He sat in a dark room, the drapes drawn tightly over the window frames, sealing out the night. The air was stagnant; his lack of motion allowing the dust to settle on the stacks of books strewn about the room. The pale light of the squat candles, wax dripping down their sides, threw shadows across the room and gave the planes of his face a sharper, more severe appearance. Fingers clenched on the arms of the large leather chair as his eyes slowly shifted among the shelves lining the walls, settling every now and again on the titles of varied volumes. English names, Russian, French, even the Latin epics appeared interspersed with plays and non-fiction. His name was even among them, on collections of poetry, but to his mind, there were not nearly enough of them. There was so much that he wanted to say, to write. He wanted to glean the teeming masses in his brain, to put thought to hand to pen to paper. The manuscripts and scraps on his desk, glowing in the dim light weighed heavily upon his mind, but he could not find the motivation to move from his position, to complete them. It was too late; there was not enough time remaining to him. The days that he had left to live could now be quantified, counted out on his fingers, slowly slipping away. The end was near, he knew. He was grateful for the time that he had been granted, but he resented knowing when his life would come to an end. It was not the kind of thing that many desired to know. There was so much that he still wanted to do. He wanted to share the tumultuous thoughts that resided in his head with the world; he wanted to love and be loved and to find happiness in unity. He wanted to believe, as Plato did, that two bodies were once one: two heads, four arms, one soul, torn apart by the jealousy of the gods. He did not regret his life, he decided, but rather the absence of a future. The future is what gives life mystery and purpose; without it, there is no mystery save death, and he was out of tomorrows.
Suddenly, he was struck with a desperate urge to be outside, under the stars, to view the tremendous expanse that represented all possibility and all outcomes. He stiffly rose from the chair, his limbs numb and tingling, and contemplated his coat. He decided to wear it; it would be purposeless to suffer the cold without good reason. He lifted the thick black cloth off of the peg and slid his arms into the sleeves, fitting the buttons along the front one by one into their proper holes with long, shaking fingers. The chime of the clock on the mantel hastened his pace; it was nearing dawn. Throwing open the door carelessly, he exited his flat and took the stairs at a rapid pace, barely noticing the musty scent and the doors of the annoying, meddlesome neighbors that had plagued his solitary existence. At the bottom, the front doors loomed close, and he rushed through and out into the clear night. The air was chill, but clean and sharp as it is only after a heavy rain. He took to the streets, wandering aimlessly, ambling slowly along, until he reached the coast. The waves heaved and threw themselves furiously upon the rocky shore. The frantic movements mirrored his own uncertainty, doubt, and fear.
The wind whipped at his long coat violently and it swirled around his legs, bringing his attention back to his body. His hands appeared to glow in the light of the luminous full moon, reminding him of the future cycles, waxing and waning, that he would never witness, the days that he would never see. The constellation Pyxis, the Compass, shone bright and alive, giving him hope. Maybe this was not the end, but only the beginning of a greater journey; maybe he would have someone to guide him, to relieve the solitude. The sky took on a new meaning. Populated by stars, it was no longer a dark abyss, an empty vacuum. Truly, it was an endless combination of infinite possibility. He himself did not have to complete all that he desired because in his absence, another would fill the niche that he had occupied. Others would live and love, write and read; they would exist. The thought was both comforting and disturbing. The world would continue to spin on its axis without his help.
He lowered himself to the ground, still tracing the stars with his eyes, committing their faces to memory. Andromeda, Perseus, Orion, Draco; they were all there, populating the sky and shedding their brightness from light-years away, madly twinkling, as though winking. Time slipped by, both a trickle and a maelstrom, spinning and swirling. Immeasurable. Slowly, the horizon pinked, growing brighter by the incomprehensible minute. Yellows, oranges, and blood red bled through the sky, chasing away the blue, the black, and the stars. He thought of Apollo and his chariot, braving the darkness of each morning alone, riding through the sky to bring light to the sleeping world. Alone on the shore of the world, he realized that he was ready. Dreams of love and fame faded to nothingness and his eyes slid closed as he relaxed. His breathing was even, measured. He was calm for the first time. He was at peace.