The Fire and the Sea

Across the desert of time, in a desolate land of cold stone and decaying dreams, lived a man from the sea. Never had he lived away from the water until the day when the chainmen came to take him away. The chainmen were dark souls with lifeless eyes which bore no compassion, no pity, no emotion whatsoever. For many years they travelled, further and further inland, until they reached the land of scars where humanity had no place and the display of human emotion was punishable by death.

After years shackled to the darkest, heaviest rock that the chainmen could find, the man from the sea began to forget about all the things he had left behind and, before long, the only place that real human emotions could be seen was in his blue-green eyes amongst his memories of the sea. Few noticed all that his eyes kept safe, they saw only the cold and jagged façade he had learned to copy from the rocks that surrounded him, and for this the man was grateful since, in the land of scars, his own emotions could carry a harsh and heavy price.

However, after ten years enslaved by the dark eyed chainmen of the land of scars, the man from the sea had all but given up hope of returning home when he noticed a light amongst the shadows. Through the ranks of chainmen walked someone he had never seen before. She walked among them and perhaps, he thought, even with them. But he could tell at first sight, she was not one of their kind. She resembled the pixies of the land of dreams and her eyes burned brightly with the most beautiful flames ever known, illuminating the landscape all around her. This was the most spectacular being he had ever seen and, for a long time, the man was scared even to look at her too long lest his soul be burnt up by her brilliance. But, over time, the woman with eyes of fire grew closer to the man from the sea and showed him kindness the like of which he had never known before. He soon learnt that the woman’s beauty, though incomparable, was rivalled only by her vast intellect, her kind and generous nature, and her ability to make him laugh and smile, even in the darkness of the land of scars. Just being in the presence of her radiant healing glow made him remember how it felt to be free.

But, over the years, the chainmen grew intolerant of the woman with eyes of fire and they began to conspire to darken her soul forever. The man from the sea saw this and became scared that the chainmen’s darkness would prove too much for her pure soul to bear. For the first time in many years he felt a rage build up within and he resolved to protect her from any who would do her harm. He looked deep into her eyes of fire and knew that here was a woman he could learn something from every day for the rest of his life; here was a woman he could love forever; here was a woman he would protect through eternity; here was a woman he could live for.

But what could he do? Chained to his rock he was forbidden to feel emotion, let alone to show it or speak of it. The doubts began to flood his mind as he told himself that he was nothing more than a man from the sea with little to offer but his love and loyalty. What right had he to love one of such radiance? And, more importantly, how could he be so sure that she felt the same? She had never said so and, with such natural kindness, how could he know that she felt anything more for him than for all the lost souls in the land of scars. What if he told her and the chainmen found out? What would become of him then? Was he destined to spend the rest of his life denying what he knew was true? Was he fated to forever live with the regrets of all that he left unsaid? He didn’t know what was worse, execution for the honesty of his passion, or living forever in the darkness of obedience to the chainmen. He only wished that she would see the truth of what he felt in his eyes and give him a sign, just one clear sign, of whether she felt the same. It didn’t occur to him that she might have been just as scared as he.

So the man from the sea stayed silent and spent his days dreaming of a time when he would be free to take his beloved with her eyes of fire, and show her off to the sea. The waves would bow down before her grace, of that he had no doubt. And, just as the oceans reflect the rising sun, he knew he could reflect her brilliance too, her fire mirrored in his seas. Inspiring him to be the best he could be.

But that was just a dream and dreams had no place in the land of scars. The man from the sea knew this and, though his own silence screamed its tortuous shriek into his ears, he resolved to hold his feelings in, never to be seen.

For a time the man endured this well, laughing through the pain. But the only thing that hurt him more than being in her presence was not being in her presence at all. He would count down the days between her visits, barely recovering from her last by the time her next arrived. For days on end he couldn’t sleep or eat or think and, soon enough, the illuminating fire that he loved so much became the source of his demise.

The woman stayed with her light shining out for all to behold, but none seemed to appreciate it as much as the man from the sea and the longer he stayed silent the brighter her fire became. At first he couldn’t tell if the flames were truly growing or if he merely noticed more of them as time went on. But then, on a day just like any other, the man took a look around. The woman with eyes of fire was gone but from North to South, East to West, as far as his eyes could see, she had set the whole landscape ablaze and he was trapped in the middle, alone.

For a moment he felt scared, but soon this turned to relief. After living in the agony of silent darkness he could imagine no finer escape than to be burnt up by the flames of his beloved. Patiently he waited, resigned to the inevitability of his fate, and slowly the fiery leaves of red heat danced their way towards him until just beyond arms reach. But then they hurt him more than he ever thought they could. They stopped.

In the middle of the land of scars, with the whole landscape blazing with the brilliance of the woman with eyes of fire, sat a cold and lonely man, chained to a blackened rock. No matter how hard or fast that he tried to reach those flames, they would only part and move away, forever beyond his grasp.

There he was and, for eternity, there he will remain. Destined to live forever in the midst of memories and dreams that can never be attained. Tortured by regret for all he didn’t say. Alone forever and shackled to the dark. Doomed to wonder forever more if he should have spoken all that was on his mind. Wishing that she’d given him, that single one clear sign.

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8 Comments

8 thoughts on “The Fire and the Sea

  1. The man of the sea lit up the blackened rock for all to see, or at least that’s what the woman with fire in her eyes thought? It became clear over time not all saw his light shining so brightly, some were too busy seeking darkness, feeding the chainmen what they thrived off.
    The light he shone came from his heart and soul- he was a good, pure man who had strived his best in the worst conditions chained to the blackened rock, in the land of scars. He lived deep with regret and sorrow and it showed in his eyes, but he also showed enthusiasm, care and compassion no other had shown in the land of scars. Was this a show? The chainmen convinced her so, but over time his light became so bright it could not be denied. She did not know fully of his past, just of a vast sea, nor did she want to, her judgement came from the light he shone through his good heart and soul.
    He made the fire burn stronger within her each and every day, his passion made her passionate, his enthusiasm made her enthusiastic and his light made her shine brighter. She longed to keep that forever, sacred to her but he belonged to the land of scars. Over time she noticed a weight heavy on his good and pure soul. She hurt for him and consumed her time worried for his heart of gold, had the chainmen started to take his light that was slowly dulling? She saw the truth he felt in his eyes everyday. She hoped he had seen hers too, but hoping was not enough. She burnt to shout out, what she felt inside knowing he felt the same, over time this burning turned to fear and doubt. Had she misread the signs? Did the man of the sea truly feel this way? Was this a product of the circumstance?
    She knew she had to tell, to give him some of the light and beauty back that he was loosing, to let him know there was always the sea still out there, and the sea and the girl with fire in her eyes would always be awaiting him. The chainmen could not persecute her, they had done their worst, but what about the man of the sea? What would become of him? Would this fire she held inside, once let out burn him? The fear of persecution for the man of the sea became stronger than her fire. She tried to protect him from their iron grasp by allowing her fire to consume her each and every day, she was driven away by the blackening of the rock, their darkness overtook. Her guilt and love burned inside her, affecting more decisions in life than she would like to admit, and the missed chances she had to allow him to be freed and burn brighter consumed her from within. She should have just told him all he needed to know- she had obsessively, head over heels loved him, his heart and soul from the day they met and her fire will always burn for him only. But she never will.

  2. The man from the sea lived with his regret for many moons since the woman had left him. He had been forced to bury his feelings down deep where no one would ever find them, and where they would be unable to find him. For a time, he could focus only on the mundane and the superficial but, after a while, he found new ways to show all around him that he did not belong in the land of scars at all. He would frequently tell stories of his experiences and allow his words to float away, the wind carrying them to the furthest reaches of the earth.

    Then, one day, a voice came floating back to him. The moment it reached his ears his heart swelled and his darkened soul began to glow once more. The woman with eyes of fire had found him again. He clambered upon his rock and searched the skies for a sign of her light. But as clear as he could hear her song, she was nowhere to be seen. He sat silently, just listening to her words, and as she sang to him of how she had always known how he felt, and how she had felt the same but never felt able to say so, he finally began to smile for the first time since she had left.

    But when her song was done and the man looked out into the darkness, he realised that the tales he had sent out on the wind had been nothing more than a distraction from the pain he had been trying to hide. The woman’s song had given him more questions than it gave him answers, and he remained in his darkness alone. Though she had said that she knew how he felt, he had still never had the chance to tell her; to speak plainly and honestly. He had lived with that regret for too long already and he could hide it no more.

    So, standing on his rock, he called out into the darkness, asking the woman with eyes of fire for just one thing. He needed her to return. He needed a chance to say all that he’d never been able to before. He still wasn’t sure if she felt the same, or if that was enough. But if he could speak with her openly, with nothing to hide, then he would know he had done all he could and at least his regret would fade.

  3. Pingback: The Fire and the Sea | Adam Mac

  4. All the man from the sea had wanted was a chance to tell the woman with eyes of fire how he felt about her. To say it aloud and be damned. But she gave him far more than that. She heard his song and as sure as the sun rises, she carried her light back to him, illuminating his life once more.

    He had never been more scared than at that moment, but he knew that he had to embrace the fear and to face it. He told the woman just what she meant to him. He told her that he loved her. He told her that he longed for her. He told her that she was everything he had ever wanted. But as much as saying that scared him, her reply immediately soothed his soul. The thing is, she said, I’m madly in love with you. His head swam and his heart swelled and despite the shadows that surrounded him, he smiled for the first time in many years. He knew he would never forget those words and the significance of what they meant to him.

    However, thought the man from the sea wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of his life doing everything in his power to make the woman with eyes of fire happy, he could see how spectacular she was, and knew he had little to offer her from the land of scars. So he told her, she needed to do whatever would make her happiest. If being with him could do that, then that would be greater than anything the man could possibly imagine. But if, as he feared, he could not offer her happiness, then she should fly away and never look back to the land of scars and the horrors it contained. Nothing mattered more to him than the woman’s happiness, and he would gladly embrace any pain or sorrow if he could save her from the same.

    The woman thought about this carefully, and when she had made her decision she told him. She wanted everything he wanted. She wanted them to be together. She wanted them to spend their lives by each others side. She wanted them to travel and explore the world together. She wanted them to wed and to find a place to grow old. She wanted them to find a place near the sea.
    The man was so overjoyed by this news, by the very idea of them both wanting the same, that he allowed himself to dream once more. He opened his heart wider than he had ever opened it before and he let her in. And for a time it was good. For a time, they held each other close and would spend every second they could just bathing in each other’s presence.

    However, no good thing can last forever and soon enough the shadows of the world around them crept their way in. Seeds of doubt were planted and the darkest of shadows, carrying their own crooked and evil agendas sought to extinguish the light of their love.

    The woman with eyes of fire was dragged from the man from the sea, not just once, but time and again. However, each and every time she would return to his side just as soon as she could, knowing how much it hurt him to be there alone, worrying for her and the purity of her soul.
    Just as he had before, the man from the sea could hear her still, her voice floating to him upon the wind. But he could see her no more and the pain of all he had lost consumed him from within, casting it’s own shadow upon the very core of his fragile heart. The darkness filled him with emptiness and void. He could see no hope, no future. He could stand it no more.

    The man began to pace, still tethered to his rock, in circles around the shadows. Wishing he could speak to her. Longing to understand how it had all gone so wrong. Loving her still, as much as he ever had. But though he prayed night and day, she did not return, and she sent no answers, no words of kindness, none of the love she swore she would feel forever. There was nothing but darkness, and he endured it alone. Before long his pacing in circles had wrapped his chains in coils which spanned from head to toe and the man struggled to move at all. He could neither escape from their grip, nor find the strength to tighten them and hasten his demise. He was trapped, alone and powerless. Doomed to spend eternity in his prison of chains, forever praying for her mercy. Forever longing for her to grant him one last taste of her kindness and release him from his pain. Praying that she would show him her light, just one final time. Praying that their love was true.

  5. Adam … Do you know the lyrics to ” let it be” ? …sing it to yourself . What you resist , persists.
    You resist losing this lady….stop resisting. Let it be……for now, if it was meant to be- it will be, as and when it’s meant to be….it just ain’t right now sweetie. Love the blog….keep writing, and when it’s all feeling bad- write more.

    • Thank you for your comments. It’s taken me a while to write this reply to them, but just feeling the compassion and empathy you offered with your words was exactly what I needed and came at just the right time. Thank you.

  6. Oh Adam reading that has moved me to tears, it’s beautiful yet tragic. I feel your pain and im sorry your hurting.. I hope one day you get the chance to add a “happy ever after” ending to your story.. Stay strong, were thinking about you x

  7. Pingback: It’s You | Adam Mac

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