My name is Oliver Clean. I may have spent 500 years on a lonely island, but for the time being, I am in my kitchen, busy roasting seafood with vegetables. That’s all there is left from my former life. And that’s all I need.
I’m staring at my frying pan, all caught up in silly, useless thoughts: So what if I used to be a vigilante, to some maybe even a hero? Now I’m just another human being. That’s gotta be enough, right?
The sizzling sound emerging from the pan increasingly occupies my senses. I clearly feel the heat spreading from the stove. God, it’s hot! It’s so hot! I’m almost fainting…
Then light starts pushing through my lids. I try to open my eyes, but it is so bright I can hardly see…
Eventually my eyes adjust and I look around. It appears I’m in a desert! How the fuck did I get here?
My mental abilities seem strangely paused, when a slight breath of wind draws my attention to my upper right. A white feather is falling through the air, with a cloudy orange sky providing a surreal backdrop to the view. The feather passes by, just a few inches away from my head, and I watch my right arm as it goes up, my hand opens, and the feather softly lands in my palm.
A tickling in my other hand makes me look down: There is a piece of paper in it. And while the words “WTF?” are forming in my head, I feel something pressing against my butt…
It’s a stool I am sitting on. In a cafe! There seems to be an espresso on the table in front of me, and a croissant on a plate beside it. Familiar gibberish and buzzing traffic noise resound all over the place.
Really?! Of all places in the world, I am in Paris?!
Curiously, I am still holding the paper and the feather. I’d try to get my head around what’s going on, but before there is time to wonder about anything, my heart fills with the deepest sorrow I have ever felt, and my hand starts writing all by itself:
Once we lived a life of wonders
in a world of Unicorns and Djinns.
Once we rode through storms and thunders
in a world where True Love always wins.
There we followed the meanders
of a river that forever spins
through the dunes of childish blunders
to the gardens of our sins.
What we found were broken arrows
aimlessly dispersed throughout
a graveyard filled with frightened sparrows,
tombs and chapels filled with doubt.
So we turned our heads in grief:
“What is this where our dreams have led us?”;
and sneaked out, much like a thief,
to a place where all our hopes have fled us.
And here we are, forever after
eavesdropping for signs of storm,
waiting for our faded laughter
to regain its puissant form.
My hand stops writing, and the Parisian panorama around me starts fading. A few seconds later, I’m in my kitchen again. Strangely, feather and paper are still in my hands.
I fucking hate it, when things like this happen!
I don’t know who’s sorrow I just felt and who’s heart I just spilled. I just know that it felt like… dying.
I sense a mix of despair, pain, and anger rising in my chest, and, futile as it may be, I start screaming:
I don’t want this! Da ya hear me? Spirits?! I don’t wanna feel like this! Never! Ever! Again! So spare me your tales, your visions, your whisper of Honor, Romance, and Greatness! Such things aren’t real! Breathing, eating, drinking, fucking… that’s all there is to life. So spare me your bullshit and leave me the fuck alone!
And yet, in between my screams and my anger, part of me feels nostalgia for such emotional depth.
Who were these people? Was their price of pain and suffering worthwhile? Did it bring them closer together, or did it push them apart?
I sure hope it’s the former.
The thought is soon gone though, and the memory of the event starts to fade away. There is my stove, my frying pan, my seafood… A yummy fragrant spreads all over my kitchen. Life is simple again. Why rack one’s brains?