How could something that drew no blood hurt
so bad? The pain he felt now would best be complemented by a complete inversion of the ribcage followed by careful incision of every vein and artery. This hurt worse than any blade that had tasted of his slip, or any crushing force or tearing strain he had incurred during his little span. He was tearing himself apart
and was unable to stop
. For days on end he burned with a fever that had no viral source and would take no food, no drink. His body twitched and convulsed in time with his internal dialogue
This was the death of Love.
This was not the death of any ordinary love, as good people are colliding and repelling always to benefit and detriment. This was a pain felt by relatively few through out the ages of romance for relatively few had ever loved this deeply, this powerfully. Planets had aligned and the spheres sang their incomprehensible song of approval for their meeting. And yet as the participants were ultimately and heart wrenchingly human, mistakes were made and a beautiful thing lay twitching and bleeding in the mud.
Vows spoken were now fading, so much scattered sound stolen by wind, by time. The numerous and valuable sacrifices now but scattered ash on the altar, yet the gods found them wanting and granted only a taste. His high priestess had been revealed a liar and his sanctuary lay in ruin. All he had built lay broken and defiled. He was a fool and now he was dying.
Or at least he wished it were so.
He was in fact dying, but no faster than we all were.
He dragged his broken empty shell to the highest spot he could find the night the final blow landed.
His blood had all but run free. The highest spot around happened to be a tree of maroon leaves outside his home and from his perch within its arms he gazed through his tears at the harvest moon.
Bone white and lovelier than he ever remembered, she cast ivory beams that scattered through his tear soaked lashes.
As he listened to the wind sigh and whisper, something inside him shifted, and these sighs and whispers slowly became voices. The tears continued to rain down but the sobs had stopped.
He was holding his breath… the wind and the leaves, as breath past chords and lips, had said his name.
Once his full effort was bent on listening, the breeze began a tale of unrequited love older than any told before.
This tale was of the radiant Selene who was set above and made mistress of the tides. She would govern the waters of this realm until the time her lover called her down and into his embrace. Ages of man would have to pass before his soul had been wrought with enough grace and power to call loud enough for her to hear and answer. Her beautiful face would have to remain hidden so as not to woo the entire populace and hinder the order of things. Alone she would spin staring out into void and fulfilling her function, ever aching for her impending union. It is only fitting that such immense engines be fueled by something as pure and powerful as love and its promise.
In every age of man, a man having come to the pinnacle of human love only to have it crumble due to its utter humanity, climbed closer to the sky to weep and to hear the story of Selene and her lonely vigil. Each time his soul cried out and was unheard.
“She loves you so… perhaps you are ready… Call to her.”
He looked upon the moon so beautiful now that he could scarcely believe that this was her lesser profile. He felt her light upon his face as a caress and a promise. Throughout a cavalcade of forms to this very shell on this very night a broken man looked upon her fullness and knew the love he had been searching for all along.
“call to her.”
He felt something well up inside, and it burst forth as a pure note of timeless longing. The force of it blew him from his tree. As he hit the ground, his cry slammed into the moon and the sheer gravitational tug of his mighty heart did turn Selene around and release her from her charge.
Her secret face was so lovely that all who witnessed it stood transfixed and stunned with awe. Her true face was so beautiful that it bears no arrangement of letters as a description. Cars stopped in the streets and people left their homes and workplaces to stare slackjawed and lovestruck at the sky. Those who were asleep smiled and kept sleeping. In every soul’s dream, a radiant woman turned to them. Her beauty was near heart stopping. Many died from sheer joy when she leaned in to place a kiss upon their lips for, despite sex or persuasion, this kiss was exactly what they were really looking for when they spoke of love. Every single one. Those who died in their sleep that night were the happiest. They were spared the agony of the coming days.
The next lunar month was the strangest in human history. By day, as it passed like a fire across the globe, the air was crackling with panic. Radio, television, wireless, print, voice, every frequency man had at its disposal to scream with fear at its own impending doom was utilized to do just that. Scientists had noticed that our moon was now magnetically and inexplicably attracted to the earth and had slipped from her orbit into a lazy downward spiral that spelled extinction level event to all who lived here. Computers worked overtime projecting trajectories and rendering math soaked images of the detail, level, and extent of the damage to come. The only thing these machines could not do was find a way to stop it. Day had now become a cacophony of sorrow and dread. The tides gnawed hungrily at the shores like a starved beast given the first bite of enough food to founder upon. Nowhere in daylight could any hope be found save that of the heart of one single man. It is important to note, that while many died the deaths prepared for them, none took their own life in that onslaught of despair. Every person held on, no matter how grim the rapidly approaching common fate, because the computers told them that night would fall again.
As Selene made her way ever downward, she sought only the progress of a solitary wanderer while everyone who could see her watched her glide across the stage of night and knew peace. Mercifully the tides came upon the coastlines with the night and the souls in the cities it devoured went dazed and blissfully back into the oceans from whence they came. Those inland spent the night wiping tears of happiness from their cheeks and blinking as little as possible while majesty reigned in the heavens. The coming of the dawn was the coming of fresh agony. The love of everyone’s life left everyone every morning.
Within a week the days were becoming as silent as the nights. So thick was the dread and helplessness that all had abandoned the pretence of society and peacefully if tearfully enjoyed those things they loved with the bittersweet certainty that every single one of them would cease to exist just days past the moment of their death. Within another week, the days were as silent as the tomb the world was about to become as the sun looked down upon whole nations asleep. Each person dreaming of just one more nightfall.
All of this went unnoticed by Selene’s intended. He spent this time staggering toward ecstasy. The wind, sometimes whispering, sometimes shrieking, drove him ever onward toward the place of their meeting. By night, the wind kept him from looking up into paralysis by assuring him he wold never make it in time if he did. Whenever he hungered he need only to reach out to the fuel dangling just beyond his fingertips. Whenever he thirsted, he need only stoop to the clean cool water at his feet. When exhaustion clamed him, he would collapse somewhere soft and safe until the wind called for him to continue. Such was the path that had been wrought for the intended by the same forces that swing the planets round the sun.
Here was the end of this world and it was a subtle yet complex mechanism that had been activated to undo what had been done. So perfect, this engine of destruction, that there was no evil to rise up against, no obstacle to overcome, only the flawless final ticking of billions of clocks. In the final analysis it mattered not that man had raped, abused, and waged wars across the planet. The End did not come as judgement or a punishment of failure, it came only as the end of a cycle. The end of a story. All the hate, greed, and injustice could not destroy so swift and complete as love. The only hope mankind ever had to survive was to bend its collective will toward leaving home. It was too late for that now, and so this was to be the fate of humanity.
I alone witnessed the lovers first and final kiss. I saw Selene score the land when she was close enough to assert her gravity. This gravity weakened at the spot where her lover swooned. I admired the craftsmanship of the resulting explosion. Where the last lips touched lay the juncture of all fault lines for each sphere. Both shattered completely, perfectly. Because I am the void in which all stories occur, I know that at the center of the haunted asteroid belt that remains spins a cold stone statue of a beautiful woman entombing the bones of her beloved.