The end of the beginning of the end
by Jay Faulkner
“It’s almost the end.”
He heaved a sigh that echoed through the halls of his castle. He dropped his gaze, and walked away from the balcony, having already seen enough of the never-ending lands ahead of his sight.
He turned and looked into the room, catching his humble servant’s bright blue eyes, and gesticulated, “I’ve grown weary of all this.” His hand took in the vast world ahead of him.
He turned his head, and looked across. The trees that had been there for generations and generations, buried deep within the forests of the immortal lands; their branches barren. Their fruit bitter.
He had watched them grow; he watched everything grow. The lands were barren once. Then they had evolved. And now the cycle was coming to an end as everything that lived started to fade, to crumble, to die. He knew all this. He should know all this.
He created this world.
He gave the world the simplicity it needed. The complexity it craved. Yet it was not satisfying enough for any that walked his land. It was not satisfying enough for him.
They longed for more. Everyone always longed for more. He gave them everything, yet that was not enough. He gave them never-ending lands to roam, but yet they fought among each other for land. He gave them eternal life and yet they still did not truly live.
He thought he had created a world better than that. But yet everything seemed to have remained the same. Only time stopped. He made it stop. He created a world from the palm of his hands, thinking that without the constraints of time, everything would be beautiful.
He was wrong.
So wrong. Greed was still there. Honor was still lost. Passion was forever extinguished.
He raised his eyebrows and surveyed his world again, trying to somehow find a positive out of all the negatives that he had observed through the decades and centuries.
He could not.
He chuckled to myself, then, more of regret than of humor. In the world that was, they had always thought the otherworld to be beautiful, charming and magnetic. They couldn’t be more wrong.
“Welcome to my world.” He whispered softly, deep under his breath, while he looked over the world of dust beneath his feet. “Welcome to that which I made.”
He turned away, his flame like hair swinging loose and free against his spine, in the soft breeze that tried to be the wind. There was a touch of sadness in his soul as he walked from the balcony and into his room, his footsteps ringing hollowly against the cold and lifeless marble floor.
“How long have I lived in this castle of mine, overlooking the world? How long have I tried to please everyone in these lands?” He spoke to himself, his deep voice booming against the halls, echoes dying before they could live. “How long have I failed?”
He stopped dead in his tracks, unmoving. Deep in thought. He rubbed his clean-shaven chin, his eyes turning into thin slits.
“Maybe its time that I drown myself in eternity and disappear from this world.” He whispered to himself, weighing the options. He liked the idea; he liked the idea a lot, more than he had liked anything in the eons that he had been here in the castle of gray in the land that he had built himself.
He sighed, again, disappointment rising. A flaw in his logic.
“But I did that before, didn’t I?”
He knew from his vast experience that he should know the answer to that question. He knew that he should know everything about his world and everything about himself; he knew that he didn’t and that perplexed him.
“We can only be what we give ourselves the power to be.” He spoke, thinking aloud without realizing it. “So what do I want to be?”
His shoulders fall, as he tried to find a solution to all his problems. He found that he didn’t have the heart nor energy left to lead this world of his into what he had originally imagined it to be; a world built on dreams.
“And what power do I have?”
He broke into a sad smile, as he remembered what he dreamt this world would become when he started creating it with his soft delicate fingers. It was magical, beautiful. His dream and his nightmare.
Now all that it was was a world left in ruins, a shell of what it could and should have been. A reflection of the whole, a shadow of the main and a potential left unfulfilled.
He looked back and stared again at those blue eyes of his servant’s. He heaved a sigh, a loud one. Somehow it portrayed his feelings. He turned away, his brilliant green eyes gleaming in the dark room that had been overshadowed by the dark gray clouds forming outside. He clenched his fists, grinding his fingers together in a shriek of protesting cartilage as if they had remained unmoved for too long.
He stepped away, pacing his steps towards the open door. With his hands behind his back, his head held down, he seemed oblivious to the surroundings around him.
And then he stopped. And then he looked.
He turned his head, squinted his eyes. He saw his reflection in the full-length mirror across the room the room. His eyes widened, and he turned, positioning himself directly in front of it.
He observed, looking past his long hair that danced and moved with a life of its own, ignoring the face that was his and his and stared at the eyes that were staring back. He smiled, teeth bared, his eyes gleaming a deep green once again.
“My name is … ?” He asked in a slight whisper, observing every movement in his lips in the mirror. “I know that they called me by a queer name.”
The clouds gathered, the darkness deepened and with a note of finality the thunder pealed. He turned away from the mirror and placed his hand into the hearth of granite where a fire burned low, close to death.
“Someone who holds all the power in the world in the palm of his hands,” he mused, staring into the fading sparks. “And yet it’s ridiculous – I created it all and I don’t know who I am.”
With a sigh he clenched his fist on the last remaining hint of flame and stoked the remnants of the ember. He smiled.
“It’s almost the beginning.”
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'The Dead Man'
'The Doorway to Hell'