M is for Mist
I can feel the dark descending like a shroud. It covers everything in a blackness constructed from the souls of those who have lost all and are no longer. It’s a darkness that can’t be penetrated.
And yet, here I am.
I watch as the sun hides behind the hills and mist starts to curl skyward from the cooling ground. I wait knowing that to step into even filtered sunlight I’ll also fade and dissipate, just like that mist.
He comes, then. Running hard. But he already knows it’s too late. Too late for him. Just in time for me.
Once I was the one. Lost. Running. Afraid. Once I descended from those hills, looking for refuge. I remember for the briefest moment what it was like, and I decide.
Come, I say. And he has no choice but to obey. He thought he was the master of his own soul, his own desire. He didn’t know that there was a greater master. So he came.
He looked at me, curious, likely imagining that he is feeling fear though he isn’t. The unfettered soul has no use for fear. Fear is a thing of the flesh, and now he has stepped aside from that anchor. He’s not yet aware of the separation.
The soul before me asks then. The same question I know I asked I don’t know how long ago. Is this how I die, then? Am I already dead? Is this the afterlife?
I reply with the same detachment, the words wrapping around him like the mist. No. You will not die. Not this night.
Will I return from this darkness, then? The body that carried me knew where I was going—there is time for me to get there, still.
And again I have to tell him no. You are now part of the twilight. You will stay here in the mist and the night. You will become what I have been these many… I trail off, not knowing how long I have been here. But no matter. You will be a shade—a wraith. You will be as I have been. You will come to know the dark as a sister. A friend. A lover.
I reached out to him then. Stretching to fill the nothing between us. Entwining my eternal essence with this eternal soul.
In that moment, he understood.
In that moment that stretched for eons, he knew all that I knew. Absorbed my knowledge—my being—just as I absorbed his. He fought me, but I was the stronger of us. Against me, he could not stand.
As the sun slipped behind the hills, he became the mist.
And I became the man.
The exquisite pleasure as I felt his weight became mine, his flesh, strong and eager, enclosing me in a way I had not known since I could not remember when.
Then I ran. Back to the Inn. Back to the pretty girl.
The first man in time immemorial to return after dark.
(Note: this is a followup to the story I told in F is for Fog.)
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