I’d never realised the people walking around the streets and all their different features: the man who delivered our letters and his claw-like fingernails on grey, scaled hands, or the carpenter who repaired next door’s fence and his awkwardly long teeth and beaver-like nature. I never realised these things, or many others in fact, until I met a woman who called herself ‘Dawn’.
‘In the light of Dawn, all things hidden are revealed. Only coming out of the shadow of Dusk can we see the truth of everything; human and non-human.’ she had said to me.
I liked Dawn, but I didn’t know her. She came to me one day while I was gardening, a figure hidden in cloths of golden-brown and a hood which hid her face, a sky-blue. Behind her arrival was the song of a hundred morning birds, and in front of her blazing eyes I could see a long, bountiful and weather-changing day. She took me gently in her hand and lead me out into the world, discovering all the things which had been hidden in the night.
Dawn showed me over the forests and beyond the skies, she showed me the vales and the dells of my homeland, but then she took me to the cities where I discovered the true distortion of Dusk. It was only while in the presence of Dawn I saw how inhuman we truly are, and in the cities I saw the worst of it. There were money-lenders with faces like vultures, bankers who grunted and squealed like pigs, butchers seemed like ravaging wolves who tore apart the meat without care or delicacy. Even the honest folk seemed in a new light; there were hard-working peoples with darkening, clinging shadows, and good people with daemons hanging from their coats. A pastor passed with a dancing corpse on his shoulder, then preachers with skeletons playing fiddles behind.
Some were more than I had expected though, a few passed with angel-like wings floating behind their shoulders, and one man I saw a halo over his ears. There were plenty who reminded me of Romans and Greeks, with grapes and wines and cherubims behind. It was a mad world we lived in, and a frightening nightmare for a rural-man like me.
The passing folk were a distraction for me, I scarce noticed Dawn by my side as her clothes turned brighter and paler, she became a lighter blue, and slowly white began to replace her golden dress. Her face was rising behind her hood and a light so bright I could not look shone out from the brim. At last she took me to the shores of a beach, and there she fled into the sky, burning brighter than ever before. Dawn retired from her duty, and Day took her place.
Day was not as kind as Dawn, nor as beautiful. He gave all that he could, but was often too much. With heat and light came many more fears, as the creatures inhuman began to sweat and fall to the ground, dying of thirst. I disliked Day most of all, he stayed the longest this time of year and liked to burn things whenever he could. He burnt skin and dried water, lit bushes and tortured the good and evil alike. Here on the beach he revealed things as much more amusing features though; people who looked like crabs and fish, some people even looked remarkably like ice-creams, but most looked like money-snatchers and gulls, trying to catch whatever they could by any means possible.
Day was unkind to us and stayed longest of all, but he changed by clouds and wind, rains poured and he dried their tears later. When he too took his leave, Dusk arrived.
Dusk was not a pleasant figure, but was by far the most beautiful of all. She was not as bright as Day or Dawn, but was soothing and calm. Her clothes appeared like red and gold, the setting sun spread many colours across the sky. That was the beautiful time of Dusk, when the colours appeared, but just after the worst times began. After the colour, Dusk lured the evil back into the world. From their shadows and looming abodes the bats and spiders, the snakes, the snails, the slugs, the growling dogs and black-faced cats appeared, chaos on their minds. Some spread into the streets unclothed, dogs went howling into the woods, and all the nasty things of the world came out to play at night. All the rat-faced people came with cards and dice in hand, ready for their games of gold. There were shots from the daemons, knives drawn from the thieves, and dark screeches from the bats. Only the owls of the night were the things I liked, those few who watched from afar and pitied the troubles of the world. They were wiser than the rest, and knew the fates of them all, but could never be certain of their own.
Dusk was not my least favourite of the times, for there was one more, longer than Dusk and Dawn, but shorter than Day until the dark nights came. The last was my least favoured, for only the stars were light in this. This time, he was called Dark. He was the unseen one, the one which spread furthest across the land and had eyes like stars but no other figure to him. He was the one who called the troubles, he was the leader of daemons and shades, the Evil One, and the quiet singer. There was least beauty in him, there was least kindness, most fear, most cruelty, and all things I disliked he hid away under his shadow. Some of the good folk tried to sleep off his gaze, some succeeded, but others were cowards and hid like mice from the cats. He seemed longest because he was most dreadful, but before too long I saw a familiar figure on the brow of the hill. As Dark’s face fell behind a hill and was penetrated by a strange light, I saw again the approach of my beloved Dawn.
She was the comfort of my hours, and through the torture of Day, the evil of Dusk, and the horror of Dark, I long and wait for her, until I die, then I welcome Light alone.