The cavern was immense. Loosely based on the Genesis cave from Star Trek II – Wrath of Khan, flora and trees covered the ground around a childish creek. To the left, massive willow and elm trees dominated the garden. The right held more evergreens – particularly Douglas Firs. Being a representation of consciousness, there were no animals scurrying or flying about, which made it comfortably quiet. Light was provided by glowing veins of precious metals in one of the rock walls – thick gold veins in the shape of Yggdrasil reached the very roof and smaller silver veins intertwined the trunk and had begun to form a few leaves among the faux-branches. Near the bank of the creek, right at a bend with polished rocks causing a miniature rapids, sat an old iron wrought bench with two men.
It’s hard to describe the relationship between the two. “Brothers” is too separating of a term, “partners” implies a choice neither had, and “aspects” limits them to the realm of polished psychological analysis that seems dismissive of their reality. They simply are… together. And have been since the beginning. Whether they will be until the end, that is hard to say. If given a choice in the matter, both would probably wish to be alone, which is in all likelihood the reason they are forced to be together.
These two sat on that old bench and simply stared across the cavern to the shimmering veins. It was the one activity they both agreed was calming and worthy of being shared. Usually, they would talk of small things: daily plans, nightly dreams, or silly jokes. The important things were never discussed on this bench by Child Creek, it was a safe space. Important things would be debated and dissected through intermediaries and communication lines and contractual riders. Those were the Things they hated each other for, so usually they were careful to avoid them in this place.
But that day… a shadowy cloud was beginning to form upon the roof. An ominous mass of dark that dimmed the vein light. One of them, the one on the left, looked up with a frown. “There’s a storm brewing.”
“I know,” was the only response.
The cloud grew to cover all the cavern. The veins dimmed to create a sense of twilight. Wind began to whip through the branches and whispered of fears and hatreds wanting to be heard. “Shouldn’t we do something about it?”
Lightning flashed within the cloud, but strangely no thunder followed. No rain either – meaning whatever was feeding this storm had no intention of bringing any nourishment. There would be no settling of dust or watering of plants or playing in puddles. Just pain. The One on the Left looked at his hunched over counterpart – elbows on knees, hands cupping chin, eyes glued to creek. “Look, I know life has been chaotic lately. But we’ll make it through. We always have before.”
“No. We won’t.”
Another lightning flash, followed by thunder this time. There were almost words in the sound, but they couldn’t quite be understood. “Oh stop that. You’re being overly dramatic. Just talk to them,” he made a sweeping motion towards the veins, “And they’ll help. That’s what love is about, isn’t it? Supporting someone through the troubles of life?”
“Not this time,” and the One on the Right pointed, “Look carefully. There, at the top.”
The One on the Left looked and understood. The veins hadn’t dimmed in response to the storm. The veins were feeding their energy into the storm itself. Another flash of lightning and another peal of thunder: …ail..
“This is not right. Nothing has happened that should cause this. This is wrong!”
“Nothing?!” The One on the Right yelled and jumped off the bench. Raising his arms to the sky he blasted, “Haven’t we lost a relationship with a sister-in-law?” A flash of lightning. F…ure… “Are we not separated from our wife, whom we consistently disappoint with our lack of career, for weeks at a time?” Lightning… Fai…ure… “In-laws who fight constantly, a girlfriend who may move – but not closer to us, another so-called girlfriend who keeps us a secret and then goes back to fuck her abusive ex-boyfriend, parents who are breaking down physically and we can’t help them, friends who we rarely can see because they’re dealing with their own shit… and you think nothing has happened?!”
The thunderous echo of failure boomed against their skin. The One on the Left fell to the grass whispering, “We cannot take on the blame for all of that.”
“Why not? It’s our fault. You and me. We failed. Over and over again. If we were better, faster, stronger, richer… none of that would be happening!” Lightning applauded and thunder shouted failure again.
“But we are not alone.”
The One on the Right laughed, “Not alone? Look around… there’s no one here. And even if there was someone right here… you’d insist that we couldn’t complain to them. You insist we keep our sadness and needs to ourselves because you don’t want to ‘burden’ those we love. You’ve made us alone. We are the most alone polyamorous person in the entire world!”
The One on the Left stood up, “So now it’s my fault? I’ve made us alone? What have you done? Doling out emotional attachments like candy on Halloween. See all those failed veins in that wall? You did that. You weakened the entire structure by falling so easily for any woman who would give you the fucking bus schedule! I’ve had to keep us from falling apart time and time again.”
“Yea, you’re right,” said the One on the Right, “We’re both failures. But not this time. Not for me. I’m done. This storm is here, and I’m not going to stop it.” Lightning crackles and the thunder changes to a new word. “Not this time. Time to learn from our mistakes.” …bir…
“You can’t be serious.”
“Go and run then,” the One on the Right motions him towards safety, “But this ends now for me.” Boom – re…th. “This cavern is done. Time to start over.”
“But the veins… our core… are you willing to throw them all away?”
“We’re no good to them anymore. Not like we are. Some may survive and change with us, and those who don’t will be better off without us.” The storm’s wind becomes a tornado, the lightnings strike fires upon the ground, and another boom shakes rocks from the walls.
“Fuck it. And fuck you, ” the One on the Left came and stood beside his opposite and faced the storm’s fury.
Flash! Rebirth… and the cavern collapsed.