Lonely John Locked
Most don’ know this lockdown taste,
But I, like warms on waste,
Now mock those on lock as on their own grot.
Re-run their prayers to hug again.
And in disdain for the social-addict-men
I say “savour this drug, my long-solitude.”
Sadistic; pathetic - they name me
But we’re the same: you, me, he and she.
I’m lonely ‘cause don’ know who else to be.
My parents never trusted me to stay home alone during summer breaks, they used to leave me at my grandmother’s house from mid-July until the end of August, and I would think “I didn’t want to be with you, anyway.” She was a typical old lady, liked gardening, soap operas and little more. The good thing was she allowed me to leave the house all day even though I was only seven. I met other kids, most were older than me, and we got along. We all knew how to ride a bike, and they let me borrow theirs and take turns jumping over dirt hills. At the end of the day we came back, and, with me being the ‘new kid’ they thought it best to escort me to my grandmother’s house. I didn’t even see her, I only heard “Your shorts!” My grandmother ran out of the garden and slapped me in the legs with each word “THESE-ARE-NEW-CLEAN-SHORTS.” I tried to escape from her but she was too strong. She pulled me up by the arm until I was tip-toeing and struggling to keep balance. I screamed and tried to fight her, but again, she was too strong. Then she slapped my bottom. I think it was five slaps in two seconds, though, as you may imagine, it felt longer than that. The pain was the furthest thing in my mind, I just wished for the other boys not to be there, but they were. I sometimes glanced at them, they were still and silent, unsure of what to do. She released me and ordered me inside. I didn’t look at the boys again. For the rest of that summer, and every summer after that, I stayed in the house night and day. I didn’t like my grandmother’s shows, so I would stay in the guest room playing with toys and often looking out the window. I think that’s when I started liking to be alone. I was always upset but couldn’t explain why. Now I can.
I love that dog, but it can’t live no more. He loves her too, Jacob was on the couch petting her as if she was watching the film with him, though she can’t even see the water bowl. I shouldn’t do it. I can imagine Jacob making a drawing of me and instead of labelling it “Dad” it will say “Best Friend’s Killer.” But I’m responsible for that dog, I’ve been waiting for her to pass away in her sleep, but she won’t leave us. It’s much worse if I do it, it sounds worst to kill your dog and make your son cry than to leave it alive and have a happy son. It’s my job to keep him happy. So, I waited a couple of years to let things end naturally. But last week I posted a video of Jacob playing with her. I’m not shy to say that I was happy with the likes I got, at the start. Then I was called ‘vicious’ and ‘cruel’ on the comments. Huge paragraphs describing why I should be hanged for animal cruelty. “That animal should’ve been put out of its misery, the same for you” of all the comments I can recall, that one was the nicest. I didn’t go back on Facebook for a week. But what did they know? They didn’t see the love of boy and dog, they didn’t see none of it. They were still right, of course. What kind of owner would let the dog suffer for his son’s smiles. Yeah, ok, but how is that worse than having a dead dog and hurt the child? What parent is that? Not a good one. I think.
I sat by them on the couch and tried to ignore the orange scent from last night’s juice spilt on the carpet. Jacob was watching Sleeping Beauty again, he always skips to the ending where the prince fights the dragon. It will build character to experience these sorts of pain, surely. But why me? He’ll experience enough pain throughout his life without me throwing wood into the fire.
Jacob picked his wooden sword and stabbed the air “Just die, witch!”
I paused the film, which was answered with an appropriate moan. “Jacob,” I said. “Don’t you think she’s getting a bit old-ish?” I petted the dog, and she winced.
“Maxine’s from Neverland, she never gets old.” He picked the remote, “can I?”
I decided to go a bit deeper. “Well, but it does hurt her, Jacob. Age does that, and when you’re in pain, all you want is for it to stop. When your mother was not feeling well, she made it stop. Because no one likes pain. Not even the Great Maxine.”
“Will Maxine also have to go away to make it stop?”
I waved my head.
“But I don’t want to be alone. Maxine is not hurt. She don’t complain. She’s good. And I want her to be good. She’s good with me.”
“There’s a better place for her. You’re right, she is good with you, but-”
“Then why you want to take her! Can’t you let her be with me... Why you being mean, dad?”
Blood rushed to my head “No, what I – just...”
Jacob was on the brink of tears. “Never mind,” I said, “it was a dumb idea.”
Jacob rubbed his eyes with his arm, then laughed as he pointed his sword at me. “I’ll cut you into sushi if you get any more of those ideas.”
I left the room with a tight throat, and looked at the shelf with Jacob’s favourite book: “How to Train Your Dragon.” Don’t know why, but looking at it calmed me down. Next to it, was the calendar. Tomorrow marked as “Vet.” I thought about crossing it out, but I didn’t.
She didn’t cry or squeal, she just went in peace. A grown man in tears on the waiting room where children accompany their pets, and I regret it all. Maybe she was fine, no one knows how she felt. And I killed her for nothing. Killed a good dog, a great dog. What beast would do that? But, it’s pointless, I can’t go back. Oh Good Lord, I can’t go back! I didn’t tell him, why didn’t I tell him! Because I was scared, as if that was an excuse... he won’t get to say goodbye. Not having a ‘last moment.’ I wouldn’t forgive my parents for that. He won’t forgive me. I won’t.
Inside the car, all sounds became bullets towards my mind. The pigeons on the ceiling with explosive steps. People’s voices from the street and radio merged together into a single scratching screech. I couldn’t do nothing!
I punched the radio off and screamed with my hands to my head, that quieted people and scared the birds away. I was in no state to drive. I felt I would faint at any minute.
I called the only person that I could talk to: “Hey Claire,” I tried to keep calm. “Can you meet me very quickly? … But can you?” I lost control and my voice showed signs of desperation, a near cry: “Please, I just really need you.”
As I waited, I wondered what she will say, I mean, I might’ve done the right thing. Maybe she’ll say I did good. She does have a dog though, I doubt she’ll be saying “yeah, you did well, we should all kill our dogs. It should be a holiday.” And what can she say to help me, she’s not a parent, she doesn’t know how it’s like telling this stuff to kids. Or maybe she does, maybe she would do better work than me.
After a while, Claire appears: a large woman that walked like the world was her modelling runway. Vulcanic fogs covered her face like a train’s chimney as she vaped, which brought a cherry scent when she entered.
I told her everything and then waited.
“Well,” she said. “You’re right, you should’ve told him before. It’s going to be far more of a shock now, but in the end, you did do the right thing. I dropped ya’ hint after hint about that dog, but you weren’t listening. You listening?”
“I bet that if I decided to keep the dog alive, you would be saying I was doing the right thing.”
“Excuse me?” She hit me in the shoulder. “If you gonna be like that, then you can bug off. You got a good kid, he causes no trouble. Why you being like that?”
“He is,” I said. “But I’m not. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m alone. I try so hard to keep him happy, to make him love me-”
“Well that’s your problem,” she flung her arms towards me. “My mother raised me by herself. She worked two jobs, cooked, cleaned and tried to push me at school. You know how I felt about her? I hated her.”
I laughed, she did too.
“I’m serious,” she continued. “She didn’t let me go out with a man almost three times older than me. She be like ‘no parties, no drugs, and what the bloody hell you think you’re wearing!’” She paused, thoughtfully. “But she’s my hero, now. It took me some time, you know, to understand. But until then she was the villain in my life. I was a dumb kid.”
It was silent then, it was peaceful. “Thank you,” I said, “thank you so much.” I hugged her.
A breeze flew in as she stepped out. “Hey,” I said. “I’m free today, and I still have some time before picking Jacob. Do you want to, maybe, eat something if you would like?”
Her mouth sucked her lips as if touched by a lemon. “You know,” she said, “it’s just that today I’m quite busy, so, you know, next time. But good luck with Jacob.”
She left, and I stayed there. I wasn’t even hungry.
I could always lie. I sat by the entrance with other parents and waited for the bell, when it rang, kids in colourful clothes flew out the gates like a ripped bag of skittles. They all brought their own play-doh figures, I didn’t see Jacob’s until we were in the car.
“See what I made.” Said Jacob showing his brown deformed play-doh thingy. “Can you see what it is?”
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s clearly...” Don’t say shit, don’t say shit. “Shiiiii-ny... tree trunk.”
“No, dad.” He laughed. “Don’t be silly. It’s Maxine.”
Its brown stood out from the car’s grey soul. He petted it with care. I can’t lie, he trusts me. It may help me in the short term, but in the long-term... no, I won’t do it. As I drove, clouds began to hide the clear sky.
“Jacob, you really like Maxine, don’t you?”
“No, dad. I love Maxine!”
For goodness sake kid, you doing it on purpose?
“Well... Jacob, I loved your mother very much. Very much. But I think, I rather not having her here than having her in pain. You understand that?” He waved his head. “I do miss her, and I rather really just having her here, no pain.” Paused. “But we can’t always choose, sometimes other people make the choices for us. It doesn’t mean they’re evil, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. But it does hurt. Can you understand that, Jacob?”
We both stayed silent until I parked. It started to rain, and none of us moved. “Maxine wasn’t well. She was in pain. So, I put her to sleep.”
He looked confused. “Maxine sleeps a lot, dad.”
I explained it to him, he didn’t say anything. He was emotionless. I tried to talk to him, but he had gone deaf all the way to the door. The moment I unlocked it, he ran straight in.
He kept screaming her name going up and down the stairs and in and out every door, then there was only crying from the lounge.
I found him kneeled with his arms on the couch where Maxine always was, marked by her fur. Neither one concerned with turning on the lights, a blue shade from the closed curtains covered us with harsh shadows.
I kneeled next to him. “I didn’t want to do it-”
Jacob grabbed his wooden sword and wavered it around while blinded by tears. I jumped out of its direction.
He cracked the TV screen.
He stopped and looked at me in tears and violent breaths.
“Can I say goodbye?”
“I’m sorry,” my eyes became watery. “No, you can’t. I’m so sorry.”
He began to cry even more. I approached and he wavered his sword with one arm and cleaned his tears with the other.
I approached him even more.
I raised my hands to gesture him to stop.
He hit the hand like an axe to a tree, and for a moment I thought he broke my finger.
“Son of a...”
It was silent. Even Jacob was startled, a scared statue.
My anger took over, I put my face in front of his and screamed as I took his sword.
He looked angry, yet scared. Then he looked me in the eyes and said:
He ran to his room.
And breathe... I turned on the light and sat on the couch with my hands on my head. My mind going over every moment, from the first time I saw him until now. With every memory I ask “How am I doing?” and every time I had the same answer. I am trying.
Caught on a Web
“Is he dead yet?” Death mocked.
Life sat on the porch, staring at a man and his daughter playing on the garden.
“You’re too early.” Life answered, though it knew why Death was there. “Far too early.”
They stared at the man, who’s smile turned into a broken expression of pain, with every muscle of his red face hardening. His hand grabbing his chest.
“What’s the fellow’s name?” Death asked.
“Dunford? I thought it was Done-for…”
The scream of the scared girl interrupted the wordplay. There was something more painful in children’s screams. To be wise enough to know something is wrong, but unprepared to deal with it in any way.
“He’s not going to die.” Life assured. “The girl is going to call an ambulance and they’ll save him.”
“Are you certain?”
The man expressed pain with each breath “Call your mother.”
“Wait” Said Death “that’s going to take more time than if she called the ambulance. He’ll be dead by then.”
“The mother can explain the heart attack much faster… it’s the- it is the right choice.”
The girl walked to the front door, but at 4 years-old she was still too short and weak to open the door.
“He’s dead.” Death stood up as if there was a clear winner in this battle.
“Mike!” Said the neighbour, looking at Mike's face down on the grass.
She instinctively called an ambulance and took the little girl inside. She called more neighbours too, each spouting random wrong and right decisions of what to do with Mike while they waited for help.
“You seem bored,” said Life. “Can I entertain you?”
Death looked around and locked eyes on a web. Zap movements from its victim.
“You know,” said Death. “There’s another Life and Death, just like us, fighting for the fate of that fly.” Death looked at the crowd putting and taking pillows from Mike’s feet and head. “The moment Life loses hope, Death will take that fly. Are you still hopeful?” Life gave no response. “I can feel every cell that dies within him, it’s so fast. Can you feel it, too?”
“I can feel something else.” The ambulance arrived.
“Too many cells died for him to ever have a normal life.” Said Death. “It’s sad, but more importantly, it’s true. It’s reality.”
The man was taken to a room in the hospital with doctors rapidly moving from several corners to treat him.
“Why can’t you?” Yelled life. “Why can’t you just leave this one? Why not others who take lives, why can’t you be fair?!”
“I am.” There was a pause. “I don’t pick others precisely because I am fair. I am the only being, the only thing that is completely indiscriminate. But for you, the fact that I'm not biased towards your view is what makes me ‘unfair’”.
Life had no answer.
The wife of the man came in with cheeks red of fear and black from eyeliner, trembling hands and a dead breath of cigarettes.
“I still have hope.” Said Life.
The wife approached a doctor who left the operation room, who seemed in a worry to be somewhere else. “Is he going to be ok?” The wife asked.
“I can’t say.” And he left.
“That’s never good,” said Death. “That one was just too scared to say the truth. Lost hope yet?”
“No,” Life said, but it wasn’t completely true. When Death is nearby, the desire for the best outcome is greater than the actual belief of it. Thoughts of the worst fate come to mind, in the hopes that we’ll be prepared when it happens. But we never are.
“Do you still have hope?” Death asked. They were all around Mike, his wife was looking down at the bed, hopeless. "Do you?"
Life was staring down on the floor, covering its ears. It shook its head.
“I need to hear you say it.” Death said.
“I’m not…” There was a long pause.
“’I’m not what?” Death insisted.
Life looked up at Death. “I’m not quitting yet!”
The hand of the man moved, soon after the eyes opened, and the ritual of crying began amongst them, with ‘I love yous’ being shared between them.
Life looked at Death. They sensed each other’s respectful dislike for each other.
“Goodbye.” Said Life. “I hope not to see you for a long time.”
“You won today.” Said Death with a simile hiding disappointment. “But remember, your victory, unlike mine, is only temporary.”
The dog is dead
A small fireplace illuminated the room and its weak heat warmed our dinner. My father killed it this morning, its name was Loyal, he slid the axe through its throat like it was another tree trunk. He asked, before and after the kill, if I knew why it had to be done. I understood, since the war started all supplies were cut off from the rest of the realm.
I carved the flesh with my milk teeth, it had a stronger flavour than any of the rotten fruits we've been eating. Everyone in the kingdom was in the same struggle, even the king. When all cats and dogs are gone, what will we have left to eat?
I looked at father eating Loyal like Loyal ate its meals. He had his back to the fire, very little light reached his face, only enough to show his rough facial features: smooth skin on top of the head with a few white hairs on the side, long nose and a fat chin hidden behind a beard of grey and black tones.
"Where you lookin', boy?"
"Nowhere," I squeaked.
I felt spiky furs scratch my naked feet, in legs too short to reach the floor. I turned my head down to see a rat under the table. It briskly moved away on my sight, it was next to father's feet, its tale slapping his shoes.
The carving knife cuts through its neck, I look to my father looking down at the rat, he takes out the blade and drops it onto the table. He picks his dinner and before giving a bite he says:
"The dog is dead. A rat will do," he looks me in the eyes, "when the rats are gone, a child will have to do. Let's hope we soon win the war."
#HouseBaratheon #GOT #war
Collab: CYS Correia & MsH
Mommy told me about this day, ‘school starts’ was marked on the calendar, but she never said she would leave. I didn’t want to go! I was happy with her, her hugs were warm like a blanket in the winter. She left, but I couldn’t remember hearing goodbye. She never gave me what I didn’t want, and I didn’t want to hear goodbye. I wanted to hear her read me a book, like ‘Animal sounds’. “And the cow says?” She used to ask. “Quack!” I always answered. She laughed and gave me kisses on the face saying: “My little ducky.” They had that book in school, but no one read it. It was for babies. They called each other “baby” the same I called my sister ugly. What’s the problem with babies? I know they stink but you can always put them in the other room.
One boy was making everyone cry and calling them babies after, I wanted him to stay far from me. In the park there used to be boys like him, making children cry, mommy would never let them get close. He walked towards me. “I like your hair,” he said. I thanked him, maybe I was wrong, he seemed nice, I didn’t need protection. Maybe I didn’t need mommy. He spat out his gum onto his hand and fixed his eyes on me.
* * *
She came into my mind today, it was rare the occasion this happened. When I started school, I began to think less and less about my mother. She stopped being the tree who fed the poor man, and became the decorative flower in the mansion of the rich man. As a kid, when I thought about family I thought about my parents, but after so many years away I sometimes struggled to remember their names. Family, when I thought about this word as an adult, I imagined Julie, she who carried me during tough times and carried my children. I’m sure my parents encountered the same change in their lives.
Mother was never a person who enjoyed being alone, when father was gone I couldn’t leave her alone. “A place filled with people like you, to be friends with,” I told her the day I put her in care, over twenty years ago. She was revolted by the idea, but she probably changed her mind. I don’t think I’ve seen her since that day, we talked only by short phone calls. She, of course, was the one who called. It was raining the day I put her there, it seemed like the gods were fighting and mourning over the clouds. I was so busy that day that I can’t recall if I said goodbye. Maybe I should visit her as a surprise like she used to do to me at school. I enjoyed when she did that, I was sure she would too.
Soon after my thoughts, I received a phone call-
Jamie, you brought me to the "home" you echoed of...around which I could not settle my thoughts... today I am gathered as if together again in memory... and I remember well enough to pen:
How you held my hand so seamlessly connected; Small, growing independent, though with a tremble! My high heels in step with you all the way to the mouth of the big yellow bus--where Life snipped away at our phantom umbilical. Your Father's bracelets jangled as I reluctantly let go, seeing your countenance so contrary to these pretty fleeting chimes. A delicate squeeze of fingertips, as I always try to give... while the unknown re-introduces Itself at the gapping precipice. Why are we inclined to say He? but there it is, a shadow cast of doubt, shaped like the Grim Reaper, that Man in Black. But yes! Of course happy new experiences are awaiting you! My eye as ever seeking to reassure you, while we inevitably shift our glances across the proverbial morning dew that always seems to glisten on the very first day of school.
And who knew, at that tender moment, that I would now most remember you as an outwardly grown man with a book childishly balanced on your head; a white football dribbled at your knee. A complete showboat! declaring with mock confidence that you would major in some kind of Kinesthetic Cosmoverbal Metaphysics! gauging if Mama would approve... Who was the "Inspira" for that?! we laughed right with you: Messi, Dumas, Hawkings, Kroos... how I loved to hear you make your own sense of our Babel-tower. Folding my arms with a smile, I though: Yes, This Boy Will Travel! And my heart blossomed to see that you were so indifferent to shoes and brands and such things that unnecessarily drag a man around when he mistakes their price tag for his own value, or worse tries to sell himself to the crowd.
But I frown.
Things change... every seed, I see, lands. We do not grow old, so much as gravity pulls us down till we are pressed, face to face, as it were with the ever seductive makeup and perfume of the bare ground that will embrace us all. Soon. Every last tie severed, yet somehow tied back together. You were in the end no different; tormented by the allure of Existence. You reached farther and farther away for that beauty, so elusive and incomprehensively distanced. Your Father and I so proud that you were making-your-living out there, though I know you were pained by such "unimagined" meagerness. What was it you called it? "Mere subsistance!" Why did it remind me with sadness of how untaintedly grateful you were when I'd nursed you?
If only you had need of nothing more! But no, the heart and mind wanders; the true Mother it longs to explore. I, I accept that I fade, as I must, to make way.
When you finally stopped by, ready to start your family anew, how we rejoiced, your Father and I! For what could make a nostalgic old hen happier than such an extension of the roost? even if observed from so very far. Playful years passed. Decades elapsed. Everything repeating, exasperatingly fast. You are so tired now. I remember that look in the mirror, at the end of the day, when the last of the laundry has been put away and just there is just one little nightlight left on. Complete hush as shared fairy tales begin to mold true stories of our real characters in their own beds.
My mind is starting to wander. Back across your face. Selfishly. I see me---Not reflected. You look so tired now; the lines evidence joys and worries and blanks. So much ahead! without me.
You've a third or maybe a quater of the years of me. No I'm confused; you have all of me. It is I who has a third of you. No, to be sure I have all of you, all I'll ever have till the end, locked in my memory. I'm failing you.
It's locked. I have lost the key. I dread this more than any other grief or malady.
We have shuffled to the red sign. You in turn, releasing me. My hand, bare, silent, stiff now. My face expressionless. Only my soul with its eternal maternal sense, still articulates all of this. I am sorry. I am forgetting you; and Love; and Pain, too.
A single laser point remains from me to you--- Fare well.
John is starting the day
John began the morning like all other days since school started, after putting on the uniform he had breakfast. It was the only time of the day he felt at rest, eating by himself. The sweetness of fruit gave him comfort and made his thoughts about his life a bit less bitter.
When he was done, he found the daily struggle to open the door and, as people say, "start the day." He knew Emilly would be at the entrance to mock his squint in the eye. 'Chameleon' was his nickname in school thanks to Emilly. John never cried in front of her when she mocked him. He was afraid that he would also be known as the boy who cried because of a girl. But all these anxious thoughts abruptly stopped on his way to school when a nasty dog barked at him. It made him jump and feel his heart punch his chest. Dogs, cats and birds, all nasty, nasty creatures. John has a Border Collie, in reality, he doesn't. His parents do. The once energetic, young dog is now too weak to even bark if a burglar was to come in the house. Though this doesn't stop his parents from giving all the attention to it, he is the dying sun that needs to be worshipped in the house. Marley, the dog's name, once bit him in the hand. His white shirt was dyed with redness of the blood. And yet, only John was punished, he should know better than to walk too close to Marley when he's eating. His hand infected and was black for weeks. There's still a mark in his palm not to let him forget.
The day has started, Emilly is seated on the bench in the front gate.
My silk strings
destroyed by the Wind,
my efforts have sinned.
My creativity-web hasn't caught any wings.
I try again.
More effort- work under deadly Rain.
and destroy my creation.
But I have poison in my vein
and I try again.
Make a cobweb
infested with water drops,
thousands of mirrors reflect
a spider dying of hope within a lonely copse.
String becomes entangled in my legs,
but only one brain...
My cobweb is broken, again.
I leave this world and accept what death brings.
Finally, I receive my wings.
I was little when I found you,
you were tiny too;
I feared your big beak,
so I didn't hold you.
I watched you as you grew,
you were ready to fly,
But I kept you,
you were still in pain
and I was still lonely.
So I didn't free you.
I told you honest lies about me...
I remember now,
tried to help you fly,
I would teach you how!
Though: "My little ladybird,
'fly' is but a word.
Just watch, and follow what's heard."
I had no wings to teach you,
So, I let them teach thee,
made you, poor bird, see others in the sky.
Then, from my window,
I held you and freed you...
"Let's put a smile on!
Your little bird flew like a cannon,
now, clean the blood on the lawn,
my little broken bird."
Jonathan Wood was the woodcutter of his village, every day he would go into the woods and find the best trees. He would spend hours just cutting and cutting, many times, overwhelmed by the joy of his job, he would cut more than he could carry. One evening, he encountered a tree with red leaves and wood as black as ink. The tree wasn't there yesterday, neither had he ever seen such a tree. Doing what he does best, he struck it with his axe. The blade stabbed deep and with ease. It felt more like human flesh than wood. When he removed the axe it was covered in blood. There were people who would pay a great fortune for such rarity. He gave it another stab and an apple fell from it, but he had no interest in the red fruit. He only thought about what goods the tree would bring him: "With you, I'm going to buy drinks to my mates," chop. "I'm going to give to the poor," chop. "And I'm going to buy a pet companion." chop. The tree collapsed. It gave him such glee that he jumped to commemorate, but before his feet landed on the ground the tree burst into flames. He desperately looked for a way to put it out. But it was too late- the tree was down to ashes. "My tree!"
"Your tree?" Said a short man in a cloth made of lizard skin that hid his face.
"Yes, I found it." Said Jonathan.
"Well, I planted it, so it's mine." The man approached the apple, but Jonathan quickly grabbed it.
"This land belongs to every man," said Jonathan. "What grows here belongs to the first man to cut it or kill it." Pulled up his axe.
"I see," his wrinkly hand reached his pocket. "I'm a fair man, how about if I make you a deal." He took out a golden dusty bell. "I'll trade you my broken bell for your apple."
"Broken?" Said Jonathan.
"Yes, its tongue has fallen. It no longer makes a sound. I now only use it to put out candles."
The bell seemed gold, no point in asking, surely the man wouldn't be honest. But again, it's just an apple. "Deal." They shook hands on it, swapped items and each went on their own way.
For the first time in ten years, Jonathan came back from the woods without timber. It was too late to ask his merchant friend the bell's value. It was time to end the day- he put out the bedroom's candle with the bell.
The next morning, Jonathan picked up the bell to uncover a spark beneath it. He brought his face closer to check- a gold tear, in the shape of the flame, resting on top of the candle. Confused with this gift, he took it with the bell to his friend.
The merchant told him the bell was worthless: "The apple would've tasted nice, you should have kept it instead. That gold tear, on the other hand, I'll pay you well for that." And he did, more than Jonathan's weeks' earnings. "Where did you find this piece of gold?"
Jonathan was a clever man and knew when to keep a secret. "Lucky find in the woods, I guess."
"Be careful then. Don't you know about last night's fire?" He told Jonathan about the mysterious fire, it burned during the night and it suddenly stopped this morning. Trees are to Jonathan what paper is to a writer, but his excitement couldn't be overwhelmed by this tragedy.
Back home, he pulled out his bell, and his eyes looked into a sea of opportunities. He had the key to his impossible dreams, which he was determined to use to unlock his new life.
Jonathan went back home, he lit a candle and killed it with the bell, but when he removed the bell there was only a tiny grain of gold.
He lit another candle and put it out with his bell, but he didn't remove it. He waited- hoped it would cede more gold. He saw from the window a black cloud over the woods, the bright flames could be seen swallowing the green valley. He picked the bell and the bright distant flames died out.
"The bell creates fires... I would cut them anyway, this is quicker. I'll no longer be a slave of my passion and live with only pennies in my pockets."
He spent his money on his friends, helping them as much as he could. Soon after, new friends came, and then more, but every conversation sounded the same "Can I ask you for a favour?" Even his old friends conformed with the crowd. From then on, he only spent his fortune on him. He had several parties with only him and well-paid women. It was a daily challenge to spend all of the gold, he was afraid jealous people would steal it. If there was any gold left by the end of the day, he would spend it all on alcohol. He felt disgusted with himself every time he woke up oblivious about the previous day, many times with a woman and a bottle beside him. He always promised to himself that he would never again be corrupted by greed- a promise never kept.
One morning, Jonathan found strength to fight his greed; he looked at the bell on the candle- tried to resist the urge to pick it up, knowing only an empty pleasure would come from it. Woefully, he was too weak, grabbed the bell and was surprised to find no gold.
The chains of greed were broken.
This new liberty overwhelmed him, he travelled with his axe to the forest- returning to his passion.
The flames of grief burned his heart when he saw it: a sunless sea of black dust. He collapsed like timber onto his knees, breathed the air of ashes, and rested in the silence of the emptiness he seeded.