In the Still of the Night

By this time, Vadiim had fallen into a mad obsession with her. There was no limit to the lengths of effort he took to keep the ruse of being a young fisher going. A simple transformation of his appearance from a boy into a robust man with an athletic physique completed the task. He had broken many divine laws from his country land just to be with her, and knew that upon their first encounter, by partaking of the meal she prepared, he became bound to her. Their relationship had matured to where they often made love on the old sleep mat she brought with her.

Their time spent together on the black sanded beach was almost endless. The exception, of course, was always when Keinah’s tortured body retrieved her soul back to the living human realm. One night after a long swim, the lovers nestled together under a large palm tree. A shooting star blazed across the dark skyline like a firecracker. The pair indulged in the light, salty aroma, which drifted everywhere. Vadiim calmly stroked Keinah’s hair as she rested her head on his bare chest. “Do you ever desire to sleep in a bed?” he asked.Keinah broke from humming her tune and slightly perched her head up. “Why do you ask?” she replied.Vadiim gently cuffed the back of her head to pull her back to his chest. “No reason. I just wondered why you insist on bringing your old sleeping mat to rest on,” he said.

Keinah sat straight up with her arms folded in protest. “Does my old sleeping mat offend you?”

He sat up attentively once he sensed her displeasure at his dig.
 “I am not offended at all. I just wondered if you desired to have nicer things,” he said and quickly tried to diffuse the flame he caused with a tug at her hand.

Keinah refused to entertain his playful gesture. Instead, she turned her back to look out at the ocean.
“What is the point of desiring nicer things when there is no personal attachment to them? You mock my old sleeping mat; you didn’t know that my dead mother made it a long time ago. This item miraculously has been passed down by all my older siblings. It is the only thing I have left from her; and it is the only thing that is truly mine,” she said with a tearful strain.  

Vadiim pulled her closer to him and whispered in her ear. “My dear, I meant no harm. I did not intend to mock your precious sole earthly possession. I merely meant to imply that you deserve to have more.”

Her irate glare at him clarified he had not smoothed the slip of tongue. “More than what?” She demanded. “If this is all the happiness that I am allotted, who am I to begrudge it?”

He cuffed her face with his hands and smirked indignantly. “You cannot possibly be serious.”

She nudged his hands away and asked, “Can’t I?” Suddenly, she stabled the tremble in her voice. “I know there is supposed to be more to life. More money, more food, more everything. I see people all around me who crave that or even have that. Most of them are miserable. They lie, cheat, and steal from one another. It’s never enough. Which is precisely why I feel like whatever is given to me is my just due. At the very least, I have your devotion. You have stayed with me for ten whole years, and never once looked down on me. I love you for that. I feel rich in being with you. The love from the storybook can’t touch what we have,” she said.
Vadiim sat quietly in awe of her. As always, Keinah was sincere. The nature of her pure essence intrigued him even more. He knew she truly loved him with all her heart. Their expressions of affection towards each other over the years grew into an unchangeable pattern, which always gave him an unusually warm sensation that he was not accustomed to. He conceded and cradled her in his arms as she resumed her tune. He heard this same distinctive melody over the entire span of observing her. Earlier on, she mentioned she believed her mother sang it to her as an infant. Keinah’s song was soothing to him, for he knew she only sang it when her heart was content.

From the far side of the shore, waves of Grandmother’s calls out to her echoed loudly. The couple buckled under the weight of their anguish. Their time to be together had once again concluded. Like always, he resisted the urge to ask her to stay with him. It was not her time to die, after all. She passionately kissed him goodbye and went on her way. He remained listless as he watched her vanish in the mists.

Suddenly, a fanfare of trumpets rang in the distance. Vadiim looked above his head to see a cluster of Emerald clouds forming. He instantly bowed onto one knee and said, “Lord Bilal, High Chief of the Emerald Clan; to what do I owe this unexpected call?”

A thunderous voice roared back, “Vadiiamonial; General of the Emerald Clan Legionnaires, you have rashly forsaken your post. Return to the capital at once!” 

With that, Vadiim transformed into his Emerald celestial form, and the clouds departed from the beach.

The Far Side of Hereafter, Ch. 3

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