An Excerpt from “The Immortal’s Lament”

I chose to post this selection as my first prose fiction not because it is a good example of my normal style, but rather because it is so different. I think it shows a connection between my poetic and prose voices. Indeed, this was based on a long poem of the same title. I used it as the beginning of a short story that I never quite finished, but I think this excerpt works on its own,  even though there is not enough plot to call it a story by itself. The next fiction I post will be a story in my normal narrative prose style.

From The Immortal’s Lament

Alone again, and it is too familiar a feeling. I almost feel as though I have always been alone, even in the days when I was surrounded by my fellow beings. How many years have passed? How many eons? The number has faded from my mind just as the Age of Life has faded from the Earth. I watched it all.

I watched as the life that was the fruit of Earth fell from its joyful spring, a time when the Age of Man was in its zenith and the world was harmonious. I watched as that vernal bliss grew into a fiery summer. The sparks of life became searing flames, and Earth could no longer bear the burden of its stifling children. The flames were diminished. I watched as the fires of summer calmed into a beautifully somber autumn, a time reminiscent of the spring, but the colors of hope and innocence had become dull and ugly, covered by despair and longing for a time far gone from memory. The autumn dropped into a bitter and dreadful winter. No, not dropped, but rather slowly faded. So slowly. Yes, the winter was the saddest time of all. Everything that had ever lived fell out of existence. Nothing remains but me and the stone. Solid and unchanging the stone is. It watched as the last man, the last being, the last creature, the last insignificant speck of life died lonely and pitiful deaths. I watched as well. Just like the stone, I watched the world die.

From where I sit now, I can see the vast, rocky wasteland stretching on forever beneath the gray, lifeless shadow that is the sky. What was that? A noise? It seems like something I have heard before. But what? Ah yes, the cliff. It crumbles away as it has for eons. Crumbles into the abyss. What is at the bottom? Nothing, I presume. There is nothing left. The only thing that exists there is an absence of existence. It will consume me one day. I almost welcome it. It calls to me, tempts me, but I have not moved for ages uncounted, and I do not intend to now or ever. I will wait as I always have.

More time passes. How long has it been? It does not matter. Time means nothing anymore. Millennia pass like seconds. Epochs pass like mere days. I do not even remember what these measurements mean. Maybe they never had any real meaning. Maybe they are just words and figures made up to mock the grand cycle of the dimension of time. They are meaningless to me, anyway. The only measure of time relevant to me is the closing distance between me and the abyss. It is as though my time moves backward. The abyss is my time and it moves backward to meet me rather than forward to prolong my waiting. This apparent end is something I anticipate now with a feeling of comfort.

More time passes. No, more rocks crumble away to shorten the distance between me and the abyss. It will not be long now. I only wish I could see the stars one last time. It has been so long since I have seen them, and I miss their majestic beauty. I want to look; if only I could remember how. The sky is clouded by a permanent haze, but perhaps I could steal a glimpse if I watched long enough. No, I am trying, but I am afraid I have forgotten how to perform the motion. It has been so long since I last moved that the ability to do so has simply left my mind as so many other things have. Too bad. I would have liked to look upon the universe one last time.

More rocks crumble away. It seems the time of my departure has finally come. Few rocks remain beneath me now. I am only a shell of my former self. A hollow husk of a man, or what was once a man. I have become a stone. My mind is empty. I have forgotten what little remained of my memories. My mind is dark like the abyss below me. Soon, I will be just another rock tumbling into the endless pit.

The last rock drops and I am falling. Such a strange feeling it is. I turn and look up as I fall. There they are! The stars! Beautiful, magnificent, soothing. Something about them refreshes my mind. My memories return. The memories which have been gone longest. The memories of my life. My mortal life. I see it; I see it all stretching out through my barren consciousness like the ancient rock face before me. So many experiences culminating in a single tale, one told eternally and yet always unique. I see it, now. The tale of the human.

 

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