This is a serialized story. So far: The alphabet has convened a meeting, in the abstract where they live, to determine whether X must be expunged (get it?!) from the group for daring to interfere in human life. Each letter gets a turn to talk.
You don't have to have read all of those to enjoy each segment, though. They're meant to also stand more or less alone.
Today, E is up:
That was what he said he would be.
I know a bit about what X has gone through, for I, too, have felt both the endorsement and esteem of my brethren and the envy, yes, too, for my exalted place. None of us is quite as ubiquitous – as everywhere, everything – as myself, and yet even then in so saying must position be ceded to my brethren for even a letter such as E cannot describe himself without borrowing I.
Which is to say, we are entwined, all of us, and when I first heard of X’s plan I did not rest easy and in fact I was one of those who gathered around, after David’s death, when the threat of mortality, of eventuality hung over those of us who had witnessed this, and let me tell you that not everyone was affected equally: some flitted away, some drifted into somnolence, some began their own practices that are not easily understood, but those of us who had paid attention, who understood what had just happened, hung close to X to listen to him talk.
“We all know what just happened there,” X said.
“We all know what just did not happen there,” X added, after we had all reflected on the fact that, yes, we did, we knew that David had thrown his life away for an idea of a thing, a place, an existence that did not exist. For the people of that world – the people who called to us to help define and shape their world – there was only that world, only and ever that world, at that time, and they had no before, no after, just during.
But they did not believe that was everything about their world, and the dream that things were better in a next world, that there was something beyond the end, was one that many of them held and none of them knew to be false.
“We know how wrong it is,” X said.
“We know what must be done,” X said, but then he lost the group, for not all of us knew what must be done and not all of us knew what could be done, and none of us knew precisely what X planned but I was nearest to X and we were perhaps overlapping a bit for suddenly I saw:
And maybe I saw it because we are entwined, or maybe I saw it because X would need me to make it a reality, and maybe I saw it because of how exquisite, how egregious, his plan would be.
It was monstrous.
“It would be so easy,” X’s thoughts transposed with my own but where he saw an opportunity I saw perhaps trouble, perhaps disaster… but, yes, perhaps redemption and salvation and… and
“I must become more,” X said.
And that was when several of the others attacked him!
You must understand that we are in between the physical and the unreal, here in our lives, we are astral, perhaps, and that what you think of as movement, as structure, as being, is not necessarily the same as what we think of when we do those things, or what we do when we think of those things. This was not a melee, with letters piling onto each other, pushing shoving kicking biting pulling throwing. But it was not not those things, either.
The attacks were something between mental and real, physical and existential. The other letters closed in, seemingly, and maybe that was just mental, but they were there, and they were over and under and on and there was pain and struggle. Does it matter, in the end, a punch is thrown, a kick swung, or an insult hurled? The injury strikes the substance, and whether a knife is twisted in the back or a thought is hung forever in the mind, the wound persists.
I stood by X, I am proud to say: I did not understand his plan, yet, and did not approve of his plan, yet, but at that moment two things stood out in my mind.
I knew that we were bound together, I knew that we must stick together, that we could from disuse or alienation fling each other to the outermost reaches of consciousness, there to expire like so many before us, so many after us. Do you think that alphabets are forever? They are not – no more than numbers, or civilizations, or stars, or universes. All things end.
That was what X was trying to do, I understood, the other thing I knew that made me stand by him, and while I did not know whether I approved or not, at that moment, I knew that we could not wantonly expel each other every time there was a dispute (as we had done with perse and, whom you know as &, and who lives a quiet, lonely life somewhere in the far distance off of our own), we could not attack each other, but I also knew, more, that X was right.
Must not be.
All things end, or do they? Do alphabets end? Do stars? When the stars have turned the last of their tiny electrons into greater and greater structures, when hydrogen has become helium has become carbon become oxygen when those things become neon sodium magnesium sulfur, silicon, when those elements have been flung out into space and nothing is left, do the stars end?
They do not. Because they have become those other things, they, they are eternal.
We are eternal: the thoughts we transcribe, the names we become, the poetry we sing, the stories we inhabit, we letters are eternal and will always be for so long as there are eyes to behold us.
All things end without ending… now.
But at that time? Some things ended, period. People ended.
I knew X was right, and I knew that the ending, itself, must end.
Awful, and necessary. Essential, and majestic.
The souls of our world, of all worlds, of all things, the souls of the eternal must light in the ephemeral beings who, below us, called us into their lives for brief moments and then sent us away again, unconsciously mirroring how they themselves lived, but without knowing of the temporal nature of their temporality. We must, I knew, grant them some of our own ethereality, we must find a way to lend them endless quality we ourselves had.
So when the others attacked, I stood with X, receiving the battering and pushing back, protecting X as he protected me, enduring.
And they withdrew when they saw they had lost, this round, at least. They were too few, and too weak, and the power behind X’s idea was already apparent.
I stood by X, knowing I might not in the future, not knowing how this would work out, in the end.
But knowing that it was necessary to see it through.
I vote that X stays.