He heard her name, heard her through the whispers from his window. Four sides, slices of wood, rain tempered glass. A sweet whisper hissed across his room. She was right there, he was sure, somewhere, but he couldn’t see. The wisps of light toiling in the dark outside were too quick to catch. Flickering shadows.
The flames inside the room crackled in his eyes, a slow melody dragging. Fingers running through his hair, pulling his head free; into motion, his eyes, and hers, she found him wanting; release.
“I’ve been sitting beside you all along, you got lost, staring outside your window, come, let’s go, I hear the bells toll.”
He denied, the bells didn’t ring. It’s stupor. And then a blur.
The moonlight sneaked in from outside the window, clouds waving by. They sat on the other side of the window, holding, waiting to pacify. The rains of Temper beat the stone-walled tower hard in protest. Come, come, conform.
He stepped out of the room. The breeze flirted with his hair , as if welcoming back a guest. He breathed in as she kept her arm around his shoulder.
“It’ll be alright. We’ll find a way.”
She looked long and hard, and then smiled, “We have a sunset to catch”.
It stood at the top of a hill, with a view of the valley beneath, dormant in peace. The lies of a stagnant purview; standing still without a noise, at the sound of approaching danger. He was coming, with her, and he would take it all. The walls of the castle echoed in disdain, the doors creaked at the thought of his filth wandering these pathways. It was the dead of night, darkness spewing from every corner.
The dark black sky drifted above. Little ounces of light bouncing off of whatever they could find, in the town called Temper. Little ounces of light escaped the voids left by the drifting clouds. His eyes would fix, fix at the partition. That’s where he would come, the one with wings, with her.
The town called Temper stood still, on a night dull, in a place far away. The buildings lay harrowed, staring hollow, the roads lay broken, making a serpentine way to the centre. The centre where the tower shadowed the moon. Tall, majestic, black stone, ashes smeared on its walls, the tower was a silent ghost watching misery unfold through the winds. Only a tree stood, tall and proud.
The source of its misery the tower couldn’t decide, whether the state of affairs outside its wall or within. But it lay, where it was, for the son to return.
He held his grip on his bow a little tighter, wondering how he alone would take the two of them down. His skin crawled with memories of their previous battles, a swing to the left, a stab to the right. He held his grip on his bow, gloves clutching steel. It was trying to catch air, nothing hit, but his invisible clutches always grabbed through the dark.
“All in your head. It’s all in your head.”But then, why is there blood?
He still leaned towards her as he walked, his shoulder set firmly against hers. The sunset they were chasing was necessary, a necessary reminder of his mortality. Nothing set the mind free more than a the giant orange ball of glow descending into nothingness.
“Perspective, that’s all it is. In your mind. It’s all in your mind.”
The trees stood, watching with suspicion, the visitors passing by. They recognized the wings, but had nothing to say. For him too, the rocks, the greens, the road seemed familiar but disconnected. A place that was once home, still is; origins. But there was something about leaving a place behind, that left a part of him there, giving only memories in return. The roads turned, and so did they; the hilltop was at a distance.
He watched them emerge, ascend, crawl. All it would take is one arrow to pierce his head, maybe two for the woman. But he held steady.
“He kills himself from within”.
He stood, feet firm, arrow ready. He wanted to welcome his brother back home, wanted to ask him stories of his travels, the stories of the woman. But time had given them too many scars and he wondered if only but a partial loss of memory would replace their weapons with words.
“Choice. Always a choice.”
The tip of the arrow traced their steps as he watched, watched them pass. His choice, and theirs. There was war in this nothingness, the air smelled of it, his brother was off, to start over. Once again.
The clouds reflected the orange, colliding with each other, the intersection a spectacular view, guided by the erratic winds. These weren’t the winds of the day, nor were they the winds of the night, they were winds of war. The winds directed by his eyes, the one sitting under the tree, the one over the hill, the one with the bow in his hand. His eyes shone at the blessings of the light escaping through the orifices, the ones the intersections created on purpose, or failed to cover, one couldn’t tell. The sun was preparing for the submergence, waiting to rest its head in the laps of the mountains that stood strong and tall. The sky left crimson, but the birds weren’t on their monotonous tones today, their eyes cautious, they knew they were being watched, they knew of what was to come.
The wind howled in his ears, the essence of a storm, his eyes were transfixed at the sky. He stared back at the great old tree, providing shelter to his weary heart. The epitome of wisdom and life, it let the green leaves dance on the grounds he walked on, he saw a mother watching her children play. Yet his eyes didn’t falter, the green and the brown sneaking in and out of his frame. The clouds finally gave in as at the sound of the thunder, rain made its way down to the dancing leaves. The birds chirped and fluttered but they stayed, for the sun wasn’t shy, the countdown to submergence gave it the strength to burn. The clouds stayed out of its path, and the birds once again turned their heads to the one standing under the tree.
This was his dreamy winter, this was her cold nightmare. He finally reached for where he set, no words were spoken as he took off his fabric and spread his wings. The winds burned him as they did, his brother watching, her grip by his side, his body ready to dive.
The sun was casting long shadows, playing see-saw with the twilight. Tomorrow was another day, another day to bask in its own glory. Bask in its own delight. A bird falling off the mountain couldn’t change that. Nothing could. Nothing would.