When the twin moons fade along with the night sky and the distant sun rises, he stirs. He has slept well--dreamless and comforted within the confines of his dwelling.
His home is nestled within the cover of sand dunes. It is but a shelter of palm leaves and wasted bush leaves he has woven himself. He climbs out to breathe in the tangy breeze. Soon he will climb atop the dunes to stand and gaze at the only world he knows. The only world he has ever known.
It is a timeless place—his world, his life. So little is known—so much is desired.
He makes his way up the sandy rise with difficulty. His legs trouble him and his tail. Climbing painfully, he eventually reaches the top. The shore is beautiful--silken and half wet. It gleams in the muted light of a crimson dawn. A sea vast and seemingly unending stretches toward the horizon.
The sea is life to him, for it carries within it gifts of food--small winged crabs—and little horned fish.
He always finds them; they’re always there when his stomach pains him. But thirst now, for his throat is parched.
He gazes around and picks up a hollow--an empty shell of a vegetable he has already eaten. He takes the hollow and turns away from the beach. His destination is a great lake—perhaps as big as the sea.
It supports some life. Massive heads appear regularly far from the shore. They frighten him, for they stare at him for long periods before disappearing into the purple waters below. He looks for them now, but they are not there. So he kneels down, scooping the water into his vessel. When it is quite full he gulps it down.
Once he saw his reflection in the still water—and he studied it. He had at first thought it was another being. He had hoped it was another being. But when he reached out to touch it, he saw it was merely a reflection.
He has felt his face many times since then. He doesn’t know that the hard ridges he feels are actually small bones. All he knows is he has felt them. He had been pleased to see himself—it was like having company. But then it saddened him to know he was really alone.
The desire to see his reflection has passed now. He makes his way down to the beach—for hunger is the next need to satisfy.
The shore is littered with food for him. Crouching, he eats--slowly and carefully—using his claws to remove bits of horn or poisonous wing. He has found over time that only the flesh of the sea creatures is edible.
His satisfaction is brief.
When his needs are satisfied, the questions begin. Why?
Sometimes he questions where he is and where he came from. He has no memory of a before, since it often seems to him that he has been in this place forever. At least he is comfortable. He suffers not--neither heat nor cold.
There is hardly a sun—only a sweetly smelling dawn which fades into a quiet twilight—quickly—perhaps too quickly. Night follows along with all-embracing darkness—a comfortable, temperate dark.
The dark doesn’t trouble him. He enjoys the magic it brings, for there is among its great opaque shadows, that which glitters. Stars—bright lights—glittering happily, carelessly. They sometimes make him jealous.
He often gazes at them—dreaming dreams even he cannot understand. But then the dark recedes and the light time comes and the flyers along with it. They are great winged creatures, not from the sea, but from the sky it seems.
He watches as they fly silently, gracefully soaring and swooping down, they dine at the table of life—the bountiful sea again. The flyers please him even though he is troubled for he thinks they should sing. He’s never heard song—he only dreams of it in his heart.
Sometimes he shakes his ears—trying to hear them, but it’s no good. He can hear some things—he can hear the wind blowing at night—the grass shifting in the dunes—the sound of the surf.
But they are lonely sounds—and such sounds are not music.
And there should be music.
His world is lonely—and his questions are many. What about tomorrow? Tomorrow has fear in it, for tomorrow might only hold the long sleep from which there is no awakening.
When he is happy he mends his home and arranges pretty pebbles all around to give it color.
Often he’ll stroll along the shore—gazing out toward the horizon—thinking his thoughts—but not permitting any questions to interfere, as questions often bring sadness and irresolution.
At twilight, he’ll head for the dunes to await the dark.
And when his eyelids grow heavy and sleep beckons, he’ll retreat to his humble home where he will dream.
Dreams often come to him, but like his life and his existence, they are empty—reflecting only the world he knows.
He cries sometimes, for there is stirring within him the need to change his life. I WANT—!
He can’t put the thing into words. All he can feel is emptiness, like one of his hollows—a thing that needs filling.
But fill with what—water--or something else that also represents life?
On the last night of his existence in this world, when the dark swept the light away, and he didn’t care to look up at the stars, he tried to do something he had never done before. He wanted to sleep forever.
The sea was there waiting. It waited for him in the deep blackness—with only the gentle light of the sky orbs to give its presence away.
But death called him forth, so he deliberately plunged into that black, wet forever dark. A rumble of thunder—a streak of lightening were the only witnesses to his desperation. Dreamless, unending sleep—would surely be his.
But just as his body relaxed and his lungs began to fill with water—a great wave spit him out. Flinging him far away—causing him to wash up like any other flotsam.
And then, a thought came to him: I will live!
And so because of the thought and the simple meaning he now understood to be his destiny, he woke up.
But his world was different. He was different. His face was smooth. He touched it with altered digits. Gone, too, were his claws and his tail.
There were other changes too. The beach was gone and the dunes along with it. Now he found himself in the midst of a great forest. Great bushes reached up to the sky. Fully laden bushes—not like the withered brown plant life the beach contained.
He wept with joy.
And there, gazing down at him were flyers—smaller and wearing colors he had never seen.
But they were soundless, and because they were, he nodded sadly to himself.
It just goes on the same.
Suddenly something moved nearby. Clearly, he saw the tall grass shift—first one way and then the other.
He ran. He kept on running until he saw it--a frightened creature like himself. He froze and the creature stepped forward.
It was a woman.
He smiled even though he had never seen another person before. He reached for her first--his altered hand, timid and ready to be drawn back. She clasped it.
As they touched, the flybirds began to sing.
But he heard more than that. He heard more than the wind too. There was so much abundant life around him—and it all had sound.
His world had really changed. His existence completely transformed. A rich world—alive with purpose had opened its soul to him.
And because he knew this was a good thing he laughed and the woman laughed with him and their laughter was like music.
This, the first Eden.
Copyright © 2011 Carole Gill
“Carole Gill’s talent is a wonder to experience. She has the uncanny ability to craft horrors imbued in fairy tale finesse.”
“House of Horrors is a fine addition to my Kindle, and I’m sure I’ll be going to read this again and again…”
“A veritable blood feast for vampire fans everywhere!”
“If you are a fan of horror, you won't want to miss this one!! High marks to Ms. Gill.”
“There are so many different monsters in this book the no matter what your biggest fear is or your favorite one to read about you are gonna find it without fail.”
“I grew up with horror legends such as King, Koontz, Poe, Shelley, Stoker and I added Gill to that list.”