Part I : An End

The Author is an Artist.

The Artist is a Dreamer.

The Dreamer is a Fool.

The Fool is happy.

And yet, the Author is sad.

I looked at the words written on the parchment, over and over again, probably finding some unknown meaning in them, a sense that only I could grasp. I was looking at these words, mere words, and I could feel my entire world shattering into pieces at their sight.

But what a beautiful sight it was ! A well written calligraphy, one could merely follow the ink's trail for hours without even trying to see the letters, just their shape, without being bored. I blinked. Why could one like Art was a mystery to me. Because Art is useless, pointless, and those whom are claiming this can't be called liars though in the same time one could defend the position that Art is the most useful thing in this world and still, he couldn't be called a liar as well. Both were right and in their own sense both were wrong and that was Art. That precise small field where nothing could be right or wrong, only the Beauty in its own truth.

Beauty… Like a rose, I dare say. But would I touch the soft silkiness of the petals or wound myself by encountering the thorns ?

I smiled, gazing at the words once again.

Part II : Meeting at a café

I thoughtfully stirred my spoon in my small cup, letting my eyes wondering on the few clients already there. By this afternoon of May, the weather was warm, but not exceedingly hot, and thus many people of the wealthiest category of the population were currently outside, smart looking in their costumes while muttering pure nonsense to themselves and whoever foolish -or perhaps ambitious- enough to listen to them. I grinned, taking a sip of my drink.

This was going to be a good day, I believed. After all, how could such a beautiful day go wrong ? A day started by waking up in silk sheets, blinking a few times under the shine of the sun before lazily getting dressed to eventually come here, in this café, to observe humanity in its most natural place : the unnatural. This was one of these days, made of pure hazard, leaving a sweet flavour on my tongue as leaving through the blessing of the night.

I drank another sip of my Darjeeling tea, enjoying the sugared flavour of the famous refreshment. Today was… perfect.

Well, at least, today used to be perfect. Perfect until my eyes spotted someone, sitting at another table of the terrasse I was currently in. He seemed to be like all the other clients : a cup of coffee in hands he was drinking genuinely while looking at a newspaper he probably didn't even care about. I chuckled, thinking about one of the greatest skills of humankind : willingly doing things one didn't like for absolutely no other reason but one's will. However, as entertaining these thoughts may be, this particular client was unlike the others. Indeed, I could sense his gaze on me and he still had to turn his newspaper's page after fifteen minutes, which either meant he did not know how to read or he didn't even bother to.

I sighed, looking at my cup of tea, contemplating the swirling liquid. Why did they always have to ruin every little pleasure life could offer ? Could he not simply sit down like me, listening to the city's noise, with a pleased smile on his lips while drinking some refreshment of his liking ? Apparently not.

Anyway, I drank the remaining tea in my cup and then stood up, leaving a few more euros than necessary on the table, as a tip to the wonderful waiter. Putting in a lazy gesture my black jacket on me, I sighed, taking a look at my watch.

'Almost nine… Well, I'm getting late.'

As I started slowly walking in the street, cautiously eyeing the man whom had decided to follow me, a small smile curved my lips. Did they do anything else besides trying to get me ? I sighed dramatically, going purposefully in an empty street, to take care of this quite… annoying matter.

Yes, annoying was the word. Like a thorn buried in your feet, you can live with it though -unless you have a masochist side, which is perfectly fine- you prefer not having to. Well, that was the exact same situation, getting followed by these… well, thorns can't move, hence it probably isn't the adequate term… insects, perhaps ? Anyway, getting followed by them here and there surely is annoying but… Well, in a way I suppose it is amusing to see them trying and always failing. It enlightens my days from time to time.

Unfortunately, this wasn't one of these days I was practically craving for something -anything- to happen. No, today, I would have really, and quite sincerely, liked to just spend my day hanging out in the city, reading a book on a bench, eating in a peaceful restaurant and eventually going back to the quietness of my current home to wake up the next day and just knowing that the Sun would rise again. Indeed, what is life without its most simple pleasures ? A wise man would say that it wouldn't be living, and I oftenly thought that one in a situation close to losing them -not quite losing them, just before while they're wondering about the consequences and realising how terrible it is- would quite grasp my point. I am in no place to judge those who desires to go away from these kind moments made of pure bliss, though I learnt that, after all these instants, the worries of a moment would probably disappear, the fears turning to dust, the joys fading away, though the birds would still sing every spring. Nature, in its own way, was both frightening and comforting. Right and wrong in the same time.

Nature was, in fact, quite Artistic once you looked at it from the right sight.

But anyway, one should not let oneself drown themselves in thoughts when they have more pressing matters to take care of. Indeed, I could now hear the footsteps of the -what was it, already ?- insect following me becoming closer. I smiled and teased, 'I hope they pay you well, at least. So, who is it this time ? Who desires to deal with me ?'

I turned to face the lad. Quite young, in fact, yes, quite young with his blond short hairs, his face still marked with youth and innocence, his blue eyes showing determination, though in the same time uncertainty. He was both right and wrong : right in his heart, untouched by darkness and yet corrupted by the mind.

I smiled. Art.

'My Boss is, uh… Quite powerful,' he mumbled.

I abstently nodded, looking at my hands then arranging quietly the white gloves around them. I absolutely abhorred having them misplaced. When I gazed once again at the young man, I gave him a sugar coated smile, which did not comfort him to say the least, 'I see you're afraid… Perhaps you should. Perhaps not. Who am I to judge, after all ? But don't worry, I won't harm you, at least not immediately. So, despite the fact that I have no doubt of your superior's power, I am still unaware of his name.'

Perhaps it was because of my charisma, or the fact that I was obviously unafraid by him, but he eventually decided that answering me honestly was probably his best possibility in this, 'Well, the Boss' name… I dunno what is it, ya know ? But, uh… We call 'im the "Beast". Cause, uh… ya know… When 'e strikes, 'e always get it right.'

I nodded, 'So, the… Beast it is, then. Well, and what does he wants from me exactly ?'

'Didn' say. Jus' tha' you're not to be touched ya know. An'... gotta bring you to HQ. So… Are ya gonna follow or will I've gotta force ya ?'

I smiled, pleased by his answers. I looked into his eyes, full of concern -he was probably worried that he revealed too much- and let my gloved hand brush his cheek softly. He frowned, 'Hey, wha…'

I snapped my fingers and his eyes widened as he dropped dead on the floor. My lips curled softly as I knelt beside him, my gloved hand still brushing his cheek as his eyes lost any kind of emotion, becoming pure holes of emptiness. Watching someone dying, observing the life leaving a nameless body, was a play that I never found boring. Indeed, whether it was by crying, smiling, shouting, surprise, or even in sleep, death had always held an unnatural interest to me.

Or, shall I say, the instant preceding Death. Death in itself is… boring. The state of being dead is rather annoying, I believed. Or at least, the state of someone else being dead. Mainly because if Death may be something you wish to others, it rarely is something you genuinely wish for yourself. But the instants preceding Death… They were always fascinating. I often wondered why. Was it because it was marking the end of a life and, in a way, just like the last scene of a good play is always awaited, perhaps the end of Life is looked for because of its meaning ? The end of something great. But, perhaps it is more because it is the beginning of something else. The beginning of something Greater, in a way. Indeed, I smugly thought as I watched a pigeon approaching curiously the corpse. The grey bird eyed suspiciously the dead body and then bowed his head to take a piece of it in its mouth.

Yes, something greater.

I eventually stood up, glancing at his corpse. The pigeon, suddenly afraid, flew away as I watched it with mild interest. Eventually pulling out my watch, I looked at the time and sighed comically with a smirk, 'Two past nine… I'm afraid that I'm definitely late.'

And there was this… "Beast" that needed to be taken care of. I wondered what kind of beast it was. Was it the snake type, waiting for his prey to come around before suddenly striking, ending its life in brief instants ? Or was it the brave type, openly facing its prey, leading to a combat of some sort before winning the fight, covered by enemies' blood ? I knew the answer. And yet, I didn't want to answer these questions.

Later, I told myself. It is not the time yet.

My lips curled into a thin smile. Perhaps this day wasn't as ruined as I thought. Looking around me, not even glancing at the boy's body, I left and, eyeing with amusement two pigeons already coming forward, I slightly bowed my head, softly saying, 'He is all yours, I hope he will be to your liking.'

The birds flew on him, already ripping his face, tearing apart the youth traits of the young man as I grinned, leaving the narrowed street.

Part III : Numbed thoughts

I was currently in the street, full of wonder, as I slowly walked. Streets are all different and yet all commons. Whether they are full of people or emptied, narrowed or large, does not really matter since a street is and will always be a street. However, what I find quite peculiar with these is what you can do inside them, which is one of my favourite activities : observing.

I smiled, looking at the terrasse I was just a few seconds ago. It was a nice establishment, entirely in shades of brown. I quite liked it.

I eventually decided to leave this street, though, going into the different alleys, avenues and boulevards. I decided to stop in front of the door of an establishment : The Sweet Poison. When I entered, all I could smell was a characteristic smoke, ensnaring my senses, numbing my thoughts immediately. I grinned, taking a look around. All the colours seemed brighter, nicer, here where one could lose oneself in wonder.

I slowly walked towards a desk and bowed my head at the employee whom simply nodded at my sight, letting me go deeper into the building.

I didn't look once at most of the clients, making my way through the rooms. I didn't care about these, since I had one in mind.

The noises seemed blurry in my head, but I didn't care. Here, time was stopped and nothing mattered until it was time to leave. So I let my body walking in its own weird way, observing with amusement my members not going the way they usually did.

When I reached the last room of this floor, I stopped, inhaling one last time the smoke before entering the room. It was… comfy, I dare say. The floor, just as the walls, was either green or blue, soft colours. I watched them, smiling softly and eventually sat down, looking at the only one other person in the room.

It was a woman, sitting quietly, her eyes firmly closed, as she inhaled and exhaled softly. She was wearing a long dress covered with flowers and her pale skin seemed as white as milk from my point of view. I smirked and she said, 'They-Who-Are-Not-From-Here… I did not expect you to come so early.'

'Early ? I believe I'm quite late.'

'Really ?' she paused, probably thinking, 'I'm not sure. It's easy to lost track of time, here. Perhaps you're late. Perhaps you're early. But in any case you're here, and here you shall not worry about time since its laws does not apply within these walls, They-Who-Are-Not-From-Here.'

I dreamily smiled as I softly asked, 'Why are you calling me like that ?'

'It seemed… appropriate. But names are just that : names. Whether you are called Demon or Brian is not of my concern since your name didn't impact your Fate.'

'And can you tell me my Fate ?'

'Fate does not reveal its secrets. But you knew that already when you came here, of course. So instead, ask your real question and then leave, like you knew you would be.'

'Fine, then. I shall do as you said. Who are you ?'

The woman smiled, 'I am an echo. A dream. A vision. A possibility of something that was to one and yet never would be to others. I am a regret, perhaps. A forgotten story… I am your mind and yet I am not completely that. I am… a thought, buried in your head, They-Who-Are-Not-From-Here. You came here once, didn't you ?'

'You seem to already know the answer.'

'Indeed, I do.'

'Then why did you ask ?'

'Because I wondered if you knew the answer. Do you ?'

'I suppose so.'

'Then let me ask you this last question : With whom did you come ?'

I chuckled, shaking my head. Getting up slowly, I asked, smiling, 'Do you know the answer ?'

'I know many answers, but this one is… undetermined.'

'Then tell me,' I smoothly said as I raised my hand, 'Do you know what will I do ?'

The woman turned her head towards me and, even if her eyes were closed, I wondered if she could see me for an instant. She eventually said, 'I have a good idea of what that might be. And if I am right, then I know with whom you did come.'

'Really ? How fascinating. So ? What is your answer to your own question ?'

'You never came in the first place.'

I slightly frowned, surprised by her answer. Thinking about it, I cautiously asked, 'And what do you think I will do ?'

'End my life and watch.'

I smirked, 'That sounds rather like me, indeed.'

The woman made a humorless smile. She stood up and sighed, 'Be careful with your choices. You might regret them. Once you call the Beast, there is no sequel.'

'Perhaps you're right. But perhaps you're wrong.'

She grinned, 'Art.'

I grinned back. Then I snapped my fingers, observing her falling softly, the colours slowly mixing. The blue became green, the green became crimson and as I surrendered to the dizziness of the room, all I could see was her smile haunting me.

Part IV : The End

I was in a space full of bright colours, from orange to purple, going through different shades of blue, black, white, red, green, and all the colors that have ever existed. My mind was full of them and yet completely empty as I was standing, alone in this space.

Where was I ? When was I ? I did not know, and in a way, did not care, since how could I concern myself with petty, material things when I was confronted by the surreal, the ethereal, the immaterial itself ? I was in a world where thought was everywhere and yet with no brain to think it, in a place where all was possible and yet will never happened.

I smiled. Or, perhaps, I thought I smiled.

In this place, I felt full. I felt… happy. This was probably the best moment of my life, and I knew it. Everything was so… so pretty. There was no pain, only Art, Art in its purest form…

This was wonderful.

This was everything.

This was what I wished.

Suddenly, though, all of that disappeared and as I fell into darkness, I heard a chuckle whispering to me, 'You knew this would come.'

I looked around, looked at the colours fading, the fear filling me, the darkness embracing me. Everything was disappearing as I fell, fell, fell deeper.

'Where are you bringing me ?' I asked.

'Why are you asking when you know the answer ?' the voice said and I could bet it was smirking.

'Who are you ?'

'The Beast,' the voice answered sweetly. 'Or, at least, I believe that's what you called me. My usual name is "the End", though. Or, at least, I believe it is. Sometimes, it is rather confusing due to the languages.'

'Why… Why now ? It's… too early…' I cried.

'No, it is not. It is too late, always too late.'

'Why, though ? Why couldn't you let me there ? I was happy !'

'Yes, you were. But you were not meant to be there forever.'

'Why was I meant to…? It… It doesn't have any purpose, to bring me down, why ?'

'Art for Art's sake, young one. To give it a purpose, a meaning, should only serve Art's purpose. You knew this would come. Accepting it or not is your choice. Though one could wonder if you are able to make a choice.'

I cried, feeling tears running down my cheeks. Why…? I felt powerless. How could the woman smile while I did this to her ? How could the young man stand with determination in front of me when he knew this would come as well ? Why couldn't I have the same reaction as them ?

'Why…?'

'Because,' came the calm answer. 'Just as you, just as her, just as him, just as me, just as everyone, we are meant to turn to dust, burnt by the flames of the years. You will be forgotten, just as I, and we will both crawl to our graves, until there are no graves anymore, because they will be forgotten as well.'

'But will we still exist…?'

'Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is existing ? One cannot know for sure unless it is not existing. But then, to not exist, you need to be made by someone existing. And, then, that means that you are only a shadow of someone existing, a reflection made of words written on papers, and thus not knowing as well.

'The Author is an Artist, and it shall always be so because how could he be if he wasn't an Artist himself ?

'The Artist is a Dreamer because to let Art exist one has to dream, since Art is in the domain of non existence.

'The Dreamer is a Fool since he prefers to deny reality, occur it, mould it sometimes, to live in his own realm.

'The Fool is happy as are all the Fools. Cleverness is a curse, a curse binding you to understanding and if understanding happiness is in the Fool's skills, understanding despair is only for the clever ones.

'And yet, the Author is sad, because the Author spends his time looking at his soul's reflection, placed into his own Art, admiring it and cursing it at the same time since one cannot accept oneself completely unless they are sad enough to feel empathy even towards themselves.'

The End.