WE • by Kevin Shamel

Baked to life in the belly of the sun, torn free from the bones of the Earth, and grown upon the mountain, he counted every breath. He took meaning in each moment — a grape that foresees its ultimate destination as one sip in a dark, flavorful bottle. Life’s spiral whorled around him. He sought the truth of every passing detail.

The brittle end of summer, the ache of mid-winter, the steady sky and shifting stone beneath him. Forever etched in frozen light.

He lolled along with pregnant seconds — gathering their energies of possibility.

Grass grew below him. Life went crawling and flying, and fighting, and dying. Clouds pulled themselves into wisps of paint high above, and roiled about in puffy plumage — spilling their water. Soil and fire and a long, steady breeze. Warmth. Cold.

And after time, and dust, and bones — he found he was sleeping. The world turned in quiet purpose. The ocean took the sand. Lightning made glass. Islands burst from the sea.

Far away he heard a voice. It stretched across the trees and water. It sailed through the stones, leaping upon the mighty spine of the Earth. It shivered through falling streams — burrowing over red cliffs and pooling in green shadows below.

It shook him from dreaming.

The sun awoke with him, and pierced the sky. The flowers he’d not yet noticed whispered to his nose. A slow sigh swept salt to his lips and blew open his eyes. New light burned inside him.

Hidden things have only not been seen. Knowing that they are there is enough for the seekers.

When he stood, the mountain marked his place for him, keeping the curve of his body. In one, perfect, thoughtless leap, he floated down the river. He skipped upon the wind. He stood in the heart of fire, and dug into the stone. He sought vigilantly.

Long later, when circles took him back to the mountain, each second had frozen there for him, every diamond facet of life holding snapshot-still. All of him — burning light in a gemstone.

When the end came finally to greet him, the pressing of the seasons seemed so short a moment. Eternity took his hands and swept him away to dance. His ears opened to the singing stars.

They sang to him that nothing is ever completely finished. They told him there is perfection in what’s left undone.

Kevin Shamel reminds us that humanity is here for the blink of an eye. But that moment is eternal.

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Every Day Fiction