What Holds The Sky?
Posted February 18th, 2019 by Gracithe1andonly
in wardly searching
March 18th, 2019
There is a community of people who live on top of the highest mountain in the world. It was once far bigger than it is, and in that time, they were the proudest community in the world; prouder than Athens of their democracy or the Romans of their military. They knew that no other community could exist without them, for they were the Atlastians. They held up the sky.
The three leading Atlastians were two boys and a girl. Sky-duty was rotated amongst thirty people at a time; as many as could fit on the mountain's peak. Those three friends, however, were the experts on how to hold the sky, and were leaders in the community as a result.
One fair day, however, the Atlastians began to mutter amongst themselves. Sky-duty was grown burdensome. They could not play or rest enough to make up for it. At length, the people spoke so much of how unjust it was to give them the sky to hold that they no longer cared what happened to the world below. That day, they all left.
But the three strongest sky-holders did not forget about the world below, and thus did not leave. They were so indignant that their fellows had left them alone, that though they were three doing the work of thirty, they had rage-born strength enough to sustain them for many days.
They all began growing weak and faint at about the same time, but she, who was simply smaller than the others, showed it first. Her dear friends were both concerned for her, but when one of them kindly released her from her share of the labor, the other found himself in a horrible envy born of days of anger and bitter work.
"If she can go, so can I!" he exclaimed, dropping the entire weight of the sky on his friend's shoulders. It was such a pain that the usually good-natured boy spat in response, "Fine, then! Go! No one needs you!"
In that moment, both regretted what they had just done, but instead of apologizing and taking his share of the weight again, the envious friend began to walk away, emotions aching as well as overstrained muscles. He ignored or didn't hear his friend crying, "No! Please! Come back!"
Only when the other was out of sight and the sky was forcing him to his knees did the last true Atlastian whisper, "I can't do it alone."
The sun by then had set, and on the last man's trembling, prostrate form the glorious night sky pressed. He knelt on the rocky peak for hours, maybe days, maybe eons, slowly sinking lower and lower beneath the weight of his burden.
Abruptly, he was called out of his misery by the sound of swift feet slapping on stone and a familiar voice saying, "I'm sorry I left."
It was the woman, who had met her friend as he descended into the abandoned village from the peak. Knowing that her last friend was alone, she wasted little time in returning to him. The sky was so low above the ground now, however, that there was no room to stand beside him, but had to stand a ways away.
"You came back?" he queried weakly.
"Of course. I'll take my half of the weight."
"But you can't," he objected ineloquently, and she crawled up the mountain to crouch beside him.
"We can do it together," she said with inexplicable confidence, "on three."
She counted, and stood, and her strength helped his to return. Nose-to-nose, admiring one another deeply, they said in unison, "I love you."
They are all that is left of the Atlastian community, and because of their constancy, the sky has not fallen yet.
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