Author: Irene Montaner

Time was born the moment Erisha did. And when she breathed for the first time, in and out, a world was brought to life. A land of flames and fumes. Erisha made herself a home in it and watched time go by from the warmth of her hearth. Decades, centuries, even millennia felt like seconds to her.

As the blazing world cooled, mountains and plains appeared, rivers and seas. Ferns and tress grew tall; monsters owned the water, the land and the air. Erisha flushed as her world evolved, her skin was ablaze, her inside on fire. She yearned for something, for someone, and so she left her home and wandered restlessly amid the deafening grumbling of those ageing beasts.

Millions of years passed before she found what she was looking for. Someone like her, walking on his two legs, with sturdy features and unkempt hair, thicker skin and darker eyes. Her inner fire stirred, her cheeks reddened. Erisha reached to him but he walked through her. He didn’t see her translucent skin, her blue eyes or her copper hair. She called out to him but he never heard the voice that gave him a name. She was invisible to all things ephemeral.

Erisha watched them for a long time. She saw them run and rest, hunt and hide, gather with their equals, greet someone special. With greedy eyes she watched them frolicking. She learnt how they sowed, how they built, how they prospered, how they fought, how they died. And with every death Erisha’s inner fire died out a little.

Those beings evolved and so did the world, everything changing too quickly. Empires rose and fell, clans intertwined and disappeared, families thrived for generations only to perish later with a last barren daughter. Years became eons to Erisha. Tired and lonely, she sought shelter in her old home. The glowing walls were now cold and her inner fire was no more than embers. Her craving for companionship remained but time was a wrecking ball. Every year, every month, every week that went by crushed Erisha’s spirits. Her hopes plummeted to the ground when she saw them leave on their solid rockets. They, who had been born out of her breath, out of her desire, were deserting her. Erisha wandered the world again, folding the past behind her, sliding through the cracks of the future.

Life flourished once more, unlike anything that had inhabited that land before. Erisha wondered at it all as she dragged her feet across this world that she no longer recognised. Her body, once light as the air, felt now heavy under the burden of time. Almost hopeless, she just wished for time to end. And that’s when she saw her.

Old and weary, the woman had also been waiting for someone that never came. Erisha looked at her, the last of those humans who had left this world to find a better one. Erisha noticed her eyes fixed on her. Someone was finally seeing her, now that she was all skin and bones, her long grey hair sweeping the ground.

“Ah, there you are at last,” said the woman. “My man left me long ago and I have already buried the last of my children. Life is so pointless now.”

The woman extended her bony hand to Erisha. Erisha kissed her softly and the woman chilled. Erisha laid her body on the ground and lay beside her. The fire that had kept her alive since the beginning of time extinguished and her world slept forever.