for a long time there is peace
and darkness
or what she has thought of as darkness
as in an absence of light
but then
there is distortion and violence and panic and finally
a black so pure and limitless
beyond what she has ever thought possible
a black so deep and cold and cruel that it grips her soft skeleton
compresses her
a black on top of black on top of black so vast it cannot be seen
but she can feel it
for it is the soul which sees, and not the eye
so that she might have already experienced the scope of the universe
and so the silence of astounded souls
and its scale is such that if she were not so strong it would paralyse her
this void

but it is not a void
there is movement
tiny movement of tiny creatures floating in luminescence
offering shiny fragments of what she will come to learn of as hope
and waves
waves carrying the screams of unknown young
and the cruel laughter of fathers
and the yawning ache of a sinking machine from a future beyond every animal on earth
except her

and eventually from the black comes red
there is red now
red that has run from the streets and fields above
red spilled for hate
for revenge
and for nothing
but also for love
how else could she know love
how else could she see redemption
or even know what it is
because she does
she recognises it and its importance to them

she tastes the salt
she tastes the salt and sees the tears
and the sweat
and the vomit
the shit
the piss
and the bile
all shed for such valiant futile fallacies
all washed down
washed down into tiny fresh-water tributaries and arteries and into the black
where she sees it all
all of time poured in front of her

the ink
the paint
the decree
the dream
suspended in front of her

she sees language

in the same instant she sees the execution of a king and the restoration of his dynasty nine years later
and all those who perished in the name of both

she sees
the plague coming and going and coming and going
the towers rising and falling
the stars
and then the earth
she sees the earth as they finally do when they are able to put enough distance between themselves and their home
when they see the pale blue dot
and when that changes nothing
when that shift in reality fails to alter the course they seem so determinedly set upon
then she learns something new
that there is an opposite to those shiny fragments
an opposite to hope
and she will never move as fast as this again