This story was extracted from the 2016 edition of the Young Idea art and literary magazine, Volume LXX.
To the heights of the world came a frail but determined traveler, confused by the confusion of his community, discontented by the discontent of his ancestors, and pained by the pain of the human condition. His body and spirit rebuilt themselves from the raw materials of his surroundings: he swam in streams and embraced their frigidity; he slept in caves and adopted their darkness; he tasted the air, and made its freedom a part of him. His body diffused across the sky among landscapes of condensed gas, allowing his mind to dig deep tunnels in the earthy foundations of collective human thought. From the volcanic depths below his isolated intellectual ocean, he brought forth an island bearing grains that would unite the self, and fruit imbued with the acceptance of impermanence. He stood for a moment at the peak of nature, holding up in triumph the invention of half his earthly years, and then he descended, falling like a snowflake onto a blank expanse of canvas on which he hoped to paint the products of his mental labor for the world to observe.
Like water finding rest at the point closest to the earth, he flowed naturally to his origin, his community, the house built out of familiarity and mutual interdependence he had known in youth. It was nearly unrecognizable–its floor, once made of fear and suspicion, was built of trust and acceptance. Its walls, once thick slabs of discontent, were now gentle panes of benign indifference. Its roof of anger and violence had disappeared, revealing the vast, infinite harmony of the beyond. With his mind’s eye looking inward, however, he did not notice or question the changes around him. Instead he sought out the only remaining reflection of his early memory. Her face was eroded by a lifetime spent laboring in the mundane world but her faded skin glowed with the light of quiet wisdom.
He said to her, “Sister of mine, I have discovered the way. I know how to reconstruct humankind to end suffering.”
“Oh, it’s you,” she replied. “Where have you been? Look around you. We did it without you.”