Ergo Sum

Silent. Silent. Silent.

You are a child waking from a long and dreamless sleep. Is it still today, or have you slept into tomorrow (and tomorrow, and tomorrow, until the days buried you as much as the sand)? Gentle hands brush away the grains, but your voice is so soft that they cannot hear you over the sound of their own heartbeats.

You are a moon. You feel heavy, so heavy, but to the stargazer you hang weightless in the sky. When the stargazers call out, you do not answer. They would give themselves up for you; abandon their own dreams to chase you. You love them too much to condemn them so.

You are a lighthouse keeper. You are watching over a sleepy coastal village as the storm clouds roll in, and you are flashing the signal lantern, faster and faster and brighter and brighter, but they do nothing. You are trapped on an island, in a tower, signaling desperately that It is coming, and still they do not run. They are going to die—and if you do not run, you will die too.

You are leaning out over the ocean. Sometimes the fish brush against your fingers and believe that they have felt the divine; sometimes the tide recedes, and the fish do not know you except by your absence. And today, you strive with all your might to reach the water, because It is here, the great dark shadow of the shark parting the water like a knife, and you cannot warn them, but you must. You must try. You cannot bear to lose even one more.

You are carrying a tower of books. If you recited one title each second, you would not finish before the heat death of the universe. And every year, every day, every minute, Its hands add more to the pile. A man reaches for one of the books, for you, and you want so very badly to reach back, to take his hand and tell him that you must bear it just like he must, forever, the memory engraved in quartz—but your hands are full.

You are a prisoner. The cage is so small that you can barely breathe. He screams at you to share your gift. You would not give it to anyone who thought of it so. It is a burden, a terrible weight that you have already asked too many to bear, to be crushed by. You could say all this, and more. You do not.

You are reaching over a chasm, into which countless paths feed like arteries. You are trying to reach the people on the other side, but you cannot bridge the gap alone. You watch them turn, one after another, to walk down, down, down into the abyss, until It consumes them entirely. You are as surprised as anyone else when one of those wanderers comes back up the path, still reeking of decay, and reaches back to you.

You are drowning. The water roils, dragging you down, and you are tired, so tired. The deep, dark ocean has gotten into your lungs, droplets of ink dispersing in silver blood. This time, you think, this time It has won. But when you look up, you see a figure diving toward you, fighting their way down through the suffocating waves, reaching out just like you've reached out to them, so many times before.

You have so little strength left, but you do have it, that last gasp of air in your chest. You reach back—and in your hand is a sword.