Once, there was a man who woke one morning, and upon uttering his first word for the day, discovered that the word was stuck in his throat, for the word had turned to stone.
He tried to cough out the stone, but he had uttered the word upon an exhale. He had no breath left to cough. He clutched at this throat, his eyes growing wide when he felt the stone slide down his throat. By instinct, he swallowed, and he felt the heavy lump descend through his chest and drop down into his belly.
Read More The Day That Words Transformed
When he was young and heard the stories of the mythical birds and flying beasts of legend, he imagined himself as one of them. Powerful, ferocious, graceful, wise, and heroic. He imagined that one day, he would grow up to be like Phoenix, with its flaming wings and healing tears. He dreamed of being like Quetzlcóatl, worshipped by the two-leggers who otherwise ruled over all other beasts. When he heard the stories of Garuda, he was Garuda, flying the ancient gods to and fro on their quests. The thunderbird. The trickster raven. The creator heron known as Benu.
He was in awe of them all. And he wanted to learn to acquire their qualities. Cleverness, strength, knowledge. And wings so magnificent that all creatures great and small were gripped with awe at their sight.
But whenever he would voice such longings, he was always ridiculed, for he was so small that all who knew him called him the flea bird, and soon that became his name, “Flea.”
Read More The Flight of Flea
His person was bare of any adornment save the many rings that he wore on his fingers, and when he folded those fingers together and laid them on the table, the stones upon the rings aligned as if they were the very planets in my home system.
“They were worlds once,” the man, the merchant, said, locking me in a gaze that seemed to vibrate from his carnelian-colored eyes, “before they fell into decay, and then just…fell.”
I wondered what value there was in dead worlds.
Read More The Seeds of Many Worlds