‘I want you to understand my nature,’ said the visitor to my
library. ‘I am the ghost of a story yet to be written.’
I watched him warily as he sat shadowed from the meagre
candlelight that flickered from the sconce over the empty fireplace.
‘Take up your pen’ he urged. ‘You are the only one alive who can
tell my tale.’
‘Surely there are others?’ I asked from desperation. I was
frightened now beyond all measure.
Who was he? How had he entered my sanctuary? I didn’t voice those
thoughts aloud, afraid of his reaction. I was alone here, no contact
with the outside world, so to shout for help would have been futile.
‘You are the Chime Child!,’ he told me. ‘Born as the clock struck
midnight. ‘Tis a liminal time when the veils between the worlds are at
their thinnest. I need you to tell my tale.’
I’d always been uncanny as a child, at least that is what the adults
had whispered. I saw things in my peripheral vision that others
couldn’t see. It had blighted my childhood and because of that, I’d
never had a friend. I knew from an early age not to share my dreams
and secrets with anybody, so had locked them away inside me. The
walls I had built to contain them were tall and strong, they had been
impenetrable to all who had tried to reach me. I was cocooned here
within my tomb of books and had felt safe until now.
I took up my pen with my hand trembling and walked like a
sleepwalker to my desk. There was just enough light to write by, not
enough to see the stranger who sat in the chesterfield chair.
‘I’m ready.’ I said, although it felt like the words were wrenched
from my very soul. The stranger sighed, with what seemed to be
relief and began to speak.
‘I am older than you can know. I was here in the time before the moon. I
have seen empires rise and fall and cities lost to the sea!’
He gave pause for a short time to let me record his words, I did so,
although my mind refused to process what he said.
‘I have seen many Gods come and go. Some who followed the
ways of nature, woven with leafs. Living in peace with the seasons
and following the cycles of life. Then there were others who
brought strife on all who would not cede to them. They were
capricious and angry, needing the adulation of their followers to
I scribbled down his words, forgetting my fear of him as I was
spellbound by his narrative.
‘The very worst of it’ he continued, ‘were the followers of religions
who could not find it in their hearts to be tolerant of another’s
beliefs. They waged wars on their fellow man, when they should have
been living in a spirit of love. They never understood that the truth
was simple, that the answers were inside them and not in the words
of another, but in the deeds that they do themselves.’
He stopped again for a while, I could feel contemplation coming off
him in waves, as if he judged every word before he spoke it.
‘Mankind has not evolved as it should’ he sighed, ‘lessons should
have been learned. They do not see the magic woven in threads that
connect all things living and thus, are slowly killing the world on
which they tread. If they continue this journey, all that will be left will be a
well of silence in a barren world. They must look inside to find their
own answers before it is too late. Each man must walk his own path.’
He ceased speaking for what seemed the longest time, I waited
eagerly to hear more and was rewarded with his closing words.
‘We all have a flame within us, sometimes it flickers to the point of
extinction, but we all have the ability to kindle it thus!’
With those words he snapped his fingers and the candle in the
sconce flared up and threw my room into relief. I finished writing his
words and looked across to the chair. He was silent now, and I made
my way over to him with no more fear in my heart.
He was dressed in the same manner as I, all in black which looked as
dusty as my bookshelves. I knelt at his feet and looked up into his
face and saw curling brown hair, brushing down over his collar and a set of serious brown eyes.
Slowly it dawned on me, I was looking at myself. He smiled, as he
saw I had, in that moment, seen the truth, that I was him, and he was
me. He took my face in his hands, and spoke in a gentle and loving
‘Leevi, my beloved, take down the walls which you have built and tell the world our tale.’
He then faded slowly. The only traces he left, were the tracks of
tears on my face and the hope in my heart for the first time in years.