In the Shadow of Leaves 9: Of Things to Come

The longer the old hermit was allowed with his thoughts, the more he pondered things he’d never pondered before. On reflection, most of his life to date had been spent in a sheltered sort of daze. His ‘otherness’ hadn’t been terribly apparent, at least he’d never noticed it much. Folks had always been nice to him, and he’d always been nice to folks back. It hadn’t made much difference if it was in the wood or the town or the church or whatever. Folks were nice, he was nice, the world kept moving at its slow and steady pace.

Something had happened a few years ago, and that had started to change. The mists that had protected and kept this place walled off from everything else had started to change, and with those changes, his awareness of his otherness had also changed. It wasn’t a bad thing; the hermit had decided that the mists were bad a long while ago, and that they would need to be dispelled at some point. They existed separated from the rest of Humanity, and the light that burned just behind his eyes was so excruciatingly clear that their *purpose* was to be united. Standing apart was preventing them from fulfilling what God had set before them. The world was broken, and it would forever remain broken until Humanity united in thought and actuality. The town’s resistance to dismissing the mist, he felt, was pure fear, a concept he didn’t really grasp well anymore. To the hermit, it was simple; Luisant’s resistance to pushing aside the mists and rejoining with their fellows was much like a child who had long outgrown their crib, yet insisted on staying within its comfortable confines.

Those thoughts. Yeah, that was a new thing. He’d used to like to watch insects for hours. Or track deer just to watch their ears swivel (they had really cute ears). Or listen to water trickle off the leaves during a rainstorm. They were simple appreciations of the natural world, but that had been where he’d spent most of his thought. Now it was… well, he wasn’t sure what it was. Bigger? More grand? He could still appreciate these little things, but he had to slow and be still for a time. His vision had to be narrowed down to something fine and miniscule to notice the wings of flies or a raindrop.

When the world was quiet and he could just sit in contemplation, the light would envelope him. Peace would wash over him with the warmth of it. Voices would filter through the haze. Words that gave encouragement, reassurance, and banished hesitation. He knew that if he sat with those voices long enough, true enlightenment would come. All that was uncertain was if he had enough time.

As their world and the outside world came closer to merging, the horror that lay dying and locked in the earth thrashed about and roused. The reckoning was coming, he could feel it. In the pit of his stomach, he felt it. Any yet, no fear came with that realization, just resolve. Before long, his Purpose would be fulfilled. And with it, he would either pass from this earth to be reunited with his beloved God. Or that choir of voices would reveal the rest of his Purpose. He would be equally satisfied with either. The voices told him there was nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. And so, sitting in the quiet wood, he hummed to himself quietly and waiting for new dawn to rise.

Leave a Reply