The Very Last Thread

February 3, 2011
Her fingers wove through the strings at a maddening pace. Clack, clack, clack, chattered her loom gloomily, it groaned and hissed with protest with every move she made. Her fingernails were long and twisted, as if they had never been trimmed. The fingertips were blackened with grime and age, and looked as if they had never been washed. Her hands looked old and tired as if they had never rested in all of their existence. The strings themselves looked as if they were factions of light stolen from the moon and stars. The threads might have indeed been thought of as streams of light to the naked eye. They emitted a strange milky glow that illuminated the dusty room. There was no furniture in the one room, dirt floor cabin besides the loom, the chair on which the weaver sat, and a four poster bed that was just as dusty and decrepit as everything else. Clack, clack, clack whined the loom; it was the only sound to be heard.

Nothing sat on the dusty bed and watched the weaver, thinking hallow thoughts as she always did. These thoughts rang through her head like a cathedral bell in an empty room, for as to be expected there was not much in Nothing’s head. What was in Nothing’s head, were thoughts she had always thought, they merely ricocheted into the side of her skull and bounced back and forth in her empty little mind. Nothing looked very much like a very small teenage girl. She had grayish pale skin you could almost see through, limp, white hair, and was grotesquely thin. Her limbs could have been mistaken for match sticks and the hollows of her cheeks for small porcelain bowls. Perhaps the most frightening thing about Nothing other than her resemblance to a corpse, was that her eyes were completely colorless; cloudy, white orbs encased in her deep set eye sockets. Clack, clack, clack…

Nothing had never seen the weaver’s face, yet she knew what it looked like. It was ancient; it looked as if great rivers had carved deep canyons and valleys into her skin. Her eyelids drooped, and her leathery skin hung off her creaky body in great folds. The weaver looked like she was covered in a film of dust, and her lips were stitched together with scarlet thread. This fact would horrify most, but truth be told, the time weaver had no reason to speak. She created with her hands, not her mouth; she had no need for words, sounds, or even a tune to hum. All she needed was the constant clack, clack, clack.
The weaver sat and continued her never ending work. Nothing thought about the fabric which the weaver created. The weaver wove a story of the earth and all things in it. She wove the lives of people together; she wove decisions, relationships, endings, and beginnings. She wove life. The treads locked together like two hands clutching each other. The humans where twined together in an intimate and beautiful dance as the strings were woven into place, it had to be this way; if the strings didn’t knot together, the fabric would fall apart and become a useless pile on the floor. Though the people thought themselves to be apart and independent, the truth was without interconnection, time and life would unravel.

Nothing paused this musing to pick up the scraps and torn fragments of string that littered the floor. These bits and pieces of loose thread were forgotten memories and dreams that simply fell out of the swathe. Nothing crept around the room and gathered the memories and dreams in her bony hand, and then she tipped her head back and swallowed them. Nothing padded back to the dirty bed and sat. She thought about her still empty stomach; Nothing’s appetite was never satisfied. Clack, clack, clack.

Nothing’s attention was drawn again to the always unfinished tapestry. She observed that over time the fabric was becoming ever more thread bare and more and more gaps and holes infested the weaver’s once flawless tapestry. The weaver worked frantically to remedy these mistakes, but the once strong connections of the world where disintegrating. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK! the loom cried as the weaver tried frantically to keep the last few strings together as the others snapped and frayed uselessly. The knots that connected everything were becoming looser and looser.

Nothing sat on the bed, smiling beguilingly as her cloudy eyes glinted greedily. Her thin, chapped lips cracked and oozed colorless liquid that might have been blood if she had had an ounce of human in her, as her grin grew wider and wider still. At last the loom was quiet and the frazzled weaver clutched desperately to the very last tread of humanity, her eyes wide and terrified.

Nothing sauntered over to the weaver, her grin growing ever larger until it had nearly consumed her face. Nothing rested her chin on her shoulder and placed her hands over the weaver’s. In all their years together in the cabin they had never been this close together, they had never spoken or interacted. Beads of sweat trickled down the canyons of the weaver’s face as she concentrated on the very last string. Nothing’s face was so close to hers, she could feel the colorless eyes embedding into her skin. Nothing regarded the old weaver silently for quite some time until the weaver was twitching uncomfortably under her unfaltering gaze. Nothing suddenly sunk her nails into the weaver’s hands. The weaver’s breath hissed through the threads enclosing her mouth but she refused to let go of her beautiful creation. “Let go,” snarled Nothing impatiently, wanting more than anything to eat the damned tapestry and be full for once; she was so tied of being so empty. Nothing’s voice was course for she had never used it before, but her teeth were sharp and glistening. Perhaps she didn’t know how to use her voice but she was an expert at using her teeth. The weaver whimpered in fear but held the string steadfastly. Nothing snapped her teeth cruelly and wormed her clammy fingers between that of the weaver and the very last string.

The string finally slipped from the weaver’s grasp, as she let out a moan of anguish through the threads that kept her lips sealed; it was perhaps the saddest sound ever made. A river of tears flowed down her face as she tore at her hair and hobbled to the bed. She thought of her universe fondly as she cried, remembering how she had created it in a burst of light, a light so beautiful she cried harder yet thinking about it, she would have liked to end it in the same way when the time had come. Now she thought of how it had actually ended, torn and shattered. She stopped crying as the strings tore through her lips as she whispered her first and final word, which was so soft and heartbreaking no one could have heard even if they were there to hear it.

Nothing was watching at the old woman’s last feat passively over her shoulder. It was times like these she really wished she could give a damn, because she might have felt the performance was moving if she was able to feel at all. When it was over, Nothing walked to the huge tapestry that was at last finished. She picked it up and smiled. It was difficult to describe how it felt on her fingers but she closed her eyes, held it close to her bare body and thought long and hard; it was soft and jagged, warm and frigid, diminutive and vast, cruel and benevolent… Nothing opened her damp eyes which for once did not look vacant but more complete and full of something. Nothing rubbed the dampness at her eye curiously and once again looked at the tapestry with hunger. It was very large for her small body though, she pondered this for a moment.

Nothing unhinged her jaw and consumed the world.

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HowlingDog51 said...
Feb. 20, 2011 at 10:30 am
Wow, this very well writen.  The setting is in place quickly and yet the pace is perfect for a short story and keeps you hanging and wanting more all the way through.
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