sifting through sand

Looking through old photo albums, looking at how the world has grown and progressed over decades and centuries, I stumble upon an old photo that amuses me more than it should. There I am, kneeling on the ground, a sieve in hand and looking for, I’m not sure I recall what. Gold most than likely, it was the time, back then. Sifting through sand and through muck, through this and that. I found a lot though I never did really find any gold.

It was a time of huge changes, of new things and of people heading out to discover new areas. I’d already been all over the world at this point and everywhere, humans were progressing forward, moving at a fair pace towards new things and better lives. That is not to say that they’re not still doing that now but everything feels so detached.

While some people still work a lot with their hands, a lot of jobs nowadays are done through computers with a lot of typing and web surfing and whatever else it is they do to earn money. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s far from, but less and less people know how to work with their hands. Carpenters might still learn their trade but the passion for that is so rare compared to then. People used to gather, people used to discover new things together, now people fight not to decide who will go first but to force someone to start in since not one of them really cares to anymore.

The world has changed and I don’t know that I care all that much for its changes.

Would I want to go back to the older times of world without true civilisation? Probably not but a lot could be learned. So much could be learned of those few tribes that still remain lost in the wilderness, those who refuse to even be approached by outsiders. They work together, they manage the land, they have their own languages.

The loss of the properly spoken language is one of those things I miss the most. I look at chat rooms on the computer, out of curiosity more than anything else, and I see shortened words, one-letter uses and words for which the spelling no longer makes sense. It is really so hard to type out ‘how are you?’ or simply ‘you’? It seems to be, nowadays it is a case of ‘how r u’ and ‘u’. The thought almost makes me ill with homesickness for older times when languages were cherished, not abandoned this way.

I suppose it might very well be why I have the library attached to the house as I do. Full of older books, first editions, worn scrolls, books where the language is cherished as it should be, books where I can lose myself and forget that everything today needs to be done quickly and shortcuts aren’t an issue.

Shortcuts, when I grew up, were not an option. Shortcuts were dangerous and avoided at all costs. I know I’m old, this is hardly news for anyone who knows me even just barely and I suppose I am old fashioned. No, I will not stand for slavery and I will not stand for the beating of people who have done wrong but I dearly so miss so many things of time gone by.

Eoghan knows this, he knows of my love of pure things, of poetic things which I suppose are a bit of an oxymoron when one considers that I am gifted with strife. Only once has he ever teased me about this and the subject was dropped quickly enough. Though I suppose that my turning my back on him and ignoring him for the week following that tease has taught him a lesson. I’m old fashioned, that won’t change though I can appreciate some of technology’s forms.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to look through old photos. I try not to do this often as some memories are harder to recall than others and some are just painful to live through again. Now and again, I might do things that will make little sense. It is my own way of not forgetting, it is my way of looking at all that surrounds me and telling myself ‘I’ve lived through and I’ve grown stronger for it’. Not a single moment in this life have I really surrendered. I have often dropped my guard, lowered my arms, nearly given up indeed but never have I really gone through the act.

Insanity is not all that uncommon when you come to be of a certain age. I have seen, in my much younger years, before most demons seem to disappear from the face of the planet, elders, beginning to babble without any sense, beginning to mumble to themselves, uttering words that held no meaning or reason. The loss of sanity is something that I wish on no one, it is a terrible sight to behold and it difficult to work through, depending on the gift the demon has held in his or her breast since birth.

In demons with minor gifts, the onset of insanity is easily worked with but with demons of greater powers, elementals and strife-keepers, mind-speakers, when insanity settle, the first thing to go usually is the secure control over the gifts one is born with and handling tornadoes, earthquakes, accidental wars, none of it is easy.

I’ve met Eoghan’s grandfather though I might never tell him that. The man was on the brink, on the very edge of sanity versus insanity and his hold over his telepathy was wavering. He would spend hours simply holding his head in his hands, rocking back and forth, unable to block the voices that he had kept out of his mind for longer than I had been alive then. Then, after a few miserable years where no one seemed to be able to help him, he slipped into the hold of insanity itself, his gift was pushed outwards and several who had been kept in the same building as him died, as if from a blow to the head.

He had to be killed. I don’t know who did it. I don’t know why I recall him as being Eoghan’s grandfather other than the age matches, the features, I can see now how much they looked like one another. Those same blue eyes. Of course, Eoghan is different, somehow those wings of his, his mark as it is, they’re more than likely from his mother because wings are rare for anyone with gifts like ours. Demons usually do not have feathers.

After a few hours of looking at photos, I put the album away again. I always tend to feel worse after I’ve looked at the photos than before I did though there’s not much to be done about that, really. I do it again and again, though usually with a few decades between every viewing so I suppose I’m not all that much a glutton for punishment.

Eoghan stands in the doorway, merely leaning against its frame and I have to wonder as to how long he’s been standing there. Not that it matters much. I turn to face him, a light smile to my lips though he shakes his head. As I step closer he presses a kiss to my lips, a light, brief sort of touch. “I wish you wouldn’t look at those photos, they always leave you troubled and I don’t like you being troubled.”

“Troubled or not, I have you to help me forget about everything and I know you love being able to pamper me though you might never really admit to it.” I chuckle as he pouts. I curl my arms about him and lean my head against him for a few moments. His presence is my anchor in this world, this new, language-broken world. He’s the main reason I’m still out and about. Without him, I don’t think I would stand much of a chance at staying alive.


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