On the day Daedalus left this world, he made his way to the outer bank of the River Styx, tipped the ferryman and made the crossing to the Land of the Dead. He stepped off the boat when it moored on the far bank and looked around him. He stood alone surrounded by a grey and uncertain mist.
He looked for his son but instead found his mother, her arms open wide. She took his hands in hers and held them before his face. When she opened her hands, Daedalus began to draw figures in the mist. To his surprise, the figures he drew remained suspended before him. He drew a bird with a finely curved beak and delicate feathers. When he finished, the bird spread its wings, opened its beak as if to sing and flew away. Daedalus followed it for as long as he could see it.
When he looked for his mother, he could not see her. The ferryman, his boat and the riverbank were gone.
Daedalus set to work again, drawing lines in the mist that took the form of a boy. He drew each line as though his blood still ran, bringing back every detail of the boy who lived in his memory, even now. When he finished, he stood back and waited for the image of his son to become his son.
Then the mist around him changed. The grey, uncertain fog was supplanted by soft mists of red and yellow and a sky as blue and bright as life filled the ether above him. Suspended below the sky was the immense and sunlit figure of his son, who had been where no man had ever been and seen what no man had ever seen, arrested in his fall and eternally in free flight.
Daedalus searched the light for the image he had created, but it was lost in the presence of his son. He looked for his own hands, but he could not find them. He put his face where he thought his hands were and wept.
Paul Holler's short stories, poems, articles and interviews with noted authors have appeared or are forthcoming in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Eclectica, Greek Fire, Copperfield Review, Southern Cross Review, Bookslut, Critique Magazine, Conversations with Jay Parini and other journals and anthologies.
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