Prologue

The Tales Of The Living

Where Two Become One

The sky had grown starless as time continued its indifferent journey across the world. Arlo lay on a cheap cot, wondering at the fragility of things. Beside him lay a small curled up form, as lifeless as anything asleep. The moon reflected in Arlo’s black eyes, young as they were, innocent and honest.

“How fragile is the ability of things to adapt,” said Arlo in a whisper to no one in particular. “How fragile…”

The world would have called him mad, evil, and unrealistic but the realization of truth tends to change a person. All things shall yield to death, all things are fragile in their existence, all things fail.

He looked at Celestine, who had turned towards him, her eyes slightly open, asleep and unaware of the battle raging within him. He touched her soft cheek and felt her exhale on his wrist. What cruelty she has suffered with me, what sufferings and yet this pure soul of innocence stands so tall as if every suffering was sweeter than wine.

Celestine had not yet opened her eyes to consciousness when nature took her father away, she still cried whenever her mind vainly sought his memory, and yet smiled whenever her eyes saw his only picture; chance had never brought Arlo close to her mother, he only heard about her now and then through the beautiful words that solely belonged to Celestine.

When darkness had completely veiled everything of their world, he got up to wake his Celestine up.

“What?” said Celestine her voice heavy with slumber. “What’s happened?”

“Nothing’s happened, I have a surprise for you but you must get up! We have no time to dally.”

Arlo and Celestine ran barefoot, with accuracy that could only be a result of years of navigating through the silent streets which grew darker as Arlo drew nearer to his destination; and it was this dark that held a surprise but Celestine couldn’t see for her eyes were weak and completely blinded, she felt fear grow in her heart. She was after all a child and children seldom wander in places so dark.

Where are they? Arlo’s thought ran wild with assumptions made little on facts. They promised that they would come. They promised!

Arlo could no longer see, the darkness had blended in so well; it seemed to him that only darkness was devoid of fragility, that only darkness had the solidity of a change-bringer. A soft whisper of movement slowed him to a stop, as a voice uttered a single word, “We.” But then it came from another and another and soon everywhere there was an echo, an echo which shook the heart, which moved mountains, which stilled the storms. It was an echo of creation, of the beginning and the ending, of the world and the universe. It was the voice of the Living.

“You have a world to learn, to know, daughter,” the Living spoke in a whisper yet it felt so loud. Arlo felt Celestine’s breathing go still as she tried to grasp the moment that had just transpired. “Do never let disappointment cloud your thinking or your heart.”

“Who are you?” Arlo heard Celestine’s trembling voice ask. “Arlo! Who are they?”

“These,” and Arlo smiled for he felt very happy, “are the Living.”

“The Living?” Celestine moved ahead as if in a trance. “You are the Living?” her question was answered by silence. “How…?”

“Ever since we first met …ah! I saw how you smiled and laughed at the mention of them as if they were ethereal, fantastic; and at nights when I heard you cry for the memory of your father, it broke my heart because I couldn’t help you and so I made a vow to make your wish come true. You wanted to meet them, didn’t you? Here you are.”

***

Laughter was Celestine’s reply and she smiled as she had never smiled before, she laughed as she had never laughed before. She felt true happiness, true satisfaction and for the first time True Love. All this while, the Living had been waiting with patience seldom found in humans. A low stir in the dark vicinity of the street caused Celestine to wonder at how one collision causes another collision and then another and another until all the beings, no matter how small, collide with each other, creating a change; and that was precisely how she felt. Changed.

Arlo joined Celestine taking her hand in his as they both smiled, unaware yet aware of each other’s hearts.  She wondered at many things at that moment, her thoughts ran wild and far. Pain and sorrow and hatred and misery seemed unreal, as if they were just an effigy and perhaps they were.

Celestine felt overjoyed and exhilarated at seeing her dream change into actuality, her wish into reality, but she was not unaware of what it may have cost, she was not unaware of Arlo’s flooding thoughts of despair, but she still chose to be happy for her happiness was hers and her happiness depended on her.

The Living! The actual faction of the Living! And though she couldn’t see them, she felt a bond with them, a bond like nothing ever felt by her. A bond of belonging, of safety, of love, of care. It had been asleep it seemed until that moment, and it had been dreaming.

Celestine felt Arlo’s arm around her shoulders as he tried to steer her away, to take her back to the simple life of a street beggar, the life she felt she no longer belonged to.

“Who are you?” asked she and this time the Living answered; “I am We and We are us, and who are us? Only We know. You have many, many things to learn, Celestine…no longer a child.”

Celestine understood nothing of the words which emitted from the Living’s mouth like a whisper and yet so loud and clear that the whole world could hear their vibrations.

They walked back in a trance, both lost to their thoughts, their dreams, and their wishes but together they moved and together they stopped. When they reached where they had first left from; the roof enshrouded in shadow, a dawn was arising from its one night slumber, a dawn unlike anything, a dawn of silence.

When Celestine finally slept, the sun had reached its full and in the slight shade of the roof she dreamed of the Living, of Arlo and a promise made in silence, in dark; a promise…

***

As Arlo lay awake under the same old blanket, watching the sky brighten into thousand shades, he wondered about the fragility of things, of their loneliness and as the last star faded into the infinities of the sky, and a dark song his mind despairingly recalled; 

One day all these things will fade;
These clouds above who downward gaze,
Upon this vexed and anxious maze,
As all the people within its shade,
Search and searching, they all fade…

Arlo was lost, he looked inside himself for peace but couldn’t find any. His home was somewhere else, in someone else and he had to leave it behind. He was lost, so lost, in the despairing vision of leaving Celestine, especially when she had seemed so happy. He knew she had dreams and wishes which started and ended with him, and above all these trifles she had love, true and pure, which blossomed in both their hearts. As he lay there gazing into the sky, he couldn’t be more pitied. He had even failed to say goodbye, but before he could leave, something lulled him to sleep, maybe it was his despairing mind or maybe the birdsong but he gave himself up to the lulling voice of slumber, with his last thought being: I just want to go home…


Author: The Weaver


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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