Hello internet! Exb here, with a quick one shot borne of a sudden idea. I dunno if anyone finds this saddening, but it's meant to evoke that to some extent, and it's quite different from what I usually write. Anyway, enjoy!
He was one of the undying.
Born into this world, never to leave it.
Cursed to wander on the overworld eternally, in sun and shadow.
Left to the solitude that is the green grassy fields.
He was an Enderman, one of those sent forth from the End to live in and study the "normal" world, the home of countless other species who roamed those green fields, the ones studded with yellow flowers and tufts of sweet grass.
He was one of the undying, those cursed and blessed with an eternal life. While others wasted away, his heart would beat on, he would continue to stalk these empty lands, searching for a meaning of sorts. A question that he had always pondered was the meaning of time; it passed by him, day and night, but he never quite understood it. And so he wondered every day about it, sitting down on the dewy grass at dawn's first light, watching the brilliant orb of energy surge up over the horizon and disperse the shadow.
He found a flower, a beautiful one the color of polished lapis, something that struck him. He was curious about it, curious to see what his senses would make of it.
What would it feel like? The soft caress of warm grass, the cool splash of sharp, salty water?
What would it smell like? The clean scent of dew, the warm sweetness of an oak sapling?
What would it taste like?
He took a bite, and then felt something odd. All feeling left him; the petals of the flower dropped to the ground, fell out of his grip.
This is not how I imagined taste, he thought to himself, before realizing he could not speak. His mouth would not move; the words conglomerated in his mouth, rolling about with an intangible energy, but there was no departure for them. And just like that, he could do nothing else; he fell over, falling into the soft grass, feeling his muscles seize up and all energy leave him.
That was a strange taste. I wonder why this is happening.
The petals lay on the soft grass and he, paralyzed by nature's hidden secrets, lay with them.
There came a time when the sun rose and fell, and the moon rose and fell. He greeted each one by the names of a dozen different tongues, but none of them heard him. His mind sent the words out, but his tongue would not comply.
Hello, sun! Skyfire, the king of Flame, Sun Spirit! he would hail the lifegiving light in the blue sky, but his words would not come out. They were still too timid to do so.
Hello, moon! Priestess of the Dark Night, star-guardian, Dark Maiden! he would hail the mysterious moon in the starlit night sky, but his words would not come out. They lacked the courage to leave.
And when nothing would respond to him, it was frustrating.
He sat there on the grass, humming a song, a distant memory, to himself inside of his head, watching the clouds float above him. They had no problems; they floated with the wind, going where they wanted to go, flying freely.
Hello, clouds! Wispy wights of the free sky, unbound and free to float! he would hail the clouds, but his words would not come out. They were too awkward to go free.
And when nothing would respond to him, it was upsetting.
There came a time when the two-legs came upon him, the strange short men with pale skin. They spoke a harsh tongue, an unfamiliar one, and the Enderman was frightened of them and yet curious at the same time. As he could not move, he was lifted into the air by the men and carried off.
Hello, two-leg strangers! Men of foreign name and birth, cloaked in leather and furs, friends! he would hail them, but his words would not come out. They were scared.
The men were simple, with no knowledge of elder power or life magic. They lived in crude tents draped with the skins of animals, squabbling amongst each other over petty possessions, huddling around the fire when it was cold or dark. The Enderman did not understand them, but he wanted to befriend them, as he was carried into their village.
The pain began when they erected the wooden cross and held him up to it. The cold iron nails drove into him, breaking skin and muscle and holding him to the wood. The Enderman wanted to convulse with pain, but nothing would move. The pain roiled inside of him, like a living fire, but he could do nothing about it.
And as he was suspended upon the crude cross, attached by nail, he watched the men below become prostrate before him, bowing to him and regaling him with their harsh tongue, poetry borne from the mouths of brutes. Men gathered before him in wonder, idolizing him, touching him, speaking to one another excitedly as they watched him.
Please, let me down! I feel pain, I wish to be free from these nails! the Enderman would plead, but his words would not leave.
And when nothing would respond to him, he felt alone. And the pain was ever present.
There came a time when the two-legs in furs left, and the cross rotted, and he fell back to the ever comfortable ground. His wounds healed, but he could not leave. Thus, he made himself a new home upon the hard rock below.
There came a time when the two-legs in metal came, speaking more polished tongues and regaling the Enderman with fear and wonder. They prodded him with pointy metal, opening tiny cuts on his body that hurt like the nails.
Am I to feel the nails again? he would wonder innocently as they picked him up and carried him off to a new, distant land.
And when nothing would respond to him, he felt hurt.
There came a time when he was in a cage of metal, bars not unlike those of a stronghold. There was sky and life all around him, yet he was separated from that by the gray metal, and he felt lonely.
This is not freedom. This is not what free is, he thought, leaning against the back of the cage. He could not move, his vision was limited to what was in front of him. How much time had passed, he lost count; so many cycles of the sun and the moon that he had forgotten their names, forgotten how to hail them in the dozen tongues that came before the two-legs.
The two-legs, in their colorful attire, would stand in front of his cage and point and laugh, and speak cruel words in their own tongue. He wished he could assuage them with his own speech, and the words gathered in his mouth.
I come to you as a friend! I hail you, two-legs, I will make you my brother! he wanted to cry to them, but their taunts kept coming.
"It's so hideous! All that black skin!" one would yell, incomprehensible to him.
"God, it's so tall. Terrifying," another would shudder.
"Hell, I'd kill that thing if I saw it out on my property," another would guffaw.
They were all incomprehensible, but the Enderman felt the biting tone of their words, and knew that they taunted him, laughed at him, mocked his captivity. Their eyes bulged at him, they wondered things about him, they cracked jokes about him and crafted cruel puns about him.
Your words hurt, I know! Please, let me be free, and I can be your brother! the Enderman would plead, but his words were dead.
And when nothing would respond to him, he felt angry.
There came a time when the Enderman was angry. How many suns and moons had passed, he did not know.
Harsh lights, not those of the sun but those of science, shone down upon him from above. He was poked and prodded relentlessly, cold metal objects touching his skin and examining him.
"Xeno organism shows little in the way of stimulus response. Perhaps the nervous system is too simple, or otherwise damaged in some form?"
I hate you, I hate you, I hate you and want you to die! the Enderman thought to himself, feeling anger in his blood.
"Maybe. A lobotomy would be a process we can do, but...we would need a dead subject," a two-leg would speak.
"Ah, yes...for now, we can take skin samples and trace it's genome."
Fuck you, fuck you and die! Let a thousand pigmen eat your flesh as you burn, let you die in agony! the Enderman wanted to cry out. He had learned that he had partaken of a flower known as Manneh's sleep, and his body was caught in an unending slumber, never to rouse again. Paralyzed, he lay for days on a table, staring into those lights.
Nobody would respond to him; nobody ever responded to him. He wanted them all to die, wanted all the two-legs to die in agony. In his dreams, he imagined severing their throats, decapitating them, hanging them, breaking them bone by bone, tearing their entrails out, drowning them, killing them. They were not undying.
Nothing would respond to him, and he had gotten used to that.
There came a time when the two-legs ended themselves in fire, the shiny spheres dropping from the sky and erasing their great creations from the world.
The Enderman felt himself overjoyed as he listened to the white-coated two-legs speak in worried voices, swapping stories of death and destruction and plague. He rejoiced to hear of families raped and murdered by roving gangs, rejoiced to hear of entire army units destroyed by "bombs", rejoiced to hear of refugees gunned down in the thousands as they tried to escape. Eventually they all died, and he was forgotten.
The cell was nice and peaceful, a quiet place. The two-legs went away, and eventually their creations did too. The metal rusted and decayed and collapsed, the machinery rusted away, the glass cracked and broke and slowly the world became greener again. And he began to feel empathy for the two-legs; he realized that his hate had been foolish, that his bitterness had been pointless. His anger withered away as he realized that there had been a reason for everything that had happened.
The Enderman began to realize things about the world, and once again he returned to the idea of time. What is time, but a ticking clock? He had seen the devices the two-legs had used, back when he was filled with bitterness and malice. They had an end, a terminus when time ceased. He realized that perhaps time had its own terminus; just as the two-legs had their ending, washed away by the passage of the sun and moon, so too did everything.
Nothing would respond to him, and he felt learned.
There came a time when he felt at home again. Grass grew beneath him, the bars of his cell had rusted away, and he fell back to the ground. The flower was his only true memory.
There came a time when dirt began to grow around him. So much passed, so many cycles, so much time to ponder...well, ponder time.
Perhaps there is a design to all of this, he wondered one day.
Maybe I'm part of something bigger.
Maybe there was a reason for this.
He wondered to himself, feeling solitude all around him. But he was not lonely; no, he was joyous. He pondered questions, and learned more about them, as time began to heal the wounds that had been delivered to the world.
There came a time when the earth had changed, and the Enderman had not. The soil had shifted, and he was nearly covered. His eyes still saw, watched the cycles pass.
There was a finality to all of this, he knew. There was a terminus, an end to the line.
Everything went in a straight line, planned out from the beginning. He had seen so much of it, and knew what it meant.
As dirt began to cover him, sealing him away forever, he knew that his terminus had come. Though he would live on, buried beneath the soil and locked away, forgotten, he knew that this was the end of his journey.
He almost smiled, unable to struggle free of his earthen tomb, unable to prevent the dust from blowing over his eyes and returning him to darkness, familiar darkness.
So this is the end. Quaint.
He hummed a little tune inside his mind.
It's okay now, words. You don't need to be afraid anymore. Go free.
They would not, but that was okay.
He hummed a little tune and lost himself in the darkness.
There comes a time when everything meets its end, and that is where true happiness lies.
Nothing had responded to him, and he finally felt happy.