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How, What, When and Why

The Four gathered, as was their custom, on the open top of the tall stone tower, itself at the edge of a spit of land.

It was a hundred years since they last spoke, none were there by choice, none could not be there.

Master How, sitting, his back to the wall, was slowly and softly beating his head backwards against the grey slabs of granite that encircled them.
“It - is - sim - ply - unbearable” each word measured by a backwards thump.
“Unendurable!” he shouted, rising up,
“no matter the degree, no matter the detail, no matter the exquisite matter-of-factness of all that I explain, they are never content! They chew me, swallow me and are hungry for more! I am their slave who they cruelly call Master. I want to tell them all of it, at once, so they will finally and forever stop!

Lord What, his heavy brow slashed with its habitual frown, looked down on How with utter disdain. His bulk filled their circle, his smell lingered through the tower.
“You stupid child” his voice rumbled, bleak with age.
“What did you expect- do you come to this only now?”

A spasm of pain contorted his face as he lifted a clubbed fist to strike at... something... down to the savage rocks below.

“I have endured this since time awoke to itself and I have as much satisfaction as sand" his look at How dripped with contempt.
"I name all that I see, I shape all that I name and all that I shape I give no promise save death.
And If I could, I would send all to the void!”

He stopped, choked with rage, unable to water the furrows of his face.

Guru When crept closer to them both. Her body seemed to slide between them, and around them, her words came over them, then inside them,
“Brothers, dear brothers, do not suffer so, let me sing to you a little while”
And she sang, sweet murmurs of times long forgotten, tingling promises of what might one day still come till Master How and Lord What felt their passions succumb.

The day turned to night, turned to day, turned to night and in the tower those who had spoken readied to part, to rule, for another hundred years.
But at the last, as it must be when time stands still for an instant, the three turned to their silent companion, curled up as quiet as a sleeping infant.

“So, Sister Why” their voices jeered, mocking the questions they were beholden to ask
“Will you spare us from your usual wordless drivel; do you actually have anything to say?

And then, as they must, they waited for reason
Like three escaped mental patients, like prisoners of treason

“Well…” whispered Why, and at her voice they all trembled
“In truth, I do, begin, to understand”

They froze, literally, the tower’s stone reached icy, twining roots up into their feet
“ and I will leave you now, brothers, sister, I do not think you will hold me again”

And she rose like the sun, like the wind, and flew from the tower to the world
her question in all that is, her answer in all that is




© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd