display | more...

Once upon a time, deep in the blue forests that outline the northernmost reaches of the Kingdom Came, there was a creature who had been lost for many years. This creature didn't have a name, and he didn't have a name because one day he had been careless and broke it after drinking too much coffee.

As you might suppose, it is very difficult to live a normal life without a name. For one, you can't have any friends because they would never know what to call you. And you also couldn't live in a house, because to live in a house you need good credit, and to get good credit you need to pay your bills on time, and for that to happen, you need a checking account, and you can't open up a checking account, or write checks, if you don't have a signature. And finally, even though you can have a signature if you don't know how to write or spell, you can't have a signature if you don't have a name. That's just how it goes.

So this creature didn't live in a house. He lived in the trees and he ate roots and sometimes berries, if he could find them. He didn't have any friends to talk to, and he couldn't even talk to himself, so he ended up mumbling a lot. He mumbled all the time, actually, even while he was sleeping. And he could mumble while he slept because he never dreamed. Why didn't he have dreams? You might not believe me when I tell you this, but you can't have dreams if you don't have a name, because without a name, dreams can't find you. They don't even know you're there.

This creature is shaping up to be pretty pathetic, don't you think? No house, no dreams, no friends. All he had was a bunch of mumbles and an appetite for roots, or sometimes berries. He lived in the trees and he wandered around all day long.

Well, one day, as he was mumbling along, he came to a little clearing in the blue forests, and in the middle of the clearing, on top of the hill in the center of the clearing, he saw a man. The man looked strong, even though he wasn't all that big. The man also looked a little mean, as if he could do anything he wanted to, and not care much if what he did was harmful to others or not.

The creature without a name watched the man silently from behind a dewy fern, and as he watched the man, he saw something strange happen. He saw the man fall down hard, and then begin to fight against something that wasn't there. No, wait a minute. Something was there, but you had to look very carefully to see it. The man was wrestling with a shadow, and by the looks of it, it was the man's own shadow that he was fighting against.

The creature was amazed. Evidently, this shadow was very powerful. The man had quite a time fighting against it. They flung each other all over the place. And what is more, as they fought, the shadow became thicker and thicker, and the man began to grow faint. He began to turn transparent. And when they were both equally thick, when the man and the shadow were equally thin, they froze together on the lawn. They became very, very still, so still that they trembled like a cactus full of tarantulas right before it bursts apart.

The man and his shadow were frozen like that for a long time. Eventually, the creature without a name stepped out from behind his hiding place and slowly made his way towards them. The closer that the creature got to the wrestlers, the more he felt the air around him become heavier and heavier, until finally he could hardly breathe. But just because this creature had no name, that didn't mean he had no curiosity. In fact, he had quite a strong curiosity, probably just as strong as this man's shadow or maybe, maybe even as strong as this man himself. Only, this creature's curiosity had gone dormant, long ago, when he had broke his name. His curiosity fell into a deep, deep sleep, and didn't wake up until just now, when he saw the strange sight of a man wrestling with his own shadow.

So, even though he couldn't breathe, the creature's curiosity made him walk closer and closer to the wrestlers, until he was standing right above them, looking down on them. He even bent down so that his face was right up against where the man and his shadow were locked together. The creature examined with all his might this point of contention between them. He looked at this point from every which way, and the more he looked at it, the more he felt that there was something hidden there, hidden just beyond the reach of the man and his shadow.

And the creature knew that this hidden thing was what the two strugglers were fighting over, or fighting for. The creature knew that neither the man nor his shadow could reach this hidden thing on their own, but both of them wanted it for themselves.

The creature could almost see it clearly. He could almost see this hidden thing, so he reached out to try and feel it, being careful not to touch the man or the shadow, trying to slip past both of them and feel this secret thing without either of them knowing.

Oh, he could almost see it! It was bright and it was spinning and it gave him chills that were so strong that he had to take back his hand, for fear of knocking against the wrestlers.

The creature stood up straight. He felt a fear come over him. He looked around the clearing to see where the danger was coming from. But it was coming from beneath him -- it was coming from the wrestlers. Their trembling became more and more violent, and the creature turned to run away, but he couldn't move. He felt himself being sucked into their point of contention, and he began to shout: "I don't want to know! I don't want to know!"

The creature felt his fear grow stronger and stronger, and he felt his curiosity grow stronger and stronger, too, until his curiosity and his fear were locked in battle, and he was looking both away from the secret and towards the secret at the same time.

The world was growing loud, filling up with the sound of the wrestler's trembling. A rumble that hurt his bones shook the creature where he stood. He felt his fear and his curiosity smashing against each other with tremendous force, and between them he felt something, some part of himself, grow thin, grow infinitely thin between their crashing, so thin that he didn't know what was holding it together. He didn't know how something that thin could exist. That is how thin he felt himself become.

"Why doesn't that part of me snap?" he wondered. "If I was a rubber band, I'd surely snap! Even a spider's webbing would snap, being stretched that thin! Nothing can stretch this much without breaking apart into nothing!"

And right after this thought was thunk, the nameless creature felt everything stop. He felt everything grow so silent that he wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. The silence was complete. The silence was fierce and gentle and as wide as the sky and as sharp as a needle’s point. The silence was truly everything, everywhere, even in the creature. The silence even was the creature, and it was unbroken and complete until a voice said:

"You are the Witness. I name you the Witness, and now you must obey me. Obey me, for you are my new shadow, and you must witness all that I do."

And the Witness felt his new name around him like a chain, like a chain of iron heavy and cold and unbreakable. And the Witness wished to rejoice in this bondage, and he also loathed it so deeply that spittle ran from the corners of his mouth. The Witness heard his fear shout "Yes!" and his curiosity scream "No!" And yet in between them he felt himself completely at ease, completely patient, absolutely still.

And in his self in between his own wrestling selves he knew that this bondage was not complete. Even though it would always bind him to his master, he knew that it did not own him completely. The Witness knew that only his fear and his curiosity were bound by this name, and not his silence, never his silence. Because inside his silence he would always remain unnamable.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.