"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice."
Robert Frost’s ‘’Fire and Ice’’
He was born to a scream and then quietude like every other human. And then the quietness and emptiness of his existence started to diminish, worlds started to conquer him, and realms started to contain and release him again and again. Until he was only a son of the world, inside him different forms of humanity, and angels and devils, and other creatures without a name, but they also defined him.
In the place he was born, everything started with a cloud and ended with a ghost.
Started with the cloud of fear that blocked most rays of hope and cast twilight shades on most of his days. It was so familiar that he did not have to look up to understand what his reality is; there was nothing to comprehend about what became a fundamental part of his existence. Sometimes he would justify the presence of the cloud; sometimes he’d say the shadows are better for his skin and for his sight. Some other times, he spent hours asking people if they see it too, and whenever someone said they didn’t, he would call them crazy or simply call them an alien, claiming he was the only human and that’s why he can accept the cloud of fear in his life, lurking above his head at all times.
So he lived in the shadows and darkness. Went on meeting other people who have also found shelter in the same safe place. And he kept building worlds and destroying others, in moments, in memories, departures and arrivals, all from the same place inside him. He said many hellos and many goodbyes and felt so little about both, he held hands and gave hugs, because that’s what humans do, and he is, to the core, human if anything.
But like all the others, the sun was not an option because the shadow offered food, water, and perfect temperature for building and breaking fields, then building all over again so he can justify another fall. So why choose a path away from the safety of the shade and into sunlight that god knows what can do to a creature as mortal as himself? It did not make sense, so he did not mouth it to anyone, he did not even speak of it to himself. The cloud is there for a sane reason, for protection. And if your eyes are opened too widely in the sun, it can hurt them and burn your soul by its strength.
And as for what the ancient carvings on hidden walls of caves had said about the freeing rays of hope, it will never apply to his land and his age, because freedom has changed, freedom in itself became in the dark. You have the freedom to be afraid of anything and anyone you want, you have the freedom to invite all your ghosts to any tea party that you set in your own fields and watch them offer all their experience to you as bedtime stories, so you can build another wall for another fortress that will crack and collapse inside you. And that was enough.
The ghosts were just a natural ending created by every fallen tower inside him, and that’s exactly what the ghosts did when invited outside the soul and into the field, so they can fill empty spaces and then work as slaves for him to build new foundations. And that’s always how the story ended, and how the story started again in a boring dance routine that replayed for ages.
And in one of those ages he built a wall of glass at the edges of the shade, he was far inside it, but he could see the borders of sunlight so definitive at the doors. He dare not have come closer if it wasn’t for a strange breeze that eased some meaningless conflict he’s been having, and when he did approach the borders, he found out what caused it.
She twirled and swayed, her arms going up and down, disturbing the air’s stagnation into waves of harmony, a silent melody that only she knew about. Her legs were barely touching the grass and the more he watched her the more he believed she was flying, nothing holding her down to this earth but the way the earth itself responded to her dance.
He did not know how long he had stood there watching her, but he could not turn away. Suddenly his freedom was held down by invisible shackles to the ground from which he can always see this mysterious creature of beauty that looked human to the outside eyes, but to him she wasn’t. And finally, after he spent hours being invisible, she noticed him and she came to the glass wall separating them and kneeled. By then, he too was kneeling on the other side of the glass wall with hands on it firm, as if trying to extend it through, to explore her.
‘’Are you human?’’ he asked.
‘’But you’ll burn in the light!’’
‘’Or you’ll freeze in the dark’’ she smiled.
From this first encounter onward, the words had varied, the words were many and the meanings were too. And they never ended, so a friendship had to start.
Every day at the same hour they met by the glass wall. She told him about the different paths of the sun rays, how each one offered a possibility and a purpose, she explained about something called faith in so many things and in an omniscient spirit, a God that he told her that in the shadows they call it habit. And she explained happiness, while he explained pleasure. She explained halos as he explained electromagnetic waves. And every single day, she convinced him to leave the world under the cloud and join the world under the sun, for the sun is vaster and warmer, and all those who were buried under the cloud left marks that the sea washed away soon after they’re gone, but marks made under the sun were carved in stones.
As a resident of his field, the glass wall had to remain stable and unchanged and he dared not touch it. But from her side, her meadow, the glass wall was her canvas and every day she came to visit; she carved a line, a shape, a letter. Something to crack the glass and let him out. But as days passed by, the wall he built proved itself to be thicker than she thought, but she did not give up, while on the other side just a step away from completion, he did.
‘’Let me help you’’ she had said the last time he spoke to her.
‘’You can’t’’ his tongue broke her heart like a poisoned spear and he knew it ‘’No one can help me’’ he added, in a failed attempt to mend even if just a piece. But she was already broken, just as much as he was and he could not have stood there to watch it, so he left the glass wall and disappeared in the shadows.
Back then when he thought he’s too deep into the dark he still saw the sky; he still felt some breath inside his lung, not just a process of inhaling and exhaling he was no longer aware of. He did not know that when he turned that glass wall into stone that he created a spiral for his own soul. And that once it had started from the earth’s surface down, it takes away from his precious humanity and during this spiral he passes death many times, as it holds him and releases him into a lesser form of life that vanishes slowly as he slides into steeper slopes.
And now, it is the bottom of the spiral, where all lives end. The meeting of all the veins into a pool of long term stagnation disturbed by unearthly hurricanes. He did not complain about the dark or about being clueless of what’s next at hand. There was nothing to do, as he knew nothing to be done.
He is in that place where no one can help him, where no words can save his soul because it was already in the grip of the spiral for so long and by the end it was sliding by too great a velocity for human hands to catch up with, or strong words to summon him back to at least grayness.
He is in that black place of nothingness. Where it is as close to heaven as it is to hell.
Icy blue wind from one side and fiery red from the other, trading places and merging into each other, colliding inside him then outside him, then piercing deeper into what’s left of him.
In the choice between heaven and hell he did not know which is which, for the fire would burn his skin and then the ice would sooth it, then the ice would freeze his core just as bad, and the fire would give him some reassuring warmth. And in this black place of no choice, he did only that. Kneeling on the floor, eyes up to the sky, where he once started, searching for a God that he once found in the girl’s words and lost in downward acceleration.
In his final field he is as motionless as a scarecrow. In one hand a gun on the ready and in the other he held his heart, so exposed to everything that has come to taste its bloody walls. First the fire would come and boil each drop of blood until it is almost vapor and then the ice comes and freezes it as it turns into mute stone in a most excruciating process. He had the gun in his hand and he had the heart, he could have made his choice any second to stop the pain and liberate himself from the fear for once, if only he had believed earlier, he would know what to do now to get away from Medusa’s glare that’s spreading stone into his extremities.
It is too late, and with every fiber of his heart that turned silent, a blister of infected stagnation was drained away and instead left emptiness. And by the last viable fiber, he was barely alive, his limbs have gone hard and so did his body.
He felt the fire and the ice fighting over his soul for one last time, and it was unfortunate that he knew how it always ends by now, and as the last breath of humanity drained out of him, he died to a scream and then quietude, like every other human.