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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Short Story A Whisp of Air

A Wisp of Air


Roy Marshall

In the swirling mist of fog, the approaching sunrise revealed the trees about the young couple as glowing visages looming skyward.  Foreboding masses in the strengthening daylight.  Heavy with child, she sank to the forest floor.  Sayli, sighed, and breathed in the mist.  Becoming one with the vapor, she gained strength.  Her mate, Boolay, floated above her, helpless, anticipating the birth that was so near. 
 Breathing in the life giving moisture, Sayli set herself for the ordeal.  The birthing cramps came, and she breathed deeply, ignoring the pain.  Within seconds, they came again.  Moments later, the child appeared.  A boy.  Wispy, he was newly birthed from the cloud of gases that formed his mother.  Breathing in the moisture rich air of the fog, he strengthened and rose above the forest floor to meet the dawn of the day of his birth.  This small thinking gaseous life form was the newest member of this species. Living in seclusion yet in plain sight of the other beings with noticeable consciousness, their kind were rarely noticed.  Above, Boolay dropped to the forest floor next to his mate.  There, the two caressed, intertwining boughs of semi cohesive gases in a gesture universally recognized as love.  
Soft and soothing sounds emanated from the pair, and soon, the new born child took notice of the parents below him.  Sinking to the forest floor beside them, he embraced his parents.  He allowed the love to slip into his very being.  Slowly, the child began to murmur, and then as recognition dawned about him, he started to speak.  He was after all, born with fully developed consciousness, and the memory of conversations that took place during the lengthy pregnancy. 
A wisp of air, a cohesive mesh of gases that form a complex gossamer web of living vapor; the family of beings inaugurated a new generation of their kind into existence.  The newborn was named Soolay by his mother.  Immediately he wanted to float away, to feel his freedom, to explore.  Freed from the prison womb of his mother, he floated with the mist and breathed in life giving moisture.  His hunger came about suddenly and he fed for the first time, enveloping airborne mold spores, bacteria, and organic dust particles.  Sated, he floated above the forest floor and disappeared into the fading mist.
His mother called after him as she saw him leaving, “Soolay, don’t go too far, and always remember, stay away from the humans.”
Pacing back and forth from the living room to the back door of the house, Candace walked as if in a trance.  She thought she had coped with the death of her husband, the funeral with all the cloying condolences from friends and his colleagues; but she truly hadn’t.  Max had been her life; he had been and done everything for her.  Now, today, she had to begin a life without him.  Here in this huge old house on the outskirts of Sausalito she had met with Max’s attorney and his five sisters with all of their children.  The attorney read the will and gave news that did not make the sisters very happy.  She was now very well off.  Thirty-two years of marriage and she had no idea of the wealth that Max had accumulated.   
Candace had paced the same route in the house for several hours now thinking about what to do.  She had the means to do things, things that most people only could dream about.  She and Max had gone on cruises before, and she had fun.  They had taken their nieces and nephews on trips, and enjoyed their excitement.  But everything she had done, had been with Max.  She missed him already, and couldn’t even imagine life without him.  For the first time in her life, she understood why people took their own lives.
Stopping her pacing, Candace had made the decision.  She went into the room that served as an office and hand wrote her last will and testament, evenly dividing her inheritance between Max’s sisters. She then took out a stamp pad and put her thumb print next to her signature.  Placing it into an envelope, she addressed it to Max’s attorney and placed it into the mailbox.  She then went up the stairs of the house, looking around at all of her treasured possessions.  For the first time realizing just how huge the old Victorian was.  And now just empty and lonely. 
The bathroom cabinet contained all of Max’s medications.  She took all the bottles and got a glass of water, then took it all into the bedroom where she lay down on the bed.  As she lie there thinking of all the good times with Max, she dosed off.
Feeling the freedom that only a creature of the mist can feel, Soolay drifted with the wind amongst the trees and soon the forest ended.  Confused for a moment, his limited experience did not prepare him for the sight before him.  A giant structure, dark, and curiously compelling to him.  The admonition from his mother was of little concern to him, he after all had no idea what humans were. 
As the light breeze allowed him to float closer to the old Victorian home, Soolay felt a kind of excitement growing in him.  When next to the house, he moved around the sides, inspecting the solidity of the walls.  Wood, he knew, but this was different; a thick substance covered the cut trees.  Periodically there were transparent openings that he was unable to move through.  Glass, a new experience for him.  Finally, on the upper level, an open area, an open window.  Moving inside, he was mesmerized with all that he saw around him.  The bathroom was a place full of new things, and food as well.  As he enjoyed a meal of mold spores, and bacteria, his faint luminescence spread and he developed into a wispy white veil of moving, glowing radiance.  Once again sated with his fill, he again turned to exploration.  Moving in front of a mirror, it was disconcerting to him.  The creature before him moved when he did, in exactly the same way, at the same time.  Unable to reach it, or to communicate, he soon left and floated out the door into the next room. 
There he discovered many wooden objects, and a sadness overcame him at the state that the once beautiful trees had become.  As he approached the large flat object in the room, he came upon Candace as she lay sleeping.  Drawing close to her, there was a sense of life about her.  And a sadness as well.  A sadness that permeated her sleep, her entire being, a feeling that Soolay could sense and was drawn to her because of it.  As he came close to her face, her breathes tickled him and he felt a mixture of emotions.  Excitement at discovering this huge living creature, perception of emotions from her, and wonderment were all mixing together to confuse and delight this newborn being. 
Tickling about her nose brought Candace awake and with a start when she opened her eyes and seeing the wispy glowing creature right in front of her face she sat up and screamed.  Soolay scooted to the end of the bed and floated there, watching with fascination as Candace jumped from the bed and cowered in the corner of the room, staring at him.  She began to bob her head around, looking at him, confusion and fear now evident.  But soon, her demeanor softened, she became at ease with his presence and she spoke to him, the first words he ever heard, “You’re a ghost.  I mean, a real ghost.  Are you, are you Max?”
Her words were harsh and cut through the air with a texture that he could feel as well as hear.  When he was in the forest, the sounds there were palpable, he felt them.  Those sounds were soft and melodious.  These sounds were jarring and bounced off the walls of this structure and reverberated within his being.  He shook his whole being, the glowing rippled in response.
Candace looked at him and saw the movement, interpreting it as acknowledgement.   As she began to cry, her entire demeanor changed from the fear, to one of love.  Soolay understood love and was attracted to the emotion.  Floating toward her, she sucked in her breathe, the held out her hand toward Soolay.  Unsure of the gesture, curiosity overtook him again and he floated toward her hand and gently caressed it.  Silky, luminous, almost a mist, Candace felt him against her hand as an unworldly caress of what she now believed was the soul of her dead husband Max. 
“Oh my god, oh my god, this is unbelievable, Max, you came back to be with me.  I knew our love would be forever.  You’re being here must be to stop me from doing something so stupid.  Really, now that I think about it I see how it was the wrong thing.  So stupid.  I’m so sorry Max, I’m so glad you are here.”  And with that last outburst, Soolay shuddered and floated out of the room toward the open window.  Candace stood and walked after him.  “Max, come back, please, I need you!”
Soolay stopped, turned and shimmered.  He could feel that universal love that she emoted and was pleased.  He thought about the easy feeding here in this giant wood structure, the emotions and just the unique curiosity factor.  Soolay knew he would return, the noises this creature made were not that bad.  He turned, shimmered and then floated out the window.  Candace watched as he disappeared into the darkness toward the forest back from the house. 
“Max, Max!”  She called out after him.  Staring out the window at the forest, she stood there watching the gloomy darkness.  After an hour, she walked back into the bedroom, then threw all the pill bottles into the trash.  Walking the wastebasket out to the garbage bin, she hummed a little tune, for the first time in over a week, happy.
  Over the following years, Candace would live her life full of joy as she enjoyed the family that Max had left behind.  His sisters, their children and even his friends from work.  She became the dutiful widow, generous with her time and fortune.  And most every evening, she waited for the spirit of Max to return and spend time with her.  On occasion he did, Soulay came to the unique structure to feed, and to shimmer when the inhabitant spoke to him. 

The end.

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