Hunger drove him, forcing him out of his hole. He cringed in the early light, feeling it burn his tender flesh, knowing it would kill him. He had to find food quickly and return to his lair. He looked back, longingly, thinking of the warm straw, of the small underground stream far back in the caverns, of the wonderful, warm, enfolding darkness which blanketed his days, so different from this cold eye frying his skin, yet stealing the warmth back with its wind.
The small creature sank down, his dark heart giving way beneath the oppression of the day, his little head sinking to his knees.
He found himself looking at a wind-tossed puddle. he watched the tormented surface, commiserating with it, knowing the pain which the cruel zephyrs inflicted on it. He almost touched it, but knew that it would resent that, almost more than the gale's intrusion.
So he sat, staring into the liquid prisms, watching the cruel light being shattered by the angry water. He knew he had found a friend, and if that friendship could never be rewarded with a touch, then so be it, he did not mind, for he knew friendship was a treasure beyond all others.
The lake felt the small creature's camaraderie, and somehow its icy heart was melted. The ocean's face quieted, smoothed itself over, and presented its love to the dark creature.
The dark child was amazed, and reached to touch his new companion. he stopped in time, his hand about to mar the surface, was stopped by a providential force. He did not withdraw the appendage, but instead gazed down the length of his reddening arm to the wonder which was being presented to him.
His friend, the puddle, was showing him his desire, a fruit tree, laden with the good of the earth. He was astounded, how had the lake known? What could have let his friend understand what he needed?
Too grateful for words, the small creature dropped his hand. The warm water enveloped him. He saw the faint flicker of discomfort which seemed to radiate from his touch, but the love soon overcame it, quieting his friends surface once more.
He might have stayed all day in that warm embrace, had not the cruel sun continued to attack. As it was, soon the pain overcame the comfort of the embrace, and he was forced to break the lover's clutch. An emotion passed across his mistress' face as he withdrew. Whether pain, loss, or relief, he, being only a child, couldn't understand, nor did he have time to consider it, for as fast as it began it ended, and the calm loving face he adored returned, once more offering him all the good of the earth.
He quickly stole around his lover's couch to the larder she had offered, taking less than he might, so that he would have an excuse to return another day. For even in that short clasp, he had become addicted to her company, to the touch of her upon his skin.
He returned many times, far more than was justified by any desire for food. His skin toughened, allowing him to stay with her for longer periods, yet he would always return to his first lover, for the dark is a jealous mistress, and will not be ignored.
Still, his visits became more regular.
He began to know her ways, to know how she felt even without seeing her expressive face. he knew how she hated the wind, and how excessive sun made her reclusive, and a myriad other little annoyances and preferences which are part of any soul.
He brought her gifts occasionally, beautiful twigs and leaves, which she never failed to wear, regardless of the weather, even long after their original beauty had faded.
It was a happy relationship.
Their breakup was not sudden, indeed, he hardly noticed it was happening until it was too late.
He thought her reclusiveness was only due to the sun, which was particularly fierce during that period of their doomed romance. She became more distant as time continued, he did not grow alarmed, after all, she still wore his now tattered gifts, the waterlogged leaves and twigs quite visible beneath her cool exterior.
One day, he was unable to meet her, for his other mistress demanded that he stay upon her couch, nor was he particularly distresses at having been given an excuse to stay away from the sun, for it was particularly fierce that day.
Upon the next day, with the darkness sated, he approached the second love, carrying a twig, hoping to appease the anger with his simple offering. Arriving at her cloister, however, he found no anger to appease, nor indeed, even a lover, for she had left him.
He stooped to her bed, picking up his gifts which she had abandoned when she fled. he carried them back to his cave, secreted in his hand, that the darkness would not discover them.
He hid the gifts beneath the straw of his mattress, concealing them more from himself than from his mistress, for the dark knows the places of concealment, she was wise, knowing the ways of men.
She is a jealous lover, but a forgiving one,
when her rivals are dead.
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This work is Copyright (c) Mike Fletcher 1992