The Soul Candle of Olam Ha-Ba

Image courtesy of Timothy Dykes at Unsplash.

אפ״ה (Nevertheless)

Nevertheless, my eyes dripped with wax and fire as I stared up towards the candle composed of old souls, webbed, and confused where with each tick of gravity’s hand, the tower waned closer towards its ultimate end. Once it was the light of the universe, flickering endlessly, guiding dead shadows and faded memories past wild, galactic conflagrations. 

Heavy was the stink of the night as the great wax pylon became limp, curdled beneath the hot, molten blaze that nevertheless crackled despite that which attempted snuff it out.  Through my eyes, I couldn’t help but feel the dark ebullience radiating from deep center of existence. 

Through swamps of gray eyes, where my life was left trapped under gravestones and talismans; I saw the world to come. A place covered in cracked marble, reflections in transitory as if I were walking across an ocean of silk, soft and cool against my flesh. Deeper inside this foggy someplace there were remnant temples, sanctuaries, and monuments to that olden realm. Empty playgrounds stood, bent, and broken while yellow stars, the elders of my history were drenched in liquescent visions of a crumbled schema before me. 

Still, I saw the vivid end as the fingers of a nameless, shapeless face continued its assault on my memory; and through every year-time I fought to keep the light burning, to never see the candle depleted. 

Low chants reached my ears, familiar prayers, and sad songs like a children’s lullaby from an ancient past and I knew I’d been here before. Maybe it was the numbing sensation which tickled my fingers. Possibly the realization, or blurred reality of what was, or what was not as it smattered my brain while I waded deeper inside, hoping to find a promised truth of tikkun, to repair, to mend but, never again. 

Until everyone reached the end.

Until the light of the universe was extinguished.  

Still, there ahead were the reflections of the world to come; a demented Schule where the fast was never broken, the expectations were higher than any wall, and even so, there was no way out. 

No way to stop my heart which bled with fire, and my eyes so heavy with wax as I melted away, transformed with the Candle of Souls.

[Maxwell I. Gold is a multiple award nominated author who writes prose poetry and short stories in weird and cosmic fiction. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines including Weirdbook Magazine, Space and Time Magazine, Startling Stories, Strange Horizons, Tales from OmniPark Anthology, Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas and more. He’s the author of Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose from Crystal Lake Publishing. Maxwell’s forthcoming books include a collaborative book of poems titled Mobius Lyrics with Bram Stoker Award winner Angela Yuriko Smith to be released in 2022, and Bleeding Rainbows and Other Broken Spectrums from Hex Publishers to be released in 2023. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his partner and two dogs Marshall and Otto, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Horror Writers Association as the organization’s Treasurer.]