The sky was a painting of countless shades of blue, strung together with wisps of green. It hung above a jagged horizon, defined by a mountain range afar. The peaks, I knew, were colossal and the highest of them reached a height of three kilometers. Still, it was dwarfed by the magnificance of the scene.
Where the colossal walls of stone ended, began a lush jungle that continued all the way to where I stood. A deep green mat, it was a construct of innumerable columns of living wood. Each reached for the eldest of gods with its arms, covered with leaves sighing with every breeze; air from the sea to the west, rich with a fragrance of salt.
The trees formed a roof to an enormous community of life, existing in equally innumerable variety. The screams, shrieks, calls and songs of life came from all directions. There, a monkey-like creature with six limbs, hung from a branch. Its pelt was dark brown, its teeth black as coal. Nimbly, it grabbed another branch and repeated the motion until it hung from another tree, eyeing me with some interest. I raised my camera and took the picture (342333.pc). The creature fell 153 meters and hit the ground with a loud bang, laying still.
I zipped the distance from my observation post and examined the corpse. For it was a corpse; no animal of such weight could survive such a fall. Almost hidden in a lush undergrowth of the forest, a mishmash of at least ten kinds of grass and bushes, the animal was being consumed. Insects of all colors and shapes walked, slid and crawled on the furry beast and dug into its flesh. Of this, I recorded a video clip, similarly attached to the report (
A stream nearby beckoned me with its song. I moved to it and dipped into its cool water. My limbs felt the tiny round stones at the bottom, finely crafted by the patient water. Light reflected from its surface and I turned to see its journey to the sea. To the east, I could see where it came from. The water seeped from between huge boulders, half-buried in a steep hill. The hill was at the very root of the mountain range, whose ascent was escorted by the forest a long way. And as I sat there, my limbs stretching themselves in that cool stream, I was overcome with a sense of calm.
I let myself bend backward, onto my back. The long, thick grass received me and formed a moist matress, rich with green fragrance. I stretched my forelimbs and lay as a nine-armed star, feeling the first of insects crawl upon my flesh. They probed me tentatively with their teeth and fangs, questioning the status of my flesh; edible or not? Then the biggest, hungriest and nastiest of those tiny, chitin-covered monsters took a bite or burrowed into my skin. It tickled. Wherever I turned my head, I could see bulging shapes under my skin, devouring my insides in a hasty frenzy. It reminded me of my pets, who, upon having their cups filled with sustenance, devoured it without blinking an eye, frequently glancing at me over their tiny shoulders, suspecting I might dig into their precious, rotten treasures. In the end, the creatures ate my eyes and dug into my brain and I rose slowly, looking at my body disintegrating below. Now infested with beings innumerable in size and count, the skin quickly disappeared into a dark, living cloud. My skeleton, pale silver star, grew small and then disappeared completely. Rising higher and higher, I could see the blades of grass rising, returning back to their worship of the eldest god.
Turning to the west, I levitated at a breathtaking speed. But I was not breathing or even feeling the violent airstream against my face, for the spirit is aware of the world, but for the world, a spirit is non-existent. It did not register me nor care if I live or die. But I loved the world and cared deeply for its well-being, nurturing it the best I could. And truth be told, I quickly began to long for its love and attention. True love is reciprocal.
As I documented the scene below, a sea of raging, mountaneous waves and great fish, sliding below the surface (see, I noticed the platform hanging in the horizon. I covered the distance with a thought and landed on the enormous silvery disc. Like my spirit body, it did not exist to the world and so it hung there, undisturbed by creatures with wings or the scorching rays of the god. Still, it drew a variety of energies from worlds afar and concentrated them to its core.
As I thought to move towards the center, so I did. Flashes of light leaped from the silver surface and beamed towards the eternal night from the top of my head. At first, I could feel a tingling at the back of my head. Later, I reviewed the disc’s footage ( and as I was having the former thought, the back of my head grow from the energy field: first bone, then thin strips of skin, all ultimately bound under skin and tufts of hair. From there, the growth continued to form a long, yellow beak. As with the previous feast of the small life forms, this process of anti-death accelerated. Another head grew next to the first, then a wing to the east, a wing to the west. Claws, hard as steel, and organic antennas between the wings, attuned to the subtle but ever-present energy fields of the universe. I spread my wings and began to beat the air. And the world saw me, again.
Flying above the mountain range, I was a bird and felt like one. My pride as the crown of creation was great. All below me, subjects to my gaze. This gaze could penetrate deep inside the mat of green, spread towards all four corners of the world. Elated, I landed on the highest of the peaks and screamed. The echoes bounced off the neighboring walls and greeted me, one of its kind. Or so I thought.
That moment, a scream came from above and as I turned my beak to face it, I saw a trio of my kind fly towards me. I pushed the peak with my claws, beat the air and rose to a glide, spiraling higher to the west, turning and turning until I faced their stony stare. Another scream and they were right in front of me, wings spread and claws protruded towards me. The best I could, I let out of greeting of joy, but, perhaps, far too late. Several claws grabbed me from all sides and locked onto my bird-flesh, finding their through my feather coat without much trouble. Then they pulled, each beating the air violently. Screaming, gasping for air and struggling to maintain balance, I felt my body be torn apart. The first claw that came off took a chunk of my breast, the second ripped my right wing in half. Grabbing, tearing with the beaks and screaming in a blood frenzy, they tore into me as we fell towards the ground below, as a tangled, freefall mess of feathers, blood, flesh and beaks.
After the impact I cried, bitter with sorrow. My brothers and sisters twitched with the little life left in them, trying to lift their wings, claws and beaks in vain. I, too, was going to die. However, only I knew the death would come sooner than later. At that moment, invited by my sinister thoughts, they crawled out from the shade of grass and made their way inside me through each of my orifices, whether natural or violence-induced. As I was devoured, I felt the dullness of deja vĂș, and turned my beak towards my blood, wincing in agony under the chitin-plated invasion. I recorded this sorrowful scene until the devouring of my birdbrain (
And so I rose again, turning around. I saw five magnificent birds, spread wide on a sea of grass. Then they disappeared under the black weight, giving way to the blades of grass, thirsty for the godly smile. This time, I chose not to head west, but straight towards the zenith, the eternal night hanging forever beyond the blue sky.
Ascending, I could not feel, but sensed the air growing colder. Looking beneath me, the world stayed and I went, its details merging into gigantic structures of green, gray and blue. Raising my gaze, I could see the continent’s outline emerging against the ocean, glimmering under godly benevolence. Clouds shot past me, heading for the world below. And as I turned again to face the zenith, I could sense myself emerging. And I could see the darkness, waiting beyond an ever paler veil of blue. And I emerged.
The holy womb, the holy night, the eternal and ever-present. I canceled the god to see the stars, jewels of the night, race to all directions around me. Thin stripes, enormous clusters and lonely, but piercing beacons, each signaling another world of holy life. And turning around, I wept as my heart grew small. So great was the beauty of this world. Its lush continents, divided by countless, dark mountain ranges, oceans of blue, mirroring the sky above, and its atmosphere, yellow streams of air, twisting, turning, rising and falling to the ever-present pulse of the god, this star, a dark halo in my altered vision. Removing the filter, it exploded in my vision and filled my consciousness to its brim. Beckoning me, beckoning me to join its presence.
With a thought, I covered half of the distance. Now twice as large, bright and hot, my mind had trouble beholding its majesty. An enormous stream of plasma shot up from its surface, with streams of matter at its extreme form. Had the stream hit the world, now but a pearl afar, it would have cracked it open and vaporized its oceans. So great was the sphere-god, all I knew was light. I took another step.
Now the burning, white-hot surface stretched before me as far as I could see. On one side, there was white, on the other, black. It was the most majestic display of ying and yang I had ever experience. Yet, as different as they seemed from each other, I knew that beneath the obvious, they were strung together in countless ways, growing from the same source and purpose. As two sides of one, they were as a brother and sister. Life and anti-life; death and anti-death. An old woman, greeting herself in the mirror. Same source, the same.
In the streams before me, I could see the monkey, swinging from one branch to the next; the impulses in its brain, firing to animate the muscles. Then, the animal was enveloped by other streams that crawled in great numbers, becoming one. I could see the birth of the great bird, and its pride and fall. I witnessed life, death and their eternal communion. And as I slid through the surface, I was one with the god and her light.
Turning, gliding, opening and contracting, I swam in her milky white presence. And there was no me, no you and nothing discrete. No numbers, no identity and no distinction. Her smile beckoning me: “Deeper, deeper.”
Entering, burrowing, gently invading, deeper into her I fell. Sensed heat growing higher, reaching unimaginable levels. So much life, no living being could survive. But I ventured further, mesmerized by her loving, divine call.
So much light, no eye could behold. All leaves, it would burn. Too much, so much. And I sank.
Finally, weightless, I hung in the deepest of her depths, where light was at its brightest, where white the whitest. I listened. I listened. And was no more (see 342334.pc).