I have seen a face whose sheen I could look through to the ugliness beneath, and a face whose sheen I had to lift to see how beautiful it was.
—The Madman of Gibran
ow do you make love to a goddess?
Not to a divinity; this is not a myth. Well, maybe it is a myth. Or rather, the beginning of a myth, where facts and hopes and dreams and the madness of humanity and its desperations maniacally shape the story of the past and future like some child’s clay. Maybe it's the beginning of a legend. The birth of a new Divine. After all that has happened, all that I have seen, I understand why it may seem so.
I come from a land where religion soaks into the very soil, where one thousand ragas encompass every mood and expression of our species, where a million theologies were born, copulated and recombined like genomes to produce monotheists, polytheists, thirty-three and ten million divines and the number zero. Where the stories of the gods and goddesses never ended and a child had no need of a superhero - with charming Krishna, dancing Shiva and beautiful Parvati, there were stories uncounted. Perhaps then, it is no wonder that we so easily worshiped Her. The real wonder is that nearly all do, every nation across this blue and white marble pulled from the ashes.
Even these monstrosities, these aliens now positioned across our world with their own god-like technologies and cities - they hold Her in awe. In the erased fragments of time, a shattered Earth She made whole. The tyranny of the Dram trembles across the galaxy as Her power sweeps outward like a tide washing clean a tainted shore. She communes with the Orbs, summons their power, opens their portals. She is a Cosmic Messiah, writing anew the story of our universe.
But not to me. To me this is only a beginning.
Standing here as the soft morning sunlight of New Earth streams through our bedroom window, I look down on Her sleeping. The white sheets are nearly blinding, wrapped tightly around Her seductive curves. Her naked shoulder has slipped out of the fabric. It is nearly as white as the sheets - such a contrast to my dark copper. The entire blank canvas is dramatically altered by waterfalls of red curls streaming down to Her waist.
She is beautiful enough to be a goddess.
But not a mere goddess to me. She may be all these things, but to me She is a woman. My lover. She is my dearest, Ambra Dawn.
I was born to love Ambra. I know this from my heartbeat to the deep ache in my bones. It was my destiny made possible only by the miracle of Her powers, born when She had turned the first Dram fleets to dust. Had She been a normal woman, we would have never met. Never loved. Never walked hand in hand on the beaches of New Earth to feel the waves lap our ankles in the reddening sunset. Never made love on a distant world overlooking the colossus of our own galaxy as it painted the night sky like a frozen explosion.
But Ambra is no normal woman, and I, no normal man. I am abnormal in the ways I knew from childhood. Now, in this terrible darkness at the end, I see that my abnormality is deeper than could ever have been suspected. But it cannot be helped. It is not my doing. Can we who are made from the dust and the clay reshape our Maker?
As I look at the swollen, some would say grotesque, form of Her skull resting on the soft pillow, I feel a deep attraction, a pull to touch, to caress. Her Writer powers churn there in the benign tumor that has changed the fate of the universe and given her insight into the inner workings of space and time. Insight into the minds of any She chooses to probe.
This every schoolchild knows and so also I was taught, but this does not explain my childhood obsession with that deformed, beautiful head. Nor how I melt to see those sensual red locks, stopped two-thirds of the way up her scalp, where Her skin shines white and scarred, the hair removed by countless surgeries from a time long ago when She lived in bondage and pain.
I pause even now to dwell on the artificial bone around the enormous, grapefruit-sized bulge, sculpted, implanted by twisted scientists of Earth in thralldom to the Dram. The brain tissue inside altered to feed the tumor in Her adolescence until it grew beyond anything anyone could had predicted. It gave Her a sixth sense and stole from Her the ability to see as we do, leaving Her totally blind with perfectly healthy eyes.
My Ambra's bright green eyes see nothing. And yet, they see everything. They haunt the corridors of Time.
Other schoolmates learned the story of New Earth’s Mother by rote. I plunged my mind into the codified years like a warm sea. I took those lessons - words of Her parents’ death at the hands of monsters, Her abuse, deformation, torture, escape with the help of the angelic Xix, Her turning back of the powerful Dram, and even of Time itself - I took them deep into the core of my consciousness.
There, She impaled my heart. I memorized every event, each line on Her unchanging face from countless holographs, every lilt and tone and nuance of Her voice from audio recordings. Before I had the hormones to be in love, I loved Ambra Dawn like no man, no human, no saintly Xixian has ever loved another. In the truest sense, I had no choice. At this terrible end, I see the inevitability of it.
And so now, as I walk to the nightstand and open the drawer, it is only in a state of unreal detachment that I remove the weapon. The composite metal should feel cold in my hand, but it does not. I feel nothing. The muscles tighten around the handle of the pistol, but I give no commands, feel no responses, and notice no contractions or tightness in my skin. I can only see as if from a distance, from a vantage point I cannot define in space or in time.
And this automaton, my body, or now rather some alien form that is no longer mine, pulls that weapon out, unlocks the safety, and turns toward the bed, raising the barrel to the elongated head of my beloved, nearly touching the scarred edges near Her hairline.
And before anxiety or understanding can even rise within me, She opens those blind, green eyes with adoration, turning to stare directly into my own, tears trickling down Her white cheeks. I hear Her voice in my mind.
Don’t be afraid, Nitin. I love you.
I pull the trigger.