"Ashes of the forgotten"
The previous night had been warmer than usual, as if filled with certainty and anticipation. The morning arrived when I was pulled back again into my physical form. Not by the cold compresses pushing their way through my skin then moist and unloved, but by the sudden eclosion of screams, dust, violent droning frequencies. It had been the last day for family visits at the ward. My eyelids spread apart with difficulty, leaving my eyes exposed to the light for the first time in years. I could not know for sure how long it’d been since I had been strapped to that bed, fed in my sleep and kept tied to this world by wires. My true presence had of course been somewhere else, somewhere where I could manifest in multiple ways and navigate an ever shifting plane of confusion and wonder. Somewhere I would soon return. Prior to that I had submitted my body and soul to the most sublime art, the only one that truly served a purpose to mankind. I had given away myself to the phalanx ́s dance, honoring my oath to bring prosperity to this land, yet it seems now not only was the dance over, but the vision of this community that had been carved with fire into my lobes, was forever crumbling before my very sight.
I awakened that day to feel the pain fill me up again as I felt my arms crushed within the fractured pieces of the ceiling no longer above, the spines inside the walls now free and undulating found their way through my abdomen. Next to me, a barely recognizable, turgid figure laid with lungs exposed, open as if a planned intervention had been interrupted by the shattering pulse lifting the delicate instruments that’d been prepared next to it with care, to make them fly around in search of unwarned tissue to pierce through. I was not alone. Agony was written into other faces buried within the debris, some of them devoted their life to the aid of others, to see noone come to their aid on their most accursed moment. Other patients were there as well, some could not omit a sound to match their anguish for their organs had long before failed them. The sun entered through the cracks which were then more prominent than any solid extension of the walls which had been. A light that entered to expose and humiliate. Outside there were no combatants on sight, only the morning dew now stained. Destruction had been commanded from a place none of us could reach. A place whose abstraction had now been actualized into concrete disruption. I could hear the warlord ́s voice resonating icy and distant, it did not speak to me or any of us. It was not from this world. At that moment it did not matter whether it was the crumbled ceiling who awoke the unbearable cries that reached into the sky and fell midway with resignation. The flesh was being prepared to be engulfed by flames. The cause did not matter, the pain was summoned with conviction. I could see the plains extending and other houses and constructions. All shared the same fate, and it was clear the laughter that signaled our insignificance came from a distant land as well.
What will remain from us to take after vanquishing our kind? An empty, sour victory they may baptize their offspring with. How could I forget I too had left descendance on this world, I knew they had come to speak to me while I was dreaming. In those moments I tried to utter responses that never left my sealed lips. Can I call them my child at this point, when they perhaps had become a full entity, decaying even? For all these years I hoped the war continued only within the confines of my private consciousness. Now my entrails garnished the tiled floors in the ward, my arms too weak and unsure to free me from all the intruding bodies that rendered me immobile. At that moment nothing else was of importance to me, besides knowing if my dearly beloved had met the same fate. Had they perhaps succeeded at being exiled from this cursed place, have they found seclusion in the remote tunnels outside of the city?
My will could not crumble now, although everything else around me had. As if attempting to unify all the remaining living cells of my organism, I embraced the agony and I embraced the fear. If I could unify myself with this abhorrent instant, I could unify this sentient state with the world I had inhabited for so long, despite not knowing its name or nature. I did not plead to live again in this body, but to know the true nature of the dreams that were left unconcluded.
The screams were dimming out, the flame ever more distant.
Not a soul would come to their rescue, it was not possible to return their dignity.
Then I awoke again, for the second time in that fateful day. And I instantly recognized the glow in those colors, the violent way the silhouettes morphed, it was all the more extraordinary. Yet my power here could not be felt in the same way. Perhaps I was no longer the host and center of what sprawled infinitely around. It would be foolish to think my desperation in that moment would be unique, that my anguish would be the only to sing with the intensity needed to bridge the world of organisms and this land which human words cannot define. But I was not human anymore, that I could be now certain of. A spirit perhaps? So you may understand me.
And there were other spirits here with me.
A corridor of limbs formed, extending itself without end, some content with grabbing each other, some attempting to pull other entities inside their construction. The corridor expanded to occlude any form of illumination. I followed the path it formed, traversing agile, unstoppable. Taking full control of my newly acquired form, I moved faster than the corridor could expand and eventually reached its other side. Through the aperture it was possible to see a glimpse of the world I had left. Its light was less intense, so I had barely time to adjust and catch sight of who I immediately recognized to bear the love I had briefly nurtured. Perhaps we will meet one day both without bodies in the astral sea. The aperture closed, the tunnel disappeared as the limbs collected themselves undoing the path they’d drawn. In my vision I saw a young adult, maybe thirty years old, strong, with a confident posture. Perhaps the dim light meant they had hid inside the tunnels out of town where I had once hidden too. Or could it be that simply the world I have abandoned is no longer looked after by the beings above, no longer illuminated by them. We had been fighting for far too long.
It was clear it would not be possible for me to return there again, I had no body to inhabit, no fight of my own. With time, I calibrated to appreciate the absence of tangible purpose.
It was not long until I felt the calling. The other spirits could not only be felt, but also seen, sometimes I could smell them too. The impression of touch had been given up long ago. I cannot tell whether this is common to all those who enter this world or if us, we were the spirits brought together by a demise which overwhelmed our physical capacities beyond return. Having long left behind those days we twirled furiously around each other, creating currents of energy that could devastate entire cities. The winds we summoned were charged with vengeful intent. We had clearly failed at reclaiming our place, albeit our humble ambitions, but we knew that one day our time would come. Our true fate was to bring the prophesied words to life. Relegated from a world too ungrateful, we could rule the immaterial kingdom. We would let our visions of misery run loose, no longer contained within the minds that once enclosed them, they filled this realm, clashing with each other. Multiplying.
It would be only a matter of time before avarice would turn against its hosts, making them beg to claim their sinful toll yet one more day. They are the kind to plead as well, cowardly, they would bargain for their lives just as they bargained with our suffering. We’d be waiting here, to unleash nightmares unseen upon their consciousness, which’d bloat, disfigure, resonating endlessly upon itself. They sentenced us to a life of poverty, disease and unrest. But a life ends sooner than later and we’d be the last ones to laugh, giving them an eternal death without a means to escape. We’d given up on our homes, our forests, our kin, but we would not give up on Tendre. If I had been returned to where I came from you would have never heard my voice again. There is no chance for divine mercy in a world where mortals play the parts of deities, dramaturges, yet governed by rules they’d never be capable of understanding. Forever, the ceremony of the neglected and the silence takes place, crying hysterically, rushing through echoing corridors. Dancing around the mangled remains of their sentencers.
The ashes of our city had long been carried by the wind. I had forgotten almost everything, but I would never forget that day.