Never The End
The darkness surrounds us a thick, unctuous soup of warm nothingness. I nuzzle into the night, deeper and deeper, until it coats my every sinew, every atom, every thought. The girl’s hand is clammy, even slippery to one with a lesser grip; I am not one with a lesser grip. We push on between the dreams, the pitch-black imaginings, the harsh reality of monotonous life.
Dawn is reluctant to rise in this place. It’s as if we tromp through gigantic caverns of moist night air with such a crust of earth between us and it that the sunlight will come to us only in our nightmares. I apologise, to the girl it would come as a dream. I forget these things. It has been so long.
A fury of fluttering wings sends sparks of sensory awareness echoing around this place I call home; the bats have returned and with them my children. I hear their chittering as though eager to be told another tale of eternity and the cosmos. I would, but my heart lies elsewhere this eve, stone-cold though it is.
We ascend, or descend, I forget which? The unmistakable clip-clop of feet on stone stairs echoes around the tight confines of the tower. It is a good job I do not suffer from claustrophobia, not that this is the tightest realm of my daily routine.
A sharp slap to the face as of cold air, a gust from the outside world, brings a smile from me and a gasp from my companion. I am almost home, I smile, as a sliver of pinprick stars filters through the absolute obsidian. The girl sees it too; I feel her fingers contract.
It is light here, almost too much so for one with eyes as sensitive as mine. My companion releases my hand and rushes to the window to gaze out across eternity. I did so too the first time I saw it.
“It’s so high!” she gasps. “Is this heaven?”
“Not quite,” I say, as I hold her close and look out at the moon. I love La Luna, as some call her, her austere perfection, milk-white skin; her reliable interactions with my evenings.
The girl’s neck glows with a luminescence only my kind can see, if any others still exist, that is? I allow dagger talons to caress her jugular; the girl purrs in response.
“So beautiful,” she coos.
“Yes, you are,” I reply.
I hear her smile, the upturning of her lips creaking in the still air. I enjoy these small details in a way I would never have before… before it happened. A brief flash of what might have been sunlight flickers across a centuries old memory as something trickles down my cheek.
“Can we stay like this forever just you and I?”
“Yes,” I say, drawing back, then striking forward to the shlep of punctured skin. I drink and weep, drink and weep, then drink some more. I finish with a sigh allowing her body to tumble from my mirador home to the valley floor so far, far below. It must be two miles or more but the sounds of her dead bones cracking on the granite rocks still gives me a migraine.
“Time to sleep,” I say to myself for no apparent reason, and turn to my bed.
The ruby velour squeezes me like a second skin. It provokes a slight diminishing of the guilt, but not much. And, as I close eyes that have closed an infinite amount of times already, I breathe out for what seems the first time in hours. I do not need to, but somehow it feels apt.
I hear the flittering of my children as they enter the room to hang from the window frames, curtains and more. I smile. Perhaps, I am not as alone as I think? Perhaps, more so? One day the truth will come to me. One day. But not yet. I still have so much to do.
Never The End.