Interlude III

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

SQUIRREL.

This may seem like a simple word, but it’s not. Whatever language you speak, you understood it, without even realising it wasn’t in your native tongue. What’s more, you knew what it meant, even if you’ve never seen a squirrel. Armed with that word, you could tell without a shadow of the doubt what was a squirrel and what wasn’t.

SHREW.

I speak the language of Creation. The words in which our world had first been described by the demiurges. Each word is the idea itself. They are what gives a thing its identity. When first spoken, they had created their subjects. Now, we speak them to preserve. I move through the courtyard, doing my daily chores as I perform my actual task.

SKUNK.

It’s all but impossible to lie in the First Tongue. The ones who can are called wizards. Our magic is much more simple. By repeating these words daily, we remind the world of everything it has. It is a strange thing to do, I admit. Sometimes I doubt we accomplish much. But we have to try. In the face of all the loss, we have to try. Here comes the part I dread.

GERBIL.

The litany of extinctions. The words that come out not as strong, not as confident. Just like everything is described by the First Tongue, so does the First Tongue require things to describe. There are no words for those that are gone and not coming back. The world forgets them even if we don’t. Every day, we witness the world grow poorer, a word at a time.

HEDGEHOG.

This is the founding belief of our monastery: that we can strengthen the subjects of a word by repeating it. Reinforcing it. A prayer to the world itself. We have split the animals and plants between us, spent years studying their subjects to perfect our pronunciations, all to stave off their oblivion.

Ferrit.

Wait. That didn’t come out right. Furrit. Feerat. I stumble, steadying myself on the nearest wall. Pherret. I struggle to draw breath, to push air out again. The hoarse whisper that comes out doesn’t sound like anything at all. I stand there, my chest heaving, tears welling up in my eyes. The yard freezes. All the eyes are on me. I concentrate, maybe it was just a mistake I made. Maybe it’ll turn out alright.

Furrat.

I sink to my knees. Across the yard, my sister moves her lips in time with mine. She doesn’t notice a bucket full of milk come clattering down from her hands. Stillness spills over the monastery. My brothers and sisters are afraid to move, all saying the same word in unison, begging the world not to forget it. Begging the tiny furry creatures to live.

Ferryt. Fereet. Ferreed. Ferret. Ferret. FERRET. FERRET! FERRET!

Tears flow freely now, tears and laughter. Somewhere far away, a critter had found the will to open its eyes. I stand up, dust the dirt off of my knees. With a grin on my face, I go looking for a broom to do something about the milk. The grin fades, though. Our job is not over. In the world at the brink of petering out, it cannot be over.

WOMBAT.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s