How Do I Sound
There is a time when one reaches a conclusion in life, an epiphany, a moment of clarity that rings forth so true and clear that the world view becomes altered. He had such a moment; it came in a flash, fully formed. It was simple and concise yet had managed to elude him for too long. He finally realized that he was a sound, a vibration; not a person. Sure, he had a body, had bones, possessed a brain, all the accouterments of matter. In reality, however, he was a soundwave; when he died he would be a beautiful drone, like the slow grinding aria of Earthly magnetic waves in the nighttime air that humans are incapable of hearing. His chord was like that, distant and drawn out, magnificent. In fact, he learned, we are all sounds. We all live in a key that plays the harmony of the cosmos. If he closed his eyes and shut down his senses he could almost hear the humming from within. It brought a wave of recognition, a sense of complete well being and it was all he yearned to hear. Himself as instrument, himself as song. To peel away the cumbersome meat and get at the reality. Could he wait for it, let it come upon him naturally in the slow dance with time? He began to doubt his will, the urge to hear himself was so overpowering. I learned of this through a chance discovery weeks after his disappearance. Scribbled on yellow paper were these thoughts, in fragmented form. Somehow I knew what he did because when I opened his window to let the summer air in I heard something. I heard it before I found his writings, so it did not come afterwards to me as an audio hallucination suggested from his documents. This I heard first and it was beautiful. It was haunted and unbound. Somewhere out in the plains of the blue vastness of sky drifted the lone call of someone I once knew, floating free in the ether of the euphony of being. Like a wave from the bellows of eternity he washed over me.
Man Of Light
There is a place only he knows about, somewhere deeply buried and cavernous. A place not sacred nor special, but sacred and special simply because it was his and his alone. The walls were full of thousands of tiny holes, the curved ceilings and floors sponge-like and cold. Each day, as the days added up like lonely miles on a tired journey nowhere, he spent contained within his place. He had no memories of who he had been, he only remembered what he was and where he was. It had always been like this to him. When he closed his eyes and concentrated, the light glowed faintly at first. Gradually it glowed brighter still till it illuminated around him, filling the air with gleaming white blueness as though each molecule gently exuded a tranquil fog of iridescence. He would always smile when he did this, knowing it was what he was and had always been. He was a man of light, a simple man with no one and nothing, a lost man with one purpose that he did well. How he shone in his darkness.
One night, far away from the man of light, a child looked up into the evening air. She wondered aloud to her Mother, “How come the Moon shines so brightly in the sky?”
I found the key that once belonged to the mouse, a key so small that no one had thought to look there. With deliberate care I picked up the tiny object and gently deposited it in my special tiny bag, made especially in the hopes of finding the key. Not one person saw my discovery so I made up an excuse about the futility of our quest and made a hasty exit. Once I was in a safe place I examined the key much closer. Pulling forth a silver magnifier I studied it and was amazed at the delicate carvings along it’s slender handle. I had no idea how a mouse, even one so renowned, could have attained such magnificent skill. It was in front of my eyes, the proof, so I accepted the fact that this was made by no normal creature but a divine one. As I was lost in admiration I started to notice movement from the periphery, but chose to ignore it. The sun had cast long shadows that disturbed me before and I had no reason to believe it was anything otherwise. It wasn’t until I felt the soft brush of fur on my leg that I was startled enough out of my reverie to glance downwards. I dropped the key onto the table. Surrounding me in my sanctuary were what must have been a thousand mice. They all sat up and stared at me. I cautiously returned their gaze and pondered my next act. Before I was able to respond, a beautifully colored mouse slipped to the forefront. I had never seen such a mouse. He had the markings of some exotic bird, possessing a blue face and red ears. His body was specked with emerald spots and his tail was pure white. This may sound ugly, as though he were painted, but on him it looked natural, graceful even. I knew he had made the key. Without thinking, I placed the key in front of him on the floor. The regular mice all sat back down, as though they where venerating a holy object. With no more than a cursory glance at me, the king mouse snatched up the key and worked his way through his followers. As soon as he disappeared in the shadows the rest dispersed in what I can only call an odd processional, devoid of human reason. Needless to say, I never mentioned this to my compatriots and, as far as they know, we never found the key.
Before the clouds were allowed to float above the hills, before the water rejected the hazy sunshine, a small man lived in a small house made entirely of diamonds. When the alabaster rays of the new sun caught the faceted surfaces of his home the reflections would paint wondrous shapes of marvelous creatures on the surrounding mountains. The man would sit for hours and watch the images, losing himself in the nonreality of the world. Before long, he had become more comfortable in this land of light and began to fear the nighttime when the reflections would be replaced by inky starshine and distant breezes. On a particularly reddish-blue evening he watched as the sun set and was replaced by a terrible black sun. It rose in the northern sky and seemed to suck the very color of the moon out. The leaves of the trees began to rustle, like the breath of wild dogs, yet there was no wind. The poor man ran to his home and closed the door, fearing for his life. He passed the night away, praying to Gods long forgotten. When the dawn finally broke he was relieved to find the sun still rising. Gathering his courage, he walked out his door and looked out over the landscape he had come to know. It had somehow changed. Everything seemed to be in place and as it should be, but he knew it was altered. The greens were not so green, the blue sky seemed somehow paler. He turned to look at his diamond house and found it was made of diamond no more. His extraordinary home was now made of coal, dirty blackened coal. Tears welled up in his eyes and for the first time in years he wept. The Shadowing had fallen over the world and things would never again be so beautiful.
Before I was a cat in the kitchen, my friends used to pull my tail and spin me around like a toy. All of my teeth have begun to grow tiny little mustaches, and this concerns me. Being a cat is difficult enough, since I know I’m a cat and want to be much more. Having mustaches on my teeth is a very big problem for someone as sensitive as myself. Anyhoo, I escaped from the stovetop one fine afternoon and patrolled the neighborhood. My glistening fur was the envy of all since I had recently applied a thin mist of 'Pam' cooking oil all over my feline body. Meow meow, I look good. The trees started to call to me, climb me one said, no climb me, said another. I was at once happy to be a cat and yet I was sad to be so popular. I decided to jump into a well of well being and feel better, but where do you find such a thing? I quickly discarded that notion and found a litter box behind a five and dime store. There I relieved myself and felt better. Unfortunately, the thing I just crapped out wasn't a poopy poop. No, it was something living, like a blackened piece of chicken with flaming green eyes. It stared up at me and said, “Mommy”? I ran away, far away. You’ll never see me again.
If It’s The Last Thing I Do
There was a man I once new, not too long ago. I can’t say much about him, I knew him not well. He was of average height, of slim build, of middle age. His blond hair was cut short, though it was messy and appeared to have been cut by himself without aid of a mirror. His eyes were unique, I can’t remember what color they were, but to that I’ll return. None of us knew where he lived, perhaps in a different place each night. He carried himself with a certain dignity, yet sadness surrounded him. He had a favorite saying, one he repeated over and over like a mantra till it began to make sense.
“If you could see what I see then I’d be you and you’d be me.”
He stopped by every so often to sit on the porch with us. We didn’t mind him, he was odd, but we gave him food and company. He never confabulated, yet when he spoke he would look directly in one's eyes and say, “If you could see what I see then I’d be you and you’d be me.” We named him Seymour, a name he responded to. No one ever knew his real name, although we tried to engage him in conversation. I had come to the conclusion, through varying degrees of circumstantial evidence, that he was once an average man. It seemed somewhere along the line he had taken a wrong turn in his mind and lost the thread that binds reality. Perhaps that’s where his sadness came from, a lingering memory of his normalcy, when everything was right. Often I would try to help, try to get some answers to get him back home, wherever that might be. These attempts were never successful. I could be wrong, he might have always been out of tune, but somehow I don’t think so.
The night before the final day I saw Seymour proved prescient. Normally the squealing of the elevated train would never wake me up. That night, it did. I can only attribute what I heard to sleep and not reality. Buried within the rhythmic pounding of the train’s wheels, chanted out in a mysterious and metallic voice, was, “I’d be you, you’d be me, I’d be you, you’d be me...”
The next morning I heard a soft, muffled cry from outside the window. Peering out I saw Seymour standing below on the sidewalk, loudly whispering his mantra. I ran down to him and asked what was wrong. He slowly lifted his head and locked my eyes with his. Within the reflection of his corneas I saw not myself but a hideous gargoyle surrounded in flames. It was clear and real, it was a monster of leathered skin and alabaster horns, a beast from the depths of some Stygian horror. Startled, I looked around, behind myself, but nothing was out of the ordinary. I even remember a cab driving past underneath the sharp shadows cast from trees by the morning sun. Cautiously, I returned my gaze to his and there stood the gargoyle, brilliantly outlined in fire, reproduced in miniature on his eyes. I felt myself being drawn in, the world seemed to be shrinking. My soul began to twist, and the pain he had I tasted ever so slightly. It was a completely alien terror I felt, inhuman in it’s design. With a massive effort I pulled my eyes away and looked down. I stepped back and asked Seymour what he saw. Slowly and mechanically he began to talk. This is what he said and I shall never forget it.
If you could see what I see then I’d be you and you’d be me.
The demon both eyes to me, I see him not but he looks about
If it’s the last thing I do, I shall get out
Seymour spun around after finishing those words and walked away. I had nothing to say, I let him go. That was the last time anyone I know ever saw of him.