posted on Jun, 5 2016 @ 09:04 AM
Soon it would be time to stoke the flames again. But for now, only tiny embers lay in front of us, providing only a fraction of light in the vast
darkness around us. As always, this is when the story telling begins.
I used to love this moment. The anticipation of the stories my brother and I would share was a craving to me. Tonight, though, I was tired. It
seemed as if I was more and more tired every time we met. He, on the other hand, still had the same enthusiasm as always. He seemed as though he
were about to vomit all of his words at once, so I tried to begin slowly.
“Hello, brother. Shall I go first, or would you like the honor?” As if I didn’t know the answer.
“I will indeed!” He began telling me of one atrocity after another. As his stories of blood and betrayal poured from his lips, he appeared to
grow in stature. His voice slowly became deeper and more robust. The excitement from him hit me with more heat than the tiny sparks in front of us
I’ve never liked the misery as my brother has and so my mind wandered. I had to find stories of my own, for it would eventually be my turn. My
thoughts turned to witnessing a stranger that saved a child clinging to a tree branch in a flood swollen village and thereby losing his own life. The
memory of the little one’s terrified screams as the man grabbed him and handed him off to others and the look of acceptance as the stranger was
swept off his feet and went under made me shiver.
“Are you listening, brother? I said they created a device to murder entire cities. Even better it goes on killing and makes the place incompatible
with life for many years after!” I gave my customary nod. It seems my brother will not perform to a deaf audience tonight.
“Ahhh….but those are impersonal evils, which as you know are not my favorite. There was once a woman that ingrained herself as a caregiver to
sickly infants. These poor babies’ parents spoke so highly of the respect and love she gave to their children. All the while, she would smother
them in a fit of sadism and let the families believe nature had taken its course! She had snuffed the life out of hundreds before she was caught and
then the parents themselves lynched the hag with as much malice as she had shown their progenies!”
I grimaced at his delight. Then suddenly I was aware of another. I knew, without a doubt, that we were alone here, but I felt the presence anyway.
It was as if there was a silent onlooker, straining to hear us speak but never coming close enough to reveal itself. This was not the first time I
had become mindful to its existence, but it was by far the strongest impression so far. Somehow, I instinctively knew that it would take our place,
when we didn’t gather around the fire anymore. I thought to it, “wait your turn. I may not have many stories left in me, but I’m still
here!” and I felt the manifestation recede. I must truly be losing my mind.
“Last story, brother, and then you may have your turn.” I could feel him smirking in the dark. He knew that my stories grew fewer and fewer each
time we met. I was certain he knew my weakened state and reveled in it.
“At the end, there were those that knew what was coming. They could have avoided the calamity all together had they combined resources and
intellect. Instead, they held their knowledge closer than a lover. They made secret plans for only the survival of those they thought they could
gain from and left the rest to die unknowingly.” He told this bit as if he was talking about his favorite part of a delicious meal he had just
devoured. “Of course, the others found out what was coming and chaos ensued. Holy men raped and murdered, good men became thieves, and mothers
took their own lives leaving their children alone to be abused and killed. When they knew that their tomorrows were numbered, their true selves came
out to play.”
Though I had witnessed this myself, the telling of it still struck me like lightening. I felt a cold, deep pain that I couldn’t Identify in my
center. Suddenly, the third presence was back. I felt its weight on me as though I was drowning in it. My vision blurred as I watched the last of
the embers sputter and begin to darken. My mind was pandemonium. I wanted to call out to my brother to save me but couldn’t find the words. Then
I felt him over me and smiling. The rage and sadness in me was overwhelming. I felt as if this had been his plan all along. Didn’t he know that
the other would come for him next!
Coming to my stumbling feet I muttered the words “thank you.” I was confused as to why I would say that, but then thousands of images filled my
mind. Suddenly I felt my strength returning and the weight of the nothingness lift from me and flee. “I have but one memory to share with you
I saw my little ember brighten and began to stir the fire back to life, as I always did at the end of storytelling. “Do you know that each of your
stories have something in common? Let me tell you what that is. In each of your outrages, no matter how great or how small, I heard a voice. There
was always someone, that in facing their greatest fears, ultimate pain and loss, degradation and violence, that was grateful. The pleas for help were
much louder, true, but there was always a voice saying thank you. They didn’t even know who they were grateful to, but they wanted to give
thanks…for their lives and their loved ones and their experiences. Even at the end, as you say, when there seemed no good left, voices rang out
with awe at what they had been given.
You see brother, even though we cannot control the things that are spawned from our creation, we create none the less. As long as that continues, I
will always have at least one good story left in me.”
I watched as the flames leaped to life and began forming galaxies, stars, and planets as it always did. Soon would come the Earth and its humans as
it always did. What happened after that was always different. But my brother and I would watch all of the stories unfold until the fires had burned
down to nothing but embers again...