Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time and the Being

    It was a perfect place, where the Being decided to place the first man. The decision was a long time coming and yet quick as a pulse, made in the blink of an eye over the span of a thousand thousand years, but this was before Time began, and there was no one to keep track except the Being. The Place flourished, untouched, untainted, and a pleasure to behold, the result of centuries and mere seconds of the Being's creativity and effort, just like the first man himself was, and they were perfect for each other.

    The Being gave no name to the first man, as he did not need one. The Being, of course, needed no name to reference that one creation: the man simply Was. It was enough for them both, but for the purposes of the storytelling, we will call the man by the closest thing to a name he had. He is Was.

    Was delighted in the Place, and as is only right, the Being delighted in Was. For moments and aeons, there was no less and no more than absolute happiness and joy in the Place, shared and enjoyed by both Was and the Being. Was felt no hunger although he tasted the leaves, stems, roots, seeds, and fruits of the plants of the Place; he felt no thirst but drank the water of the streams and the rain that the Being poured down to nourish the plants. Neither realized that another Great One had seen the Place, the perfect harmony, and was jealous.

    Time had arrived. For mere seconds, Time watched Was and the Being, and in those seconds, Time decided he could take no more. He saw the Place and wanted it. Reaching out his hand, he cupped the Place in his massive palm, and seconds passed, then minutes, then hours.

    At first, Was didn't realize what was happening. His stomach made noise, he felt weak, and he could think of nothing else but to reach for a nearby fruit and shove the entire thing in his mouth. Looking up questioningly at the Being-- for there was no language-- he received no answer. For the first time, the Being's attention was elsewhere.

    The Being saw the Place cupped in the hand of Time, and they stared one another down. Without wordsor even more than that staring, the challenge was made. Time would design his own creature, to compete with Was over who would rule the Place.

    Time, being a tricky character, made not a man, but a woman, and he named her Moment.

    Was had discovered the regularity of hunger and thirst and sleep, day and night-- though of course he had no words for those-- since it took nearly two weeks for Time and the Being to agree to their challenge. In that time, Was had grown accustomed to keeping food with him and to staying near the stream; hunger and thirst were unpleasant, and he preferred to prevent them rather than suffer them. It was near the stream where he first saw Moment, and he was curious. Crossing the stream, he approached her, reached out a hand, and felt her skin. So like his. He fingered her hair, brushed the tipof his thumb on her cheek. Now, even more curious, he looked up to the Being, questioning. Had he sent this creature? Why?

    The Being was looking down, but not at him. Moment was the object of the attention of the Great Ones. Time looked down on her with pride and a smirk, the Being with displeasure. No time and decades passed for the Being as that displeasure was communcated to Time, and eventually it was agreed: Time would create a man, and the Being a woman, and their pairs would be the ones to compete for dominion over the Place. The Being created a woman and called her Does, and only then turned to see what had happened in the Place while the agreement was being made.

    Time still held the Place, and during the seconds and millenia it took Time and the Being to make their agreement, much time had passed for Was and Moment. In the absence of communcation with the Great Ones, language had developed. They spoke and understood one another, knowing their own names and the other's name. They had terms for water, leaf, tree, ground, food. And their sons had names: First and Second.

    Time, of course, knew that years were passing for the humans in the Place, since he cupped it in the palm of his hand. Seeing the other Great One's creature affected by his own presence was most satisfying. The Being's displeasure only grew at seeing Was with faint wrinkles on his face from Time's ravages, seeing him close to Moment, and seeing even more creatures in the Place that were not supposed to be. In a bout of temper, the Being threw Does down to the Place, and she landed in between Was and Moment.

    Was looked upon this new woman with surprise, Moment with curiosity. Not knowing any better, as morals had not been given to the Place, Was looked at Does the same way he did Moment, and he acted on her presence the same way he did Moment.

    Behind his back, hiding the Place from the Being, Time gave the Place a gentle squeeze, and time sped up. When he revealed it again, there were more children-- two more sons-- born of Was and Does. Their names were Can and Will. The Being was still unhappy with their presence, but less so since they came from the woman not made by Time. Even so, Was's hair was beginning to grey with Time's influence. In anger, the Being attempted to wrench the Place away from Time, causing Time to drop it. In falling, the Place cracked, opening a fissure in the earth, into which the unfortunate Was fell. The Being and Time fought each other for half an eternity and half a breath, and Time managed to again recover the Place, holding it where the Being could see it but too far away to touch.

    Was was dead. The very second Time had gathered up the Place again, time began, his blood flowed from injuries sustained in his fall into the fissure, and he died. The Being howled in anguish. The cry echoed across all of the Place, and the six remaining people gathered on the edges of the fissure, looking down at Was's remains. On one side of the fissure were Moment and her sons First and Second; on the other were Does and her sons Can and Will.

   Along with the cry of anguish, other forces were released into the Place. Jealousy, sorrow, pain, anger, and hatred settled on the Place, into the very leaves of plants and the bubbles in the stream's water. Moment was struck with jealousy and blamed the death of Was on Does's presence. If she had not come, there would never have been a fissure, and then Was would have lived. Retreating from their side of the fissure, Moment and her sons made a shelter beneath some wide-leaved trees, and there she began to teach her sons the reasons that this was the fault of Does.

     Does did not feel the jealousy, only the despair and sorrow of Was's death, and confusion at Moment's reaction. She too retreated with her sons and found shelter in a new cave that was also made from the fall when the Place was dropped. She taught her sons to trust in the Being, that one day he would show his face as he had to their father before even she was made, and all would again be well.

    If the Great Ones breatheed, it would have only taken a breath for a decade to pass for the humans in the Place. During that decade, Moment and Does never saw one another, nor did Moment's sons see Does's sons. None of them forgot the others existed, however.

    One morning, Does's elder son, Can, ever the explorer, wandered off from the cave in a direction he had never gone before. For a long time, he walked, eating what food he found along the way. Eventually, his feet took him to an area where the trees were tall and broad-leafed, trees unlike he had seen for a very long time. Movement caught his eye, and he saw a figure dart away. Curious, he moved toward where the figure had been, and once he was beneath the broad leaves of the trees, he felt something strike him. Recognizing the brown, coarse-haired round fruit as one from the trees, he ignored it, though the pain from where it his his head did not go away. Soon, another hit him, and another. Blood trickled from his face, his chest, his arms and legs as the barrage continued. He was driven to his knees, covering his head. Only when he could see nothing except the sand beneath his feet did his attackers show themselves, but he could only hear their laughter.

    Does and Will knew sorrow again when Can did not return to the cave. Ever looking upward, Does gazed into the sky but saw nothing from the Being. It was during this period that the Being and Time were again staring one another down for ownership of the Place. This was no more than the blink of an eye or the passing of a dozen cosmoses for the Being, but much time passed for the humans, cupped in the hand of Time.

    Knowing that Can was dead, anger began to rise in Will and Does, and they departed from their cave for the fissure. Upon arriving, they called out for a long time until Moment, First, and Second appeared on the other side. For a time, they stared at one another across the fissure, until Second disappeared, followed soon after by First. Curious, Will turned and walked the other way as well, and the three men met on the other side of the Place, far out of sight of their mothers. Second threw himself at Will and began to grapple him, while First continued on toward the side of the fissure Does was on.

    When he reached the fissure and saw Does, still staring across the gap at Moment, First was filled with rage. As his brother had done, he threw himself at Does, his momentum carrying both of them down into the fissure. Upon landing, neither moved again.

    Will and Second grappled for many minutes, gouging each other's flesh with their fingers and pulling hair. Will's hands at one time closed around the throat of Second and squeezed, and all air left Second's body. Rising, Will staggered away toward the fissure-- to the side where Moment was.

    Finally, the Being wrested the Place away from Time and banished him. Looking back down onto the Place, the Being was appalled at what was left of that great creation. A tear fell from the Being's eye, and the torrent of that tear filled the fissure, creating a salt river.

    With the Being's presence in control over the Place again, jealousy, anger, sorrow, and hatred were banished from the Place, and Will and Moment remained as the only humans left.

    Despair was not banished from the Being, though, and it was not to be assuaged. The Place had failed, and the Being gently set the Place down to hang in the heavens. Turning away, the Being left the Place and the humans behind forever. The humans were left alone and multiply without the peace and watchfulness of the Being.

    Shortly after the Being left and forever later, Time lifted up the Place and renamed it-- the World.