The Figure | By: John Hargreaves | | Category: Short Story - Lost Love Bookmark and Share

The Figure

A figure stands lonely in a field, just staring. Staring. Staring upwards at the sky. A cold February night and this figure just stands, staring. No coat protects his body, no scarf nor gloves. He just stands, staring. The only sign warmth is the orange ember at his fingertips, the last of the day, or the first?

                Still he stands, unmoving except to raise the glowing ember to his mouth. For a second his face is illuminated. His chin unshaven and coarse, his lips dry and cracked with spots of crimson. Blood? Does he gnaw on his lip? His eyes, just for a second, can be seen, staring up towards the sky. As the glow slowly dies all of these disappear. He becomes a shadow, featureless and still. A statue giving no sign of life. Except one thing; his eyes. Two specs of light within the shadows. Is he a person? His bare arms do not shiver in the winter wind. The ember at his fingertips has died. The only features of humanity are the glints in his eyes, staring up towards the sky.

                He goes on standing. Motionless, just staring unblinking at the sky. Is he a man? All that is seen is the ghostly reflection of the brilliant white orb within his eyes. He seems transfixed, that is certain. He is held prisoner by this brilliant white orb in the sky. He stares upwards, unmoving. His eyes show nothing. No fear, no anger, no sadness, just the reflection of the beautiful silver sphere.

                In his mind he pictures a lover, or a friend or a mother. Something warms him; something in the Moon protects him from the cold, the agonizing chill of the melancholy breeze that surrounds him. Carefree, he stands unmoving, staring upwards. He shows no emotion. He does not weep, he does not sigh, he does not laugh, just stares, captivated, at the Moon.

                A face. Is that what he sees? A thing of beauty shining as bright as the Moon into his eyes, into his mind, into his being, staring back at him. The face of the Moon. What does he see? A lover, or a friend or a mother? Whatever he sees, he cannot look away.

                Poor soul. Does he know that it will vanish? Become dull or be obscured by the jealous clouds, the shrouding clouds that in an act of jealousy take away what pleasure he sees in the beautiful face of the silver Moon. But no clouds does he see tonight. Tonight the Moon is his, lonely in the sky as he is in the field. The stars are not nearly as bright to him, he only sees the Moon. Poor soul, does he know that in four hours time it will leave him, leave him alone in the cold with the glare of the hideous sun. Too bright is the sun for man to stare. No beauty or delight is in the fiery eye of the sun. It is too hideous for man to stare. Yet, unmoved, he stares upwards towards the sky.

                What beauty, what elegance he sees in the silver globe. A thing of admiration, of respect; a thing worthy of a name. What name befits the Moon? Sidra? Luna? These names are grand and unfamiliar, distant to him. He stands, staring. He knows the Moon, it is close to him, and it is his friend. His love. He calls it something warm, something familiar. He calls it Jenny.

                As the hours pass, still he stares up at her, not for a second does he tear his eyes away from her beauty. Unmoving, he stares in admiration at her face. Nothing more beautiful could he behold and yet, he knows that she will vanish, to be admired by another. To be loved by another. He cannot bear it. Her beauty is his obsession. How can she betray him for another? He knows that in an hour she will leave him. He will be left behind, cold and alone. Again. Why does she torture him? He loves her, yet she will always leave him, never stays she. Sometimes she teases him by hiding behind the jealous clouds and he cannot bear it. Yet she always returns, sooner or later, to embrace him in her warm loving light. And that is why he waits. That is why he stands, cold and alone, to feel his lovers warmth against his bare skin. And it is magnificent. No one can give him such satisfaction; for tonight, she is his. His own. His Jenny. In awe he watches as she gracefully traverses the sky. More elegant than the most accomplished of dancers, gentler than the careful steps of a cat does she move. How he wishes her to stay with him, just for another hour. From inside he cries out ‘please!’ and begs her to stay. Still he stands, unmoving, staring at the sky.

                As the Devil’s fiery eye appears on the horizon, a single tear rolls slowly down his expressionless face. He knows he doesn’t have long. For the final minutes, he stares at his beautiful Jenny as if making one final plea for her to stay. She doesn’t listen. Slowly, so slowly, she begins to drop behind the hills. With each millimetre she sinks, the less he can bear it. The single tear has turned to rain from the dawn sky reflected in his eyes. He knows it is time. He begins to weep. As she drops further and further his cries become louder and louder. For the first time, he appears human. He screams her name as she drops further and further. He howls, calling her name, “Jenny! Jenny!” as if she is leaving him forever. The bliss he had sought transforms into a hellish nightmare as the sun’s light continues to engulf him. As she drops further and further, he sobs. He knows that he only has seconds left with her. Finally, she sinks out of his view.

                A figure stands lonely in a field, staring. Staring. Staring out at the horizon. He moves, shakes ever so slightly, then collapses to the floor. His body void of life, his face void of emotion. Now he lies motionless in the burning light of the sun. A figure lies lonely, motionless in a field waiting for his love to return.

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