The wind breathes cold on my face. Green-tinted transparent waves leach away the tideline, taking everything except the pitch-black strands and broken shells forming a jagged ink-line of unwanted debris across crusty salt sand. There is a chill in the air, stealing uninvited through my jacket and whispering across my hair. Tumbled rocks lean into the beach, forming mounds of solid granite, immovable stone faces turned to the sky. Above me a world is falling away, sinking down in fire below the visible realm. The deepest hollow imaginable cups it as it dies, a hollow swathed in dusky blue and murmuring indigo. Streaks of burning color shoot warm pink fingers across it all, clutching on, afraid to let go, but all in vain; their grasp slips, falters, fades. Then, like a heartbeat gone cold, little frigid points of sharpened silver thrust through woven fabric to dance, luring me higher.
A pale, deadly glow lightens the horizon. Rising like an invincible destroyer, the great pitted face of Chang’e arises, glowing, cutting the soft sky with pitiless lances. The night’s full beauty descends upon us, and we stand struck dumb. There is nothing to say; all the words are gone, flown away to heaven, and we cannot call them back just yet. Soon we will be ourselves again, talking, defiling nature’s purity with our relentless worldliness. By then the spell will have dissipated and left us with nothing more than the echo I write from: memory. But right now the world turns day into night and the metamorphosis merits utter silence. It is the only fitting tribute.
Turning, we walk away. The idea of leaving feels strangely alien to my star-numbed mind; there is no other existence than that of a mute spectator party to the greatest costume changes unknown to mankind. Yet I walk. Shoes dig into the sand, eradicate thousands of burrowed homes. Nobody notices. When we reach the road, tarmac welcomes us. Not many humans pass this way nowadays, only the little earth-dwellers we hunt to extinction. Yet we walk. The road holds no ghosts of inherited wrongs, not for us. For the hands that felled the noble brethren of the trees now watching us, maybe. For the feet that stood here and declared it worthy for destruction, without a doubt. But we know nothing of this, nothing of the senseless cruelty except for what we are told. Who is to blame? The question follows us, eyes pleading, longing to be answered. And still we walk.
Hannah Ling is a Malaysian homeschooler with a penchant for pointless debates and interesting accents. She enjoys theatre, photography, writing, daydreaming, and the minutes just before a thunderstorm.