Burning of Heaven
Radiant hole in the sky
Don’t look at the light
It has cast itself into the sea
In the end, the sky fell into the sea, the land, heavy laden with mountains of nails–the tigers galloping with bloodied paws as the earth quaked–folded into itself. Tiger heaven was being packaged and shipped to oblivion. We never had a sun, but the brightness was snuffed out. Molecules no longer energized, bands of light collapsed into each other, slowing to a crawl. Motion ceased. Innumerable bodies, most striped, were crushed. Before dissolving into a vat of amorphous atomic soup, the land burst into flames; the fires burned blue, heating the piles of nails until they melted, cascading down the gentle hills and into the mouths of infant fissures, boiling the immortality out of the tigers’ bodies.
As for my little townhouse, perched elegantly in the meadow? Slag and dust, not worth a cent. I admit it was transfixing, watching the furniture blister and explode. With keen eyes I peered into the black skies, which at the horizon brightened to a bent nail grey, illuminated by the self-immolating lantern I was now standing on.
What struck me at the end was this: either my vision was utterly warped by the heat or I could see everything bubble and expand, take on a matted plastic sheen before succumbing. Skeletons loomed overhead, all out of proportion to their former owners. Grisly and mammoth, I marveled at their beautiful finality. So this was my future, a future trapped within a skeleton, diffused as particles floating indifferently in some white-hot stream. The pain was incredible. When the nails stuck in my paws began to heat I yelped and roared. The blood around them boiled and cauterized. Everything flickered. All at once there appeared, with no prior cause apparent, a monstrous tear in my vision, as if my eyes were melting away from each other. Wheeling pricks of light splashed there, fountains of light erupted. Once the magma burned off all of my fur and I stood naked on the roof, the firm stuff of heaven holding bravely but futilely against destruction, I jumped in.
It took several minutes for my immortal body to be consumed, long enough for the nerves to record sensations of an intensity so brilliant I thought I could feel light. My eyes went first, then my ears, and finally my tongue and most of my flesh. Still the sensations pulsated. My life for the last few seconds was blanketed in noise, sinking further and further into nothingness.
The suitcase slammed shut. We sloshed, we all together, in a little bowl. The bowl hit the floor. What of all the pages I had written? As empty as the day they were born.
I’ve heard that leopards cannot change their spots. This is absurd. Take a leopard, throw it into reservoir of molten steel. Wait for five minutes. The spots will have changed. It would be beautiful to think this way: the spots have not changed; they hang there suspended, immaterial. Because the spots are not physical, they are ethereal. How beautiful it would be. Nevertheless, its beauty would be wreathed in error. A thought so fine cannot be true, not when the sky is black without end.
I fix my claw to the star
Tried to fill its rim
And fish it out of the sea
I thought I had something left to do. It was the end of the year, and I had end-of-year lists to make. Now the year’s errands would remain incomplete. Unless I could find a way to write again, maybe get a town house like my old one. Wait, where am I?
A microphone? Is this thing on? Tap tap.
Alexius passes through millions of worlds. His body is immortal, but the negative power of the blaze is so strong it creates a rebound effect, sending him spiraling down to the deeper regions of the cosmos. He passes by great pillars, his insensate self shot like a pinball, rolling down the circuits and bounding up and down on long spindly stone staircases. At last he settles in a meeting of hungry ghosts. It looks like a Midwestern town, this hell, but maybe a tinge more miserable. Buildings made of brick, crowned with normal roofing, sided with normal siding, their yards covered in the usual grass. Alexius has landed amidst a gather of hungry ghosts. Their appearance is human–in fact, it is utterly unremarkable other than their massive, dragging bellies and shaggy hair that trailed like ragged curtains behind their heads.
He awakens inside one of their bellies.
At last! I have been reconstituted. You didn’t think I could be immortal and truly die? No, no. Now I can get back to my work. One question remains: how to contact my editor. Once I retrieve from him the necessary documents, I will be able to resume as usual. It seems the usual mystical connection terminals are all shut off. Or else I am unable to access them.
Where the hell am I?
The weird world inside a hungry ghost’s belly is difficult to describe. That said, only one thing, and it is vital indeed, is known about their digestion. As eternal-sufferers, whenever they devour, as they must, they bleed into what they eat, restoring it. This is their atonement. Forever bleeding and degenerating, they restore what they devour, then painfully regurgitate it. After millions of years they might be able to attain a higher level of existence, but as it is they stay for aeons, waiting for the bodies of people and angels and gods to trickle down into the deep realms. It’s best not to complicate it any further, so we’ll resume with Alexius having been upchucked back into the outside.
I see all the hungry ghosts. They’ve given me a body back. Nothing to sneeze at, though it’s far from what I had enjoyed in tiger heaven. Nonetheless, I thank them graciously. Their slack-jawed non-response is all the “you’re welcome” I am to get. I barge into one of the nearby houses and barricade the door. Days and nights pass, though it’s impossible to tell them apart here. Like in heaven, there is no sun here. Unlike there, there is no light. No darkness or shadows either. Everything is neutral, making it very difficult to judge distances. You can see, so there must be some light, but nothing is illuminated.
In the next post, I’ll wrap up the year in culture. After that, some reflections on the history of anti-Christmas sentiment in Christianity. That is, if I can find a good working phone with a connection to Earth. Godspeed.