunately my feet were bare – I had not noticed my attire yet. I wore only a colorless, shapeless robe.

Despite the jagged footing and immense height of the slag heap, it took but minutes to reach the top. By that time my hands and feet bled and I was panting from the thin air. Luckily I was rewarded for my actions. As soon as I stepped into the tall grass growing on the flat plateau my wounds were healed. In the center of the mountaintop was a tall yew tree, branches extending far outwards. What I expected to see – a lady in white, playing a harp – was not there. Instead, at the base of the tree, lay a skeleton, clutching an instrument of bone. I would have thrown up if I had had anything in my stomach.

I walked towards the skeleton. Resting next to it was a short blade, a ritual athame. Jewels were encrusted in its hilt, and a tiny skeletal dragon head opened its mouth in a silent roar at the pommel. As soon as I reached out and grabbed it, the skull a few feet away from me jerked itself towards me. Those empty eyes bored into mine. I couldn’t take it anymore. I stepped back out from under the tree, and looked up.

The leaves were all gone. The tree itself had become skeletal. No; it had become him. Its branches – his arms – extended and slammed themselves into the ground. I was trapped. I glanced at my hands. My knuckles were white from their vice grip on the athame. I turned and ran to the edge of the slag heap and attempted to cut through the wooden, the iron, the otherworldly bars. Nothing. I turned; the skeleton and her harp had disappeared. The tree had become him entirely. I saw faces. A thousand faces. All the people I have met, all the people I have seen, but most prominently, all the people I have hurt. Ivan. Phoebe. They solidified into their whole selves and walked towards me, hand in hand. They reached their hands out to me. I was about to grab them when they disintegrated into skeletons, themselves. I looked away, down at myself. I was only bone. Bones, bones, bones, everywhere. The slag heap, even, was completely made of bones, bones sharp enough to cut, to kill.

I screamed. I knew how to escape the prison. I took up the athame and stabbed myself. Though I was only bone I felt the blade sink into my chest and pierce my heart.

Then I awoke.

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“I’ve been quite looking forward to this little game,” and he took Death’s other castle.

Ivan is right. I am tired. I am tired of being attacked mercilessly. I am tired of seeing the people around me torn down. I am tired of being flung about through space. Most of all, I’m tired of being flung about through time. I can see every portion of my life at once. I know when checkmate will be. I know when my story will end. But that also gives me a kind of freedom. I can’t die until certain things come to pass. And when they do, I’ll be able to do whatever I want for the last few hours of my life.

Then again, I’m also dead. My life does not just flash before my eyes. My life is piled on me all at once. I am dead and I am alive, and I’m graduating high school and being conceived all at once. It’s a strange feeling, but it also gives me a certain insight into death.

You may think dying is something sweet. You may believe in an afterlife. You may think that it’s endless nothingness. You may think that the energy that makes you up is released and brought back in something else. You may believe in past lives.

When you think of dying, you may be picturing the friend you lost or martyr you worshiped. You may imagine them, as I sometimes did, turning their head over their shoulder, face split into a smile, their last laugh ringing through your head.

The truth about dying is that it’s just a verb. That’s it. Every day, millions upon billions of poor people are starving. Every night, insomniacs everywhere are staring out their window, cursing at the moon. Verbs. And yet scientists and theologians don’t spend their entire working lives trying to figure out what happens afterward.

But you don’t care about that. You don’t care about dying in and of itself, though it might be something to be concerned about. In fact, I’d be more concerned with dying than death. That’s what people care about – death. The state of being dead. Of being no longer alive. I don’t mind that bit. It’s fun, really.

If there’s an afterlife, then you don’t need to worry about death. You’ll be more or less alive anyways. And if it’s just nothing – then you don’t need to worry about it. Because by the time it comes around, you probably won’t even remember it.

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