Superman and Super Listening

I don’t recall ever having a dream where I was flying, but I did have a recurring Superman dream when I was a little kid. My baby sister was getting old enough to move out of my parents’ room and into my room. I was going into my older brother’s room. My brother was going into a new addition over the garage, which had shifted the house even more. Going into my brother’s room came with sleeping in a larger trundle bed, which had another pullout mattress inside the frame. This bed was like sleeping on a sturdy wooden ship.

The recurring dream was that I would hide myself between the wall and heavy headboard like it was a dark cave. In reality, the bed was too close to the wall for me to fit and too heavy for me to move on my own as a child. In the dream, I would be coaxed out of this hiding place each night by the characters I watched on television, like the gang on Sesame Street or Super Friends, a seventies children’s cartoon with the DC Comics characters. There was never a crossover of different show characters, but when it was the Super Friends, I remember Superman taking the lead. He didn’t stand with his hands on his hips for a scared boy to be in awe of but took a knee and came down to my level. I remember him listening to me, and I would wake up as I came out of my self-enclosure.

Looking back on that dream, I can see the younger version of myself felt lost in the shuffle with everything going on in the house but was also in the early stages of pleasing people. I couldn’t talk it out with an adult. But Superman listened. It’s known that Superman has Super Hearing, but I would like to talk about his Super Listening and what I have learned from Clark Kent about active listening.

Active listening is the process of not only giving someone your attention but also being aware of your verbal and nonverbal messaging/body language while they are talking and then conveying back that you have heard what they said. For myself, it has helped me zero in on my communication with others and eliminate pausing to talk next. Active listening allows me to acknowledge and process information better when speaking with someone else and helps a conversation get to the root of the matter.

I propose that Clark Kent puts active listening into action every day working as a reporter for the Daily Planet. He travels around the world and interviews people, getting to know what the human spirit can and cannot handle on its own when it comes to news-related tragedies. It is through active listening that Clark knows when he hears, “This is a job for Superman.”

Clark Kent’s Super Hearing allows him to constantly be alerted to all the troubles going on in the world, but growing up on Earth gives him the insight to avoid inserting his narrative into Earth’s affairs and to only intervene when he is needed. Clark’s home planet Krypton was destroyed because people didn’t listen to what was going on around them despite his father Jor-El’s warnings. Jor-El was only able to save his son Kal-El (Clark) by sending him to Earth in a rocket, where our Sun grants him his powers. With Earth as his adoptive home, Clark became intrinsically human and thus developed his Super Listening over time. Given the tragedy of Krypton and all his powers, Clark could react based on his home planet’s history, heedlessly respond to every call for help, and constantly overstep making sure Earth doesn’t destroy itself like Krypton did. Instead, he chooses to actively listen to us.

I use “Clark Kent” and not “Superman” to discuss active listening because Clark Kent is not a secret identity. He is Superman’s identity and that’s his secret. During the Golden Age of Superman, this wasn’t always the case and it’s illustrated by the opening of the 1950s television show Adventures of Superman. A viewer can conceptualize a stunning visual guide of the hero’s powers, including beyond-average strength and speed, as they see the images of a train rocketing by or a firing gun under voiceovers like “stronger than a locomotive” and “faster than a speeding bullet.” But the line in the show opening—“in his disguise as Clark Kent,” a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper—creates a misconception that Clark Kent is not Superman but a costume. Clark has a Fortress of Solitude hidden in the Arctic for contemplation and to remember his Kryptonian culture. Here, he can remind himself where he came from and who he currently is on Earth: Superman. This introspection allows Clark to give us the space to work out our problems and to know when he is truly needed.

Writer/artist John Byrne relaunched Superman in 1986 with the miniseries The Man of Steel, which helped to reframe Superman in a more relatable way. In the miniseries, Byrne kept the adoptive parents of Jonathan and Martha Kent in the modern era of Superman stories. The Kents were the farming family from Kansas who found the rocket ship of Krypton’s orphaned lone survivor. Before the relaunch, comic book readers only saw the Kents appear in Superboy flashback stories set in his boyhood town of Smallville, Kansas. Keeping the Kents as supporting characters, Byrne helped to establish Superman’s humanity and that it was Clark Kent who was Superman. The biggest reason for the relaunch was that people couldn’t relate to a hero who was so powerful they were juggling planets. The Man of Steel miniseries was seen as making Superman more relatable by diminishing his power level and making things more challenging for him. The miniseries also established that his skills as an active listener were honed by having the Kents in his life. Television shows like Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) and Smallville (2001-2011) would deal with the nurturing relationship of the Kent family. The foundation of Smallville was that the parents were always available for their alien teen son to talk about what he was dealing with and changes he was going through as his powers developed. These conversations were about physical challenges Clark faced, his romantic interests, or a young Lex Luthor, a friendship that turned antagonistic over the series.

Super Listening is my answer to why Superman doesn’t go around solving all the world’s problems. He has listened to us as Clark Kent, who has reported back on what he heard and is giving us a proper response. Alternative stories of a Superman type gone bad show that they are turned by their Super Hearing. Mark Waid’s Irredeemable from Boom! Studios showed the Superman-like main character, The Plutonian, hitting his tipping point because he can no longer take the barrage of criticism he is constantly hearing around the world. The third season of Amazon Prime’s The Boys has Homelander literally tell everyone to shut up and that he is better than them on live television as the character progresses beyond his breaking point from earlier seasons. Even Batman is closed off to listening. His mission is to make sure that no one suffers like he did on the night his parents were shot. The difference between a shut-off hero in Gotham and a listening hero in Metropolis is literally night and day.

As a young child who dreamed of Superman to talk to about my problems, I would go out into the waking world looking for actual people who would listen to me over the years. Sometimes I would find people who would listen but be manipulative afterwards. They would convey that they were listening but then tag on their own agenda. I learned that the other side of active listening was to not let people take advantage of you and to see these red flags. Through therapy, I have worked on a stronger sense of self, and have worked out when people have kept me grounded for their own purposes and who have helped me to fly on my own. I have also worked on my own team of Super Friends, people that I know I can trust to go to for active listening in conversation. My wife calls them all Team Dom. I consider my family part of the team too. Over the years, we have learned to be open about what we are feeling with each other and what I have been going through with mental health. These are small steps along the way that we can take to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. Active listening is something that can help with mental health awareness that doesn’t take a leap over a building in a single bound. I have found that being there to listen, to really listen, to someone isn’t just a job for Superman.

The Call

He’s three years older than her. If they were grownups, three years would be nothing. But he is thirteen and she is ten. At that age, three years is something. But he’s runty, looks a lot younger than he is. And he’s kind of a loser. He still likes to play make-believe. She really doesn’t think of him as older, certainly not as a teenager. Teenagers are people who sit outside the Arby’s and smoke and suck face. She doesn’t mess with teenagers. But he’s not like that, so it’s OK. 

Her mother, when she thinks about it, is uneasy with the friendship. But he’s so small and sometimes, when they have him over for dinner, he holds out his plate for more and is such a little Oliver Twist type her mother forgets to be uneasy. Her father is at work a lot, so he hasn’t even noticed the friendship. He eats dinner in his den after everyone goes to sleep. Their friendship isn’t on his radar.  

His parents are glad that she is his friend. They are glad he has any friends at all. They are so glad, in fact, they have taken the two on an adventure— all the way to the giant swamp, the Everglades, where they will see alligators and egrets and frogs that make sounds like wet rubber soles on linoleum.  

He is psyched because he’s just watched Manimal for the first time and he is certain that he too is part man, part animal and the jungle atmosphere of the Everglades is all it is going to take to finally unleash his true, inner self. On the trail, he paces and makes growling noises. He is calling to the panthers; he can sense their presence. It is the kind of behavior that keeps him in the school counselor’s office and his parents awake at night.  

She is a little embarrassed by his behavior and a little excited. Secretly, she likes the way he still plays make believe because it makes it okay for her to play along, even though ten is way too old for such games. She will never tell the girls at school about this trip. She will say she went to the mall and got her ears pierced even though the earrings she will wear will be clip-ons and she won’t really get her ears pierced for another three years. She will only tell her mother that she had a nice time and yes, she thanked his parents and yes, she wore sunscreen.  

In time, they’ll lose touch. He will go to college or join the army or die. She won’t ever know. She’ll grow old. Her joints will ache. She’ll wither. She won’t remember the boy’s face or his last name. But sometimes, late at night, she will lie in bed and her skin will vibrate with the memory of being a panther, of hearing the call of a kindred creature and answering without hesitation. 

Pain

I often wonder why I cry.

Is it me or is it just a lie,

to feel sorry for myself

for going through things it seems matters to no one else?

Or maybe it is my body’s way

of releasing the pain

I try so hard to hide away,

but it becomes so much to bear,

that even my body seems to care,

though I walk through life with a blank stare.

After a while it all comes to roost,

like a prisoner who has just been loosed,

running to find the best protective shelter,

seeking the help of the unsuspecting,

all the while neglecting,

eventually I will get caught.

Caught with raw emotions,

erupting and setting off like an explosion.

Then I will be left in shock,

as if I never had the notion,

that my pain and feelings start taking over me, creating an erosion.

I wish there was some relief for my pain,

like a magic potion,

but then again, I rather feel something than just go through the motions

of masking my pain, when healing has become my devotion.

Nighthawks

When you first meet her, you don’t know her; she is a quiet hymn wrapped only into herself, a silent whisper or prayer too stifled to hear. She has navy blue hair like the night sky. Her pupils are sharpened, her eyes overlaid with a cornea layer from an illegal surgery, crisscrossing copper like a semiconductor, little flecks of light racing along the lines until they reach the edge of her iris and they dissipate. You notice the freckles on her face, and hidden in between them, you notice four dimpled scars around her eyes from where something was drilled into her face.

In the dark of the maintenance space, you catch her, after you notice her fingerprints are missing, after you notice her disrupted biomarkers, after you notice the huge scar over her lip, after you suspect she’s hiding her allegiance. And you chase and shoot, and she never fires a single shot back. When you knock her to the ground, you reach down to rip her earpiece off, and when you yank it out in one motion, you wince as you realize it’s a combination hearing device and attached to her cochlea. She screams. You cry.

When you meet her later, you don’t know it’s her and walk into the hangar bay with your hand near your holster. You see and hear through the windows before you open the airlock, and there is sparking and hammering around a small foreign ship with rusting joints between the windowpanes.

With your gun drawn, you enter, and she looks up from her welding, helmet over her face, and white, dry hair sticking out from under the straps. It reminds you of stars, far away, as if she flew out into the far reaches of the frontier in the rickety cruiser and grabbed a handful and dumped it over her head. When she finally takes the welding helmet off, her eyes are light blue, pupils still sharp, and her irises have darker flecks shaped into stars and a crescent moon. She keeps a cloth over the bottom half of her face and grease smudged under her eyes, connecting and merging all the spots across her skin into one nebulous entity. There is a cautious magnetism between you two, like a moon being drawn into orbit around a planet. You hold her close with your hand on the back of her head and whisper. She cries.

When you meet her for the last time, she appears. You enter the room and she’s already there, ahead of you, facing away, wearing long cargo pants with her hair neatly tied back into a ponytail, the ends blunt and clean. It’s a dark brown, and she turns to you, her eyes the color of milk with no designs, no patterns. When you draw her to yourself, there are tears and the smell of warmth and chemical cleaners, and your arms fold around each other and settle contentedly like land subsiding after an earthquake.

Las Uvas Se Quedan Contigo

Twelve hands, old and withered, smooth and small, tan and brown,  

force the couch against the wall and we all 

huddle as close as we can bear. 

Our shared blood boils in my grandmother’s living room, a packed crowd  

of skin demanding new beginnings.  

The ball drops on the boxy TV and we raise one booming voice 

Ten, nine, eight. 

My family has a New Year’s Eve tradition. 

Plastic champagne flutes filled to the brim with twelve wishing grapes 

red and green, always so large, full and bursting I wonder 

in what strange market Grandma must have found them.  

I won’t ask because she won’t understand, nor would the cashier she bought them from. 

Still, I long for red and green, devour with my eyes as we chant 

Seven, six, five. 

Behind the round surface of a grape, I see a cousin’s pregnant belly, 

recall an imminent arrival cradled inside, awaited by five young siblings. 

In the grape’s pale green, I see a pale woman, 

recall her stare from her doorway, her face pulled taut and arms crossed, 

as my family walks down the street of our neighborhood. 

Too many children, not enough adults. 

Breeders! she yells from the soon slamming door. 

I don’t know what it means,  

don’t like the way that incomprehensible language hisses 

in response under the breaths of mother, aunt, grandmother. 

The explanation that comes later weighs heavy as they count 

Four, three, two. 

This New Year champagne fills my glass instead of red and green. 

A bubbling sip whirls in my stomach like the uncomfortable stirring  

when a struggling Spanish woman at the supermarket  

is told by her cashier to Speak English. 

This is America, after all. 

I think to myself that she should have gone to whatever market my grandmother did.  

Her cart held two bags of grapes. 

My hand now holds a glass of liquid warmth   

that forgets red and green bursts, and though 

I try to count a dozen sips, I lose my place and  

it all settles in my empty stomach as I reach 

One.   

False Alarm

It was a spring night when I was staring fixedly at the overhead fan, waiting for the man on top of me—my then-boyfriend—to finish. As I tightly clutched the bedsheet waiting for it to end, I could feel the bed moving under me. It seemed like the world was swaying ever so gently. The next day, I scrubbed my skin in the scalding water till tiny clots appeared on my arms.

The following summer, I was laying on my bed staring at the overhead fan when the bed began to shake. I looked up to see the fan swinging in its place like a giant hand had flicked it. Someone on the street below yelled out, “Did you feel the earthquake just now?” followed by a chorus of yeses and nos.

I made no effort to get up—you live long enough in an earthquake-prone area and the initial shock wears off.

Two winters after that day, I was reading a webcomic when I suddenly looked up to check the overhead fan. No signs of any movement. I turned to my sister and asked, “Did you feel that just now?”

“Feel what?”

“Wasn’t that an earthquake?”

“You are imagining things now, I didn’t feel anything.”

Unconvinced by her snarky reply, I checked if anyone had tweeted about an earthquake in the vicinity. Nothing.

The same evening, I was sitting in a boy’s room downtown. We had known each other for a month and after two cursory coffee dates, he had finally asked me over to his place.

To counter the initial awkwardness, we decided to watch a movie. Midway through it, he asked me if I was cold and held out the blanket. He stretched out and hit pause on the movie.

“Come here,” and he gave me a light hug—blankets and all.

“That feels warm.”

“Yeah? I’m known to be a warm person.”

I rolled my eyes at his reply, and he burst out laughing. I pulled away slightly and laid down.

After a second, he laid down next to me, and I could feel his breath on my neck. I turned to face him. He was smiling, his face half-covered by the blanket. He slowly closed the gapand kissed me. A moment later, I could feel his hands coming up to cup my face. Then he suddenly pulled back and asked, “Is everything okay? Did I do something wrong?”

“No, no. Everything’s fine.”

“Then why are you crying?”

“I don’t know… I mean, I do… It’s just been a while since stuff happened.”

“Okay, no, yeah, that’s cool. We could just enjoy the movie, yeah?”

“Yeah. I’m sorry.”

“No, please. I’ll go get you some water, cool?”

As he left the room, I looked up to check if the fan had moved at all. Nothing.

So why is my body still filled with the tremors of that night?

Catalog

[Exhibit A]

You are nine and have already furred, developed breasts, curved your way into woman. You need a bra that does more than train. It is tight; you sweat, itch.

Over neighborhood play, some ball-sport, a sixteen-year-old looks down at you, his lips curled. His blonde hair is coiled and slick like a mannequin’s. He calls you sexy.

It is the first time a boy compliments you. You believe that only their compliments matter. You hate that you internalize his comment as good.

Sexy sticks like molasses; it only attracts flies.

[Exhibit B]

Twelve, the car loop outside middle school. A classmate has gummy worms. He moves too close. He smells like basketball: plastic; the gym-floor-gloss; the creeping, thick breath of a person on offense, trying to snatch the ball from you.

He asks if you want the gummies.

Sure, you say, but he retreats the bag into his chest.

Show me your boobs and I’ll give you the gummy worms, he says, grinning widely, shamelessly. You run away.

Your bile is as sour as the worms. You picture them crawling within your breasts.

[Exhibit C]

Sixteen, in-elevator, post-morning trivia on a cruise, hand pressed to acne-speckled cheek. The cysts are so deep, heavy, and purple that it is an inverse constellation, white ringed around violet. You twist away from photos.

A man, face blister-red, stares at your pelvis. He smells of saccharine, stale liquor.

S’up? He asks. Wanna go to the bar?

I’m sixteen, you  say, adjusting your bag, glancing out the glass wall. It rises with your pulse. Your words mean nothing.

You focus on the door. Creep closer. Half-step. The doors open.

He reaches for you. You speed away, away, away.

[Exhibit D-W]

Whistling in the streets. Called fat, ugly, while fetishized by the same people. Tunneled into consumption.

[Exhibit X]

You, twenty. Things you left behind on the bus on a long field trip: jacket, sweater, blanket.

Upon return, ready to sleep, you see an unknown item: rounded, long, glass. White streak down the side. Hot. You, clueless, think it something else—not a used sex toy. Air pump, perhaps.

You lift the warm jacket to your face, flit around sleep.

When you find out the truth, after cop’s failure to act, you summon on your knees the words of women before, spitting galactic bile into the swirling toilet-globe. You earthquake free the fear, scrub skin red, pray, pray, pray. Memory shudders into you, handprints on skin like ghosts of the men before, the ways they wished to grab, squeeze, take you.

[Exhibit Y]

The body muscle memories the way that it is seized, imagined, seen.

Parts blink like a hotspot. You see it in the mirror sometimes: the flickering, low and red like dying candlelight. The handprints. The heat. The itch.

The body is not yours.

[Exhibit Z]

But you carry the body’s memory, strengthened by it. It is not the body, but the being within; that which says and knows you are okay, okay, okay.

Torso

The pain spreads through my body like dye coiling through water. It would be easy to imagine that my insides are colored red right now, but instead I picture them to be a deep, furious blue, the color of soreness, of pain after it has wrecked you. The color of aftermath. I try and will my body to stay in one position, stomach angled away from my legs, my torso twisted. Somehow, I believe this will dull the pain. Or maybe, at least, I will have manufactured another kind of hurting, so the real one will pang less. I don’t know.

*

On the T back home, I watch a young boy with something red clutched in his hand. I can’t tell exactly what it is from where I am. I’m wedged between two strangers and I’ve hunched my back so that I’m leaning away from them, doubled up over my uterus. My stomach feels soft to my skin, as if it were a large tuft of hair or a sack of tender oranges. All the way through the city, I am aware of my abdomen, this globething in my lap, spinning. Suddenly, the bus lurches forward, and the boy has lost control so that he skids across the grey floor and his arm is in my face, his hand waving something crimson at me. Playdough. I look at the boy’s fingers curled so tightly around the ball of dough as though they will never uncurl. His whole world a scarlet orb in his palm.

*

M takes a look at the bruise on my leg, its green veins, its purple heart, then laughs. “That’s a whole universe right there.” Then softly, more seriously: “That’s not what your period should do.

*

When I go to throw the trash out at night, I almost don’t see the rat at first, its guts splayed across the road, flesh cleaved from bone, its eye a silver opening. The eye reminds me of a tiny bead of caviar, the way it’s glistening from yesterday’s rain. There’s something gurgling in the dumpster and I can’t stand the sight of this death, as though someone has scooped up strawberry jam and mixed it into cement and grey skin and asphalt. The rat doesn’t look alive at all, but almost looks as though it has stepped outside of its own body to inspect itself. I move away from it, my legs extended away from me, my skin suddenly awake and bristled. I think of playdough and rat meat and this liquid, gelatinous night and my own wobbly body and how nothing in this dark feels real, except maybe the deep, aching blue of my torso. In the dark, I stand, recoiling from the day’s softness.

Time’s Dance

“William!”

“Hi, Grandma. It’s Zach, actually. Maya’s son.”

Her brow crinkled under permed white hair, thin enough to show her scalp. Zach crouched in front of the E-Z-Lift chair, so he didn’t tower over her. She shifted, something akin to embarrassment trailing across her features. She patted his arm with papery fingers.

“Oh yes, son. Good to see you.”

Her lucidity seemed as fickle as his hope and the sterile words stung. Zach stood and tugged at the hem of his t-shirt, then cleared his throat to chase away the emotion.

“I have a surprise before we get back to the puzzle we’ve been doing.”

He slid his cellphone out of his pocket and swiped to the playlist he’d made. Despite her failing memory, tech remained her anathema. The last thing he wanted was to upset her, but the article he’d read on music and dementia had been tough to shake. Zach slid the phone nonchalantly onto the table behind some tissues as the beginning strains of Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls” began.

She swayed for a few bars.

“This song! William, do you remember?”

“It’s—” Zach stopped. The music made him a little boy again, eating cookies at her kitchen table. Maybe it made her what she needed to be, too.

“It’s nice.”

“Those roses must have cost you half a week’s salary, but you’d said I was worth every penny.” Tears glistened over her milky cataracts. “Dance with me?”

Zach helped her to her feet, and she leaned against him, small and wobbly. Time had reversed their positions. Now she wore no apron, his hands had no sticky cookie crumbs, but Glenn Miller stayed true. Her feet shuffled the same motions she’d taught him on the thick shag carpet of her living room. Zach closed his eyes and could almost smell the thick, warm scent of baked bread that used to hang in her house every Sunday.

When the song transitioned into “Tuxedo Junction,” she hugged him tight, bringing him back to the hard industrial tile and antiseptic tang of bleach.

She patted his arm. “I need to sit. My old bones aren’t made for dancing anymore.”

He hung onto her as she lowered herself down.

“Sometimes I can’t remember why I’m here. I’ll think I’m supposed to pick Maya up from school, but then my hands look wrong, and I have to fight through dusty stacks of memories to find one that’ll anchor me. Funny how my mind drifts away all the time, but my body just knows things. Like that music. I think maybe the dancing brought me back here. Just in time for their over-salted roast beef.”

Zach laughed at her unexpected joke. “Good to have you back, Grandma.”

“I’m sorry for when I don’t remember you, Zach. Please know I love you and your visits. Just like you used to love my cookies. Remember those?”

Zach wiped his eyes. “I’ve never had a better one.”

The Body Fights Back

Content warning: physical abuse

Agonizing screams for me to STOP!

Shall fall on ears the mind has told for years “I will not”

I watch as soft supple pale skin is caressed by sunlight

Simple elation energizes buoyant spirals that dance, take flight

Beautiful big eyes, glassed gazes, waterfall Innocence

That which is unforeseen lest prepared am I to recompense

Face is barricaded, pressure pinned, and beaten

I wait as these boys wreak havoc; satisfied, eaten

Bruised the lights; warmth begins to retreat frozen

Molded we become by hatred long woven

I watch as frustration, anger, overwhelmed sentiments divest

Throwing fists up, bright red and yellow hues manifest

Shocked, abused, stung swelling

Rivers run without a sound mind quelling

Yet heavy hands fall hard on porcelain

Memories seared branded distortion

Once, twice, thrice over in silence

Hit just hard enough; no evidence of violence

Limbs directed; harsher words never spoken

Act now or soon I’ll be far too broken

Body over mind, war rages

Listened not for paralysis built me cages

Wean I will grow in stages.

Above the Long Island Ferry

I watch the dark where the sky and sea meet.
The stars shine as this vessel parts our way.
Dear Ocean’s glory glows by Sky’s display,
Abyssal black that dances celestially.

A maze of quasars, suns, and moons fly free,
Like watching luminescent travelers dance.
Between these separate lights, I caught a glance
Of a locomotive’s starlight stream.

I stood in awe and watched this gleaming ride,
That carried desires in velvet seats
To places where dear wishes will reside,
And sent my own aboard with its retreat.
It disappeared as sparks trailed behind,
And I knew that sight would never repeat.

The Ferryman

When I was young, I always used to look upon the stars as I pushed myself down river.

One by one the stars twinkled their path through the cosmos. One by one they shone. One by one they lit my path as I toiled below.

They were my constant companions through long nights and interminable days. Always there by my side, their glow a reflection of the warmth above as I wend my way.

But then the stars began to flicker…

And then they began to fall.

Love was the first to die as the hearts of men corrupted. Then the Hearth’s flames were extinguished, as if doused by a heavy rain of tears. As those waters turned to steam, it was time for the Harvest to fail as her light withered. The Queen was next as her heart was broken one last time.

A mighty storm broke the Seas as they boiled away. Then the King was toppled from his throne with the greatest peal of thunder the world had ever heard. The Wise died leading her warriors against those the King had once safely imprisoned. The spear and shield of the Commander could not protect him much longer.

The Twins fought valiantly and brought down many titans with bow and chariot, their steel glinting in the sun’s rays. Yet, as they were overrun, the forges still burned bright. Mighty defences were raised to protect the few that remained. Pillars of iron and stone, great weapons that spit torrents of fire down from the mountain on high. But it was still not enough, and the Blacksmith’s walls were torn down, his automatons ripped asunder, and the mountain siege was ended.

The Messenger tried to outrun his fate, but even he was not fast enough to evade the three hundred hands that clawed. And that just left the Reveller, who drowned his sorrows until he too was naught but stardust.

And then the stars of men began to falter too. It has been sad to watch them fade. One by one.

Extinguished.

I miss them….

And now, as the last of my stars are winking out, I suppose I should start explaining this all to you.

“Welcome, I see you are new. My pantheon’s time is drawing near, and soon I must depart. A new era is dawning,” I say, with a voice like rumbling thunder.

They stare quizzically at me.

“Take this oar. May you have many starry nights…”, I exhale as I begin to fade.

“I must be on my way.”

“I hope you will find…”

“your course as I have.”

“I don’t know…”

“if they told you my name?”

“It was…”

And then I was gone.