Are you Present?!
It’s your friendly neighborhood psychic here to share a story about my story that is all of your stories from before and after. To be published in the second edition if Forgotten Lands (a publication about my home, the Virgin Islands). “My mother was a virgin, streets filled with urchins… I am the Voice of Ra, let us find our stories together and apart forever into recreation.” You’re welcome, enjoy, support me please as we support ourselves better.
Archibald, or “Archie”, as he was affectionately called by his grandmother, grew up on a small farm in a place the townsfolk called “Cerca de las cuerpas.” He wasn’t very tall, nor abnormally short. He was known for a bright smile, seemingly never far from his lips, that only showed itself on the rarest of occasions.
“Archibaldo”, as the young men who drink bitter nectar down by the river call him, knew the stories of almost everyone in his small community who had [died]. Since before he had learned what it meant to breathe in this world, mourners took their walks past his home and carried their extolling songs nearby to the place where the “Murro” are hidden.
“Murro” are the bodies of folk ready to add their story to the skies. Their bodies are hidden from their ascending spirits, lest the souls seek a return to the rotting flesh. It is known by the folk this type of thing was not allowed. Once through, a body is destined to return to the cycle of the world. Destined to become material for new life to be built through.
Any soul still yearning for life, feeling “not quite ready” will seek out its body, the familiar space. Upon finding their body, it is said, they will attempt to inhabit its flesh once more, the will to remain alive being so powerful. It is known, unfortunately (for yearning spirits, and fortunate for the rest of us), a corpse cannot be reanimated. Instead, the soul would take up residence in something else, some budding life – like the eggs of maggots to be reborn in that form. This being known, the families of Murro made sure to hide the bodies in the caverns outside of the town. They almost always left them deep in the darkness, where one can’t make out a face amongst the heaping mass. In addition, the funeral processions included songs and tales of the deceased to weave a complete story of their lives. Everyone hopes to leave a legacy, it is known. In fact, the spirits most hard-pressed move on from this earthen realm often feel there is more to be completed, that there is more left to their stories, that their song is still missing keys.
When the mourners pass Archibald’s home, he cranes his ears in the darkness, listening to each soul’s story. Afterward, he’d hear just the quiet footsteps headed back from whence they came, the whispers of elders hushing young ones feeling the magnitude but not fully understanding to the cycles that turn this universe, and the shuddering silks of silently sobbing loved ones. Archibald, who the townspeople called “Sombrazo” in whispers part-fear, part-reverence, part-curiosity, heard it all.
“Archimedies the Bald”, as his best friend called him until their very last breath, lived among the townsfolk when his hearing extended beyond the burrow that had been his family’s home for generations. Day in and day out, for eons, his family harvested the mushroom groves and fern ponds scattered throughout the dank catacombs. “Ours has fed the town for generations on generations, Archie.” Archibald had heard this countless times, head swirling with the smoke filling the space reflecting off of the shallow pools, drops steadily dripping in the wet dark. Sounds carried far in this place, these catacombs where light never reached, where it held all the weight.
“Arch”, as his mother called him, measured time by the score his world composed. Arch fondly remembers his mother pausing throughout her daily activities to listen to the whispers of restless spirits floating around the abyss where Murro go.
When she was just born and still new to the songs of the earth, a traveling seer told her that she was an owl in her past life. That is why her hearing reached so far and so wide, even into “worlds beyond”.
“I am Knowing. I hear the hooting echoing when the dreams come.”
Archie’s grandmother, at the age her daughter was when she took her story to the sky once more, nodded, chuckling and saying,
“I am Knowing. I hear them too when I am Knowing her dreams.”
Archibald, like most in his family (besides Shodan the UnKnowing), was Knowing. His Knowing was different, but he was Knowing too and every time a story was told it came to life for him. Each time tales of his mother were told he felt closer and closer to her. Archie had heard this tale throughout the years whenever his grandmother put him to the bed and called sleep to him. It is known that dreams of the young stick to their spirits the firmest. When sleep came, bringing dreams in its wake, she used her Knowing to make sure they remained peaceful for her young Archie.
Each day he arose with the bats coming home to roost above the catacombs. Their banter flowed through his dwelling every evening and morning as they settled or prepared to hunt. His life was the reverse of the sometimes mourners and their roosters whose crows, like the feet of the mourners passed through the catacombs periodically. He had only heard many a tale of that ball of fire that shared its warmth with the land flooding above. He knew the sounds to describe its ‘glare,’ its golden warmth radiating a touch of creation itself.
Archibald longed to see it, live in it. Do as the townsfolk said and “bask”. Archie grew up learning to fear the sun though. His Knowing was precious and the “Sun steals Knowing. It is known.” It was known.