Original flash fiction story by Henrik Sandbeck Harksen, November 2012
Dedicated to Jesper Rugård (thanks for the beautiful opening lines) & W. H. Pugmire (for being the poet & human being he is)
It was wrong of me to go with Duncan, but then the moons were never that beautiful before. Night after night we had talked, crossed swords of words on worldly issues and abstract philosophies, shared dreams and intimacies, but never away from the steps leading to my childhood home.
“Come with me,” he said. “There is something I want to share with you.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“Something precious, something beautiful,” he said, a faraway look in his eyes.
Of course I obliged. With a shy look up the stairs behind me, the heavy drapes of all the years gone by looming, I nodded and took his outreached hand. It was cold and comforting at the same time.
Together we descended.
Not a wind stirred but it being late Fall an icy atmosphere had invaded the world, and through this we walked close to each other. We crossed the silent streets, thread unknown paths and soon entered less civilized areas of the ancient city. A foreboding wilderness embraced our silhouettes as we kept moving through white shrouds of mysteries. Around us spectral hands of scrubs and wizened trees reach for a sky getting darker and darker; we have entered an edifice of nature so imposing I am overwhelmed by a feeling so intense it’s religious.
Each step, each cold breath, magnified the two orbs watching us.
Duncan stopped and slowly raised his arm, pointing. “Isn’t it a beautiful sight?”
I shivered. “Yes. It is, it really is. Out here, away from manmade light and the crowded distractions of the city’s life, it is all so much clearer, crisper, than anything else that I’ve ever witnessed.”
The breath of my words crystalized every meaning of what I said.
I couldn’t take my eyes away from those two moons, those mysterious existences of beauty.
“Thank you,” I breathed, “thank you for taking me down here to see this, Duncan. To see.”
“You are a rare creature, my dear. Rare is the human being today that can appreciate – truly appreciate – the wonders of the world. I knew you were ready. That’s why I wanted to come with me today.” He squeezed my hand and for a second there was also a light caress across my wrist. I shivered in ecstasy. “At first there was just a new star next to the moon. For years scientists studied the anomaly, an anomaly unlike anything else in the annals of human history. It didn’t take too long for them to predict that it would grow in size, because their minds coupled with the empirical data said it was of a rather massive size. At first they believed it to be an innocent meteor – albeit a large one – one whose trajectory would pass Earth to speed away again into the void of the universe. But poets hinted at other meanings, other possibilities, recalling former dreams of men, of how the moon was waiting for her lover to return.”
He held my waist and we started moving again. Feeling his arm and hand on my clothes was bliss. We started wading down, down into the swirling wonders before us, our gaze never leaving the eyes in the sky.
“Then one day the unexpected happened. You see, my dear, the scientists could not really grasp the magnitude of what was happening, and the poets, while they succeeded immensely more at hinting of the underlying truths of what was going on than even the keenest mind among the scientist society managed, they never really managed to show with clarity what was happening. Leaving the majority of both camps dissatisfied – not to mention the rest of mankind. But then they decided to come together, diehard scientists and intangible poets. And the experiment was fruitful. Scientists and poets gathered and tried to solve the puzzle of the two moons. Never before have humans looked at something new and spectacular in the universe and actually grasped what was going on and how to explain it.”
I was almost out of breath. It was so unimaginably cold. He took my other hand, his firm grasp never leaving my waist in the process, and calmed me, steadying me. The orbs were increasing in size, blotting out all stars and almost all the hands surrounding us, in vain trying to reach above hell for forgiveness.
“Their discovery opened new vistas of realities never before imagined, never before calculated. And this, my dear, this is what I want to share with you. You’re ready.”
We smiled. And then we kissed.
It was wrong of me to go with Duncan.
But it’s so beautiful here.
A note: This story was written in one hour. It is unedited, and is an experiment based on me asking on Facebook for ideas to a great opening line. I received many great suggestions but this one sort of stuck.
I hope you enjoyed it. I certainly had fun writing it:-) -Henrikus