In Serein


3-4-3 Another World

At first, I thought I was truly and really going insane.

There was Cyno, and there was Chay.

But Lucian, he never came.

And by all the stars in heaven, how I waited for him.

I waited for him upon waking, and upon falling asleep in Chay’s beloved arms.

I waited for him when Chay kissed me and when I came for him.

I waited for him every time I looked out on the lake, every time we collected our food, every time I looked up at the sky.

I would sit and try and read his books and could not.

I would try and show an interest in Cyno’s exploration of the box of machines that did all sorts of amazing things and quite without any perceptible magic at all, but I could not.

Sometimes I would try and talk to Chay but I knew that he didn’t want to hear about Lucian, didn’t want to talk about him. It appalled me how Chay didn’t seemed to mind being here, how he never lost his good humour about the abysmal situation, how he tried to cheer me up in endless ways and how he adapted himself so gracefully to all my moods.

I was living in a nightmare of loneliness with two others who did not seem to be able to share my continuous horror at being encaged here.

Cyno and Chay played, made routines, went through the motions as though nothing was wrong.

As though nothing was wrong.

And often, I would snap and scream at them and try and make them understand how it was all wrong, so dreadfully wrong, and to stop and try and pretend that this was any kind of life at all.

They would slink and skulk and exchanged worried glances and I would have killed them both if I still had possessed the powers of the lightning.

If I was going too mad, Chay would simply hold me down and he was stronger than me and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it.

I accused them many times to be in league with Lucian, to be his minions, to be demons disguised in these shapes, send to torment me with specificity. Then I would snap out of it again and apologise to them which they didn’t want to hear either because as far as they were concerned, they were trying to pretend my episodes of madness had never happened.

After the first few days, Chay gave up on trying to get out. He had tried all he could think of and all I could think of and nothing had worked. So he just settled in and said, you have to make the best of wherever you find yourself at the time, and this is really quite cosy, don’t you think.

No.

I didn’t.

I thought this was a kind of hell not even Sepheal himself could have constructed with volition.

Lucian had outdone his master.

I went through a phase where I tried to get Chay to kill me.

I begged him, then I tried to make him angry enough to attack me. He got angry but never and no matter what I did did he ever even begin to try and hurt me.

During another phase, I wrote endless letters to Lucian and posted them in the square in the wall with the empty dishes. Nothing ever returned and somehow the day came when I gave up.

Perhaps it was the day that I felt a weirdness in my stomach that was not as flat as it had been, and Chay told me he thought I had felt the baby move.

I cried for two days straight and couldn’t stop and when that was over, I was different.

I found it even difficult to remember all the tears and tantrums. I fell in with Chay’s and Cyno’s routines, sat and read the books, helped Chay with his reading and writing, actually looked forward to the food, admired the beautiful lake, went inside when it rained in the garden so I would not get wet and told Cyno bedtime stories.

He, in turn showed me the machines, one of which enabled you to see things inside of things by looking through an arrangement of lenses. It was very interesting to see your hair, a drop of blood or a drop of rainwater. That one and the one that made the stars look closer reminded me of what I used to be able to see, in another world, another life but couldn’t properly remember any more.

I didn’t want to talk about that anymore either. Sometimes Cyno would talk of Serein and I would walk away for that was all in the past and dimly, far away remembrances only, echoes so distorted now that you would never know what the original call  had sounded like.

One of the old books spoke of a state of mind where there was peace and only silence. I liked that and the book said you should sit in a certain way and think of certain things, then let them drift away until there was nothing. I tried it and at first, it didn’t work. But then I tried it again and slowly, I got better at it. It was very restful and made me feel very calm and happy so I did it a lot. I would only stop when my back was in spasms of agony and then Chay would tut and massage me until it felt better.

I found out by accident that you don’t have to be sitting to get to the silent space.

When I found that, I was either there or asleep and would only come out of it because Chay forced me to eat and take baths and such. I talked to him for a bit but all the time I was waiting for him to leave me alone so I could go back to the silent place.

I don’t really know why I liked it so very much.

It was just – more comfortable than being in my body? Was that what it was? Like switching myself off altogether because I didn’t really want to be here, as Chay would accuse me?

Sometimes, I would wake up and not recognise where I was. It scared me a little but then I thought it was all as it should be and that made it better. Then it got to waking up and not recognising who I was. That was a little more difficult at first, but when I decided that I couldn’t know such a thing anyhow, I felt very much better from thereon.

It had the disadvantage that I couldn’t really talk to the others anymore but on the other hand, it was very exciting. Everything was quite new and quite wonderful all of a sudden. I would sit in the garden and look at the small stones, each one of them so unique and different, no matter how long I would look at no matter how many, they were never quite the same.

This was true about the leaves on the plants and the small patches of grass and their blades and the small creatures who lived there, too. It was true about the clouds above and the raindrops that fell.

I had found a fascinating universe which was my own and yet existed outside of me as well; a lifetime of riches and of treasures, a never ending bounty of surprise and extraordinary beauty.

The more deeply immersed with this universe I became, the further away the big clumsy creatures with their loud voices and touches became, and the more I hid from them as best I could. Mercifully, they left me alone most of the time and I could swim and dive and fly freely amongst these wonderful oceans of colours and shapes, tiny heartbeats of existence, so subtle and so fragile that you had to be in the state of the most exquisite stillness inside to be able to perceive them.

There was a single invisible barrier remaining between me and them and this barrier was my thinking of me as outside of them. I knew this well enough but never knew what to do about that, and then one day, I had not done anything at all other than just watch and want to be there, with them, inside them, dancing with them, it just happened.

I became.