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Rejection III

The cold takes me away on silver wings and I float in darkness, surrounded by stars.

This is a place familiar to me. I have been here before. This time it looks different, however; the waves lapping against the moonlit shore are black and sludgy, and I can see it moving. Not like water, not at all. This is the anti-water, the anti-life – the anti-anima. I am a stranger on this shore.

“Perhaps we were mistaken, little honey child.”

I can feel a smile appear on my lips. They are afraid now. Truth be told, they have always been afraid, but this time they are beginning to realize that I can not be controlled. I know which voice to listen to, and I know what to reject. They are a sickness and I am about to purge them from my being.

“Please. Heed us. We can show you so much.”

I walk.

As the stars wheel overhead and the moon shines on me through the lens of countless dreams I walk over the dunes – and I know that I am in a prison of sorts, although it was not built to contain me.

What it is meant to contain lies before me.

“We beg you. You can still change your mind. If you help us you will be rewarded.”

Again they appear around me, shielding me, smiling at me. Hanako comes first, her glowing aura shining brightly in the darkness. Then comes my mother, radiant, powerful, always in control. Then comes my father, and I see that he is ill. His being is with me, because I carry him in my heart, but this is not his true form. He gives me a smile and a small shrug, as if to say: “This is all I could do.” Last comes Amy, and she has also been taken. The sight of her breaks my heart. Her anima is clouded and I feel in this moment that I have lost her. In my heart, however, she will live on forever.

They embrace me, one by one. After they have done so they fade away, leaving me alone but with a hardened resolve.

Stars and moons and over the hill.

In this cold, remote cage in the middle of an eternal dream, there is music. I can hear it very clearly: A sequence of bright, shining notes that ring out in defiance of the oppressive blackness. The sequence is repeated all around me, over and over, fighting back the oncoming dark – but in the middle I hear a disturbance. There is a fault that must be repaired, a connection that is slowly being broken. I turn toward this anomaly and I head straight for it.

As I go over the hill I gasp.

It is here. All of it is here. The linchpin of our existence, the center of the soul of life. It has taken many forms before. For some it has been a glowing realm of peace and harmony; for others it has been a lone, black tower, standing tall in the middle of a field of roses. For me, it takes the shape of a canyon with an incredibly bright glowing center. People have sought this forever, walking along the same path (the word beam enters my incorporeal head), all being pulled toward the same place. It must be protected. It cannot be allowed to fall. I must keep it safe. We must all keep it safe.

And so I walk toward the light, ignoring the dark voices screaming at me not to do it. They ask my forgiveness, they beg to be released. If I do this, they tell me, they will give me knowledge and power beyond anything I could possibly imagine. But I am no longer a stranger on the shore. I will reject them once again. Everything is true, and everything comes in threes. Before the sun rises I will reject this Filth – this anti-anima – thrice.

I find the glowing node that has been afflicted by the darkness. It tries to sing its bright, glassy note, but its voice is distorted. I can feel the universe looking at me now, wondering what my next action will be. The eyes of millions of worlds are watching – and I, Chie, am one of the chosen few who can do something right.

I kneel down and I sing to the glow. I sing a song very dear to me, a song my father used to sing when I was a child. It is the perfect song for this time, for this place, to comfort a single being who cannot sing on its own.

Here I stand, watching the tide go out
So all alone and blue
Just dreaming dreams of you

“No no no! Don’t do it! We can show you everything! Do you not understand, you terrible little thing of muscles and tissue and blood?! We offer you eternity!”

I watched your ship as it sailed out to sea
Taking all my dreams
And taking all of me

Yes, this is the right song. The only song. Because my journey started out like this, didn’t it? I was alone in the night, dreaming my dreams. I heard of the ships sailing out into the mist and coming back with people no longer human. This blight on our universe took all of them. It is a sad, sad thing. But crying can be healing, and as I sing I can feel the tears flow freely.

The sighing of the waves
The wailing of the wind
The tears in my eyes burn
Pleading, “My love, return”

“You cannot keep us out forever! DO YOU HEAR US? WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED! WE WILL NOT BE REJECTED! THERE ARE OTHERS, CHIE! THERE ARE OTHERS AND THEY WILL LISTEN TO US THEY WILL DO WHAT WE ASK AND YOU CAN NOT KEEP US OUT! WE WILL CLAIM YOU ALL!

I can feel that faint smile reappearing. Perhaps there will be those who listen to you, I think, but today you lose.

Why, oh, why must I go on like this?
Shall I just be a lonely stranger on the shore?

Cadence.

The glowing orb lets out a sigh. It shines brighter for a second and then it sings on its own. The note is brilliant and crystal clear. The cage will hold.

She decends before my very eyes and I see her very well. This is a being I have encountered before. When she speaks, she does so in the center of my mind.

Thank you, Chie, daughter of Noriko and Matthew. If everyone chose this way, there would be no danger to your world.

She – it – puts a gentle hand on my cheek. It burns a little; I get a sudden image of a cow being branded. I have made my choice now and the universe has seen it very well.

We will speak again.

And with that, she leaves me. I fall into the light and wake up in my bed, still clutching the lucky charm I was given. My nose is bleeding profusely and my head is aching, but I feel almost lightheaded with relief and joy. This choice was mine to make, and I made the right one.

Time now to see where it will take me in the future.

さようなら

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Transylvania at Dusk

Transylvania at Dusk

This was just too beautiful for me to ignore. My phone didn’t quite capture the true beauty of the sunset but it got close enough. Can’t wait to show Hanako this.

Rejection II

I dream.

Dark skies above me, crimson rivers below me. I am wandering through a mist of stars and snow, my skin tightening from the cold. There are whispers around me and I think of insects crawling inside unseen walls.

All around me are familiar faces.

They come to me one by one. First my father, austere, solemn, watching me play with my toys. Next is my mother, toughened by salted seas and grimy streets, grim and powerful in her police uniform, tougher than most in her precinct. Then comes Amy, the first – perhaps the only. She wears the sweater she borrowed from me. Last comes Hanako, somehow even younger than she is now. Their eyes are lit from within by a honey-colored glow; they look at me through veils of forgotten time. Golden tears leak from Amy’s eyes. Worn-out faces.

“When you last visited this place you rejected us, weakling.”

The voice is much too loud in the whispering, dull glow of this forgotten place. It is filled with rage beneath a calm surface.

“You chose to reject us. What makes you think you deserve to be here?”

I say nothing. My people – the heart-figments – walk together with me as I press on through the not-snow, shivering in the not-cold, blocking out the increasingly furious barks of the Anti-Anima. Hanako grasps my hand and holds it tightly. She – it – smiles at me and the warmth radiating from this vision soothes me. I will be okay.

“We could destroy you with a thought.”

Empty threats. My heart is steeled against this obtrusive, one-sided bickering. It may indeed wish to hurt me; the problem it now faces is that it can’t. It is unable to wield its might in my presence. It can only shout at me, try to demoralize me. I can feel the figment of Amy grasp my free hand. Together with Hanako, she provides a shield against the dark.

A song comes to my mind, and I sing it to the filth-tainted blackness.

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had

“Silence, maggot! Insignificant fool! You are nothing! You are less than nothing! We could stop your heart this very second!”

Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen
Sit and listen

“You will cease this incessant noise, insect! You will bow to us!”

Hello, teacher, tell me what’s my lesson?

My figments – mother, father, Hanako, Amy – all take up the song and we sing it together, drowning out the screams of the outraged horror.

We come to a precipice. There is no gift this time.

It comes from above. A giant, terrifying shape, comprised mostly of darkness and ill will. It swoops down with an ear-splitting shriek and perches itself like an obscene, giant raven on top of a not-gravestone that bears the inscription Here lies Chie Williams, loved by no-one, never missed.

“We could be merciful. You could yield to us.”

Around me, the shield is slowly evaporating. The last to go is the image of my sister, and she gives me a radiant, honey-colored smile. Her mouth forms the words: I find it kind of sad.

I place one hand on the hilt of my sword. The other hand surges with energy as living flame bursts into existence in my palm. Gaia is my protection.

I fight.

さようなら

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Me

Me

Hana-chan snapped this photo of me with her Instagram-equipped phone. I suppose she went a bit overboard with all the filters to make me look “kakkoii”.

Pilgrimage

He and I walk over swirling sand, saying nothing, feeling the dunes move beneath us and the heat throb above us. We stop at an oasis and he nods at the clear, blue water, indicating that I should drink from it. I do, and the icy liquid stings my throat in a wonderful way. We move on, like the sand beneath our feet. Always moving on.

The scorching day has turned into freezing night when I first begin hearing the voices.

This time they sound different. I am not sure whether they come from inside me or from the air around us; they sting me and scrape invisible nails on equally invisible blackboards. I give Khalid a brief, bewildered look and he gives me a sagely nod in response. He has expected this.

We walk on. I lose track of time. We do not eat, we do not drink and we do not stop. In retrospect, I assume several days must have gone by like this.

After what seems like an eternity, we finally stop to make camp. The sizzling, buzzing voices seep out from nearby rocks and from under my fingers as I collect wood for the fire. When bright light blazes into the inky blackness, the tips of the flames are filled with the voices of the unseen dark. I sit down, and he opens his mouth for the first time since we left.

“Do you hear them?”

I nod in reply. Talking is hard at this point; I fear that if I open my mouth, something terrible will come out. Yes, I do indeed hear them, but I can’t understand them. Their intent is clear – hurt, death, all the ones you love, rejection, we hate, we hate you – but the source is not. Where are these voices coming from?

“The crawling chaos,” Khalid says, his voice mild, eyes fixed at a point somewhere far off in the distance. “You must think carefully about what comes next, child.”

And I think. The scratching, clawing, skittering, rustling noise grows louder. The voices screech at me to run, to submit, to die. I clench my teeth. Gaia comes to my aid; she fills me up and I feel something change inside of me. The voices die away. There is warmth around us.

In the heavy, thudding silence that follows, Khalid’s voice feels much too loud.

“You must understand, child. They are not what you think they are.”

“So they are not-“, I begin, my voice cracking due to lack of use. He shakes his head and I fall silent.

“There is a difference, fire-child. They are both as ancient as the universe, but they are not the same. You must understand this.”

At this point, I do not. My head is aching, my muscles are sore. My stomach remembers that it has not had nourishment for several days and begins to growl. Khalid smiles at me.

“Your dreams are infected, fire-child. They are tainted. You must stand fast and fight them with all your might.” He pauses, reflecting upon this. His eyes are filled with stars. “Or perhaps you should bend your knees to them and choose that path. Humanity is built on choices, child.”

With this, he stands up, stretching. His ancient bones crack and pop, and I realize that we are back where we began our journey. I close my eyes for a few seconds and when I open them, he has gone.

As I am writing this, I have wolfed down the third plate of the Giza Special. I don’t know what’s in it and frankly, I don’t care. My body has slowly started to feel normal again and I think I will be ready to pick up my sister from Kingsmouth Academy soon. I miss her.

I think I have been misled.

The voices in my dreams have used familiar words. They have spoken to me as the hum does; honeyed tones, abrupt messages, increasingly cryptic meanings. But they are not the same. I am beginning to think that the voices asking me to accept, to yield, to bend, are something else entirely. Perhaps they come from the same place, but they are very different in nature. Whereas one is a collective consciousness that was born from knowledge, the other is a dark dream of chaos and corruption.

The crawling chaos… perhaps there is some truth to that.

さようなら

Talking in my Sleep

I wake up this morning to the pale, horror-stricken face of my sister, staring at me, holding her cellphone in front of her like a ward to fight off evil. She has recorded something.

“You talked,” she tells me. “In your sleep. Kowai yo, onee-chan.”

She taps the phone and the recording plays back. I hear my own voice flooding out of the speaker, slightly distorted but quite clear. My voice, but different; flat, dull, without emotion.

… can hear you. I can hear you. I can. I can.

Fleeting winds and soaring moons, galaxies of wonders and wandering dust.

My eyes are bleeding but I can’t make them close. My heart is racing but I can’t calm down. This is the end of all worlds, the final turnpike. Stop signals. Stop. Ss… s… stop. Or come closer. It is all the same to me because at the end everything will stop. Cease. Stop. Stooooooop! (sound of something breaking – it seems at this point I made a nearby signpost explode)

The howling in my ears. The buzzing. The crawling. It comes to me in all things, in all ways, in my mind and in my heart and in the secret places. I can speak in all tongues, fly all planes, see all things known and unknown. The world is mine. The world is ours, sweetling. The secrets are ripe for the picking. No, no, no. All is but a dream.

Please end me now, please, please. I am afraid. So afraid. I’m afraid. Trains and riddles. I’m afraid. A-af… afraid…

(Here comes the sound of someone starting to cry, like a small child. It is me. It goes on for about 30 seconds and then it goes quiet.)

Hanako hasn’t talked to me for a few hours now. She is still pale and keeps away from me. I don’t know what to think about anything right now.

I’m afraid.

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Egypt at Dusk

Egypt at Dusk

For some reason I tend to find the most amazing sunsets. This time it’s Egypt; tomorrow it might be anywhere. I like to travel through the beeline, so to speak.