places after we had already left them. At least, that is what we
believed at the time. Whenever we reached for Death with our
minds, we only found the same images we had already seen
ourselves. As our ride went on, the images became harder and
harder to look upon for a second time. Soon we no longer
tried to bond with our elder brother.
When it ended, we looked upon Paradise. Have you seen it?
Its towers are tall and gleaming, gold and silver beyond the
sun and moon of the Earth. The light does not shine down
into Paradise. The light is Paradise. Radiance suffuses every
brick, every marble column. The saints who dwell in it sing
of the light and their song rises up and up and up, twisting
Pestilence did the same with his bow, Famine with his scales,
and Death with his scythe. There was no more use for them.
Death did not speak. He did not have to. There are some
things that simple speech is not enough to convey. There are
some things that can only be shared soul to soul. They have
no place in this account.
By the power given to him, Death cast us into a deep trance.
Here we shall lie, still and silent. Here I shall lie, and know
David Ferranti is a senior concentrating in Biology.
A fresh note rose in our minds as we sat upon our horses lis-
tening to that saintly song, a single shared thought. We could
not enter the city. There, before the gate, before humanity’s
intended dwelling place, we knew that, knew it as well as we
knew the sound of the seals breaking. How could we enter
Paradise? We were never meant to. We were meant for what
we had just done. Judgement!
And in that final, almost musical revelation, we saw a lamb
rise above the city, its coat whole and unblemished. Stars
crowned its head. We looked upon the lamb and we knew that
our ride had been done as it should have been.
We left Paradise then, still covered in the dust of a dead world.
We rode until we returned to our sunless, soulless home. Then
we took the saddles from our steeds' backs and the bits from
their mouths, and bade them run free in the grassland, to
eat their fill of the grass and quench their thirst in the cold
streams. They were loyal. They had earned their rest.
I broke my sword over my knee, and cast the fragments away
into the tall swaying grass. The sword that had once been so
sharp and so polished was now pitted and scarred with the
blood and grime of countless battles. Its whispers had gone
silent, and its fragments will lie here undisturbed forever. And