Stile tumbled through the clouds. He had won. Well, he had mostly won, the other men had died first, atop the fortress in the sky he had done what needed to be done, like he always had.
"What a beautiful world" he thought as he looked out over the clouds to the mountain peaks above them.
He let his magic reach out, he didn't know how to break his two mile fall from the orbiting station, it was all he could do to keep his limbs from freezing while he was still high up, and to keep them from burning in the friction as he fell down. Still, Stile was not a man to panic, he had been what he was for ten years. Not many people knew what what he was was, but that didn't matter to him, he made a difference, he was good at it, he liked it, and he wasn't sure he was ready for it to end.
There was still something missing, even connected to all this. Even though he had never lost till now. He didn't feel like his accomplishments made him more ready to leave this life, they made him want to stay. A tear came to his eye as he plummeted, maybe 15 seconds to go.
But his magic moved on its own, as it always did before he even knew he was going to use it. And as always, as soon as he felt it he knew that it was his own. It was doing what he wanted to do. So he reached with all his will, pulled the air around him down, push himself up. It was too slow, so he pushed harder, he lost some control, began spinning like a leaf in the wind, but one thought stuck in his mind, kept him guessing which way was down and sending his magic there, "not here".
The ground crew was outside of the observation van, looking towards the heavens. "I think he really is falling" the first technician observed. The dot in the sky grew larger. soon it was clearly a man, in a trench coat, plummeting through the air. The shoulders were slumped, the arms outstretched, a pose of resignation and acceptance.
"What a way to go" the first technician said when he spoke again.
"yeah, but its gonna leave us a hard time finding a headman that good." the second added. The third just nodded, starring at the figure. Then Only a few hundred feet before the fall the figure straitened, the arms waved, the body twirled. Then so near certain death, the descent slowed. The man smashed into the earth with considerable force, collapsing onto one knee, both hands on the ground in front of him, coat splaying to the sides. But he lived.
"Do you realize you are the only person to ever survive a fall from orbit like that?" one of the technicians said, all of them wanted to ask it.
"I wasn't ready to die yet." Stile replied.
That day seemed like a dream, a hundred years old. Really it was longer. Stile as he was had passed, there was no longer two great powers fighting. No skilled agents and there support teams worked to bring peace to a world so torn apart that the fabric of space had changed. Now each house was a nation, each man able to produce and maintain his own ecosystem. Men live on the moon, flew between mars and the earth. They projected there existence into machines as far as any form of radiation could travel. As one of the old, Stile's consciousness is vast. His body live in a tiny metal shell at the edge of the milky way. He lives without effort, no longer striving for the amazing accomplishments of old. Now he simply wills, his magic is amplified by machine. Then the hole comes, a black dot against the universe, it tried to eat his metal shell, eat his being. This thing with no soul, it was going to end it all.
Just like before, he reached out. So far now. Then he had been the hight of a single man, the epitome of what it was to be legend, he could have left it and it would have been known for eternity. But he hadn't. Now he was larger. Greater. If he stopped here his eddies would outlive the last man, the stars would die with whispers of his greatness still on them. So he looked. The him said "I lose too much." And because he was so vast he thought he reasoned with the rip in space. He showed it how it could be something else. He controlled the second to the last and greatest force of nature in the world. Maybe he could conquer death, but now now.
He moved, remembered, the thing he had forgotten. Old. So old. He felt like every part of him was tired. It wasn't different though, everything was just as it was when he was twenty, when he fell from that station on first earth, right after the advent of magic, he was just he same as he was when he couldn't die. Except old. Everything seemed so useless. Now nothing could kill him. And now he missed death. His old companion, that last thing he could obtain. Now he had everything else, so he searched. And in his search he talked, and something answered.
"Why didn't I die?" he asked
"You weren't ready" it said.
"I'm still not dead" he said.
"Your still not ready" it answered.
"I don't have anything else to do" he thought
"You still have the one thing to do" It thought back.
"If it was just one thing, why couldn't I do it then."
"because you thought there was more"
"none of it was important"
"but one thing is"
"and its not here"
"then what do i have to do to get to it"
"how can i want something i don't know what it is?"
"you know him"
"its a him"
"you fought for him"
"just a minute ago, before you were caught by all the things"
"the him, i was fighting for the him, but he asked me to die."
"he invited you to die"
"i wish i had said yes"
"you said no"
"i wanted all the things"
"you got them"
"they don't mean anything"
"he does, i was ready, then, when i made the leap for him. but i looked away and wanted to stay."
"are you ready now"
suddenly he was back on the platform. things happened the same, there was no way to save them and himself, he flung his target back onto the platform, accelerating off the edge himself. He chose to die for them. And then he was falling again, facing death again, wondering again. He looked around, saw the beauty again. But he thought, "its so small really, what must it be like on the other side, with him." and he knew he couldn't have stopped his fall, it was all one choice, he had made the choice when he push the others onto the ledge, and so he fell. Peace. He would see him. Now.
Learn more about this author, Patrick Shechet.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Helium Article: Facing Death
Ok, I wrote this all in one sitting just now and its very rough, I'll probably rewrite the whole thing differently with just the same main idea. Tell me what you think on this one.