Reflections In Paradise (a flash vignette)

When I first decided I wanted to turn my hand to writing (which I’d never done before), I wrote a few ‘test’ pieces to get the feel of the process. Several of these resulted in a short series of experimental flash pieces which, collectively, focused on the character of Caiaphas Dace, the Forever Stranger. This is the first flash vignette. Whether it’s good or bad, there’s no argument that it’s just a vignette of an unfinished, shelved experiment.

REFLECTIONS IN PARADISE

As a child, I knew I would live forever. But doesn’t every young boy know this truth, despite how the universe strips it inevitably away? Yet, for me, it was different. The truth wasn’t merely the naïvety and arrogance of youth, it was embedded into every fibre of my being. I knew, if I died, that my life essence would rise from the atavistic ashes of the world’s billions and soar into the skies, screaming toward infinity.

I used to laugh at the adage, the brightest flame burns the quickest, for I shone so very brightly and the future was mine for the taking. In those early years, I tested my limits, pushed myself further and further. But the more I learned, the more I needed, and my thirst for life – for vitalitywas difficult to satisfy.

I look downnow from my perch upon this toweringwall of chrome, down upon a world of brightness, ofshining mountains and crystalline rivers, and I recall when things were not always this beautiful. The shadow lingers at the periphery of my senses. My lips twitch in a smile, and I nod, once, slowly.

“You’re back,” I say.

How early did the boy Caiaphas begin to realise the intricacy of his life’s tapestry? When did he first sense the shadow creeping up on him? The thing behind me has been a long-time companion on these ethereal roads, these places that are and were, that could be and will be. We walk an impossible odyssey, he and I. Among the ephemerals, he is the only constant, lurking somewhere not quite beyond my ken, and yet closer than any brother.

Though the vista before me glitters and shimmers in a perfect symbiosis of nature and tech, behind me the darkness always follows. Despite the occasional beauty, mine has been a dark journey indeed, and some of the earliest memories are among the blackest and strangest.

Remember, the shadow whispers. Remember


Reflections In Paradise serves as a (perhaps self-indulgent) prologue to the flash story Falling.

Next instalment: Falling.

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