[This is Part III of “On Being a Seed.” Click Part I and Part II for the prior episodes.]
It was not the first time I had died, and it would not be the last. The dancer held me mercilessly under the water until I had drowned completely. My struggles were weak and in vain; she was too powerful. But more to the point, she delighted in it, and a passion like that cannot be stopped. And so the darkness poured out of me and the water poured into me.
This was the first time I remembered feeling the pulse. It was in the water itself. It was the water. It was a feeling of going back and forth, back and forth. It was a swelling and receding, and there was a faint sound to it, a rhythm. Because in the beginning there was sound, and there was an inexplicable pull.
|But I was free . . .|
But I was free from my prison. There I lay in the cool, dark Earth. Dead. And all around me were the denizens of the Underworld, each in a different state of death. It was all so beautiful. I’m not sure when it happened as I lay in the darkness, listening to the pulse, but I began to feel a tremendous hunger. I don’t know where it came from. Perhaps it was from the point that had fallen inside of itself, that point from so long ago, that point from the other world. It doesn’t matter, though. All that mattered was the incredible, insatiable hunger.
And so I ate. I ate the creatures of the Underworld that were all around me. I ate and I ate incessantly of the most delicious substance. I didn’t ask permission, and it wouldn’t have mattered to me if they had said no. Like the water dancer, I was consumed with passion. All that mattered was that I must eat—and eat I did!—and as I ate, I began to feel the ripping and tearing again. Where had I felt that ripping and tearing before? That should have been enough to stop me, but it did nothing to slow me down, nothing at all. As I ate, I ripped and tore myself in a terrible process that I would later learn was called “growth.” Growth was horrible, indeed. Dying was so much easier.
Sometimes the water dancer would come around, but now that I was larger with many tendrils reaching outward, she could no longer drown me. That didn’t stop her from trying, though. It was a continual dance we danced. She would flit this way and that, and I would trap her in my many tendrils. Once when I had swelled so large and threatened to hold her in an endless embrace, she said that if I let her go she would tell me a great secret. So I let her go, and she told me.
“High above you,” she said, “There is a hidden world of such immense delights that it makes the Underworld pale in comparison.”
“Pah!” I scoffed at that. “What could be more beautiful than the darkness?”
“There is a land of liquid gold, I swear it!”
I wondered to myself. Liquid gold? I had already seen the hard and glinting gold of the Underworld. It was beautiful, indeed, something to be coveted. What must liquid gold be like? Gold that moved and flowed? Already, the hunger for the gold was beginning. The water dancer began to sound the drums again, louder this time. The pulse was beckoning me.
“Upward!” I screamed, and I began my relentless climb up and up.
“But there is a great King who guards the gold!” she shouted after me.
Ha! A king? We shall see about that, I thought. I relished the idea of a new world and new delights to eat. Perhaps I would eat the king.