Geelong Grammar School
Daniel had lived a rather non-existent life before this all happened. He kept himself contained between the mirrors of his sanity and the walls of his bedchamber. Daniel, unlike many boys at his age, had an inherent gift for truth. He was able to decipher things — a skill surpassing his peers and the adults around him. Now, Daniel lay stuck to the ground like Velcro, finding this the only way to escape his shadow. He could not escape our nature — he could not be rid of human darkness.
Daniel was born into a simple family, and with that came simple obligations. They owned a simple suburban house, a simple suburban dog and his single mother found her haven in her simple suburban kitchen. Daniel’s mind was anything but simple. Curiously, though, he found comfort in these familiar settings. He was humoured by the plebeian, unnecessary toils of those around him. He did not heighten himself or look down on them; rather he felt more like an unprejudiced observer, noting the trials and tribulations of human life. He began observing the humans like lab rats, watching their endless cycles and burdening emotions. He could not comprehend the fragments of their humanity, the value of their plight and especially their innate need for love. Love, you see, confused Daniel most of all – love and evil, that was.
On the eve of Daniel’s eighteenth birthday, a cyclone swept through the plains of his simple town. It claimed every part of nature, every house and every being. Yet it left Daniel. Daniel stood watching on a hill, for the first time in his life stirred. Through this, he unearthed love. Hindered by thought, he could not observe it. It was past that, he was consumed in the image of destruction. A wind swept up inside him lifting his intestines and wrapping them around his heart, strangling it. He felt his heart pulsing and flinching in the sublime release. He felt an empty presence arch inside him. If there was ever such thing as a soul, he found it and lost it simultaneously. Weightlessness was thrusting the sides of his empty stomach and lurching upon the core so often sought. The cyclone drank inside him, and thus he fathomed life.
Daniel began walking, walking away from what had been left in his wake.
‘Where are you going?’ he stopped and thought to himself.
‘Forty days away.’
‘Forty days away? Where’s that Daniel?’
‘Wherever I’ll be after I walk for forty days.’
‘You can’t leave.’
‘I have to leave. I’ve been in the same place for a long time … It is time for me to go some place east. I don’t want to wake up in the same old simple town, with the same old simple plains and the same old simple Daniel. It is time.’
The first night came, and Daniel once again felt something he had never felt before — he felt alone. He shut his eyes and only saw the darkness his eyelids concealed; with the dark, they hid the dark. The nights came incessantly and the days grew shorter and shorter, until he was unsure if he had seen the day. He longed for the simple sun, a simple tree — if only he had a simple mind. Daniel walked through the rain and snow, never seeing a trace of life. He thought perhaps the cyclone has consumed all … perhaps he was the last man on earth?
On the fortieth day he stopped. He sat by a stump and watched the withering water sprinting down a clay red stream. A small child appeared from the outskirts of a distant bush. He seemed frightened or confused. The child ran and ran, yet he got nowhere. He looked to his feet and then looked up to Daniel. He mouthed forty words and Daniel felt his legs fall beneath him. He had received the bent of light, the apple of darkness and finally pieced together what he had fathomed in the cyclone. He was in that moment cursed with the meaning of life.
He decided it was time to rest and shut his eyes, once again covering the darkness with the sleeping peace of his eyelids. A heavy beacon seeped into the hollow crevasses that sealed his lids. Scared to open his eyes he reached out in front of him with his withered limbs, perhaps searching for the hand of god — the gate to heaven.
He staggered, blind in the truth, realising there was no god, there was no death. Yet, as he reached out, he felt soft wires of string collecting in his hand. They began tickling his face and reaching down his neck. He had not felt something stroke his inflicted skin since he was a baby, he loathed human affection. It felt so surreal.
He opened his eyes and saw a woman. Her hair gathered in his hands, her face curved and complex. A sweet murmur escaped her lips, but it only translated into a simple muffle. He watched her jaw shape, the sounds of seraphim withdrawing.
Daniel decided to get up and walk away with the woman; perhaps she could allay the heaviness inside him. But he remained on the ground. Comprehending the inevitability of life disallowed him to move, he could not lift a finger or curve his lips like hers. With knowledge comes oppression and Daniel knew he would never leave this spot.
Her voice finally broke the impenetrable white noise.
‘Why are you lying here?’ she asked curiously
‘You don’t want to know, please leave me.’
‘Are you okay? Do you need help? Let me help you up.’
‘No! Don’t touch me.’
‘Sorry. Are you hurt?’
‘Just leave me.’
‘Please! Just tell me why you’re lying here. Daniel could see she believed him to be crazy. But he knew he was the only sane person on earth. Alas, the sanity of truth bore the insanity of reality.
‘Do you really want to know?’
‘God forgive me.’
At that moment Daniel, told her. 40 words slipped his lips, and in 40 movements she stumbled to the floor. She lay down beside him and shut her eyes. Over time people began to gather, hearing the meaning of it all. They knew it was the only way. Bodies were spread upon the pavement of an empty world, not dead, not alive. They knew truth — and it could not be unknown.
Ellie Carless was born on the 11th of August, 1993. She grew up in country NSW and began to travel extensively. She now lives in Sydney and attends boarding school in Geelong. Her interests include sailing, literature and politics. Her dream is to live in a small terrace house in Paddington and dwell in old bookshops.