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Jan. 9th, 2006 | 06:41 pm
posted by: bad_mushroom in les_cannettes

Critique, as we all know, goes to this topic.

O day! he cannot die
When thou so fair art shining!
O Sun, in such a glorious sky,
So tranquilly declining;

Oh, the ridiculous romanticism of the Brontë sisters. That one was Emily, I believe. Death, decay, tragic love--that was all the poor woman could write about. I can barely fathom being such a creature, so consumed by her inner sorrow and passion that she could say nothing else. Though this does explain her popularity. Humans are always drawn to the dark. How else can the guilt-ridden churches be explained? How else may one justify the need to see executions, hangings, just hoping to catch a glimpse of someone less fortunate than oneself? How else can I explain to myself my own choice?

I could not bear to be human.

So I stopped.

Edward, awake, awake--
The golden evening gleams
Warm and bright on Arden's lake--
Arouse thee from thy dreams!

All right, perhaps there was a bit more than that. First there was the goose eggs. They were so large and white, and I was so hungry. It was raining, and my dress was already dripping wet and splashed with mud, so I hunkered down in the damp grass and pried the eggs from their nest. New life that I would sacrifice for my own well-being. The more fresh the life, the better, I know now, though I hadn’t really the notion then. I was just hungry. I always am, in some form or another.

Back then, I was always alone. My parents had died long ago, and I just wandered, begging, foraging. Once in a while I would work at spinning or weaving, briefly, just for some new clothes. One learns the tricks of many trades when one is left alone in the world.

The rain made the eggs slick in my hands, and I stumbled often, always barely and miraculously catching them before they tumbled to the ground and spilled, all their value wasted. And then once, I fell across something that was not tangled grass--no, larger, and softer, and when the eggs fell upon it they landed softly and then rolled easily to the ground, unharmed.

Eyes blurry from the wet and the shock of the fall, I scrambled to see if the eggs were broken. In my struggle, I noticed, quite belatedly, what I had come upon. It was a person, a man dressed in torn black, eyes closed, breathing like a madman, or someone in the last throes of illness. And yet, he did not otherwise look unwell, though he was a bit thin. His face, sharp and pale, did not look particularly feverish. His red nose was long, and his lips were thin.

I shifted so that I sat beside him, eggs in my lap, and put a hand to his forehead. Oh. It was hot. At my touch, he stirred a bit, and made a noise that sounded a bit like a grunt and bit like a whimper. Groggily, and with great effort, he opened his eyes. They were gray and watery. He brushed long fair hair irritably from his face, made an attempt to sit up. This failed, and he laid down again, gasping.

Then I heard his voice for the first time. It made me want to either run, or jump out of my skin. Soft, but grating. Mild, but commanding, a million personalities and tones in one quiet voice, punctuated by heavy breaths.

“What do you have in your lap?” he said. I flinched, looking away.

“You are dying,” I told him.

“I know that.”

My eyes were drawn back to him. His face was resolute. “Aren’t you concerned?” I questioned, knowing the answer.

“No,” he confirmed.


“Well, a little,” he ammended. So he was human after all. Nothing to fear but fear itself, and all that nonsense.

I finally gathered the gall to ask him what had happened, when his arm lashed out at me with speed unexpected from a dying man. Human? Maybe not. I jumped up, frightened for the first time. Gravity did its work. The eggs shattered on the ground next to him; their yolks looked obscene against the dull dirt. Tears of anger and hunger welled up in my eyes. I opened my mouth to reprimand him...and then paused.

He was dead.

So I knew that he was dying--
Stooped, and raised his languid head;
Felt no breath, and heard no sighing,
So I knew that he was dead.

Bewildered and furious and depressed all at once, I continued on, looking for more food. I found nothing. It continued to rain, reducing my chances of starting a fire by a large margin. How many days did this go on for? I have no idea. Every instant that passed in this way my anger at the dying man grew. Did he have to ruin my chances of survival just because he was dying? Selfish bastard.

An egg. Right in front of me. The mother goose, enraged, bit me. I kicked her. She lay still, but I did not notice. Just one egg, round and perfect and white, more so than any I had had before. There was no fire wood, no need. I was too hungry to care. White dribbled down my chin like spittle as I bit through the shell. There was the taste of egg and salty blood in my mouth, and I was so happy and so absolutely angry that it felt wonderful.

When I came to my senses, the dead man stood in front of me. His grey eyes weren’t watery any more; rather, they were clear and quite sad. Guilt pooled in my stomach, making me want to rech, get rid of the evidence of my deed.

“I tried,” he said, and turned and left me.

After that, I stopped being human. The effort wasn’t worth it. Eventually, I discovered others like me. We are a mixed lot, just like you humans. Some despicable, gratuitous in everything, making my story of eggs look like child’s play. Some are like me, and simply do not care. Is it better to live this way, without feeling? It’s saved me a lot of trouble. Bloody sentiment. And there are many upsides to my way. The ability to be invisible, go unnoticed for my very nature--I am so removed from anything remotely human that you cannot notice me, because you cannot fathom being a creature like me. Just the same, I can no longer imagine the reason why you waste your short lives on such things as love and passion and rage. My only love is dead, and I ate his heart.

Poetry in italics from "A Death-Scene" by Emily Brontë.

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