by Cătălina Fometici
translation from Romanian by Maria Jastrzebska & Camelia-Aura Barbu [MTTLC student]
click aici pentru versiunea română
…And time started to exist.
Time didn’t exist before, she said. In the past, there was only Eternity. And Eternity was mild; it was rose-colored and golden, full of beams of light, a nameless fragrance that came from everywhere, a song that floated in everything and anything.
Now it was dark. And there was something dark and heavy clinging onto her. Onto her hair of fire, too heavy for her frail shoulders. Hidden in her blood, too hot for her body of flesh. It was following her like a shadow, watching her from everywhere. It was death. The End.
“If there will be an End,” she said, “there is also will be a Beginning. Or”, she asked, moving her hand to her forehead, “has the Beginning already happened? When was the beginning?”
Remembering Eternity turned her mind blurry, growing darker like Negurossa’s night, her thoughts melting in her head.
As if she was being enveloped by black water.
“I am the Goddess. The Titanide with hair of fire,” she said with a voice like the thunder she had once had.
Darkness. Fog. Emptiness.
“What does ‘goddess’ mean?” she asked.
The silence answered.
“I am the Goddess. And before me, there was Eternity…”
The End comes after the Beginning. The Beginning was. When? In Eternity?
She fell to the ground and opened herself, letting the first son of the Jade Snake come out of her. Fluttering its enormous scaly wings, the dragon cub tore open her womb, whistled loudly, and disappeared into the night.
Her incandescent blood burned slowly, weakening her powers. The power of a goddess within a mortal body. Body of flesh. She will be killed by her own power, they said; she will be consumed by her own flames. But not before she sees her monstrous children…
Her blood was like molten metal. The earth sputtered under its touch.
There had been no Beginning in Eternity. She and the Others were one with Eternity. Without Beginning and without End.
An unimaginable pain made her groan and cower. The second dragon cub appeared from between her thighs, sparkling phosphorescently, soiled with divine blood. She heard him sneeze on contact with the air. She felt him crawling hurriedly out of her; she imagined him looking around surprised. She couldn’t see him; she closed her eyes in pain. And then she heard the flutter of wings – he flew as well…
“But if in Eternity, everything is eternal,” she asked, “why can’t I remember anything? Why can’t I remember Immortality? What was it like there?”
“There? Where ‘there’? Was it a place? A space?…”
One by one, the Jade Snake’s sons appeared from the doomed goddess’s body, and her blood like molten metal leaked out slowly, setting fire to the vegetation and earth itself. Stones were melting and transforming into lava. From the goddess’s body flowed a river of fire.
Nothing was happening there. Nothing was there. Eternity was empty. She and the Others…
She screams. An oblong head with scales. A lizard body, soiled with her blood. A whistle. A flutter of wings. Silence.
Where is “there”?
If I cannot remember anything from Eternity, she asks, could it be that nothing memorable has happened?
Yes, she says. Nothing memorable has happened there. There is a “there,” there is a “then.” In Eternity, there is only an Immortality that no one remembers.
If I do not remember, she says, it means it did not exist. And then the Others do not exist either.
She cries out.
“What if I die now?” she asks.
She won’t die now. She must give birth to all of them. That is what They decided.
Who are They?
Maybe they don’t exist. And if They exist, They do not know that. She hasn’t known either. She only knows now, when she is dying.
The last dragon cub appears from between her thighs, with its jaw open and its eyes burning. She feels it wrench away from her, sees it shaking off the blood it is covered in.
Next to her, there is a lake of fire. Blue fire that came from the dying goddess’s body.
She smiles tiredly.
They don’t know they exist.
Triumphant, she puts her head on her arm and sighs for the last time. Her copper blonde hair envelops her like a cloak of fire, consuming her.