Twos and Ones

Characters: Dunstan Kordieh

 

That which is one is one. That which is not one is also one.
          – Chuang-tzu

I closed my eyes as the explosions began rippling across the hull of the Phoenix, tearing her asunder. The concussions threw me to the deck, and I threw my arms out across it, embracing my death at last. So long I have waited, but at last, I can feel something, drawing me away…

And now…I am standing, I am not alone, but … what is this place? It looks like our training center back on Minbar, the living rooms, where we read and rested and practiced our meditation alone. Why would Death take me here? Lucius? Lucius, where are you?

“Not quite, Dunstan my dear. It’s a girl, so it will have to be Lucinda.”

It is a woman that speaks. She is sitting up in bed, in the room I have just entered. I do not know her–and yet, I do. Who is she? My mouth forms words that my mind does not recognize.

“Maia. Are you all right?”

“Tired. Very, very tired. But good. We’re both good. Come see.”

My feet bring me forward, my eyes look, though something in the back of my mind is beginning to flail and scream. This cannot be….

In the arms of the woman whose name somehow I know is Maia, wrapped in warm blankets, face still red and damp and wrinkled, is a child. A newborn child…my child? Is this tiny thing, so fragile, truly mine?

“She’s ours, Dunstan. Incredible, isn’t it? She began as the two of us were one, and then for nine months, she was a part of me, and now she is a unique being all her own.” Maia’s head dropped back to the pillow with a weak laugh. “Listen to me. I’ve just given birth, and already I’m back to philosophizing.”

The screaming is getting louder, my mind panicking like a drowning man. Dead … I am dead. My brother is dead, and I was always a part of him … wasn’t I? And all of this–a vision? My hand bears scars I do not remember. For a moment, just a moment, I ignore the screams, reach out to gently stroke Maia’s forehead. She is a beautiful woman. I would remember her.

“Here. Hold her for a minute.” Maia holds the bundle … my daughter … out to me. I want to scream, I want to run away, I want to do anything to get away from this madness….but I do nothing. I take the bundle, heeding Maia’s directions on how to handle it.

There. I look down at the face of my daughter, as her head and tiny body rest secure in my arms. She opens her eyes, looking up at me with dark blue orbs that are still trying to find their focus. Then, perfectly trusting and perfectly content, she closes them again and sighs back into sleep. She’s … she’s so beautiful.

“Isn’t she though? Lucinda Gabrielle Grey Kordieh, just like we agreed….”

And then, I am back where I was, splayed out on the deck of the Phoenix, as the aftereffects of the explosions ripple slowly through the ship. Some part of my mind has begun a triumphant chant, answering the panicked screams and being answered by them. “You are not dead.”

Yes, I am.

“You were never dead.”

Lucius is dead, so I am also dead.

“You are one, and Lucius was another one, separate and apart from you.” No. He and I were one…. “As it always was, as Lucius always knew. You were wrong, all this time, Dunstan Kordieh.” No, it can’t be. “This is the truth.” Everything I know, everything I ever believed, coming unraveled now, burning and withering…. “That was your future.” No … no, please …

“You are alive, Dunstan Kordieh, alive and free.”

NO …. Screaming now, I cannot stop it as everything falls apart, and I am falling with it.

I meet the oblivion rushing up at me with my eyes wide open.


Copyright (c) 1998 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.