Cauldron Anthology Sphinx - 2 - Page 15

my answers . I do not rock anymore that day and still my body shakes . This is not my way .
As the sun breaks over the horizon , I step into the purple-golden light to where the lionesses have stood sentry all night . The chill of my rocker seeps through the red cloak that wraps around me . Mist swirls across the ground and I feel as though I am high amongst the clouds . It has been days since the man with the ancient eyes came and went . Two sunrises of tingling dread , wondering if he was going to reappear . Three sunsets of sinking relief when the day ended without me seeing another person . Three nights of restless sleep filled with smiling serpents and willful women . I am beginning to think I imagined him . That he is ( was ?) just a phantasm . I relax as the sun climbs higher , hotter . Summer looms , the glory of Spring has almost passed . Even in the heat of the day , I sit in my cape . Waiting . Rocking . Everything is silent except the creaking of my chair . Back and forth . Back and forth . Living . Dying . I blink and he is standing in front of me again . I swear to you that I did not see him approach . I had closed my eyes but for a heartbeat and he returned , his grin full of the brightest stars and the blackest night . I do not hesitate to speak this time . “ What do you want with me ?” “ I want to help you .” His voice is resolute , but tinged with something else that I can ’ t decipher . “ I have no need of your help .” I help others . Help them to find their way , to find whatever peace they need in that moment . I am the Helper , not the Helpless . “ And , again , you are a liar .” There is ice in my veins , colder than before . “ No , I speak the truth .” Did my voice waver ? “ For others , perhaps . Not for yourself .” A laugh , little more than a bitter hiss , escapes me . “ And what do you think is my truth ?” “ Sadness .” His eyes seem to burn into my very core , but cannot melt the ice that has grown there . “ You think that I am sad ?” I somehow manage to keep rocking . Back and forth . Creaking wood and my pounding heart . Back and forth . “ You have never known love .” I shake my head . “ This is not true . I have known great joy .” “ I said nothing about joy . I said you have not known love .” “ You cannot feel joy without love .” He shrugs . “ A little bit , perhaps . Love of the most basic sort . But love and joy are not the same .” “ I think you are wrong .” I am sure of it . “ You cannot have joy without love and so it follows that you must also have joy in order to love .” His frown is worse than his smile , no light at all , only dark ooze . “ Ask any grieving parent . They still love the child who has gone from this world , but I doubt you could say that they feel joy .” “ Yes , they would . Joy that the child had lived , however briefly .” “ And what do you think these parents would ask you ?” We both know the answer to his question . They would ask : “ Why did this happen ?” And I would say :


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