Prologue – A New World

A/N:  As a bit of background, this isn’t a standalone, but is my current (unedited) prologue for my NaNoWriMo story.

It didn’t start in the dead of the night.  None of them knew when it started, but they all were very sure it had ended in that swell of darkness.  It was a completely different story now: not another chapter, but a different book, perhaps not even a sequel of the previous one.  They knew this.

 

But their knowing was still shrouded in a lesser, more understandable kind of darkness.  If they could have seen this world now, just after it had been made for them, they wouldn’t have understood at all.  They needed to be brought to it.

 

So for the moment, it was empty of them, and full of so many other things.  Ideas slipped between the dimly lit trees, chased by frolicking similes. Calm pools of water reflected what little light the moon deigned to share with them.  In that moment, in such a pool, one would think that the light was everywhere.

 

To venture into the woods meant to hear the roaring of hungry animals waiting to leap from the tops of the trees.  They were beasts sleek and smoothed from their consumption of avarice. They would be thought beautiful in their loping grace till their eyes locked onto their victim’s face and their yellow pupils began to glow with unholy light and their mouths twisted into ugly self-assurance.  They refused to doubt that they could devour you.

 

Every pebble on the shore of the waters was placed carefully, and they glowed with white serenity.  They were waiting patiently, fully well aware of their purpose in this quiet young world. The water gently swept up over them, then retreated again, as if an unseen hand had gently stirred the water to give some movement to the stillness.

 

Was it dark or was it light?  In this place, it was hard to tell if your eyes were open or not.  It seemed as if more light came to you when your eyes were closed. Maybe it made the darkness easier to hide from.

 

The wind was soft, a mere breath open a face, and yet it sung and whispered and begged to steal your breath away.  People were afraid of it. They’d never let it kiss them, suck the breath from their lungs. Why were they so afraid?  It was so gentle, so sweet – an embrace when all the arms of the world had retreated. Maybe they knew there would be a second of gasping breathlessness in which they would be suspended over a pit of looming darkness before they either started breathing again or…didn’t.  It didn’t matter. For some reason, nobody would kiss the wind.

 

So the wind whispered over the quiet pebbles and they waited patiently together as they listened to the animals roar.  They were patient, and slightly troubled. They couldn’t be too worried, for they knew what would happen in the end.

 

Maybe the world didn’t look different, just a little darker and a little more lonely.

 

Maybe that’s what it was.  Anybody who had seen sunlight shaking down through trembling green-gold aspen leaves would agree.  An orange sunset laced with red and purple lowering into a rolling rainbow sea would convince them.  Two lovers dancing together and sinking into each other’s eyes as the moon smiles down at them. A song sung by hundreds of voices rising and falling at the same time.

 

Who would prefer this world to that?  Even that world was not very old yet, but so far none of the fearful people had dared to choose this one.  If they had understood beauty so well, perhaps they could have carried it with them into this new place and not been so afraid.  But that’s not who they were.

 

Dozens of shaking hands nightly caressed the deep lines upon their faces and gently felt their scars to make sure they were still there.  A boy who doesn’t know who he is tried to understand who everyone else is. He murmured to himself, afraid of letting anyone hear. We live in a world that demands that we apologize when we brush against another person accidentally, as if we’re afraid the contact will become too much, too real, too personal.

 

Being personal is frightening, to be avoided at all costs.  Never venture too deep into someone’s mind. You must ask someone’s permission to see what they’re really thinking, must beg on your knees to be allowed to see their true emotions.

 

But begging is too personal too, isn’t it?  This is why we’re constantly separate. We disconnect pain and reason, so that when our hearts are breaking, the only thing we can see are the flying shards rocketing out to hurt others.  When we feel whole, the only thing we care to notice is how terrifying it would be to fall on our knees and beg.

 

So our hearts break, but we’re never quite sure why.  It’s proper to be afraid of the humiliation that comes of touching another person, and you’re afraid, aren’t you?

 

Nobody would ever know if he was right or wrong, because nobody would ever see his thoughts.  He had too much worldly knowledge to tell anyone what he thought.

 

Of course he dreamed about being able to tell them, to have someone touch him and not apologize.  It wasn’t that he was dissatisfied. He knew he didn’t deserve anything better, and he was grateful that he had been permitted to be a dreamer.  That was the most anybody could ask for. It was the way out, without having to go to a worse place.

 

That was their world, and that was who they were.  They lived together, ensconced in a world of beauty and stimulation.  Yet they still sung songs about losing friends, stared at their wrists and wondered, and were never ever satisfied.  Could you blame them? Why should they be satisfied? Suffer that loneliness, make a different choice, and then dare to judge.

 

Perhaps real, honest loneliness was to be preferred to this, but none of them knew that.  It was unarguable that they were doomed. The brilliant sun and stately trees stood by to witness the way they made their darkness.

 

Yet someone was pacing throughout the new world, setting careful feet on virgin ground and talking to the wind.  Were they sad? Were they happy? Their face couldn’t quite be seen. When their slow footsteps landed on the dewy grass and bright pebbles, the roar of the beasts was quieted, and an even more flickering light was cast upon the world.  When your eyes eagerly followed the person’s path, you could see the brightness of the whole world. When you desperately searched through the trees and fragrant flowers for light, there was none to be seen.

 

It was intriguing, frightening, and off-putting.  It almost made you want to question the wind just to find out what it really was, but you couldn’t, because you were running away too quickly.

 

Second chances were few and far between in the old world, but perhaps here it would be different.  Or perhaps this is where people would come to die.

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