A short story about the power of love
The crystal sarcophagus had spun slowly in its wide orbit for a million years. It was meant to be an eternal incarceration. However a stray asteroid bumped it minutely off course and now the Earth’s Sun was pulling it back to where it began. The frozen corpse within knew something was changing.
This will be my chance. The gods have deemed my return. And then I will get my revenge. Earth will be mine and the descendants of my judge and executioner will serve me forever.
For a million years he had yearned for this moment. Frozen and encapsulated in a crystalline coffin he was unable to move or free himself. Yet he was tormented by being able to think. Unceasingly he thought and hated his enemies. A million years and a million plans he devised to destroy them. A million thoughts of how the Earth would survive without his power and might.
It was that power and might which got him into trouble with the galactic police. They didn’t like his harsh ways and the cruel punishments he meted out to his forlorn subjects. They didn’t deserve mercy. The humans were weak and stupid. What a million years would have made of them he wondered.
He felt the warmth of the Sun. It was fate. He would return and awaken to rule over his subjects once again. The heat was changing his state of stasis. He felt the blood flow through his veins. His muscles came alive, his ears could again hear and his eyes saw a dim light. He struggled to open his eyelids. When he succeeded he saw the blue orb of his ancient home move before him.
Could it be after all this time, that I will once again walk the Earth? Could a stray rock have caused this change of course? Or has someone deliberately planned my return? Whatever the cause, return I shall and rule I shall. And I will be great again.
The transparent crystal which had protected him from dangerous cosmic rays now shielded him from the intense heat of reentering the skies of his home planet. Unable to move he was at the mercy of the Earth’s pull. Once in its atmosphere he was greeted by scenes of blue oceans and green forests and cities. Such large cities he had never seen. And the buildings stretched into the sky as if to catch him as he flew past. His prison held him firm as it headed straight for a wooded area near the edge of the city. It hurtled through trees, bringing down branches until it was caught between two branches crossing each other. Its occupant smiled. Alas, the ancient symbol of my earthly power saves me.
The coffin wobbled and tipped, slid off the trees and dug into the ground coming to rest upright with a view of trees and a small house in the distance.
He needed to get out of this encasement. It held him tight. But he had his mind. There were people not far away. He willed one to approach to free him.
“Why are you naked?” It was the voice of a little girl of about eight years. In that moment the prisoner realised his predicament – frozen in a glass casket on display like a slave with no covering but his skin. He tried to talk but no air filled his lungs. He projected his thoughts to the girl.
“That is of no concern of yours, girl. Find something to break this and get me out.” Taken aback he realised that he understood the strange language of the child and he was able to formulate his thoughts in the same. He watched as the girl got a small branch and hit it hard against the crystal.
“I’m hitting as hard as I can,” she shouted and frowned at the strange naked man frozen in glass. “And how come I can hear you in my head? Your lips aren’t moving.”
“Just find something bigger.” He raged and would have clenched his fists had they not been fixed firm by the wretched crystal.
“I’m only a girl.” She stood with arms on her hips facing the rude man. “I can’t lift heavy branches or big rocks.”
“Then find someone who can and bring them here.”
“Do you have to be so bossy? You could say it nicely you know.”
“Grrrrr. Just do it.” His face turned dark red. The crystal cracked and shrunk an unnoticeable fraction. But he felt it. It was tighter. “Aah! This thing is squeezing me tighter. Get it off.”
“See. Your being angry only makes it worse. You should try being nice.”
“Nice! When I get out of here i’ll squash you like an ant.” Crack! Shrink! “Aaahhh!.”
“It’s no use being angry, you know. My Mummy always says that anger only makes a person angrier and they get so angry that its like being in an angry prison all by themselves. The only way out is to start being nice and loving. You should try it. Anger only makes it tighter.”
The girl stood watching the man. His face was red with anger. She saw that if the glass thing were taken away he would sound like a big angry bear and dance like a spoilt little child.
“Don’t just stand there staring, foolish girl. Go and find someone strong and bring them here.” Crack! “Aaahh!”
“Why are you so angry?”
“You stupid child. Can’t you see? I am stuck in this cursed contraption.”
“But why? How did you get there?”
“You insolent, incompetent little girl. Isn’t it obvious? I am here because I did some things which some other people didn’t like. So they imprisoned me here and sent me sailing through the stars. And do you know how long I’ve been stuck here wandering aimlessly through space?”
The girl shrugged.
“For one million years. One million years unable to move and time to think. Wouldn’t that make you angry?”
“You should have taken some time to think about the bad things you have done and promise never to do them again. You must’ve been a very bad man to be locked up for a million years.”
He stared at the girl. She stared at him.
“What’s your name?”
“If I’m going to help you I need to know your name. My Mummy says never to talk to strangers.”
“Huh! Alright, my name is Albrigtor Wayntalipan Progistigany.”
The girl laughed. “That’s a funny name and very long. I’ll just call you Wayne. My name is July. Pleased to meet you Wayne.” She held out her hand. “Oh, sorry, you can’t move.”
“July? That reminds me of a beautiful woman I once knew. Her name was Juliana. She was my heart.”
“Was she your girlfriend?”
“That makes you sad.”
“Yes. I was foolish. I lost her. She went away from an angry fool.” The Crystal gave off a slight hiss. “Ahh! Did you see that, July? The crystal softened. It is not as tight.”
“That’s because your heart softened, thinking of Juliana.” She smiled broadly.
“Quite. July, it is my immense pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
As she couldn’t shake his hand she stepped up to the crystal coffin and touched its surface near his left hand. The crystal shimmered and sent a thread of yellow light over the girl. She shivered. The crystal hissed.
“What was that?”
She saw the man wriggle slightly. A piece of crystal detached from his face and fell to the ground. She stepped back and watched as the man filled his lungs with air.
“Aahh,” he sighed. “That feels so good. I haven’t breathed in”
“A million years.”
He smiled. Hiss! The crystal loosened.
“You are right, July.” His voice was deep and rich. “Anger only makes it tighter. Thinking of love makes it loosen.” Another piece of crystal fell from his head. He stretched his neck in every direction.
“My dear, July. Will you forgive me for my anger? I was foolish. You are a wise and kind girl.”
“Of course, silly.”
“Your mummy, Is she at home?”
July turned to point to the house beyond the trees.
“And your father. He is at home too?”
July’s lip turned downward as she shook her head. “Daddy died when I was six. A car crash.”
“A car what?”
“An accident. He was killed.”
“I, um, I am deeply sorry, July. That must hurt a lot.”
“Only when i think about it.” Hiss! More crystal fell to the ground freeing his shoulders.
“I’ll go and get Mummy. She can bring you some of daddy’s clothes.”
He watched as she ran towards the house. She was a perfect human being. She glowed with an innocence he had forgotten. He once had a daughter like her. But he lost her too when his Juliana left him. It was that which made him worse as a king than he had been before. He allowed his anger to rule over him, and many suffered because of it. The thought saddened him. Hiss! His arms were now free. He stretched and tried to touch the tree behind him.
He could hear July approaching. He saw her pulling at a woman’s hand.
“But, Mummy, he’s a nice man. He’s not angry any more.”
“Is this some fantasy of yours, July. I have things to do. I hope this is a game because what did I tell you about talking with strangers.”
“His name is Wayne, Mummy.”
She pulled her mother into the woods and stopped in front of the dwindling casket. “Mummy, this is Wayne. He’s naked.”
“Oh. I can see that.”
“Mummy, don’t stare, it’s rude.”
“Oh, yes. Of course. How do you do Wayne?” She reached out her hand and took his. Her eyes met his. “Em, I’m Jillian.”
“Jillian.” Wayne glanced at July. The names were similar. The woman before him was strikingly beautiful. “It is my humblest pleasure, my lady.”
“Oh.” Breathless Jillian withdrew her hand and held her chest. She looked at the crystal still encasing this stranger from the waist down. “What is this?” She reached out and touched it. The same yellow light ran from Jillian’s head to her feet as the remaining crystal shimmered. There was a loud hiss and the crystal fell from the man in pieces.
“Oh, I say.” Jillian couldn’t stop from looking. The man before her was slim and muscular. “July, don’t look.”
“Mummy,” laughed July. “I told you to bring some of Daddy’s clothes.”
“I beg your pardon, Jillian.” Wayne gave a slight bow and moved his now free hands to cover himself. “I would very much like to come to your house, as I cannot walk around like this.”
“Quite.” She blinked. “I’ll get some clothes. July, come with me.”
“No, Mummy, I’ll stay with Wayne.”
“But he’s naked.” Jillian tried to speak quietly and gave July a stern look. July rolled her eyes.
Jillian turned and hurried to the house, her head full of questions she knew she should have asked.
“Why do women get so flustered when they see a naked man? It’s not like they haven’t seen it before.” July giggled.
“It is a grown up thing I guess.” Wayne stood watching July. She was pointing at the bits of crystal on the ground around his feet.
“They are melting.”
“Dissolving. It is of no more use.”
July looked up at the man and smiled. “Because your anger is away.”
“Yes. Thanks to you my little friend. You have helped me see my foolishness. So much I have lost because of it.” He stepped out of the hole in the ground left by the falling casket.
“It’s all gone.” July thought for a moment. “If you’ve been in that thing for a million years then you have no home to go to.”
Wayne looked up, blinked and looked around. “It is true. My abode will no longer be here after the passing of so much time. Many generations have come and gone. No one here will know who I am.”
“Here you are, these should be a good fit. Luckily my late husband liked to workout like you.” Jillian reached him a neat pile of clothes. He held them up unsure what to do. “These,” she handed him a pair of undershorts, “are for here,” indicating her legs and lower region. He quickly figured it out, turned away from the girls and pulled them on, followed by a t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
“Mummy, you forgot the shoes.”
“Not a problem little friend. I thank you, Jillian, for your kindness.”
Ignoring those questions she knew she should ask, Jillian held a hand toward her house. “Please, you may join us for dinner. It’s just about ready and there’s enough for three.” She turned and led the way, looking back to see her smiling daughter walk with the man and holding his hand. He smiled for the first time.
At dinner, July had to explain everything to Wayne, which she did happily. After all he hadn’t been around for a million years and things were bound to have changed a lot. He soon got the way with spoon, knife and fork and ate hungrily.
“I have broken my own rules. I must apologise, sir, Wayne, but, where did you come from? Who are you?”
Wayne looked at July. July started to giggle.
“Mummy, that’s a very long story.”
“Your daughter is right. It may sound strange to you, but I have been imprisoned in that crystalline casket for a million years.”
It was strange, and hard to believe, but Wayne did his best to explain the whole story. He laid special emphasis on the bit which happened just outside under the trees when he met little July.
“Well, I ah, I, I don’t know what to say.”
“You could say, you’re welcome to stay here, Mr. Wayne, seeing as you don’t have a home any more.” July glared happily at her mother.
“Of course. Em, I mean, if that’s true, well, yes, of course. You’re welcome.”
“Your beauty is striking. It would be my extreme delight to stay here. My future is in your hands, and yours, July my friend.”