It was a beautiful ballet, that moment. Skin of steel and glass twisted, tore, and crunched as pieces of it flew and collided with each other, skittering and dancing across the ground. It was accompanied by a symphony of chaotic music which cried madly of a solitary journey to finality. And it came to rest, in near formation, the other players of the dance halted, too, signifying the beginning of the end. Or, perhaps, t’was just the end. Deep inside, the heart of the machine bled. The flesh followed suit of its cage, and ended itself as it lay irreversibly broken. The pain was unbearable to the body, and the mind soon followed, for a mind is nothing without a body.
She spun through the world, a spiritual avatar of what she once was, and all she had hoped to be. The light and the dark swirled about her as she traveled through the century, visiting those whom she wept for, laughed for, and eventually, died for. She rose and fell as her soul found its way through the forest of remembrance, and arrived at a small straw hut in the middle of a vast expanse of grass.
The hut was plain, and the entrance was a sheet of canvas that hung over it. Presumably, it was to protect the inhabitant from the elements, but not from much else. Something compelled her to enter, and enter she did.
The inside was bare, and a small fire sat in the middle. There was an empty stool to her right, and straight ahead was an oak glass-covered case that stood upon a pedestal. Across from the stool was an old man who sat upon his own stool. He wore a very basic robe of weaved canvas and a belt made of simple rope, making him look like a farmer, or perhaps, a friar. He smiled at her as she entered, and extended a hand towards the stool. She sat.
“I’ve been expecting you,” he said.
“Of course. Since your birth, I’ve waited for you here, at the end.”
She stammered as her mind began to question it all. “Wait. Why here? Who are you? Am I dead?”
“Ah! So many questions. If you must know, I am only here to ask one question. Although, I am a master of this domain, and anything you need to know about here, I can answer. Any answer you may seek about yourself can only come from you. That is your power. That is the power of all of you.”
“So I am dead?” she asked.
“Death is but a mere disguise.”
“And what is it I am supposed to answer?” she continued, unabated.
He smiled at her, filling her with warmth. Fathers smiled at their children in the same manner. Mothers smiled at their mothers in the same manner. It was pure, and good, and unconditionally loving.
“You must be god!” she blurted in realization.
“I am called many things by many minds. But I do no such things as some believe. I am only here to turn the wheel, to ask the question, to see to the end of the end. God? Perhaps. I am a servant, and have been so since it all came, and shall continue to do so until the very last. If that is what your God is, then I am.”
“If you are no God, then who created us?” she asked.
“You must realize that the same strength that can create flows through everything that you have seen, and felt. As you wrote your books, did you not create? Were not those their own worlds whose inhabitants lived and breathed? Does that not make you a God? When the first of all beings came to pass, and spawned other beings through its conference with time, did it not create what you saw in life? Did it not make him a God?”
“I don’t quite understand,” she said.
“Gods are not creators in the sense that many may believe. Gods are the created. The simple belief in one, creates one, shapes it to a liking. As clay. There is only existence, and that existence is defined by the beholders of it.”
She swallowed it in. She understood now, and somehow, it left her wanting more.
“Please,” she said, “ask your question.”
“Are you ready to continue?” he asked.
“Continue? Life? You’re bringing me back to life?”
“If you wish it so, yes. But it will not be what you had before. You will be renewed.”
“And if I don’t choose to go on?”
“Then you join life in other ways, but without your soul, becoming the base energy that fuels that which you know. All the world will be you, and you shall be all the world, spinning and turning and weaving as it does.”
She gulped. There was much more to experience, to achieve, to be. To become both nothing and everything was for another time, long from now, when all that could be felt was finished. She was not ready for it, and thus, she chose.
“Have I been here before?”
“The book next to you is the record of your soul. Within it, you have written over all your lives of your existence.”
“May I read it?” she asked.
“But of course, it is your book, after all.”
“Then I’ll read. When I’m done, I will return.”
He nodded to her in benevolence as she placed the book on her lap and begun to read.
“Time,’ he said, “is your God.”