Miro: Chapter Three: The Faeries of Morpheus

This is the third chapter of what is evolving of its own accord into a strange sort of mystery novel. The first chapter, Miro, is published here. The second chapter, Letter to Ariela, is published here. The fourth chapter, The Card Game, is partly written and will be published shortly. The novel consists of a set of fragments, recollections and memorabilia, that are  discovered by Inspector Tom·s Moreno LÛpez in a carved box in the home of Miro, an engineer who has mysteriously disappeared and is now assumed dead. The carved box was apparently made by Miro’s estranged wife, a famous artist, who has turned up at a country inn, incoherent and delirious, and fallen into a mute trance, oblivious and unresponsive to everyone, including the couple’s two adult children. So Inspector Moreno must try to piece together the puzzle from the ‘clues’ in the box, each of which is contained in a numbered envelope, and each of which, as Moreno reads and ponders them, becomes a chapter of the novel.  Here is the contents of the third envelope:


When Ariela disappeared, Miro started taking higher doses of the narcotics he’d been prescribed for his condition. He was not proud of this, but he felt he couldn’t handle any more anguish, and since the pain and insomnia he was suffering was worse in any case, and the drugs helped, he indulged himself in their sweet escape. Desperate to try to find restful sleep, he bought two blue tents — a small one with a floor in it for sleeping, and a larger, 3m by 4m nylon/mesh enclosure he constructed around it for eating and working, and erected them at the bottom of his yard at the forest’s edge. Puppi and Kitti, the six-month-old dog and cat that Miro had been convinced to take in by Birgit, the neighbour’s teenaged daughter who found them abandoned in a roadside ditch, were fascinated by this construction within a construction. To allow them easy access, Miro designed two-way swinging pet doors in both tents, and watched as they taught each other to master them. He made a rough floor for the larger tent from oversized paving stones, and cut a piece of memory foam to fit the entire inside of the smaller, sleeping tent.

And then, for the most part, he moved out of the house and into these new accommodations. A standing-height desk enabled him to work on his engineering projects, and he ran a long extension cord to recharge his wi-fi enabled computer, solar lamp and cellphone. He returned to the house only to prepare meals for the three of them, and to use the bathroom.

The days were idyllic, and Miro worked furiously on some designs for a new type of organic solar energy collector and transformer that drew on how insects, birds and leaves transpire the sun’s energy. He spent two hours each afternoon online with his personal coach, learning and practicing meditation, yoga, and food preparation. When it would rain or storm, he would photograph the mists and downpours, often through the muting mesh of the dining tent, or just pay attention to his senses and natter away to Kitti and Puppi, who watched the storms and the reactions of the wildlife to them with intense focus. With his wireless headset he would also sometimes spend hours, as he worked or played, talking with faraway friends about the meaning of life, or about how the next generation, young people like the idealistic and naive Birgit, could possibly cope with the terrible world they would soon inherit. And each day was punctuated with three long and lazy walks, Kitti and Puppi leading the way, through the forest or around the block, stopping to chat and drink with the neighbours and their pets.

The nighttimes, however, were another matter. The fresh air and exercise were not enough to cure Miro’s insomnia, and long after Puppi and Kitti had retreated to the inner tent and curled up together among the cushions, Miro would lie completely awake, listening to Internet radio and trying to talk himself to sleep. He imagined himself a bird, soaring into the clouds over miles and miles of dark peaceful countryside, or dipping below the surface into a world of infinite peace and darkness, but this imagining, that had worked for him when he was younger, now brought him no respite. He had slowly learned not to fight the insomnia, to putter around and do things, to write, to just relax and breathe, to accept his condition, but when the pain would come, he would succumb to the temptation to overdo the drugs, and fall fitfully into a kind of troubled, twilight sleep.

That’s when the faeries would come. At first, there were just the two of them, almost twins, androgynous, diaphanous, almost transparent, with lovely, smooth, expressive, feral animal faces, winged and flitting and constantly giving off bursts of light. Their bodies were so sinuous that they sometimes seemed more plant than animal. One would hover in front of him, smiling, gesticulating, nodding, while the other lay or knelt behind him, its smooth hand with its incredibly long fingers reaching around and stroking Miro’s stomach, gently, in a massaging circular motion like the one Miro had learned to use to lull rabbits to sleep. The faerie’s hands oozed a sweet-smelling aloe-like substance that was comforting, but not enough to tip Miro over the edge to sleep. So the strange therapy continued, sometimes seemingly for hours, until Miro would suddenly open his eyes and find them gone, and see the purple of dawn, and Puppi and Kitti would stir and wander off for an early morning prowl. And Miro would arise to face one more day, worried about his beloved Ariela, feeling somehow strangely at peace, and yet terribly alone.

And then one night there were not just two faeries but dozens, whirling around the tents, passing through their walls as if they weren’t there, lighting up the night with a furious cosmic dance. Miro wasn’t sure if they were mating, or just playing, or performing some kind of rite for their own or his benefit. He watched in amazement as they lit up the night sky with their acrobatics. The show went on endlessly, as if time had stopped and this night was destined to last forever. And then suddenly before him was the familiar face of the hovering faerie, staring at him with that expression of complete openness. And for the first time, although its mouth did not move, it spoke to him:

“Miro, we need to talk.”

Miro raised his eyebrows and said to himself, “Great. Now my hallucinations are speaking back to me.”

“You make a big deal about Ariela’s propensity for self-destructive behaviour, but you’re exhibiting more than a little of that behaviour yourself. It’s fine to take narcotics to numb physical pain, but the pain you’re trying to kill is not just your body’s. Morphine is not the right treatment for guilt, or unhappiness, or grief.”

Miro looked over at Puppi and Kitti, who were wrestling with each other playfully, oblivious to the faerie spectacle and the faerie’s apparent speech. Miro closed his eyes and said, quietly, “My friends here would seem to confirm that you are not here, that I am just imagining all this.”

“They don’t see us because they have no need to. They have no problem imagining possibilities. You, on the other hand, seem to be suffering from considerable imaginative poverty these days. So we’re here for you.”

“So that’s what you are? Agents provocateurs for my imagination?”

“Precisely”, responded the faerie. “The presentation you are watching, in the Now Time that is much easier for you to be part of at night, with the right prompting, is a Matrix of Possibilities. We thought you’d prefer it in the form of a dance of a thousand faeries than visits from three ghosts, since you are no Mr. Scrooge.” The faerie’s face broke out in a broad grin at this literary allusion, and it punctuated the point with three flashes of light in a line, presumably referring to Time Past, Time Present and Time Future.

“I no longer have the will to set out ambitious possibilities for myself,” replied Miro. “I have done what I must, given what I had to give, moved the world ahead a bit, and made peace with myself. I have nothing more to prove to anyone. Our children have turned out delightfully, Ariela and I gave each other a great deal, and now she has moved on. The work I have done will benefit millions, and I need not share in its commercialization or the recognition of its success to be immensely satisfied with that. I understand, at last, my purpose, and how the world works. My work is done, and it is now up to others to pick up where I left off, and add their genius and purpose to mine, building on what I have started. I am tired. I have earned my rest, including rest from guilt and unhappiness and grief that I know makes no sense. As peace drugs go, morphine seems to me a pretty good one, one that hurts no one.”

The faerie shook its head. “I suppose it’s a better drug than propelled lead, or alcohol, or even dopamine, adrenaline, testosterone, endorphins, psychopathy. These are all means to desensitize you, however, and your imaginative poverty is preventing you from realizing that your guilt, your grief, your sadness, comes not from sensing too much, from oversensitivity, from feeling more than you can bear — but comes rather from incapacity to feel enough, from insensitivity.”

Miro was incensed. “I am who I am, and if I am insensitive it is not from lack of trying to be more sensitive, more empathizing, more compassionate and understanding. We can’t change who we are. Who and what we are is dictated by our bodies, not controlled by our minds. I am weary of trying to be more than who and what I am. Others can take up that cause, with my blessing and sympathy. I’ve had enough. I just want to be at peace. I want to sleep. I want to feel less, damn it.”

The faerie was unmoved. “Poor suffering boy,” it said mockingly. “You barely know what it means to feel at all. For all your knowledge and anxiety and half-hearted meditation, you have lived most of your life numb, untouched by and unaccessible to Gaia, the all-life-on-Earth of which you are apart but have never acted as-part-of. You have never experienced the true bliss of absolute connection, oneness with your fellow Earth-citizens. Your instincts whisper to you but you cannot hear. Your senses promise you understanding that surpasses anything your mind could ever countenance, yet you ignore them, you have turned them off, they are dead from lack of use and lack of practice. Your capacities to perceive are almost non-existent and render your extraordinary and grief-inducing ability to conceive impotent and useless. You are two-dimensional, empty, self-imprisoned, a shadow of a being. The birds you so admire, which have caused you to conjure us up in this flighty form, feel more in a half-second than you have dared feel in your whole miserable, tortured life.”

“If I were to do more, now, it would be to help Ariela, to bring her the peace and contentment that I have finally started to realize in my own life. Maybe I’ve never really lived, loved, felt, but I would far sooner do something for her than re-start my own life now. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m satisfied with what I’ve done and become. My legacy, I think, is set. If I have a little bit of energy left to do one more thing, I would want to expend it on her behalf, helping her to realize something that will make her, at last, truly happy. How would I do that?”

This time the faerie smiled and nodded. “A great and heartfelt sentiment, if somewhat misplaced,” it said. “You must realize that Ariela, like you and each of us, is on her own lonely journey towards self-realization, and her success and happiness in reaching that goal is strictly in her own hands. There is only one thing you can do to help her, and even that is only indirect: You can become a model for her. You can learn to Let-Self-Change. You can heal your relationship, yours and hers, by healing yourself. Not by doing something for her, but by showing her, in your own ‘selfish’ self-realization, the same Matrix of Possibilities we have been trying to show you tonight. You can show her what is possible by allowing yourself to realize the possibility in yourself. There is still time for you to learn, and practice, to really live, love, feel, sense, belong, connect with all-life-on-Earth. It would require a lot of work from you. But it’s a possibility.”

Miro was silent. He smiled at the faerie, which suddenly began to flicker, as if it were poised to disappear sideways into another dimension. Puppi suddenly turned towards where the faerie, still with an enigmatic look on its face and hovering in a space that wasn’t still quite there. And as Puppi started barking, the sky was filled with swirls of colour, stars and suns and moons and comets rising and falling, and ribbons of light and movement, and gods, faces of astonishing creatures, phantoms, a folding of time and space into and out of itself. And then darkness, and a flash of light far off at the edge of the horizon.

And then the colours of morning — richer and more radiant than Miro had ever seen. Purples and reds and yellows and blues and oranges in the first rays of the emerging sun. The green that reflected from the trees was palpable, luminescent, it leaped out from the leaves to coat Miro’s body with its astonishing glow, its real-ness, its presence. And Miro began to laugh, and teased Puppi and Kitti until they were all playing furiously, chasing and pouncing on each other in pure joy, dancing inthe still moment of the dawn.

Artwork above is from Sweden’s Linda Bergkvist at furiae. Some of her extraordinary work is available for sale through her site.

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