4: Eclipse of the sun

by Jane Carnall

To tell my story, I must walk down to the sea and find the blue pebble split with a white vein so thick it almost looks like a stone sandwich. Within that pebble, lost among millions of other stones, is this one story. I hid it there.

I met a tiger, blue with white stripes, growling a siren song of fire and warning. The tiger walked through the green-lit jungle, on the marble pathways. The mosaic gleams underfoot and the leaf mosaic glitters overhead. The sun is going behind the horizon: the clouds high above catch the sunset. The light grows darker, visibly, like the cool yellow light near the eclipse. In the pool the angular sun burns.

It sears my eyes: all I can see are lines of fire, triangles burned into my eyes by the unforgiving light of the sun. I stared too long, too hard, wanting to see what no one was meant to see, and the wolf that ate the sun bit my eyes and left scars. The wolf vomited up the sun, none the worse, but the wolf's throat is still blistered and my eyes are still full of lines, white lines that shift as I stare into the blank page.

I can reach into the blank page, glowing white or green or blue, the nothingness there between the words, and pull out the smooth and glowing substance. With my hands I can turn and mold it into something new, something more than substance. I can do it with my hands, even if my eyes cannot see.

The tiger is also blind. The blue tiger has blue blind eyes. No one else knows about the blind tiger except me, and now you. The tiger gazed too long at the moon: tiger eyes were meant for the sun. The moon sends out white rays that burn rainbow arcs into fool's eyes, cat's eyes, tiger eyes. The tiger is young: endlessly, forever young.

The wolf is white and old as the world. The wolf's eyes are bright metallic gold: the hairs in the wolf's ears are bright silver. The wolf's coat is cold: its name is ice, too cold to speak, even in the middle of winter on the very roof of the world.

The tiger and the wolf fight over the wolf's retched-up vomit, burning gold in the sky, a lump of violent sickness that both wolf and tiger are blind and fool enough to devour again, and again. I am blind, but no fool. I will stare at the sun, but not consume it, not even if it falls onto my plate disguised with oregano so that it seems like a large pizza pie, covered with too much bright yellow cheese, slick and glowing, ready to burn.

I couldn't find the pebble in which I hid this story. I found a piece of blue driftglass, though, and I gace the sea a present of gold centimes and green glass. I am neither young nor old, but I know how to give.

506 words

9th February 2000

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