By: Helina Franklin
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A milky droplet falls into a pool of dark, almost black, vile-looking liquid. The ripe fig from which the drop fell hangs above, off of a dark tree, a small tear at its stem like a bleeding wound. The tree was black, as if a fire had swept through it long ago and it had never quite recovered. As if it were traumatized, the memory it lived with of that great, beautiful, fiery blaze evident on its body.
The tree, that poor fig tree, leaned over the pond, with the one, ripe green fig hanging off of a solitary branch. Just above the pond. In a few days, if nothing came to pick the fig, it would fall into the watery void below, where it would rot and eventually decompose, adding to the rest of the filth at its depths.
The likelihood is that its fate lies at the bottom of this pond.
The landscape surrounding the tree is similar; it does not at all contrast with the similarly dark sky, still filled with ash and smoke from the distant volcano that had erupted centuries ago. The land itself was rocky, unforgiving, and unyielding to any form of life. The only other visible forms of life there, besides the tree and its last fig, were the mushrooms desperately clinging to life, draining the nutrients from the base of the already half-dead tree. The mushrooms themselves were shriveled, dry, and sparse, with only about six of them in total. These were Elfin’s Saddle mushrooms, a poisonous species of fungi, however with nothing to poison it was almost as if their misery had manifested into a toxin.
A breeze flows into this decrepit scene, a rare occurrence in a land where all is in a perpetual state of stone-like rigidity, even the air. It creates a slight ripple at the surface of the pond, somewhat dispersing the droplet of the fig’s juice around a small section of the surface. The drop, which had previously been on its downwards descent to its parent fig’s ‘kingdom come’, having formed a shape much like a cumulonimbus cloud, was now spread out across a few inches of rippling water.
Retaining its white color, it looked like the reflection of a nonexistent moon in the pond.
The image was a small instance of beauty birthed by an otherwise grim world.
The droplet was now no longer a droplet, but rather a pearly cloud in a dark expanse. It danced a solitary dance, one that would be impossible to dance if not alone. It rose and fell with the miniature waves, ripples creating gaps along its sides. Magnificently it changed shapes, once resembling a jagged blade, then resembling a cut of neglected silk soaring on a windy day. It then started to fade as its dance continued, perhaps losing pigment but never losing momentum.
It faded like a discontent spirit, the darkness of the surrounding water overtaking it.
Not vengeful, not like the spirits that return from the dead angry, with a vendetta against those who wronged them. No, more like a disappointed, regretful spirit. One who deeply feared death, however did not desperately fight against its cold embrace. Rather, one who accepted it, one who had accepted this reality ever since the beginning of its life.
It was born knowing it was to, one day, die. Knew, from the moment it fell from the wound at the base of the fig’s stem. Had it not fallen into the pond, it would likely have eventually evaporated into the crisp, cool air.
And thus the spirit of this drop faded slowly, continuing its path down, deeper into this dark pit. This pit filled with the tears of the land. It was the reflection of the land around it, creating a mirror image of its surroundings.
A perfect reflection- except for those few seconds.
Those few seconds during which an interim moon had appeared, glistening at the surface, before fading into the abyss.