‘History belongs to the written word, and the written word now belongs to the newcomers, as a sword belongs to the warrior.’ My reed scratches the grainy surface of my leaf pages in the early dimness of the jungle. I look up at the rosy tinge of the predawn sky; the kind of colour you find at the basest, darkest recesses of a rose. I don’t have much time left. Cross-legged I sit, writing another chapter in my chronicle of stolen time.
‘How things were before these people who call themselves the True Race came and changed us, we cannot tell, for they brought with them an unanswerable weapon, the same weapon I am using now. Who we once were, what we have done, these are not even things of wonder now; they survive only in the tales of ogres to frighten children with. We have become stories of half-fantastical demons of the woods and hills, eating human flesh and terrorizing hapless folk. Few among the new races will now grant that we were anything other than that; they have written us down as savages, and as long as their books are read and sold in the marketplace while ours burn in the trash heaps, savages we will be, for out ancient rights are all but gone…’
I pause to take a deep breath; to cool down the fire that threatened to rage at the memories of past horrors. It is not easy, writing this. It’s like swimming – no, wading – against the high tides constantly flowing. But if not me, then who? So, I went on:
‘But it was not always so. We were – I like to think, I want to think, are – a peaceful race. We lived freely, without shame, without secrets. But like I said, it is difficult to explain how we lived in their words. Our stories were not passed on this way. So, I will not try.
When this True Race came, they brought with them their stories and books, and they brought the Unanswerable Weapon, something they called, if I remember correctly, ‘civvilyzation’. They said we do not possess it, and they had come to give it to us. Can you imagine our confusion?
Slowly we learned, for this was something they kept repeating day and night, that they were created by the Light, and were its children. They called it God, meaning father or almighty. They asked us who our Gods were. And that was where we failed. There began our defeat for-‘
I stop again, with a rueful smile this time. Sadness washes away the remnants of rage, but not a paralyzing one, one that makes me impervious, and I went on:
‘So, this is the story I will tell you, to answer that question. Maybe you have heard it before, but not in our voices.
Before everything happened, before us or them, the first thing that happened in the universe was the birth of two beings. The first of them was the Darkness, and the other, its brother, was Light. Two beings of equal and pure energy, in opposite forces. They lived and loved as all siblings did. But Light was not content. He felt lonely and always in his sister’s shadow; for though they were created equals, his sister had always been a little bit more powerful than him, for she was the Void. His sister, as fun as she was, was not the same.
Light, who later took up the name Chuck Shurley, wanted a brotherhood, a cult, of his own. So, he started creating worlds and beings of all proportion. Colorful ones, weird ones, beautiful ones. He showed them to his sister, who was later called Amara, hoping she would finally appreciate his unique talents. But Darkness was affronted. She loved her brother with all her heart and did not understand this need to create other worlds. But still she watched these creations curiously, and what she saw made her angrier.
“Brother, your creations are wonderful, but they are all like you. Where am I in them? Have I no role in your universe?”
Chuck frowned, “I created them to be in my image. It is my vision. I cannot understand-” He broke off and watched Amara look at him with disbelieving eyes, a slight frown on her. “Everything does not have to be about you!” He finally blurted out.
Amara glowered and shadows swirled around her rapidly. In her rage, she swept rampage across Chuck's creations, swallowing everything, screaming as she went: “WE ARE MEANT TO BE THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOREVER, YOU UNDERSTAND?”. When she finally calmed down, the universe was shattered into million fragments, and there were tears in her eyes as she fled to the depths of her corners of existence.
Alone, lost in time, she began to regret her rash judgement and destruction. She never wanted to hurt her brother, but that was all she seemed to do. For times and times, for days and weeks were not created then, Amara wallowed in herself, half-hoping her brother would come find her. When he does, she would surely apologize for her actions. But Chuck never came. This time, things had gone too far.
Perhaps my brother has a point. Perhaps we need more companionship than ourselves, then both of us would be happier, and Light and I will be at peace. And his creations were not so bad…Having second thoughts, Amara decided to give her brother another chance and resolved to finally go out and talk to him. But how to face him after what she had done to his creations? She thought long and hard until finally the perfect idea struck her: As a peace offering, to show her understanding, she too would create.
Smiling, Darkness set to work and created a world; just one, a small one, and populated with beings in her image; beings of magic and endless, of unfathomable depths and of dark beauty. A delighted gasp left her form, pleasure and motherly pride taking her by surprise. She then set off to find her brother.
It took a surprisingly long time to reach him and when she saw him, she stuttered to a stop.
Heavy lines carved his form and he was bent in sorrow; not grief of loss however, just ancient sadness which made him, for the first shocking time, seem darker.
“You have returned, sister.” said Chuck, “Good. There is something I have to tell you.”
Amara smiled, “So do I, Brother.” She stepped closer, hand held out, but Chuck remained unmoved and it was then she noticed pinpricks of lights glimmering behind him. The smile faded from her a little, “What is that?” Her eyes brightened, “More creations?”
Chuck looked worried, “Yes…these are my children.” He flicked his fingers and light flooded blindingly in the space, showing numerous beings with glowing wings. “Angels.”
“Oh they are-”
“Yes, sister, I know what you will say.” He cut her off, “But I cannot stop creating, for you. I am creating more, beautiful creatures, as I speak. Creatures who will learn more, who will feel more than we do, more than the angels, but they will not be as powerful.” He looked away now, “That’s why I have to do this.”
“Do what, brother?”
“It is clear to me that you cannot coexist with my creations. You will destroy them again.” His eyes were pained and she almost went ahead to hold him but two angels materialized at her side to hold her back, “And I cannot let that happen again. I have to protect them from you.” He looked at her directly, firm resolve in his face as Darkness realized with a horror what had happened.
The angels held her down with their swords as Chuck bound her away, and she screamed and wailed.
Those were the last words she heard before she was locked away forever, away in a forgotten margin of creation. With the last of her strength, she cast away her world far from Chuck's reach, embedding her tale in her children’s minds to remember her when no one else did. I remember hearing that unspeakable scream, her cries as she faded away, as if my entire being will go numb from the impact. I remember the mourning among us for years that followed.
That was then. And since then, her creations lived undisturbed.
Until Chuck's creations, the True Race, as they call themselves, invaded, finally.
Now you know who we are and who is our mother, not God.’
My reed falls down with a clatter as I hear the bangs on my door. I sag against the wall with a smile on my lips.