The Other Asterion

The day is always too short. It’s auburn hair – flowing wide and long, growing, floating – blinds you to dream with eyes open until it turns its head away; until you drown.

Walk away. Walk over the yellow leaves, scattered, staring from the brown encrusted soil below. Faces veiled will reveal themselves. Twigs stoop low, scratching the knees. The lamps outside the fourteen ash- coloured pillars of the house burst. Bright, yellow shards of light fly past like bronze swords hurled, swiped clean and dry of Red ages ago. A light blue entails; scathing the flesh, swerving past the grass. You walk.

The shimmer on the ocean is usually momentary. It’s a sheet of steel glinting under the dark, full moon sky tonight; heaving loud sighs, bulging and falling against the wind, roaring and whistling all along. The village is ruined.  It’s air was filled with your mysterious powers. They were of the past; no one dares to cross the wild pine forests and reach your side of the ocean now. You could’ve been long dead if they hadn’t known that you weren’t one to age. Words were spilled only when one was on the death bed. Those were the days they got to learn about you – the whole of the village stooping over a dying man’s bed, clinging to his last words. It was Suprus who started the tradition. His skin sagging with the burden of his long endured secret, head thrown back on the pillow, he wondered how that sight had led him to waste his entire life and spat it out. There is no fear in a dying man and thus, the ones who had the misfortune of witnessing one of your spells waited for that moment and grasped and held on to it until they could let themselves free. You could have made the odd ones out by just looking at them. They walked with their feet shuffling too close, their bodies stinking, their heads muddled and faces contorted. Some said you made them mad so they cannot be taken seriously. Some totally disbelieved in your presence but all of them were united by fear. More than a hundred years ago, Suprus saw you scraping a hole in a lone tree by the ocean with your bare hands and teeth. He took you for a lunatic at first – like they all did – but when he walked over and by the time he reached, the hole was complete and then he saw your face, before running frantically for his life.

The Queen saw you again only nine years ago. She was there to accept you. Waiting for you in the forests she spent her nights hoping for just a glimpse of her child. When the rumours swelled and stank in the fields, her heart bloated and rosined.  You never showed up from your hole in the tree. Months passed. She had just walked over before you emerged from the sea. Clouds of smoke formed on the utterance of your name were to last longer than her life and they slithered out into the night cradling her soul. She had not known all there was to know. You started a fire and started flattening your soles over it; uneven from birth.

Tonight, the village was ruined. Tonight, the lamps outside the fourteen pillars of the house burst. Miles and miles away, you can almost see the twelve busts they erected of you over the palace exploding one by one. The one in Red doesn’t. Your tree, your house, is flung far away by the storm. The waves of the oceans all over the universe are made to rise and swirl, higher and higher, until they can no longer penetrate the skies above but fall down with a splash wreaking havoc. Cassiopeia flies away on her chair; its rusted legs falling down in fragments placidly. There is enough Time. There is always enough time.

Far north, you imagine Theseus, the Redeemer, seeping into the middle of the ocean and burying himself forever. What he had been like, you wonder. Was he bull or man? Could he have been possibly a bull with the face of a man? Or was he like you?


What will you do now, Asterion?

Where will you go?


See also: The House of Asterion by Jorge Louis Borges



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