Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Potentially Alive

I'm filming three shows this week, so here's part one of a short story I pulled out of the archives (for the second, third, and fourth posts click on the appropriate links):

She stood like a statue--with her feet apart, shoulders back, and head high.

She was listening to a tune from an age long past, from a time when joy was both possible and expected. It was a playfully happy tune, with notes that rose and fell, only to rise higher and higher yet again. It was her tune, she thought. She had earned the right to listen to it.

A clear lake lay below the perch on which she stood. Red sparks from a setting sun skipped across the gently swaying surface.

As a breeze swept across her face, the usually sharp features relaxed into a look of pure sensual pleasure. She took in a deep breath of the crisp, autumn air—noting to herself that the wind was picking up.

Strands of her jet-black hair seemed to dance with it. And, as the breeze passed through, each seemed to pause for the briefest moment at the end—like the outstretched arms of one lover for another—only to resume again, this time to a new beat and with a new partner.

The air was light up here, and clean. The grass was lush, and green. Looking up, she thought the rose-red fingers of the setting sun seemed to cling to the day they both loved and did not want to part with--not for a night, not ever.

But the night was fast approaching nonetheless. She was lying on the ground now; her knees, framing the lake below; her head, resting comfortably in her hands; her eyes, fixed on the heavens above.

She knew that, like the passing day, these were to be her last minutes too. A long-forgotten quote, by some long-forgotten philosopher, sprung up like Minerva in her mind. "I will not die," she said quietly, "it's the world that will end."

A moment later, a lonely streak of fire burst across the sky, in silent defiance against the night's approach. And then everything went dark. She was dead.

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