Here it is, my first draft. I is it story shaped? I guess.
Is it a good story?
Still, here ya go:
The Power Of
I hang in the clear air like glass, arms outstretched, head thrown back, eyes closed. The blood-red country is behind me – Sleeping Bear Cliffs, I never saw it. But the sleeping make good witnesses.
Under me the iced-over ocean, blue and white and inviting.
I dream of the wind in my hair. The flutter of fabric on skin as I plunge towards the water.
There is nothing. There is silence and absolute stillness.
If I turn around now, walk back on the icy air, Hamir will forgive me. I press my lids closer, press my lips shut tight as well. He cannot touch me here, encased in the sky, in his siblings’ realms. Which doesn’t mean he won’t try.
When I open my eyes he stands before me, unperturbed by the drop under his feet. “Do you really want to end it like this?” Disappointment drips from his words into the long fall below us.
“I’d prefer it’d never started,” I reply. “But that is beyond both of us.”
He reaches to touch my face but of course he can’t. So for a moment his hand hangs there uselessly and awkward before he drops it again. “You have changed your mind before. So If you reconsider…” He shrugs as he walks around me, back towards the rusty red cliffs.
But I don’t want to reconsider. I want to fly, fall and drop into the endless seas. I want the cold black water to embrace me and wash everything away.
Instead I hang in the sky. Motionless.
Below me the shoals of ice thaw, the ocean roils and clouds roll overhead. The night sky turns, parades its constellations before my eyes. How long will it take? His siblings are not ready to betray him yet, to let me fall free and take his wrath.
I sigh in seasons.
It’s the boredom that always got me before. After sleeping it off for a few decades, your brain perks up. My limbs grow numb, little needles prickle under my skin. For a while, it is a distraction. So is the flight of birds that paint strange symbols onto the sky, irreverent and foreboding.
How long until the mortifying stillness breaks me? I watch the shadows creep over the cliffs. After all this time I still can’t see the sleeping bear. The ocean freezes solid until it thaws and reaches up over the rock towering split like a castle with the darkest blue. I feel its siren song in my heart and cannot follow.
Only the tears that make it over the edge of my chin are free. They streak towards oblivion in sleek silver lines and my unbridled envy follows until it is bounced back from the hard blue surface.
Immortals have no concept of time, this I know first hand. But I know it and I feel it tug at my soul with each passing second. An everlasting plucking that grows with each beat until the vibrations encompass the whole world.
Of course I can always go back. The sky blushes pink at the thought.
Beloved of the gods is not a blessing. The words of my Oma echo in my head and how I laughed them away in the elation of being chosen. Hamir is a god of love. I cannot be more blessed. And oh, how he loves me. Like a favourite mug. He loves me. Like a special stone found on a beach. He loves me. Like a wind-up toy that won’t stop barrelling over the edge of the table. He loves me.
And oh, how I loved him – with the brightness of the sun at noon, the stuttering beat of my fumbling heart. I loved him with selfless devotion to a greater good, beyond the edges of myself, across the shards of my soul broken over benign condescension.
All my love, Hamir took gladly. Leeched me dry and moved on to the others when I needed to refill. An endless cycle and each time his hand descended on my shoulder my heart would leap nevertheless, plummeting itself eagerly into another breach.
Being loved by the gods is no good at all. My Oma was right. But once they love you, that’s it. They may let you slip, like the stone from its shelf, tumbling away for a bit until they pick you up again and put you in the place they designed.
A house is built on the tip of the cliffs and tumbles into ruin. Human feet carve paths into the landscape. Below me the ocean rolls from foaming white into still black. At night the stars are tilted back where they began on their axis.
It has been a long time since last Hamir stood before me, eyes soft and pleading. Come back. All will be forgiven if only you come back.
But my heart is a sore, ashen and empty. Returning won’t fill it. The love of Hamir himself cannot unbreak it.
Sometimes all you can do is draw a line and refuse to cross it. Sometimes inertia is the only action you can take. So it’s what I do. Refuse to return. Endure the denial of escape.
I dream Hamir stops visiting me and then he does. But still I am not free. I am not to be beyond his reach. Such is the loyalty of the immortal siblings. If he can’t have me, nobody shall, not even death.
A soft touch on my shoulder startles me from empty contemplation back into the bitter blue sky.
“What are you doing here?” A small child stands before me, brown eyes intent on answers.
“I am waiting for the gods to release me.” The truth stopped hurting a long time ago.
“There are no gods.”
I wonder if anybody told Hamir. He must have laughed to hard. “There have always been gods,” I say. “There will always be gods.”
“We’re here for you,” the child says as if that is an answer and gestures around us.
The mountain fortress below is peppered with windows now. People scurry over the sand between it and the cliffs like ants. I try to twist and look behind me but I cannot. Cities mirror in the child’s eyes.
“But what about the gods,” I return to the topic pricking my skin.
“Which gods?” They ask back. “There is only you.”
I swallow the laughter. “What about Hamir? Oloku, Sali, Jena, Le-“
“Those names mean nothing,” the child interrupts me, their brown eyes almost translucent with backlighting. “Only you stayed. You protect, your gaze forever on the telltale sea. You hear our pleas. You guard the coast.”
I can’t reply. I’m sorry for those people. Nothing that happened was due to me, any saving accidental, no greater power watching over their lives. “But where did the gods go?” I want to know.
“Nobody knows.” The answer is accompanied by a careless shrug. “They must have left before we arrived. But they are gone. We never saw an any of them. Never hear their names. They have no altar or shrine.”
“But if the gods are gone,” I hesitate to form the thought, “who holds me up in the sky?”
“I don’t know,” comes the reply. “Who does hold you up in the sky?”