It is a shame, oh so hateful!
When I opened my eyes, I was greeted by endless orange, all blurred and morphing into one and many. I lifted my hand to rub my eyes, only to touch nothing.
In my moment of confusion, my eyesight regained itself It was then that I registered I was laying not only on orange, but on red, pink, a bit of green and scattered patches of purple Leaves. On varying stages of death
My seen through hands, my seen through stomach, my seen through legs-- Truly, I have become a ghost?
Then I died? Not alone, fortunately --I thought as I tried to pick up a leaf. I grabbed empty Toying with the idea of my death, I heard the leaves around me rustle.
I followed where the wind pushed them and saw a carriage zooming in my direction.
The stallion pulling it would be majestic if only its eyes weren't covered! --An echo of these exact words arose once I finished uttering them in my mind.
I thought I saw an image dominated by white, but it was gone too fast. I only knew, I had seen that horse before, and uttered those words. Before I died?
When the horse was right in front of me, I snapped out of my reverie. The horse galloped through my body and my eyesight was dominated by red-- oh, a man! I blinked.
The leaves beneath my feet pointed behind me, desperate to follow the speeding carriage. I wondered why the leaves left me to chase that carriage, why the wind wouldn't drag me as well.
I very much wanted to follow the carriage, but I found my feet constrained. Ten steps was all I could manage, I found out.
Death wasn't pleasant at all!
I couldn't touch the leaves-- that was alright. I couldn't leave-- that was alright, I couldn't follow that carriage-- that should be alright, I couldn't find a lake to see my face, oh right,
I very much wanted to see if my face was that of a monster. Was I a vengeful ghost? Or I didn't even have a face. No, I still had human features despite my transparency. Then did I become ugly? Was I ugly in the first place?
Imagining my face became monstrous scared me! I inadvertently thought of that man in the carriage. He was wearing a frown as deep as the creases in my bed when...
I tried to chase the thought, but again, it outran me. My chest throbbed. He would be so disappointed if I had an ugly face! No, no, I wasn't upset because of that-- Why am I upset?
I think many days had passed before I finally decided to give myself a name. I felt that I would exist for quite a time, long enough to deserve a name
But what could I name myself? I fought with my own head to obtain my old name, only to lose again and again and again, until my only option was to surrender.
Autumn, it would be my name. Or not. I circled my finger on the ground. "Qiu, it means autumn, and this is when we'll meet" I uttered each word as soon as they surfaced. And I repeated them
I repeated them in wonder, and one more time just to feel the magic.
Wonder and magic, those words contained enough emotions to enchant me, but I couldn't remember any images to associate the words with. I shouted in frustration
The man in the carriage invaded my mind again, so I vehemently shook my head. His stubborn invasion in my mind should mean something. He must know me when I was alive! ..
That, or I was too lonely
That man aside, My name would be Qiu
The second time I saw him again was the day after a full moon. My feet moved on their own to approach the carriage. A futile attempt.
Once again, the carriage passed, but it was slower than before. The leaves told me the same. A smile found its way to my face. I could see more of his face!
He had tousled blonde hair, some of it carelessly tied into a ponytail and laid on his left shoulder. It was tied with a red ribbon! --I recalled giddily, proud of myself for taking notice of such small detail. Ah, and his eyes...
His eyes was an intense blue When I imagined those eyes, pain started to gnaw on my heart. Yet I was unwilling to erase those eyes from my mind. Another detail, another one...
He was wearing a dark green suit with golden linings! And there was an emblem..? I didn't see clearly. But from what I briefly saw, I felt like I could paint his world.
He was rich, or royalty I nodded, satisfied with my conclusion. But then, why did he have eyebags? Why were his cheeks hollow? I knew-- guessed, he didn't take good care of himself.
He tortured himself with pain, pain tortured him-- I toyed with those two thoughts, and in the end, I asked out loud, "If he dies will he be able to see me?"
I wanted to wish him well, but as days passed, I noticed, I was more inclined on wishing him death. I was really, really, sick of the autumn leaves.
They couldn't talk And even if they could, the only thing we had in common was death. I never forgot that I was dead because each day left me more fatigued-- a mortal reaction.
Yes, I owe the autumn leaves all my unhappiness. Once I did wonder, was I an autumn leaf? Its spirit? After all, I was stuck under the largest tree which shed the most leaves.
The idea seemed plausible, but what about those images? Those voices?
"Please guide him here, to these words... I can't--"
A black haired girl carved on the tree with a jagged rock. The scene was pure white, except for her red dress that was damp and creased. For a moment, I felt a numbing chill on my feet. It spread and gnawed until it reached my ankles.
I gasped when the sensation disappeared and fell to my knees. My hand tried to clutch my chest. I looked towards the tree bark, at the location where the girl carved her words.
What are the chances that the girl was me? Believable, especially since the words intertwined with my soul, and I could taste them. Tangerines
"I am always here. When you are lonely, know that I am by your side, at this place. For we both know that night is merely a miracle"
Tangerines, but why did my whole body burn? Qiu... Autumn... Qiu... It would die when Winter arrives
I would die after the next full moon. And I wouldn't be able to see him. No, I wanted to show him the words before I leave!
I didn't even want to leave!
Maybe I was just paranoid. Who said that I would disappear in winter? You know it, you feel it --My inner voice said ominously. I knew it, the fatigue.
I sighed and looked at the strong rooted tree. I understood why the girl-- me, would pray to the tree.
It would be timeless, it would carry on my wish forever. It was reliable. As he had his reliable horse, I had a reliable... tree. Another sigh left me feeling desolate. Now what?
The day after the next full moon was colder. I saw his carriage appearing from the distance. A small speck that slowly got bigger. My heart thumped
Maybe I could stop him this time! I prayed hard, and I ran towards the carriage. I heard leaves rustling, louder and louder, they were dragged by the wind to assault the incoming carriage.
Some flew back to me, and the carriage didn't seem like it was about to stop. I looked up in despair. A stronger gust of wind raced past me and new leaves shed from the great tree.
The horse neighed in protest, lifted its front legs, and stamped them on the leaf covered ground. It was in front of me!
Time seemed to freeze, for me, for the horse.
I remembered, this horse was what the girl had rode over the plains... with him.
I remembered, the carriage was where the girl shared her first kiss... with him.
I remembered, that man was... he was... I gasped when the man walked past my transparent body and made way to the great tree. Like I wished, he found her words. My words.
And he slid down He screamed
Memories of him were unlocked. The girl and him reading a book, The girl and him strolling through the garden, The girl and him embracing each other, Oh so gentle
Then he was gone
"Please guide him to these words... I can't stay anymore, my country needs me..." the girl said with tears, and then she... rode her carriage,which was guarded by several people donning black.
She wasn't alone Yet she muttered,
"Would it be better if he thought I was dead...?"
I gasped. So was I dead or not? What led me to my death?
The man sat under the tree with his legs crossed. I shuddered when his eyes locked unto me. But no, I realized, he was looking past me. Into nothingness.
I moved forward. I tried to touch his unkempt blonde hair, but to no avail. I was choking in despair.
"Qiu Yue..." the man sobbed. And those words were the only thing he uttered before getting up. When he trudged to his carriage, I panicked.
Don't leave, I'm still here-- your Qiu Yue is here! --I wanted to scream. I tried and tried again, repeating the words, trying to hold onto his sleeves, but he simply. Couldn't. Feel me
Not my words Not my presence
I was ready to let go, but he turned my way. He gazed upon the great tree, and prayed, "Thank you for leading me to her"
Ah, I screamed. It hadn't led you to her --to me! --A sudden pain assaulted my head. More images. Of the girl, resting her head on the tree bark, lost in thought.
She muttered words only I could hear
"These memories are all I have of him... I'm afraid to forget... to distort... So let me think of him, all of him, one more time... please... My love for him..."
The girl opened her eyes and shakily sighed. Her fingers dug deeply onto the bark, but she ignored the pain of her nail ripping. Then she carved
I was I am... Qiu
She was Qiu Yue, and I am simply Qiu. Yet through her memories and prayer, I, who had nothing, who was nothing, became an entity filled with love. For him. So I laughed
I laughed at the girl, I laughed at the man and his horse, and I laughed at myself -- A fool, I am a fool! All along, I was a measly tree spirit.
Great tree! I insulted myself and I praised myself. In the end, I would still disappear when winter arrive. Would I awaken again in the Spring? Summer? Autumn?
I named myself Qiu, Autumn, but I wasn't trapped in Autumn. Yes, I would only sleep in Winter. It would be enough time to forget about him, about being Qiu Yue and her love for him.
I tried to convince myself, that I was just affected by Qiu Yue's love. But... In fact, brief memories of him was all I needed to fall in love.
So I continue the wonder The magic
Every Autumn, Three moons, I believe I am Qiu Yue. He believes Qiu Yue is here. Under the great tree, our love is permitted.