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A Strange Race
They are a strange race, them. I’ve observed in silence longer than the conscience carries. They hate everything about me, yet they tempt me: invite me over their thresholds. Some find thrill only in my shadow...some even seek me…the escape. But there is no time to ponder this much. There is only time for me to gather; so it has always been, so it will always be.
I drift through laundry, fluttering between closely tucked buildings. A child awaits my visit: curled up in a white nightgown. My shadow has lingered in her room patiently,
as the disease spread. She is long sick, long suffering. She greets me politely. We go hand
in hand together, until I must release her to go where I cannot.
A strange something rises in me when I watch her fade: something green, and frothing, sharp, and bitter .I cannot help but wonder what it’s like in The After. What it is like to rest? I swallow my resentment and remember what I am: for death can only stop with time. The gathering must continue. “always.” they had told me. Always
I move on. I gather many. I pull droves from hospitals, battlefields, nursing homes. So
many to gather that sometimes it’s hard to continue in the monotony. Sometimes, sometimes I imagine if I just close my eyes…I cannot rest, I content myself with watching.
. Try as I might to focus on my destiny I can’t help but notice them; them and their strange, strange ways. I watch the young ones playing in the streets; veins against their skin, like a map to inside them. I watch wars that never should have happened. Blood makes the streets a scarlet river, sometimes.
For a long time I thought that was all there was too them, the pain. Hatred and venom directed towards me, towards fate and nature.
I know better now.
Much of the human race I will never understand: laughter bubbling up from deep inside, remorse, and forgiveness…I confess I envy them. Humans have so much I will never know, feel, and understand. As I watch, as I gather I long to understand what it is that makes them the way they are. Can you tell me what it’s like to kiss in the rain? Why do you want this? Tell me the appeal. What is it like to lay a smooth wrist against your ear; to feel a pulse resound and echo throughout you?
Occasionally, I linger too quiet to notice in the parks where they swing. Little girls laugh with their heads thrown back, their long hair swinging in the summer breeze. Popsicles sticks flutter in the wind and sneakers push so high that the children wonder why it is that they don’t punch holes through the clouds. Swings go so very high to them. They are young enough not to care about my shadows, though some notice me in the still branches, the chills on the spine. Why do they continue to live with so much of themselves, when they know they’re doomed from the start?
The world grows restless, the earth weeps in lengthening shadows. I must go. I must remember myself. I will always wonder, but I know my fate, my destiny.
I grow weary, but the gathering must continue