It is silent, all too silent
Even deep within my bones
Where my heart ought to beat
It is dark and yet so blinding
My eyes closed for fear of finding
What they’d meet
And all is silent
A dead end in a broken street
The smoking moon had been torn away from the stars and the dim lights speckled an uneasy sky. It seemed frayed at the edges with dusty clouds steadily encroaching until it seemed a great blanket had been lowered and it hovered restlessly above the lake.
Ice crinkled beneath his boots as he made the first steps out to her but soon he was wading into cold water with his breath frosting before him and shivers wracking his thin frame. Beneath the film of liquid her eyes were dark and blind. He marvelled that she could not experience her own magic, not until freed from her would-be grave. He imagined it a sea of tears from which he could pluck her, wipe her tears away and watch a hesitant, shaky smile gradually re-emerge.
But she wasn’t a child. She was older than he was. She was submerged light in an abyss and he fancied the moon had settled into her skin once it had left the night sky barren and alone, ousted from its ancestral home.
His fingertips grazed the surface and delved deeper than expected until he found one cold hand and tugged gently until the figure began to rise steadily. Small bubbles erupted around her, racing to the surface after the first exhale.
She floated, and he pulled her away to the edges and glanced nervously into black eyes full of awareness, absorbing the night. She was stone, a perfect statue that judged him carefully before righting itself fully and abandoned him for the night. The lake reflected the curious twinkles that peeped back through the cloud’s net. Watching, and waiting.
The ripples toyed with strands of hair and they swam apart from her with a life of their own. She was still and silent but around her was a mane of fireworks exploding into vibrancy as the moon emerged to look down upon them: the sleeper and the dancer.
For he moved with the wind and his eyes were bright and alive, searching and yearning. The starlight was a great façade, an elaborate stage of spotlights guiding him through the night. The mirror was mostly unbroken but he tiptoed around its fraying edges and the breeze rustled his tangled hair, and his eyes came upon her.
The moonlight enveloped her still form and the beauty of that moment surpassed his terror for how could so wondrous a being cease to shine once the moon turned its gaze away, even in sorrow.
He died. As big events go it was strangely insignificant. One moment he was as alive as he had ever been: the sounds clear, the smell of the air infused with fading light, bitter blood’s warmth trickling across him, colours so bright, the world fiery with adrenaline and expectation and the sensations of a second promised to overcome him as fear crawled into his open mouth, and the next he was not.
Eyes seemed dulled or blind, the colours warped and a congealed, sickly sky hovered, oppressive, above him. The land fell apart and he was left with a mud-brown wasteland that stretched beyond the curvature of the earth. As he cast about he was struck by the sheer bleakness, barren soil with no peaks or valleys, a huge nothing that sharpened in his vision, endless monotony that even in the earliest moments threatened to consume him. Death was not what he had imagined.
I am crowned in clouds that storm the steely skies
And I drink from the liquid life they pour upon me
Summer days I heal the scars across tussled skin
Wounds heavy and aching from constant footfall
They too trudge on and on
With brown earth blood lapping at invasive ankles
Snaring leather boots into a muddy embrace
Eagle eyes’ are upon me;
Searching endlessly and restlessly
They haunt the heavens
And I hunker down when they dive
And when the rains come
I am swarmed in the world’s tears, and darting feathers
Waiting always for a friend to trespass upon old footsteps once again
And to climb to see a lonely mountain.
He was not an old man but he did look tired, at least he did when he didn’t think anyone was watching. Then the familiar guise slipped across his features and froze in place. A proud man, of an old world.
Even as he huddled the fire spat at him; shards blackened the floor and the smoke stung at his watering eyes. They were blue, and pale. They glinted uncomfortably in the wake of flames and they reflected the savage rage of raw nature, hinting at its worst.
Although the ice cracked upon his touch the glass still held as a shield, a cold, fragile frontier between him and the world. Such a flimsy little thing to hide behind, and even the glass burned.
Not much was left. All lost. All taken. All that remained were empty, irrelevant mementoes fragments of himself, so smug and arrogant., stony faced, eyes cold, thoughts elsewhere. The fraying edges of photographs bit into him, pinpricks of red spotted dry hands and years of dust. Already forgotten.
His breath frosted until he returned to the fire. The dream was consumed. All evidence of him living has left with it; he was ice.