A sequel to “The Jules Letters: The beginning”
Jules’ delicate bare feet whispered soft and quick over the hardwood floor. The frantic words, “There’s got to be a letter in here somewhere!” whirled within her as a mantra, over and over, accelerating with the hurrying of her unnerved step. A sense of herself cast about her interior looking, looking, like a desperate woman trapped alone in her house, climbing the stairs up and up only barely ahead of the methodical steps and slow breathing of a dark pursuer climbing up and up, crowding her with nowhere to go but up, up to cobwebs and creaking and the wind howling through chinks.
Jules heard a voice within, “Look forward, only look forward!”
“Liar!” cried Jules. Her constitution was frail and the strength of the darkness was undying and there was no choice but to stop the madness, the boundless haunting, to turn and face the black shape breathing behind her.
“Dear God preserve my soul,” Jules whispered as she stopped the motion of her feet, stopped and turned.
What she saw shocked her as much for what she failed to see as for what she saw, and she collapsed, crumpled to the floor as the darkness passed through her, sharp and cold. Her body so tiny, so pink on white like porcelain and seeming as fragile, lay motionless for a moment.
The steady breaths from her nostrils began to stir a reddish-brown wisp of hair that lay across her face, and in a reflex manner she moved a delicate hand to brush the bother of it away. The tickle, the movement, caused her eyelids to stir and open. Her grey-green eyes darted, questioning, and there on the ordinary flatness of the oak floor, she found her letter, jarred loose from her fall. From the edge of her brain to the tip of her tongue, her letter was ready to be set free, to float out on the air beneath the southern stars, and on up through the vastness of star systems and galaxies and the universe to reach its intended recipient.
Jules raised herself slowly and carefully and padded to her reading spot by the window. She raised the sash and leaned on the sill, and spoke this letter in words on the wind:
I have felt and seen the end of you. Death’s biting cold darkness has washed over me and I understand that it is only the temperature of the blackness of outer space, desirable space, somewhere I’m not yet outfitted to go. And I saw the benignity of its face and understand it to be but the master guardian of my soul’s transition, the arms of sweet, black nothingness behind me to catch me when I fall back.
Prior to finding myself on the floor, I had a little dream. I had just seen that Death is not to be feared but that you are. I saw that you are the hard thing, the bearer of transient happiness and sadness, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, disease and good health. Death itself is easy, but the dying on the way is your domain and therefore can be happy or sad, dignified or pitiable, joyful or embittered, breezy or a slow sweat.
But when I awoke from the dream I knew the essence of you is no more to be feared than that of Death. If I didn’t consider one thing good and another thing bad, if I wasn’t invested one way or the other, there would be no problem. But I do, and I am, and until I don’t care one way or the other, I will have to suffer my opinions of the opposing forces.
So you and I are not done, but my future has been made one star brighter by one comfort gained for the loss of a fear.
Missalister’s “The Jules Letters…” series, copyright © 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#154 – Dear Past Me, Dear Future Me.” Click here for more on prompt #154 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.