Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

Telling Tales 149



Wild Debt

You’ve got the wrong idea about me. You like to think that I’m one of the devils you know so well. Oh, yes. I know all about your little dalliances. Don’t think that you’re the only one who likes to tell stories. Your set of adventures, well, I wouldn’t say we dwell on you, but you’re like old shoes. We come back to you from time to time. Literally and figuratively. You’ve piqued our curiosity.

But I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about me.

Unlike you, we are born into debt. When I talk about business, you assume that I’m collecting souls or doing some other nefarious business like that, tempting humanity into eternal suffering. Please. That’s just like you, assuming that you stand on a pedestal of innocence and it’s someone else who pushes you off. You stand in the mud the same as we do.

My present form seemingly to the contrary, we are a great deal heavier than you. All you need is to haul yourselves out. Standing on top of others doesn’t count. You’ll never get clean that way. We, on the other hand, are always sinking. We must constantly strive to remove ourselves. You may stumble into depths or find ones of your own devising, but we are always sinking whether we like it or not.

I’m not complaining. These are the ways of the worlds. I’m explaining so that you might understand better why we act the way we do.

When we decide to move through the holes in the worlds, we pay a price. Often, that means we sink all the faster. Our only recourse is to be more swift than ever, fleet of foot and sharp of tooth, if you will. We are not natural predators, but we are quick learners.

One of us attempted to gain heights and grace by bearing a child on this your world. She hoped – she believed – that arriving in this world, her spawn would be free of our particular burden. He was less afflicted, to be sure, and her idea aided the mother in her own search, but I said we are heavy and heavy we are. Before long, a hero slew her baby after ripping off one of his arms and then the same hero came for her when she sought vengeance for her child. A hero. That’s what you call this man, your people. Kills a babe and his mother and he is a hero.

Do you wonder we look down upon you?

Our every move is a gamble, a careful calculation. It must be if we are to find our own grace and freedom. Those gambles are the wind we sow and the whirlwinds are the stakes. Do they lift us high or crush us to the ground?

In spite of its wretched telling, I quite liked your story about väki.

Mmm. Is that true? I’m not sure it is. I liked the part about magic being wild. That part, what’s the word… it resonated with me. I understand wildness because that’s what me and mine are. We confine ourselves to these base forms and wrap our wildness up in shape that is foreign to our being. Inside we are heavy, sinking chaos seeking freedom. Grace.

I don’t imagine we mean the same thing when we use that word.

Here, if you look close, you can see what I’m talking about.

Right past the orange and the yellow, the space between the wood and where the flame begins. Look there. You’ll see what I mean. Wild.

Come closer.

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