Saturday, August 25, 2012

Without Faith

Tonight is dry and you
Are waiting somewhere
On an island
For someone that I 
Imagine isn't me so
I reversed my words
And collected the twilight pigment from
The sky, and doused the days before
Today, with it
If there are any memories seeping through
I draw my dreams around them and
Make myself confused

I saw you in a card once
You were a gift from God
And I am the one without faith
Who prayed for you

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Human And The Universe

The Human And The Universe, finally complete.  Note:  The dialogue switches when there is a space between paragraphs in the conversational sections (not in the monologue sections).  Eventually you will catch on if at first it seems confusing.

      The Human and The Universe

The sun had that look that it gets when we are wrapped up in a summer day and time has been captured by a contentment that oozes from sluggish lemonade afternoons.  It's that look that causes us to wonder, "Why is it that the sun seems so bright, and yet less bright?"  Bright, because we are now able to look at it, and it is much bigger and glowing like embers; less bright, because we have all tried to look at the magnificent sun midday without burning our eyes, in moments when we forget that we have bodies.  The look on the sun's face tells us that checking the clock is something that we do in a calendar world constructed by humans.  The look on the sun's face says, "Here, there is no you, there is only everything." 
The sun has just embarked on its descent, like a circle that has set foot on a calm journey to pass through an eternal line at a steady rate, seeking its center.  
The girl had travelled three miles from home, compelled by an undefinable hunger for something she knew she needed, something that seemed more like another planet than God.  She felt that she had almost always found it, which also meant that she never did.  But perhaps, she would think, it was that as soon as she found it, it had seemed to disappear.  Which one it was, she could never remember. 
She had imposed her longing onto the calm and fastidious rocks on the shore.  Wanting relief from a relentless sun, they seemed to incessantly crave the caressing, grasping, and whipping arms of the icy ocean.  Yet she could hear a turbulent voice within the waves screaming at the earth, "Save me! I am drowning in myself."  But the earth did not seem to listen, preoccupied with its own ecstasy. 
Unaware, there existed in that moment, a dialogue between the sun, and the eternal line, that could be heard through the free verses of the wind, among the rhythm of the waves and the timely cries of seagulls as they swept overhead with what seemed, some kind of purpose.

"What is that creature over there, Mother?"

"That is a human, Little One."

"And why does it look so sad?"

"Humans are incredible beings.  They are the only life form on this planet that have trouble seeing." 

"How can they not see?  Do they not have eyes?"

"It is a different seeing, Little One. This creature has been stripped of many things which those of her world value.  She feels as though she is out of luck, and out of love.  Like many life forms in the physical realm, she is experiencing suffering.  Unable to awaken her spirit, her state is like that of an endless, dreamless sleep.  She walks with one foot in Hell."

"What is Hell, Mother?  And why does she leave her foot there?"

"Hell is the place without Hope.  She is unaware that she drags it around her heel.  She poisons her body with many earthly favors, likening them to candy."

"What is the purpose of their existence, Mother, if these creatures are in Hell?"

"The Hell is of their own making.  It is the fruit of their free will.  But even Hell serves a purpose, a part of the game of Hide and Seek.  The Universe is playful, and this is its favorite sport.  Part of the game, Little One, is that it is up to the Seeker to find out that he or she is a part of it.  The Universe makes strange noises called music, and leaves pretty things such as shells, jewels and flowers, strewn about the planet, affirming its presence. Sometimes it grants things in a timely fashion, but humans often don't see these synchronicities, or they call them 'coincidences' and 'mere side effects of probability'. 

But the Seeker is taught nothing of these things.  Unfortunately, she is misguided by a world that remains unaware of the game, and even when poets and artists speak of its possible existence, the world wages war against such ideas.  She is part of a system that creates smaller, unimportant games to distract her from the big one. She lives in a paradox, where the big game is less obvious than the smaller games.  To see the big picture, you must become as big as the Universe.  But it is hard to recognize one's own immensity when one's infinity is cramped inside a very small vessel."

"It seems like a very cruel game for the Universe to play!  Why will it not come out and say, "Here I am!"?

Part 2: Madness

"Little One, there is a thing in humans called Madness.  Often times, when the Universe does reveal itself, a human will mistake the profound greeting for Madness, and deny the existence of the game altogether.  Even if the human does not mistake this greeting for Madness, she will be compelled to share this knowledge with others.  Since most are unaware of the Game, they will mistake this for insanity, and convince her that she has a disorder of the mind."

"What is Madness, Mother?"

"Madness can be many things.  It is caused by earthly things, such as misery, which are the emotional effects of misfortune.  Misfortune is found in events that fool the Seeker into concluding that what is good is ultimately inaccessible.  In many cases, a series of misfortunes that have roots in the past, big or small can build upon one another and cause many difficulties for a person.  Even a single misfortune can distort the perception of the Seeker.  When such events occur, the human falls under the power of Evil."


"Evil is what happens when the Universe does not get attention.  Much like an earthly child, when it gets attention from engaging in acts of Chaos in one seeker, instead of leaving its presence through beautiful things, it will begin to to leave its presence through tantrums.  It would rather be recognized for its destructive power, than be ignored altogether.  Often times, this causes a particular madness in humans called depression.  Depression is a state of being that distracts the Seeker from the Game, and causes her to exist in a world of personal perception.  Because this perception is not Truth, it is delusion.  Born of delusion are many illnesses.  It can get so difficult for the Seeker, that she or he ends up living in a waking dream.  This is called psychosis, and it further blinds the Seeker."

"Is this why the girl is so sad?"

"Yes, Little One, in part.  But it is not truly sadness that afflicts her.  For it is greater and darker than sadness."

"Then what is sad?"

"Sadness is the inability to experience goodness.  In sadness one often remembers what is good, making sadness a necessary and beautiful feeling.  This is an essential emotion one must experience and resolve to connect to the Divine.  Sadness is also experienced through loss.  Sadness happens often when the loved ones of humans pass on from the physical world.  It exists through remembrance.  It is a profound emotion that is a bridge of love between what once was positive, and what shall be positive again.  It is necessary for the Seeker to cross this bridge many times in life.  Through this emotion, one experiences the existence of the Circle. 

"Then what is depression?"

"Depression is what happens when one stops in the middle of the bridge and misconceives it for the world, unable to see the past, or the future.  Depression is inertia. If the human does not continue to move, it cannot become aware of the Circle."

"What is the Circle, Mother?"

An Aside: The Circle

"Why, Little One, the Circle is the Universe!"

"Then Mother, what is the Universe?"

"The Universe is the Circle!"

"Why is it then, that you call the same thing a Circle, and other times, The Universe?"

"Little One, a chair is always a chair.  And the chair is always a seat.  But a seat is not always a chair."

The Human: Part 1

"I am here at the edge of the world, accompanied by a nauseating sense of selfishness.  The ability to know and the lack of sight that plagues me is a torturous paradox.  The only reason I fear death is because it is ruthless in its attempts to pull me toward it.

The ocean is a giant corpse, feeding colonies of life.  It doesn't freeze because it is so large.  I want to be cold-blooded, as a mermaid!  I long to be as vast as the ocean, to swim with the horizon as my goal, until my lungs are breathless, and my muscles are exhausted.  First my body will give way to weakness.  Upon my final gasp, the water will be my air.  Devoured by the sphere I am trapped within, I will relinquish a fear so terrible, no longer a prisoner to its desire.

For many years I have ceased to let the Evil tempt me.  In nightmares a greedy man, lusting after a burning soul, personifies it.  It has taunted me desperately, "Why won't you give me a chance?  Why won't you let me have you?"  It seeks me for the shadows, thinking I may be their light. It does not realize that I cannot shine for it.  I will only become a part of the night, black as the void it despises.  Should I let it win, if only to end this arduous battle?  Should I let it win, if only to stop playing this tedious game? 

My surroundings are glorious, leaking splendor for my eyes to see, my skin to feel, and my tongue to taste the sweet and salty tones of the atmosphere. Everything emits a divine ray of beauty!  A speck of sand, a seashell, the graceful notes the wind carefully plays through the windows of the old house yonder.  I swear it laughs, carrying the ghosts of gleeful, singing children!  It is a small reminder of innocent days, as though something has sent it to guide me toward life... 

But I'm afraid that I have not been graced with a courageous heart. I cannot believe that these things are nothing more than little dolls sewn to imitate life, mere fabrications of an intense fantasy, born of madness."

Part 3: Faith

"Mother, if the girl over there is depressed, is she also sad?"

"Yes, Little One, she is also sad. Some people fall from their sadness into a very deep depression. In a very deep depression, apathy occurs. Apathy is a lack of feeling, and it is a very dangerous state of being. Evil thrives where there is apathy. Right now, the creature is able to know what she is going through, and this makes her sad. This means she is still aware of something good. Her journey is slow. It is very possible she will move towards the darkness instead of the light. Right now, the shadows are much stronger. She is losing faith. Without faith, nothing is possible. 

"What is faith, Mother?"

"Little One, faith is hard to comprehend. Great humans have said that faith is the evidence of things not seen. One can have faith in many things.  Humans must have faith in each other, faith in love, and faith even in themselves. This is a type of knowledge that does not have its root in physical evidence.  Yet these are the foundations that great humans have built the world upon.  It is how humans have traveled to space, built skyscrapers, and survived many emotional hardships.  One must have faith in oneself; only through this can a human have faith in others, and only through faith in oneself and in others can one have faith in love."

Part 4: Love

"What is Love?"

"Love, in the world of humans, can be an unfortunate matter.  Love in the Universe is always a very positive thing.  Many humans do not understand it, and they mistake love for many earthly pleasures.  They mistake it for need and comfort, and fall short of experiencing such a grand state of being.  Sometimes they may have an idea of love, but do nothing to nurture it, and it dies.  It is like a fish that, once hooked, you must keep reeling in.  If you do not, and are not careful, you will lose it. 

Some people are greedy, and when they catch this fish, they skin it, put it over the fire, and eat it.  This whole process is lustful, and greedy.  They continue to do this every time their line catches, eating every fish in the sea for their own gluttonous pleasure.

When the fish is caught, it is a life force that must be kept alive. It can get very sick sometimes. Humans do not recognize this.  Instead of nursing it back to health, they choose to kill it, so that it does not suffer.  Much like a pet animal, they accept its death, and they move on, often times making the same mistake again."

"Did the creature over there make such a mistake, Mother?"

"Oh, Little One, she has made this mistake before, but so has everyone in their youth.  She has learned her lesson in this matter, but those she comes across have not.  No longer has she the heart to feel the things she knows to be true. To her, love is now a lie.  She places it in the world of fantasy, and thinks people believe in it in the same way a child believes in fairies. Though in much of fantasy the concept of love exists, it is represented in extravagant ways.  In reality, the very essence of it is simple.  But she does not feel this essence, she sees only the illusory representation of it, and thinks that the representation is what others consider to be real." 

"But Mother! That is so silly!  From what you say, it seems that Love is far more genuine than fairies!"

"Even so, Little One, who is to say that fairies are not real?  Love very much exists in the world of fantasy, but is in the fertile ground of possibility that we plant the seeds for reality.  But she has not learned these things I speak of.  She has not met another who tries to keep love alive as she has tried to in the past.  She does not have faith that love exists, because although she's felt it before, she cannot feel it now.  For her, the line became too strained and broke, and her fish swam away into the vast sea.  She does not believe she will find it again, and her growing madness causes her to deny that she was ever close to it."

"Won't she keep fishing?"

"Perhaps not. Humans have a thing called pride. If one does not have pride, they feel like a fool. Fools are those who waste their time on idle things. They are stupid, and never learn from anything, repeating the same mistakes again and again. She is afraid of being a fool. She does not want to search any longer for something she does not know to be real. She is stuck in the middle of a great battle between the light and the darkness. The light is love and faith, waiting for her to return, but she does not yet see it. What little light may catch her eye is but a pinprick in a giant sheet of emptiness. The darkness is winning, as it often does."

"Why is it so hard for humans to understand these things?"

"Humans live in an overpopulated world that is dense with illusions made by many who have succumbed to the delusion of madness, and all claiming that they know the Truth and the right way to live.  Because of this, they do not know how to find their own way toward the light.  They are misguided.  Those who understand that others are misguided are often victims of such false perceptions.  They go through much hardship and pressure from the mad ones who seek to share their vision only to validate their own delusion. There are many imitations of knowledge, making it difficult for the Seeker to find the Truth."

The Human: Part 2

"The heart does not grow weary of beating.  Our lungs barely cease breathing, second by second, weaving minutes into days, stitching days into... Year upon year, our blood keeps circulating sapphire blue through our veins, blood vessels like tiny solar systems, forever sailing through space and... I had believed that love could last this way, if only as long as it would take to number the stars that flicker above a country night.

But it is just a pitied, fair little flower, frightened of being crushed in a storm, or wilting beneath an ambitious sun.  It is not even beautiful, like a fierce weed enduring in the strangest of seasons.

Our hair will keep growing even after we're dead; the illusion of life that is love."

Part 5:  Trust, Forgiveness, Faith, and Sacrament

"Mother, if Love is just as simple as a fish, why do humans seek it so?"

"Oh, Little One, Love is not really anything like a fish.  That is a metaphor.  Love is indescribable.  Love is the Universe.  When love is finally understood, it is simple.  It is akin to figuring out a math equation and wondering why it took you so long to figure it out!  Love serves a very important purpose in humanity.  Humans seek other humans to validate their own existence and the existence of the Universe.  Their relationships help them to develop attributes and ways of seeing and learning that they cannot achieve on their own.  These attributes are keys to understanding Love.  Through having faith in and loving other humans who are on a similar path, it is easier to seek the Truth.  Humans say that that two heads are better than one.  Two hearts are better than one also."

"What about three hearts, or four hearts?"

"Three hearts and four hearts are wonderful too! This is what is called friendship."

"Does the creature over there not have any friends?  Is this why she is depressed?"

"No, Little One.  The human is very much loved.  She cannot feel this love because she feels cut off from both sides of the bridge, while she remains trapped in the middle.  She feels as though her friends and loved ones walk back and forth, but she does not know where they are going.  To her, they just appear and disappear like ghosts.  Friends are different from lovers.  They are there when you need them, but often are not always in sight.  She is what they call heartbroken.  Time and time again she has met many who have betrayed her.  They appear and stay for some time, promising to walk her to the other side so that she will no longer have fear.  Instead, many times, others have turned on her unable to recognize their own fear.  Because these kinds of humans are unaware of their own shortcomings, their distorted expectations can turn loved ones into monsters.  They have often tried to push her off of the bridge.  Now she does not know how to trust another.  

This is not solely the fault of others.  She has also not been willing to move past the pain of betrayal to reach a place of forgiveness, and therefore unconsciously repeats this process by finding others who are like her, never understanding that love can only be felt through forgiveness.  To her, others are monsters.  To others, she may very well be a monster.  To forgive, one must stop thinking of themselves as a victim, and understand that they too, have accidentally hurt others in their lifetime."

"What does it matter, Mother?  Why will she not just keep trying?"

"Because, Little One, persistence requires faith - something she is rapidly losing sight of.  Faith is like sand.  It requires an open palm, not a clenched fist, able to receive and able to pass that faith on to another.  But her hand and her heart are both closed.  She cannot see the sand of faith; she only feels it slipping through her fingers, as though she were a human hour glass running out of time."

"What will she do if another arrives with the same promise?"

"I do not know Little One.  It is entirely possible she has enough faith to try again.  Right now, she views humans as animals who seek only physical and psychological comfort to help ignore their own madness.  They mistake this for love.  She does not think anyone knows how to consider anything sacred."

"What is sacred?"

"Sacred means having a divine quality.  If something is sacred, it is a manifestation of the Universe, or what some call God.  It is not something that is easy to touch, and if one is lucky enough to feel even a small indication of this, then they must practice connecting with it, so that it may grow."

"If she knows all of these things, why does she not believe in them?"

"Oh, Little One, in the world she has found much doubt.  Yet it is the world that is mad.  Again, she lives in a paradox.  The world is sick with its own insanity, but she believes that she is the one with an illness.  She is different.  In the world she inhabits, the voice of the majority is considered righteous.  In many ways, she has caught their illness.  She has lived with this illness before, resorting to empty pathways like poisons and self-destructive behavior, believing that power and peace lie in trade, and that she must fill her life with frivolous desires.  But she will never again resort to this way of living.  Now she will either stay, or go."

"Go across the bridge?"

"No, Little One, go below the bridge, toward Death."

The Human: Part 3

"It is getting cold here on the shore.  There is no longer a crisp, invigorating breeze, but like an invisible sword the wind scrapes against my skin, leaving thousands of goosebumps, like miniature and victorious armies.  Should the sun retreat into the sea before I am ready, I must go home and prepare to live another day of this.  Some moments I am more above than below.  The sun never sets, for it burns brilliant in the pith of my heart.  My human body suffers the rich, exhausting fire of all that is sacred under this relentless star, even when its physical presence shines only for the other side of the world.  If in no one and nothing else, I trust the sun.

My darker moments have overstayed their welcome, and grown like stubborn vines, stretching into days beyond days, entering shadowy expanses across time.  The sleeplessness has already crept into my eyes, prying them open even in the most exhausting minutes.  Life has already seemed too long.

Surrounded by blackness, those I love the most are strangers in their own little plays, belonging to another life I cannot touch.  If I tear off their masks, only death will be revealed.  I cannot join them as I've done before.  Pretense is no longer an option, for in time the imagination fades, and role-playing is too much effort.  Who and what am I if not like all the rest!  How conceited of me to feel different!  The madness is taking its toll."

Part 6: Two Worlds

"Mother, what is the girl doing now?"

"She is walking closer toward the ocean."


"Because Little One, she is leaning toward a decision.  With her feet in the water, she is attempting to realize what it would be like to jump off the bridge. Her faith is waning, even more than before, and once it is gone it will be taken by the wind and scattered like ashes across an entire shore, and she will not be able to gather it up again.  There is a lot of love in her heart, but she has chosen to lock it up, and she has thrown the key into the sea.  She thinks that by doing this she is saving her love for the Universe, not wanting to waste it on things she believes to be petty, like other people and their society.  She does not understand life as a human, and would rather be an inhabitant of the ocean.  She believes that only through death can she find the key to unlock her love, and only through such an abyss can she find a suitable means to carry it far throughout the seas.  Her mind is very sick now, and she has created many romantic delusions born of her dilemma.  She will die only for the sake of poetry.  If she should choose to drown, it will not be as in a dream, like she imagines.  It will be very real, very frightening, and very painful.  Though there is a part of her that knows this reality, she is willing to accept the pain to achieve such a desperate fairy tale.  She thinks she will turn into a mermaid. Such a dream will be her last attempt at finding beauty in this world.  After this, she hopes that her death is nothing but a lack of consciousness.  For she wants to return to the place she does not remember, the void prior to her conception."

"And to think, this is all because the Universe is a large playful child that wants attention!"

"Yes, Little One, but the Universe is what has given life and soul to all humans, and to all creation.  How selfish would a human be not to accept and appreciate its gifts?  When humans are selfish, they do not fulfill their purpose.  They wear costumes that are called 'personalities' and they believe these personalities are who they are.  But who they believe they are could not be farther from the Truth.  So they go about their days as empty shells, and wonder why they suffer from conditions of extreme stress and confusion.  Then they take medicine to heal these feelings.  But it is not real medicine, like love and faith.  It is a drug, to help them cease thinking, or to help them sleep, or to create a false sense of happiness.  The Universe has tried to help these people, but since they give nothing back, the Universe gives up.  It no longer wants to play, and it leaves those selfish individuals to their own devices, in a world that is only a stage, where people are puppets ruled by egos that are created by society.  It should be the goal of every human to find their soul, as through it they can say hello to the Universe, and in return the Universe will tell them what their purpose is."

"Is the creature over there a selfish individual?"

"She is trapped between both worlds.  One is a world where she must keep a personality, and the other does not wear a costume.  She is in a place of isolation.  Though many humans suffer this fate, they cannot see each other, for the atmosphere is dark and foggy.  She does not comprehend either world, and she feels disconnected from both.  It would be in her best interest to learn to travel between the two realms, but she can only conceive of all or nothing, for she has yet to understand balance and acceptance.  She has many lessons to learn, should she choose to stay with this world."

The Human:  Part 4

I don’t think I can fathom how to love anymore.  I have ceased to remember days when the flame of intuition washed over me, adorning me in the glitter of such divine virtue.  Those days were glorious in nature!  Despairingly young, the sinews of my heart were unrivaled.  Something has changed.  The sinews have snapped, and I can no longer hear my heart beating loud, as it once did.  It seems that any faint patter that sounds is merely an echo from the past, carried here by the long, cruel arms of memory.  And if a person does not love, of what use are they?  I have seen such people; only their intellect survives.  They are hideous, draped in black, petrified hearts upon their sleeves as emblems of destitute lives, with hopeless histories and faithless futures. 

I have but one grain of faith left in my trembling hand, but one tear of hope to cry.  Could this be enough to birth an ocean of hope, a shore of faith?  Where the earth meets the sea, this must be love, for it is the world!

Wait, what is happening?  In the silence of my mind I can hear drums!  What strange music for madness to play!  There is a laughter that tiptoes into this somber air.  And something whispers sweetly in the atmosphere.  It all comes together like threads weaving in and out, an attempt to mend that crucial organ.

An illusion of music, that’s all.  Like hearing someone call my name in a noisy crowd, it is nothing.  It’s as silly as thinking the voice of the ocean can be heard in a shell!  It is dark now, and returning to the comfort of material shelter, with such companions as books and music, and pretty images of things on walls, seems an impossible feat.  Rather I would freeze to death out here!  But I have all night to think, for sleep is a friend that does not come around often.

The Passerby: Part 1

"What is a girl like you doing out here this late?  I have been watching you sit and ponder, thought after thought, long past the bedtime of anyone sensible! You have been out here since dawn, daydreaming your own demise!"

"What makes you think you know what I ponder?  I have only been thinking about how pretty the sun is as it rises and sets, contemplating its early morning strength and meditating upon its weary shine as the day progresses.  I think only of simple things, and they amuse me enough to stay curious about life."

"My girl, you speak lies!  You have been staring at the ocean with love in your eyes, and as the tide comes in and kisses your toes I have seen you smile - you live only for the affection of the sea.  You slowly relinquish any affinity you may have had toward other things on this Earth - family, friends, memories, and responsibilities.  Anything that reminds you of daily life you shove into the open grave of forgetfulness, and choose to become entranced by the hypnotic music of the vast mystery that lies in the water before you.  It is a haunting and beautiful release from the weight of humanity that you desire, to be consumed by such a magnificent power, a symbol for you of all that is unknown to man.  If only you could return to where you came from, by way of the water, this is what you think.  Everyone who seeks death has their own transcendent vehicle that will take them there.  I once knew a girl who committed suicide in a wild garden, thinking that she would decompose into the earth and flowers would sprout from her body!  And you think yours is a solitary story, but all fantasies consist of more than one character, and are repeated throughout all parts of the Earth in various manners.  Even without me in the pages of your sordid tale, there are others that can read your words.  Your face is riddled with paragraphs! 
Whether they be animals or spirits, the sun or the wind, you are not the only one reading what you write!"

"I am the only one here, save the ocean!  I see nothing else in the scenery before me, now that the sun has itself been extinguished by the horizon.  It is just I, faced with this incredible, majestic beast upon this Earth that we call the sea!  The moon and the stars as well I suppose, but their function is surely to dress the sea, enhancing its natural beauty.  And I could sit here for an eternity and dream of drowning in this vision!  For I should be so lucky that such a godly thing would consume me!  And I don’t have any concern with the thoughts of others; let them think I am mad!  I have been in love with the ocean since I was a little girl, and nothing else could cause me such misery than being bound to this body, cursed with the brain of civilized men, blessed with such spirit, in a constant battle to live in two worlds, yet belonging to neither!  I want to be the ocean, to rise from the surface into the sky and transform into a cloud, and feed the Earth that I may exist in every natural living thing that grows!"

"Says the girl who thinks only of simple things!  If you long to be the ocean, why have you not yet stepped into the water?"

"It is nothing neither you nor anyone else could understand."

"It is the music of the universe that whispers things into your ear, is it not?  It is the ocean itself that mumbles what you must do, but you have yet to learn to hear such things properly.  Your spirit is not tuned to the music, and thus it fails to process the notes.  Then you lose the rhythm, call it a delusion, and enter back into the fog of uncertainty, where there is only, as you said, a little storybook girl and the grandiose ocean.  A backwards version of The Little Mermaid!  A sad, weightless spirit trapped in a prison of flesh and bone, longing for its release through death."

"What nerve you have to narrate my thoughts!"

"Well, perhaps you should close the book and enter the sea if you wish for the story to end?  Otherwise, like I said, the words shine like dancing flames in the dark expression clouding your face, and your tears are merely metaphors laced through your story to emphasize the sadness of it all."

"I haven’t any tears!  A girl like me does not cry!  What you think is evidence of sadness is only the result of a bitter and salty wind brushing past my eyes!"

"How stubborn you are! It is better to cry than to remain in a state where one cannot cry.  In the eighth circle of hell souls are blessed with nodding heads that their tears may fall.  But you are almost always in the ninth circle, with your head looking up in the coldest of atmospheres, and your tears freeze, unable to fall from your face.  You are the picture of death, and you may as well step into the ocean.  In your heart you are already there, my friend.  What is it that you are waiting for?"

I am waiting to grow a world of hope with this last grain of sand in my hand. But I may as well give it to the wind, for I feel I have run out of time.

"How is it that I can see you?  For I have not seen anyone for so long, and nor have they seen me! People pass by the shore; at times they run past kicking sand my way, and even then though I see their footprints and feel their urgency, they are just ghosts to me, and I to them."
So how is it that you can see me?"

"I am a part of your story, my friend.  You have written me in, whether you realize it or not, for a story like yours would not be complete without a character of my nature.  And I have been in many stories, and I have played your part in another life.  And you have played my part as well.  I am here to show you how this ends."

"This is not a story, and you do not know how this ends.  This is life!"

"Is life not a story of which the poets and great writers continue to narrate, throughout the centuries, and illustrated by the divine works of legendary artists? "

"Hardly a comedy or fairytale, rather a tragedy, this life you call a story!"

"A tragedy indeed!  Open your hand."

"If I open my hand, the wind will rob me of my last breath, my last heartbeat.  It will throw me into the sea!"

"You do not trust me.  That’s reasonable, but listen to your heart."

"I have not heard it for some time now, though I know it continues beating."

"You exist, wanting to be ruled by intellect, but even as you focus your thoughts in what you call the rational world, a physical world ruled by fear and emptiness, scattered with empty shells.  This is what you and others name Reality.  Regardless, the energy in your spirit screams with color, like a butterfly trapped in a glass jar, dreaming of fields speckled with flowers and at times almost tasting their sweet nectar.  You pretend, playing the part of a demon with a veiled face and cruel eyes."

"I am a demon, an empty shell with hollow eyes!  And even if it were an elaborate costume, why would you risk believing it was anything other than real?  For if I am a demon, I could devour you in the moment!"

"Look away from me and fix your eyes upon the palm of your hand. Is it not open, and filled with sand?  You were not paying attention to your true aspirations.  What you call a violent wind has yet to rob you of your faith. When you have a fear of loss, you hold on tightly.  It is not in the nature of trust to embrace fear."

"See the moonshells attached vehemently to the rocks?  It is the snail that is strong enough to hold on, its armor merely a shield.  There is something inside you that wants to live, to fight the sapphire waves of the sea that promise beauty, but will do nothing but break your shell, and bear you again in a new one.  In life, you have a choice: to live, or to die.  Suicide is a brilliant creature. For it is as a fox, a very sly trickster.  
Nothing has an end, nor does it have a beginning.  Moment after moment creates the circle that is time.  Birth is a moment; death is a moment.  Happiness is a moment; sadness is a moment.  One after the other, and nothing lasts. Existence is a pendulum that goes to and fro, between darkness and light, between positive and negative.  This is the nature of balance.  Nothing would be complete without its opposite.  Walk into the sea with your delusion, your uncertain belief that death is an end, and risk the chance of living again.  The Universe is very aware that a self-inflicted death is cheating.  You are halfway across the board in this game.  Existence is not something you can destroy.  If you quit, it may not be an end, but an avenue for you to return to the beginning of life, the very thing you are trying to escape.  For you to return to the beginning would be an error, an unnecessary loss of all you have learned, and a chosen failure."

"Who are you that you think you know such things?  The man who believes largely in spirit and puts little stock in science and the physical realm speaks of “balance”!   What if death is a strict end?  What if it is a deep, dreamless, dark sleep?  What if life is a one shot deal that I do not want?  What if a bullet, a razor, a dip into the cold massive void could alleviate this?  What if we are merely empty shells with nothing inside, and what if I do not want to exist as an empty shell anymore?  Let the waves perish me!  For I would rather exist as nothing than be something with nothing inside!  Who are you to speak such promising lies!"

"I am a friend; that is all."

Part 7:  Fear

"What is happening now, Mother?"

"Little One, the human has done to another what she fears others will do to her. For she is like a wild animal that has been trapped and beaten numerous times. When someone tries to pet it, it will bite.  When someone tries to give it food, it would sooner starve for fear of poison.  She has attempted to push another off of the bridge, but he is further along in the game than she, and understands her position.  She is wearing a costume, and pretends that she is but a shell.  She attempts to believe in this because, in the physical realm, things can be processed with the five senses.  In the nonphysical realm, things can merely be felt, thought about and processed with a sense that is not focused on in the current society of humanity.  People fear trusting these things because this realm is unexplored by the majority.  People must be reliant on their own discoveries and consequently their own deductions when it comes to such things.  It is a solitary journey that is meant to nurture the ability to trust and to have faith in oneself.  When this ability is nurtured, the gift is connecting with others, and realizing that you were never alone.  It is the most difficult journey, so much so that many do not choose to embark on it."  

"Why would humans only trust the physical realm?"

"Because instead of understanding the duality of the physical and nonphysical realm, they focus primarily on the physical realm.  They know that emotions can be induced by physical chemicals in the brain, but we think of emotions as metaphysical, or of the mind.  However, these two things are interchangeable. We can control these chemicals through our emotions, just as much as these chemicals can control how we feel.  This is an example of the nature of balance. If people develop the habit of becoming a happier individual, the chemicals will follow suit, and the nature of a person changes.  If they persist only in misery, and do not believe they have the ability to change, their belief that chemicals are causing the misery will allow them to take over.  It renders an individual powerless.  What humans do not understand is that things always start first with an idea, an energy that is born on another level of existence, and passes through various realms until it is made manifest in the physical.  
When humans have fear, they often cease to believe in anything more than that which they experience with their physical senses.  It is a way of relinquishing the responsibility that comes with the admittance of a humble uncertainty.  There are some things that can be known.  There are other things that cannot be known.  You know certainly, Little One, that the trees and forests are there, inhabited by much life.  You do not know, Little One, where this life has come from.  It is important to wonder, to delight in the search and to understand that the ultimate desire may or may not be unattainable.  For, of course, as many great men and women have said in the past, it is the journey that renders souls strong.

The Human:  Part 5

What kind of beast intrudes upon a person’s misery and attempts to rip away the one feeling that keeps them from heartlessness?  How ruthless must one be to impose their unfounded, frivolous beliefs upon another!  I do not care.  I simply do not care anymore!  What have I left but the way that I feel?  For I feel as a shell with nothing inside, and I must live as a shell or be nothing at all.  And I should rather be nothing without the shell, for such an object is a lie!  Who would desire to be beautiful, strong, smooth and indicative of life when there is nothing inside?  There is not a soul in the world who would want to become a mask!  What is a mask if it cannot be worn?  For there is no one anymore to present such a shell, to wear such a mask.  I am a costume, not a person wearing one.  My essence is nothing. 

And yet there were days that I believed in more.  But I was naive back then. Suicide is not the trickster; it is he who calls himself a friend that is the sly fox! And I must defeat him before he defeats me!  This sand he has given me looks more like dirt!  Yes, it is dirt!  Yet I cannot bring myself to fling it to the wind just yet.

The Passerby:  Part 2

Who is this girl that challenges what I have learned in life?  I offer her only treasures and she takes them and devours them like a starving monster to be destroyed in the acids of her death!  And I have nothing but love to give her, yet she is unappreciative, and does not understand the importance of the heart.  And so I shall give up, it would seem.  But I have been left in the place she now resides in, and it is a ruthless one.  It is a world of lies that tells its victims that they must survive in darkness, alone, to be strong, when the truth is that another must be let in to help them find their way toward the light.  And should I continue to try and help her she may only drag me back to that place with a fog so thick one would eventually drown from the condensation.  But I am sinking into the quicksand spell that her mad eyes cast upon me, and through them I can feel the grasp of this lonely hell she inhabits.  I swore to never tread upon the grounds of that place again, for fear its grip of hopelessness would convince me once more that I am weak before its power.

But the glint in her eye is the moon rising over the sea!  The waves escape such mirrors and crash upon the shores of my soul.  She is my destiny and if I do not save her, then I am not fully saved!  Walking away shall certainly hurl me back into the darkness, knowing I did not try to help another.  I have no choice but to risk the enchantment of the glorious scent of this dark night that her lovely being exudes.  And so I must convince her that I have not left dirt in the palm of her hand, but a pure, white sand, each miniscule pebble with its own grand secret of love.  She must choose to listen at last to the charming murmurs of the ground singing in unison with the booming law of an uncertain sea.  For its mystery is only to be pondered!  Its story is one that is told by the surrounding Earth. Oh, my dear girl, if you would only listen to the chorus and close your eyes to your search for the composer.  Trust that such beautiful music is evidence that such a genius exists!  By now her feet are surely on the cold, wet sand she deems blessed by the sea.  

The Human:  Part 6

I have been reduced to this empty vessel; a mere body that is home to a dead soul.  I should soon be fished and used as meat for the hungry and monstrous mysteries of the bitter sea.  I am so utterly frozen in the midst of this night that I do not feel a thing!  What a glorious vacuum that has put my doubt at ease!  For now I know that I must step into the water and be consumed by the mystery at last!  Should I stay here, in this world, they would not understand the calm of the death inside of me, and I should not be able to delight in the smile of another, or know what it is to cry the tears of a distraught friend.  And they would say that I had lost my mind, when I have merely found a place of rest. And they would put me away, and call me mad, when I have only escaped the vicious prison that is this world!  I do not belong here.  Certainly, I belong with the sea, and she should demolish my body so that I am no longer a shell; then there will be no more pretense of life inside of it!

And what of this dirt I hold in my hand?  I shall cast it into the wind and alleviate myself of its burden at once!

Part 8:  Apathy

"Mother, why does the girl seem happy now?"

"She has turned into a beast.  She has killed all of her love with a doubt so grand that it has propelled her to believe in everything she has feared.  All that she had doubted, that was true and beautiful, is now perceived as a lie.  And what she has feared has been made true.  For it is easy to fashion egregores from the darkness.  There are others like her, that she is unaware of, who cast power into such entities.  And these creatures run rampant in the physical realm, manifesting as nightmares and luring souls into their caverns.  They render many individuals as imbalanced beings, closer to demons than to humans.  If you look closely as she walks into the water, you will see that her shadow now bears horns, and to fix your eyes upon it will cause a great terror, for it has become stronger than her soul.  She is the emptiness in the eyes of killer without remorse, and the loneliness in the depraved criminal acts of an orphaned child. It is the goal of such beings to create a kingdom of shells, for they are angels of a spiritual death.

"Why do such wretched beings exist Mother?"

"Because, Little One, what is the reward of Heaven without passing through Hell?  It is the traveler's perception and interaction with them that is often at fault.  As at a zoo, where you should not feed the animals, it is important not to feed these wild things with fear.  When something is feared, it grows stronger and consumes the traveler.  Like a spider feeds off of an unfortunate fly, it is only natural for these beings to act as they do.  All things must be revered, and caution must be taken, certainly.  But Evil stops the seeker on the path, and all he or she has to do is recognize it, and pass by.  
These malevolent energies are aware of the seeker only by the sound of a scream.  Hence it stings, paralyzing the individual.  The journey has ceased. This is what is happening to the girl, Little One."

The Passerby:  Part 3

The water has now consumed the girl's legs up to her knees!  I am a friend given a task to end this horrific display of violence against the self, but my body will not budge; still as the earth that I sit upon.  The nausea I feel is but a layer of filth on all things beautiful; try as I might to dust it off there is nothing that exists that will rid the world of such dirt!  This pain in my chest is surely that of a broken heart.  Suddenly I cannot hear it beating, nor can I feel its pulse as I place my hand upon my breast.  Perhaps it is only that my body is frozen, but the numbness prevents me from feeling the warmth of life that should be flowing like a red-hot stream through my blue forest of veins.  Not a person could convince me that it is only the scratches on the windows I look out through!  And should I try to find a clearer view it may take an eternity!  And should one not exist I should be known as a fool!  And should I break through the glass I may prove that it is not the window after all!  I shall know that it is the Universe that spews such hellish things as suicide and hopelessness!  And in such a world perhaps it is true that I have given her dirt!  What horrible person would I be if I had attempted to trick her into believing that she holds the white sands of love in her palm?  And perhaps I shall step into the water also, for the sea is great and filled with life, and below the surface I will find an answer to the mysteries of the universe, the hidden gems within the soul!  

But what of all those words I said to her?  What of all those words?  

Part 9:  The Secret Vault

"What is happening to the boy, Mother?"

"Little One, he has given up trying to befriend the girl.  Now he sits on the rocks and stares at the sea, much like her.  He has been to the place where she now resides, and he remembers it well.  But he is only human, and he has much fear when dealing with an inhabitant of such cruel grounds.  He knows that to bring her back, he must remember things he has chosen to forget.  He feels he must go back there to bring her out.  He is terrified that such a place will slip into his soul and slowly extract his spirit, bit by bit, depleting it before he even realizes it is waning.  What he does not know, Little One, is that by not continuing to offer her his friendship, he is suffering that very fate.  For it is fear that brings a person back to that empty place, with or without the influence of another.  If he were to help her without fear, and with faith, he would not have to go back to that place, and could help free her with understanding alone.  Instead, he tries vigorously to fight her battle for her.  What the girl needs is a companion by her side, resting without judgment, without dogma, without opinion.  For him, forcing his experiences upon her renders her paranoid, and gives her reasons to distrust him.  He expresses that he is a faithful friend, yet she knows that trustworthiness is not something that pre-exists in another.  It is her ability to trust, and her desire to give it that decides whom she can and cannot depend on. He attempts to convince her of things she does not yet have the capacity to understand, and to her, though he is trying to help, he appears to be manipulative, self-serving and a person of ulterior motives."

"Mother, but without him how will the girl understand!  Must they rely on yet another to pull them both out of this awful place you speak of?"
"The girl was lucky to have someone like the boy to help her.  Many people in her situation do not have anyone.  Remember though, she does not trust people! Try as he might to convey his sincerity, he is but an illusion to her, though one she wants desperately to believe in."

"If not another can help them then how are they ever going to get out of that place?"

"Little One, often times this is the kind of thing a person must endure alone. Though others can offer an objective viewpoint and give them a clearer picture of reality, to help them understand that they are suffering from delusion, a person cannot truly save another.  People are often trying to save each other without realizing that they themselves are still in danger of drowning.  This is why many relationships do not work out, whether they are friendly, family or romantic.  Humans do not want to suffer alone, so they see another who is suffering like themselves and attempt to heal through them.  They do this because it is hard to walk away from someone who suffers a similar fate, for in others they see themselves more clearly.  The hardest thing to do is often the most noble.  In such a scenario, one must stop wasting strength trying to pull another out of the water when they do not have a secure footing on the rocks. First they must be in a position to help.  They must already be dry from the sun before they can help another.  Once they are in this position they can only be giving of their strength.  They cannot save someone who does not want to be saved, or be strong for someone who chooses to be weak.  For if others continue to help someone who does not want help, the victim will never understand the true power of their being.  
Humans must learn that there is a secret vault within themselves that contains treasures unheard of.  The Universe must give them the key to this vault.  They must begin to communicate with the external Universe, through the universe that lies within themselves.  Once they achieve this, the Universe - internal and external - will be able to trust them, and will hand them this key.  And then they will understand what power and what love lies inside, and how they can work with this great power to give love and strength to others.  The boy understands this, but he has not understood how to use the power that he has unlocked.  The girl does not understand this at all.  Because the boy does not have the patience to learn how to utilize this power, and to understand that the treasures come slowly, he is losing his faith that he claimed to have such a firm grasp of.  He understands the force he has access to, but is lazy.  Like a treasure at the bottom of the sea, once it is found, it is not the discovery that renders one rich.  It is how the treasures are used that will bring the rewards and turn a poor man wealthy. But how difficult it is to pull a heavy treasure chest from the depths of this vast watery jungle!  Only the strongest can manage such a feat.  If one is not already strong, one must become strong and prepare for an awakening that will grant many gifts.  But again, this requires faith and hard work.  To doubt the Universe is, again, to remain in a kingdom of shells with only the immediate and common pleasures of the material world.  But once a person is aware of this vault, and embarks upon this metaphysical journey, to turn back is just as dangerous a journey as to continue forward.  There is no going back, but as I have mentioned previously, there is a fear that prevents the seeker from moving forward, and they remain scared, lost in a dark limbo, remembering the comforts of a simpler life.

The Human:  Part 7

Finally I have let go of the dirt that was so deceptively given to me by a stranger!  Who was I to even think of trusting someone who seemed to descend from nowhere, landing like a hungry fly on this mess that is my life!  What a monster in his attempt to convince me he’s a butterfly!  I am satisfied now without the burden of trust.  What an awful headache it has been, going to and fro from love to hate, from belief to doubt.  The uncertainty felt like the rope around a hanged man that wasn’t quite tight enough to kill him.  Just hanging there, gagging, vomiting, with no way to get down, and no prospect of an end to such torture.  But I am at last certain of my fate.  The Devil has promised me a heavenly kingdom that lies clandestined on the bottom of the sea, where the water is clear and warm, and swimming through it feels like flying through spring air on the mountains; where fish with legs live in little towns made of rocks!  Where I, a mermaid princess, shall return to my throne - from whence I was so viciously kidnapped, prior to my birth, when I was still a spirit without the burden of this body!  This is real, yes, this immutable dream!  I will show him, with this growing anger in my heart, how unreal his vision of life is!  How God’s Earth is nothing but a farce, a closet of costumes and a trunk filled with props!  How the Devil and his treasures shine brightly despite God’s empty world!  I will show him that I am strong enough to relinquish this lie, for something much more real!  

But what is he doing over there?  How curious, for he does not look like the same boy I remember.  There is something quite still about him, as if he has himself escaped from his body, as if all that is left is his body.  What has happened to his spirit?

The Passerby:  Part 4

This white sand is pitched at me by the muscles of a cruel wind.  The breeze is becoming violent, mocking me, taking my words, my beliefs, and blinding me with them, rendering me a fool!  Oh, how I had sworn; I had sworn never to return here!  But here I am, in that place without passion, without emotion, lacking in effort and teeming with apathy.  The agony of pre-existence with some small glimmer of hope for a new world; trapped in a void with only a memory of human life.  What if I have been here forever?  What if my memories are not real?  For they are suffocating drastically as the cold flames of hell cover them with a sheet of ice so thick that I can no longer see what is underneath.  I am certain I have once loved.  I am certain I have once hated.  I am certain I was once a person who was strong in my convictions, convictions given to me by a life where I fought for Truth.  But many lives within one life I feel I have lived. And who was that naive fool who told stories to an unknown girl to try and save her?  And why did he want to save her anyway?  Let her die, for she is one among many.  And I shall let myself die also, for I am only one among many. And in this place we are not life, but much like puppets for life to play with and then put away.  Life, it has put us away to remain powerless and stagnant, in some child’s playroom, beneath a pile of toys that it has grown tired of.  Oh, how has it left me again, this God, this power, this passion, and the mysteries of the Universe?  How has it left me once more?  But I am tired of this, and perhaps I am wiser than the girl in knowing that the ocean does not hold a dream. Perhaps I know how awful it will be when I drown, but surely nothing, nothing at all is better than this living death which twists itself around my being like a slow and hungry serpent.   

Part 10:  The Battle

"Mother! I am scared.  To look in the eyes of the boy is to see nothing.  I wish that he would shut them if only to spare the world of one small death.  What has happened to him?"

"Little One, it is frightening to see the look in his eyes because all intellectual beings are capable of his fate.  For killers and thieves frighten us mostly because it is within our potential to act as they do.  There are small demons in everyone that secretly want to break free, aspiring to achieve the power of larger demons that criminals have grown inside of their bodies.  In the boy's spirit a spiritual war ensued, as persists in the spirit of humanity itself.  The altercation is between an angel and a demon, and his angel had the demon pinned down for quite some time.  But because the angel was not attentive, he grew to forget that the demon was underneath him.  The angel felt powerful in what he considered his victory, and when he saw another in trouble, instead of finishing his own battle, his ego was lured by the prospect to help another fight their own beast. And when he failed to do this, his spirit was broken.  Thinking he could go back to his home and rest, perhaps to try helping again another day, he was suprised to find his own demon again, standing tall, and stronger than before. 

"But Mother, isn’t it admirable to help others?" 

"Oh yes, darling!  In many ways it is very admirable to help those in need with many things.  It is admirable to shelter the homeless, to feed the hungry, and to provide for those without means to provide for themselves.  But in matters of the heart and soul, everyone already has the provisions they need to fight for themselves, and to succeed alone.  Humans can recognize, certainly, their battles, and relate to others in their own battles.  Sometimes it helps to commiserate, to know that you are not the only one going through a fight.  But nobody can help you fight. It would be akin to a boxing match in which another boxer gets into the ring, having two fighters against one.  There is a reason why humans are born with both sides, for it is the balance between severity and mercy that must be established.  Though the demon never dies, he must be kept at bay.  Sometimes he can be good for us.  If we have him under control, his energy and anger can be used productively in times of injustice.  His paranoia and distrust of others can aid in our intuition, for he recognizes the power of his own in others.  But the angel is of a nature that understands his usefullness, and does not kill.  The demon’s disposition, in its full power, is that of a murderer, and if he wins the battle, the angel dies.  The boy’s angel is losing, and therefore faces death.  The emptiness in his eyes is a place where chaos breeds, and now he is capable of anything.  For he can kill, steal, hurt, torture, cheat, and destroy anything without empathy, sympathy, guilt or regret.  He cares not for others, nor for himself.  To murder oneself is as bad as taking the life of another. The battle within is a mere microcosm of the battle without.  As I told you, Little One, the Universe is also equally good and evil.  And when it feels isolated, and cannot relate to life it has supported on this earth, it becomes angry.  The world is at a state in which this force is angry because of all the things that humans are doing in their own little worlds that we call bodies, that make it feel abused and neglected."

"Mother, how did it get to be this way?"

"Oh, Little One, it is necessary to be in a state of weakness, and to be losing in order to gather the strength to win.  One must trust the nature of things.  Things will play out as they must.  There are times of chaos, and times of order. Regardless of what happens, even without the human race, the Universe will rediscover its natural order.  This is the extent of fate.  Humans, as individuals, act according to Will, and while in the atmosphere of a larger fate, a larger order. It is possible for them to create their own personal environment and to accomplish desired achievements.  Humans think they are special, but they must not forget that they are a part of nature - an aspect of evolution, just like the other animals.  As long as life on a planet exists, evolution is ongoing. Humans are still animals, Little One, and they do not understand their shortcomings.  They are intelligent indeed, but are certainly not fully evolved! It takes hard work to evolve one’s soul."

"Can the boy be saved, Mother?  Or is it too late for him?"

"Anyone can be saved, Little One. Self-awareness and the balance between true desire and empty, immediate pleasures are two things that can help someone see the bigger picture - the picture that we talked about in the beginning of our discussion.  Actions that are primarily looked down upon in this society have a negative reputation for a reason.  Lust, murder, and gluttony, these are things that humans partake in to quell an immediate craving.  Rarely do those who engage in such actions consider their consequences, nor do they consider the others who may be hurt by the abuse of their power.  Often times, people are hurting themselves.  If a human murders another human, there is initially a lot of regret, pain and doubt inside of the murderer.  This can take an extreme psychological toll on the person and will often result in madness.  Sometimes the person who commits the act is able to move past emotion, does not have the strength to face what they have done, and is able to objectify or justify their actions.  When a person does this, it is because they cannot trust.  If a person is treated poorly, especially as a young child, they may not be strong enough to still maintain love in their heart for other humans.  They may even start to believe the negative things they are taught, and become worthless even to themselves.  True desire is considering the ultimate consequences.  Someone who may indulge in unhealthy food to satisfy immediate cravings does not consider, though deep inside they know, that it will cause them to gain weight. And while exercising is less appealing to them in the moment than indulging in food, they are not focused on their true aspiration, which is to lose weight, and to be a healthier person who feels good about themselves.  While they may think they want the food more, ultimately it is not what they want.  What they truly want takes hard work to get.  But, as we have already discussed, the treasures that result from this work are greater than any immediate pleasure one can attain by satisfying a superficial craving.
While both the boy and the girl have been the victims of many who took out their anger on them, their hearts persisted longer and stronger than many who have experienced the same things.  And though the girl once believed in love, she has had many experiences that make it harder for her to hold onto this life. For a long time she suppressed and ignored these demons of her past, and only now are they gaining strength and becoming apparent to her.  She can no longer believe that people are good, in the way that she does not believe in mythologies constructed by humans for children, such as The Tooth Fairy.  And one cannot help what they believe, what they see to be lack of evidence of the existence of a thing.  But unlike the boy, she is still searching within herself for the ability to love.  Like those who have drug problems and eating disorders, it is easier for her to be afraid when faced with the prospect of truly caring about another, or herself.  Her addiction is one that is not common. 
The craving for her to turn around and walk away alone is very strong.  But she knows that she is not the kind of person to fear even death.  She is very aware that her troubles stem from past experiences with other humans.  Since then she has subconsciously sought out the kinds of people who will treat her this way. She needed to learn how to forgive, and consequently how to love another yet maintain the strength to walk away in a situation that might ultimately cause her serious harm.  
Many sleepless nights, terrors, nightmares and hallucinations have partnered with Madness to repress her negative memories.  She has ultimately been faced with a decision to live or to die.  In choosing to live, she has had to stop running from what she fears the most.  She must go back to places she has forgotten, to remember things she does not want to be true.  Where many others fear things like monsters, darkness, and abuse, she fears only exposure.  She would rather disappear into the darkness than be seen under the bright light of the sun.  She does not engage in the things she used to find valuable.  Her friends and family are slowly fading into phantoms that appear and disintegrate at their own convenience.  She wishes to remain unknown, for she believes that revealing oneself is to arm others with weapons.  To her, all love is hoping that a person does not use the weapon she gave them to kill her.  But this is just life, Little One, and she knows this.  She wants only to end the pain. Her drugs are the solitude and heartlessness she has immersed herself in.  Her chosen hunger is self-deprivation of human affection.  Now she must make the choice to start running again, or to create the life she wants out of a past that may have seemed to leave her powerless, but ultimately gave her the strength to recognize and say no to many unjust things. 
The boy has suffered a similar fate.  Only now, in his display of weakness, is the girl recognizing her own power within.  She wants to help him.  See how she looks deploringly in his direction?  He is in his own world now, and does not care for her like he once did.  He can no longer see through the thick fog, but she cannot help him without first helping herself.  

The Human: Part 8

I do not have the power to sail out of this sad fate that has settled like a fog, in which the distant lighthouse is barely visible.   But what is this inkling of hope within that screams brightly like a single star on a city night?  This tiny point of natural brilliance that refuses to have its beauty crushed by the authority of artificial light; it will not let me go.  But the man in my nightmare says that I belong to him. The one who suffocates me at night, and paralyzes me with fear, says that he is in all people, and that he needs me for him only and in turn will give me the love that I have sought for so long.  But the tiny star says no, for he is the city lights that prevent me from seeing the natural beauty of life.  The tiny star informs me that while his lights may be strong and gorgeous and abundant, the light bulbs will quickly burn out in their romantic and transitory existence.  It says that it may be little because it is far away, but I should know how big and brilliant its nature truly is and I should trust that I know it is far more powerful than the street lights close by. The tiny speck of luminescence tells me to love it.  Still, I fear this battle is too hard.  And still, I want to walk into the sea and forget about the man who haunts me, and the little star that begs me like a desperate child.  In my childhood, I dreamed, always, of an unreachable castle in the sky.  Even with the help of the magical trampoline in my imagination, I was never able to jump high enough.  But the star, the little star says that it is the castle, and I must find a way to be closer to it than I am to the city lights. How do I get there, if even in my dreams my power fails me?  Oh, to want impossible things!  The longer I stare at my feet under the water the more I am certain they are evolving into fins!

It worries me greatly that the boy’s shadow is growing stronger than he, and his once benign smile appears to have grown fangs, caging the angel that once breathed freely from his soul.  I have collapsed and my body trembles, as though my spirit is a snail and I am trying to move out in search of a new shell.  This shell is my brain, formed by a difficult past, a precious jewel that has been carved by demons to reveal the secret malady of existence.  I must separate myself from it!  And the boy, he is trapped as I was.  Oh how awful, how evil and empty he appears, for there is not much difference now between him and the demon in my terrible dreams!  Is it true that I am just as ugly as he?  And where is the exit to this suffering?  A thousand times I have seen a door scrawled with great promises of what lies behind it, only to open it and find an empty room with a thousand more doors that lead to more empty rooms!  Must I continue to believe despite what my experience in life denies?  I am here in this vacant building, tired of opening door after door, and faced only with pieces of memories that paint slanderous words upon this shell of mine.  Oh how they draw ludicrous pictures, piercing the exterior that they may extract my quivering soul!  

The little girl who follows me screams for the mother that I cannot be.  I cannot console you!  And she stares; a tiny cherub trapped behind cruel eyes so black they convey only backwards whispers, too encrypted, too subtle to decipher. All you have to do is believe in me, she says.  But I cannot! I cannot!  And how is it that I believe the demon more than the child?  How is it that I trust the monster that terrifies me, who suffocates me, who plagues my subconscious, who has killed all prospects of sleep and contentment?  He has been so familiar to me in my life that I have succumbed to accept him.  For he is all I know of love.  The child now begs me; unfamiliar, mysterious, and with eyes like tombs.  And as I watch this phantom of death take the hand of the child, she looks back at me with the expression and understanding of an old woman.  For she has danced with evil, played with the Devil and bejeweled her soul with promises like bullets lodged in the heart.  Oh God, can it be that I am her?  And if this is so, is it possible to deny the self?  I am afraid of what I know.  Must I accept that this is life; that sometimes an animal preys upon their young?  Must I accept that I was old before I had the chance to grow?  For I know that I recognize this monster and his games.  And I know that his games have defeated me, for I have been playing them and losing them long after he was gone.  Open door after open door, I am constantly playing the game.  I should look up to see the skylights that shall set me free.  I should try to fly to that little star, to exist in my castle in the sky!  And I shall not be afraid of the darkness that lies in the heart of the little girl.  It will be there forever, but it does not color her soul black; instead it highlights her spirit, brings out the moon in her eyes!  For most encounters with spirits happen in the night.  I shall bring her to the castle with me!  But as I dream here I feel regret and guilt, as it would seem to be my fault that the boy has been thrown back into a lake of emptiness and despair.  If I had just believed him it would have portrayed him as a hero in his mind, a friend if anything, and that is all he wanted. Now he has travelled deeper into the abyss than I have.  And I fear the pressure at the bottom is too strong for him to return to the surface.  I must help him.  I must!

The Passerby:  Part 5

"Once a statue, immovable as the Earth from its orbit, erupting cold words and covered in the feces from birds of negativity, her light, though small, is glowing so brightly that it should murder what I am, an entity formed of complete darkness.  What is this shapeshifter who can present herself as the sad victim of gorgons, now appearing to me as some kind of weightless angel, fashioned from a salty breeze that cleanses the skin and soothes me from the sweltering burning of hell?  She is a charlaton, a fakir! I wonder where she keeps her chest of costumes.  It is probably buried behind those impeccably masked eyes, as if she had decorated them with the stolen halos of murdered angels!  You cannot fool me, temptress!  I need nothing; never had anything to begin with except my vacuum that was filled with the waste of others!  Go ahead, as you step nearer, recite your words of poetry.  Sing your siren song; give to me the precious troves that you’ve stolen from God!  I will twist your words, strangle you like this serpentine death has strangled me, to stop the screeching of your heavenly voice, and I will piss on the gifts you will present to me.  Leave me, angel of lies!  What makes you think you can throw away all I have given you, and expect me to so graciously accept your offerings?  You cannot know nor understand the silence in my being that has existed since I was a young boy.  You cannot comprehend the abandonment, the pressure, and the echoes of hate that still flow like waves of torture over this sick machine called a brain!  It is true that you once had me to protect you, but in your overzealous independence, your ill will and bizarre fantasies, I could not bother to free an animal that prefers to be caged.  It is true that you are the only one who can hear that little boy crying in the night.  But I am on my way to smother him in his sleep, for his weeping is irritating my nerves, and I care no longer to find out the reasons he cries."

"He cries because he has been abandoned!  He cries for the same reasons the little girl cannot cry!"

"Oh it is you now.  You are here.  For what purpose?  To give me dirt?  To play the part I played for you?

"I am here because I see you.  I am here because I cannot write the ending to this story without you.  I have come to ask for your help in making this tale of life a victorious struggle, rather than a futile one!"

"Victory?  There is no victory.  The world ends with a whimper, not a bang!"

"Oh, you and your library of poetic refuge!  Perhaps you should stop stealing the insights and pretending to understand the struggles of others, and fight your own war for once!  And besides, that is the fate only of hollow men!"

"And what is any man but hollow?  The body is nothing but a cage that houses the organ; the brain is but a computer that imprisons consciousness.  And we think our sentience makes us 'human', whilst those around us abuse us, lie to us, cheat us, and steal from us, and yet still call themselves noble men, not animals?  This hope, this victory you speak of is the stuff of madmen who cannot stand the pain of existence, so they fabricate gods and exist in dreams. And when these things fail them they live in bottles to feel anything at all!  I don’t want to feel things.  The consistent calm, a lack of sentiment, is far more acceptable than the chaos of conflicting emotions."  

"Not long ago you were me and I was you!  What has happened?  How have we become each other so quickly?"

"How is a murderer not a murderer, only seconds before his first kill?  Tell me, oh enlightened one, how is that you have grown wings so swiftly?  You must have torn them from an injured bird and tied them on with seaweed!  Imposter!"

"I had seen you there and recognized the look upon your face, contorted by a power so fierce!  Your eyes that I once remembered as being only the kindest and most beautiful disguise are now evil springs!  Like gashes, they spout the blood of the angel you once had on your side!  That look, it made me feel the way the man makes me feel, like I should let go, as if nothing at all is better than this almost nothing, this cold draft in a vacant room with no windows and a thousand doors that lead me back to the same place!  I feel nothing yet I am something.  I want nothing yet my body needs.  And I have racked my mind attempting to figure out if I should carry on!  I have played your current role for so long now and yet I could not see myself.  That is why you came to me to stop me.  You saw yourself in me.  But it frightened you so that when you went back to your solitude you found yourself weak, and questioning, for you gave what little faith you had for yourself to me!  And I could have used it, blindly, but how could I have truly?  To give me faith in such an ignoble and unworthy state is to give a child a loaded gun!  One does not just believe the intricate tales and dangers of an intrepid traveler.  Those who want stories, they sit and they listen, but others, like us, need to see, need to go, need to learn how to survive so that we can start to live!  Others don’t travel there, to these places, because they are afraid!  People like us; we were born in a mysterious jungle.  Instead of becoming prey to the monsters we must fashion weapons, discover plants that will aid our healing, build fortresses and..."

"Oh, don’t you see?  Don’t you hear yourself talking?  Delusions, fantasies!  Lies, it’s all you can speak!  Fairytales, poppycock, boulderdash!  There is nothing here but what you have created with your own madness!  You ought to be locked up, chained even, if only to match the mental chains that your ignorant myths wrap around your existence!"

"My ignorant myths!  What is a myth but the beauty of the naked truth enhanced by fashion?  For some it seems a step away from what is unreal, but within us lays a power to see things as they are, to change things as they are into what we desire them to be!  People think that our personalities, our lives, our efforts towards beauty in a physical world are extravagant lies, and mere displays of ego.  People believe that art is a step away from the truth.  That metaphors and fables are lies to detract us from reality, but this is not true!  For these things are avenues towards truth!  A way of utilizing what is before us to point toward the true essence of things!  The Egyptians used eyeliner to merely highlight what they believed to be the windows to the soul.  People create their environments as representations of what lies within them.  Of course this can turn into an overzealous attempt at expression, spilling over into the problem of materialism.  But there is nothing wrong with simple adornment.  Should a person like to find a jewel and fix it upon her ear to borrow the light of the sun, why should she be punished for this?  In many ways I am closer to Little Red Riding Hood than to any real account another human could tell me.  And real accounts at times are impossible to face.  To be presented with an allegory and to achieve the process of deciphering the meaning allows for an individual to grow, and to discover the truth piece by piece.  All at once it is often too much to bear!  We are not literal creatures!  We are half men and half god.  Intellect has no significance without the creative visions of the divine unknown!  It is important to travel down these avenues, for without the journey the destination is unappreciated!  
You have sat next to me in my gravest moment, shown me all these things, explained to me the Truth of my reality, and could I see it?  No.  Could I believe it from the stories and tales of another?  No.  I had to travel down the path alone.  To present an individual with rewards they don’t deserve, they never worked for, is to spoil a child.  And once left alone will the child have strength?  No.  Once he loses what you gave him will he learn how to get it back without you?  No.  And now, I have been the little girl, believing that the wolf was my dear, sweet grandmother that I trusted so deeply.  The wolf has eaten me, and I have survived.  And only now do I recognize the large teeth and the wide eyes of a beast!  Only now do I understand when to trust, or distrust another.  And only now do I understand that a wolf is a wolf, and cannot help what it is.  For if you were to tell me that woman in the bed was a vicious animal, to run for my life, how could I have believed such an absurdity?  How could I have known you were not the wolf instead?  To leave your life in the hands of circumstance is to let the world tell you who and what you are.  And who should do that but oneself? Surely there are things you find worth living for!

"There is nothing worth living for.  This illness, this depraved void has its hooks in me, drags me back with the strength of a giant, so that I am forced to crawl on my hands and knees to keep up with the beast!  Hope, love, happiness, and peace, these are mere momentary delusions.  Like drugs, they convolute the mind and make one think that things are as they aren’t.  At the heart of our desires lies only depravity, self-serving efforts and fruitless acts of devotion, and for what?  That we may use these things to construct an entity that we are not, to create a theater of lies; costumes, fabrications, backdrops, special effects, and puppets, all creating an unreal life, and we hire God as the director of our little play!  What is this?  What are these pictures on the wall?  What are these movies I watch?  I read silly books to rape the minds of others, to apply the thoughts of heroes gone to our tiny lives!  I quote these fools, as if anyone knows anything!  A monk lives in a cave with a picture of the Virgin Mary and does nothing but pray; it’s like his life is a prologue to suicide!  He strips himself bare of everything save one pathetic, surreal concept of God; one that is his own, interpreted from a messy history of lies!  The fool who died to the world to become alive for God!  Well I am better than him, yes! I don’t need a single thing, idea, concept, or belief to hold onto.  Once I am dead my existence, or lack there of, should finally match how I feel - or rather, this void where no feelings reside!  I no longer pay any mind to the sand beneath my feet, to ruthless waves of ice as they envelop my being.  And I find no more meaning in words.  Leave me in this silence, you, intrepid traveler.  I have chosen to stop in my tracks, and face the real Truth."

"I understand what it is like to fade into the dark caverns of consciousness, to have all that makes you human taken from you by others, left without respect, dignity, and innocence.  It is as if you were born as a beautiful painting and someone took paint thinner and wiped away the image of you, your essence, layer by layer, until all that is left is a blank canvas.  And we mourn for what we once were, what we have defined as us, what we have become so familiar with.  Murder the color red and rob us of our passion.  Wipe out the blue; steal from us our peace.  It hurts in a way that is the absence of pain.  Then what have others made us?  A blank slate fashioned to wood.  An object without soul. So what makes sense?  Let us get rid of the canvas!  Burn it to ashes, so that it no longer exists in such a useless form!  Oh yes, I know, for I remember the vacant stare, the choking feeling in my being, of knowing that I once felt something, unable to remember the emotion.  The agony that comes from the inability to feel; how, object to object, all things melt into the same slime, so that to touch is repulsive.  How the words of another are heard as a piercing silence, the frustration that is born from the inability to listen, and to look at things is to see less than a blind man.  Having everything, everything you want, yet you have forgotten how to want.  Disconnected from the chair you sit upon, the food you eat is tasteless; the people you love, sitting next to you and looking into your eyes, are as ghosts and apparitions.  You reach out to touch them and your hand passes effortlessly through their image.  How can you believe in anything when all of your surroundings feel like an illusion of life?  The more I remember it, the more it creeps back into my brain.  But there is something of a tiny jewel in the heart that cannot be ignored!"

"The almost agony of that tiny jewel is like a sharp diamond that pierces the heart!  How can such pain come from such a precious thing?  But it is a pain that is small, barely there, not enough to feel.  You place your hand upon my shoulder and I feel the diamond pushing deeper into my heart, like it is carved into an exquisite needle that deepens when the senses are activated.  It hurts in a way that reminds me of love.  But I have lost the ability to accept that pain into my heart. And even if I wanted to feel at all, I cannot.  It is as if there is a switch I cannot find inside that was turned to off."

"Oh, what a death it is that I feel, knowing that I cannot help you, knowing that I should not help you, wanting more than anything for you to see what it is that you once witnessed illuminated violently in front of you, with the splendour of uncertainty that defeats fear!  It is not you I see, but a shadow that has snuffed out the flame within your soul!  A reflection of myself in the past; oh, how horrible to see myself alone and weak, holding on vehemently to a darkness that now resides in you, as though it were a child I had to love and nurture; the only part of me that was indisputable.  What can I give you but a look and a plea?  A promise is not a thing I have the right to fashion for you.  I will not lie to you in order to bring you back here with me.  What can I offer you, for I have not even the sand of faith you once so graciously gave to me?  All I have for you is a love you will not take, so blind to feeling that you will not even look into my eyes to unwrap the gift that is my compassion!  All I can do is tell you that I will always know and remember the place you are in.  That I will always reminisce on such horror with a deranged fondness, that I am always fighting, and will always be fighting the force that wants so relentlessly to draw me back to that hell.  I have fallen, and I know that I will stumble again, back onto the path that leads me there, hiding my sorrow in glass bottles, suppressing the tears with smoke and mirrors.  But when I am at the entrance, faced with the guardian before the beautiful gates of suicide, in this moment it is not fear that is a blessing, but the knowledge that I have a choice, and that I have the power against anything that counters me!  And I feel it now, the apathy.  For it is a snake that chokes me tightly, yet not tight enough to cease my breathing.  
I stare into the endless sockets in the face of the man in my nightmare.  As he holds the hand of the little girl, I feel nothing.  It is a daily struggle to look beyond gray demons and see angels made of the entire spectrum!  In this life I have been cut into pieces, torn apart by others like a cheaply made doll, used as a rag, left dirty and unloved; tossed away only to be replaced by something, someone cleaner.  But unlike you, I will not remain at the bottom of the can, and I will not let life take me to the dumpster!  Whatever is left of me, I shall crawl out from the waste and find whatever I can to make myself whole again.  For this life is filled with resources. 
And though I feel compassion and love for you, it makes me ill to see you encompassed in this atmosphere of negativity.  You are not you; you are the demon that has pulled out the life in the shell that is your body, tossed it into the sea and taken advantage of a comfort you do not deserve.  You are the demon whose place it is to be tossed among the waves in a volatile ocean, and you have stolen my friend from me!  For that, I cannot deny this anger I feel! And all you want is to destroy the home of my friend, to take him into the storm with you, so that he will no longer have a place of comfort.  To leave him lost amidst the ether before his time!  A ghost that will haunt the shores long after you have murdered him!"

"You are mistaken!  I am him!  I am your friend, who has achieved a dim understanding of reality!  You merely hang on to dreams and ambitions, things likely to deceive you and abandon you into a vast field of failure!  What is truly real except suffering?  It was not I who tried to save you, but a delusion of faith, for I fed you lies, and gave you dirt, and convinced you to believe it was soft, white sand!"

"But in my belief, in our belief, was the dirt not soft white sand?"

"It was not!"

"But it was!"

"The evidence is gone!  And, my darling, you are wrong."

"The evidence is gone!  But, oh, my darling, you are truly wrong!  And isn’t it kind of the past to destroy evidence, so that we may have the power of creating our own reality through uncertainty?"

"What do you know of anything?  For you merely are a child, as I am, confused and scared, though you hide it well."

"I am less in hiding than I am engaging in resistance to this sickness of heart, so that I may live my life well!  I know that you are trying to bring me down with you, in what you think is the Truth.  But we make our own truths, my love.  A human does what they will, goes where they please.  And you have chosen to go to an awful place, and you have chosen to believe that you are powerless because you cannot admit that you are weak, and you are unwilling to work hard to regain your strength.  Go ahead; make it a mean world filled with lies, illusion, misery and sorrow.  But, in the middle of a war stricken field, a flower grows.  I am not asking you to trust me in this.  If you do not want to find this miracle, if you do not want to see it for yourself, that is choice not circumstance."

"Leave me.  Go.  If you believe in all you say, why waste your time on one who has failed, one casualty who has relinquished their power to disbelief, one who has given up the search for true Beauty?"

"I am only trying to give you back what you have given to me.  And it is with regret that I did not accept your friendship, that I did not put my faith in you as a human.  It is with sorrow that in my disbelief I have thrown you back into despair.  But these things unfold as they will, and I know now that I cannot save another in a matter such as this.  For this is your battle to be fought alone.  And there is nothing I can do now but make the trek home.  My love, my thoughts and my gratitude are with you in my departure."

The Human:  Part 9  

I had created a cage for myself and locked myself in it, away from the world! And I had blamed others for not letting me out!  And I had thought, so many times, you are lying to me!  You must have the key!  What is that key there that hangs from your wrist?  But I was so busy in my anger for the others that I had not realized I had the key within me.  I had not realized that the keys I saw were keys they had used to free themselves from their own prisons, keys that would not work with my lock.  And now I have escaped into a world that I will fill with passion, desire and love.  And so it is with my own Truth that I will make these things formidable, that they will brand my soul with their burning, that I will always have a mark from them, a memory that they do exist, when, if ever, I am once again tempted by the darkness.  I choose to see the faint star struggling to survive in a light polluted city.  To choose otherwise is to be a faint shadow murdered by the sun.

Part 11:  Understanding

"Mother, why is she leaving?  What is the boy doing?"

"Little One, as you and I watch and discuss the interaction between two individuals on the Earth, as I whisper to you the philosophy and trials of human existence, so do my answers and your questions slip quietly into the part of a human that many people find very hard to access.  While the boy has heard everything, the answers rest in a place that he has not yet found the key to unlock.  He is not patient, and is choosing to give up the search for the treasures within that we have previously spoke of.  He would rather be devoured by the sea, for he hurts in a way that is the absense of pain.  In death he believes that he can find release from the prison he has locked himself in.

The girl has found the key to this place inside.  But her journey is not yet complete, for it will take lifetimes for her to find a way to lift such great jewels from the depths of her sea.

The sun had now moved along passed its center, to bring light to another part of the Earth.  The rocks were appreciative of the day's gift of light, combined with the gracious touch of the sea which dances laboriously without effort in rhythm to the tides.  Baked by the sun and led by the cavorting tides in a dance of life and death, the girl collapsed from exhaustion into the rocking chair on the porch, breathing in and out the whispering air, during a deep and dreamless sleep.