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Sequel to "Arrival of Darkness", which I had no plans to write, but the theme "Fruits" for September/October 2021 Teitho challenge inspired it.
I woke up.
And immediately, I wish I had not.
I am in pain. More than I have ever thought possible. As if countless knives stab my roots. I bleed from hundreds of wounds – from all the spots on which my now fallen leaves have grown. My branches are numb. Dry. Dead. I try to move them, but I can not. I do not feel the wind, nor the warmth, nor the soil.
I thought that black cloud had brought the end. If I feel the pain, however, maybe I am not dead yet... but I am afraid that the end is coming, very soon. I am afraid that my wounds are too severe.
How long have I been in the darkness, unaware of the world around me? I do not know.
I am thinking of my mate. Is she injured as badly and deeply as I am? Is she alive at all?
My whisper is weak, just like my spirit. I do not know if she can hear me. And I am scared. I do not feel her next to me anymore.
Laurelin? I call her one more time, with all the strength left in my battered body and soul. But this attempt is feeble, too, and all that surrounds me is silence.
Pain. My roots are burning, and the wounds grow and deepen. Yes, death will surely come soon.
Something... oh... what is it? What is happening?
A sound. Reaching the soul that can no longer hear.
A touch. Caressing the body that can no longer feel.
And yet, I do hear and feel.
The song is barely audible. I do not discern the words. But then I recognize – it is mother's voice. It dances around me, permeates into my soul.
The touch of droplets is so soft. The tears of the Lady Who Weeps. They glide down my dried branches, imbue the soil and caress my burned roots. They wash away the black poison.
It is so comforting not to be alone in the end.
Hearken to me. Her voice enters my pores, spreads through me, fills me from the top of all the branches to the very core of my being. I am the soil – feed on it. I am life – take me. I am the light – absorb me.
I try to receive her strength – to empower my spirit. To revive my body. I open myself to her.
Her strength fills me. I am less cold. But... I am still in pain.
Her spirit intertwines with mine. I bleed less. But... my body is still dried.
Her light pours into me. It is less dark. But... my branches and roots are still lifeless.
I cannot, mother. My wounds are too severe.
Her voice shivers for a moment, but she continues to speak. The droplets continue to caress.
Light against darkness.
However... I cannot go on. I do not feel my roots anymore.
Hearken to me.
A pause... and then, the voice echoes. Stronger and clearer than I have ever heard.
My spirit is yours. My life is yours.
Suddenly, as she utters these words, the pain disappears and all around me is warmth and light. As if I am surrounded by myriads of stars – all that have ever existed and all that will ever exist. They touch me. Fill me. Feed my spirit.
The world is beautiful anew.
But the moment is short. Just a blink of an eye later, all that remain are darkness, cold and pain again.
But still... something is different than before. A glimmer of light and breath of warmth are still here. In me. And they are growing.
I still do not feel my roots. Nor my branches. As if they do not exist at all. I am tired and in pain. My spirit has no more strength. All I want is to fall asleep.
But this one branch... it pulsates. It is alive. It is shining. Breathing. Growing. Flourishing.
All that remains in me resides solely in that one branch. In it, life is being born again. In a flash of a silver light.
I am dying. I will be gone. My spirit will be no more. But a part of it will live on. Changed, but it will still persist.
A moment later, the light shines upon me. Golden, warm light.
I am in pain and I disappear forever, but my spirit smiles nevertheless.
Once, we were the two trees. Now, the two fruits will remain. One golden, another silver. From now, until eternity.
Thank you, mother.
I can fall asleep peacefully.
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