False Fire

He clanged and clattered the bars with bestial ferocity. His fiery eyes gleamed, now orange, now gold. Displayed in the middle of the crowded square, everyone saw him, yet no one did. No one could have missed his wild roars, yet they all seemed deaf. I stood, in my new blue robe, separated from him by a film of false faces. I shut out all sound, not because I wanted to be like the puppets around me; oh no, I always prided myself on being different, on standing out from the crowd. No, I just wanted to see, and sight is often unclouded in the absence of sound. Just as the blind Yarn-Spinner had suddenly heard the cacophony he had hitherto ignored. He had told me all about it. Similar, yet not quite the same.


I saw. I saw past the ferocity and the wildfire that issued from him. I saw past the aura of mystery he had seemed to exude. I saw him, so transparent now, so desperate; caught soundly between two worlds. On his own, one alien. One that he wanted to abandon, one that he wanted to rule. One where he could rule. A wannabe transgressor, I thought. Caught in a cage.


As I stared unconsciously, the fiery eyes met mine. Electricity cackled, yet I couldn’t blink or look away. How typically cliché, I would have thought. But those eyes drove all thoughts out of my head. He was still tense, still fierce; but momentarily, he paused. Those eyes; there was nothing reconciliatory in them, no mercy. Yet no revenge either. Anger, perhaps; I couldn’t identify it. They weren’t speaking to me anymore. They were just pools of fire. Yet, strangely, it had seemed for an instant as though he had been looking to me for hope, like I was the Angel, his bridge; like I was the one who could help him. Transgress.


The sounds came crashing back. I turned away with a derisive laugh, and walked back the way I’d come, my blue robe unfurling behind me. Like I could ever help anyone transgress.


Kriti Bajaj