Psyche Poised Against Infinity

woman at night

Found at the High Style Life website – no photo credit available

Psyche stood on the edge of the rooftop contemplating the city’s nightlife far below. If anyone saw her swaying twenty stories above the street, they might vitiate her plans and try to persuade her to go indoors, or perhaps to a hospital, but suicide wasn’t on her mind.

Privately celebrating the occurrence of her twentieth birthday, she took a single rose pedal from inside her diaphanous gown, where it had been nestled between her breasts, and released it to the wind, letting the obsidian sky receive its tribute.

She knew the monstrosity was out there somewhere between the wind and the darkness and the sky, and she, her young, lithe body wrapped only in barely tangible moonlight, poised like a pigeon at the edge of eternity, chose no longer to have feet of clay, but the talons of an eagle.

“Come and show me your hideous strength for I am finally ready for you. We both know that I was merely born within a human shell, but I’ve become so much more. You, on the other hand, were always a monster, and I am the only one to oppose you.”

“You misunderstand me, dear Psyche. I am but an adversary, a tempter, but not the true evil. I can do nothing that the Father does not sanction. Consider that it is they below who decide to do good or evil.” His voice whispered out of the ether, but no manner of body was visible.

“Or anything in-between.”

“Mostly they are in-between.”

“Very well, Adversary, where does that leave us?”

“You stand at the edge of a rooftop in the middle of a city, looking down upon revelers, saints, and sinners, while I dance among them, playing my flute, singing my song, and enticing those who will listen and follow. The rest go about their way, unaware that they have chosen to avert disaster, disease, or just a plain, old-fashion bit of debauchery.”

“I have to stop you. I was born to save them.”

“Now there’s the rub. You can’t. Not by opposing me, not directly, anyway. I was made in the shelter of the Celestial Court by the Father Himself. You, my lovely, are merely from the stars, an extra-dimensional spirit, lost for millennia, bound here by accident, woven into an unborn child in a mother’s womb, and now you realize you have a greater destiny. What shall you do with it?”

“I don’t pretend to know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you, a world where anything is possible. I’m going to show them that God exists, and that neither you nor humanity define what is absolute, or righteous, or real.

“You are welcome to begin, Psyche.”

“Then I’ll begin with this.”

Long, honey blonde hair fluttering in the breeze in concert with her silken gown, the woman-child Psyche stretched out her arms to her side, gazed down at the lost race of man far below, and then leaped outward into the thin, ebony air.

But she did not fall, and instead, a brilliant light, the illumination of a thousand suns, struck the heavens, not just above this city, but above all of the cities, all of the towns, villages, hamlets, pastures, wheat fields, deserts, wherever even a single human dwelt, they saw the light, her light, His light.

And then she began the battle to wins the souls of the human race and to rescue them from the darkness within themselves.

I wrote this for Wordle #208 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least 10 of the 12 words listed in the Wordle to craft a poem, short story, or other creative work. I used all 12. Here’s the list:

Rub

Psyche

Vitiate – spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of: development programmes have been vitiated by the rise in population. • destroy or impair the legal validity of: the insurance is vitiated because of foolish acts on the part of the tenant.

Rose

Receive

Occurrence

Persuade

Rooftop

Nightlife

Monstrosity

Clay

Pigeon

Yes, we are our own worst enemy, but not necessarily because of the Christian version of Satan. I read something about how Jewish thought considers the Adversary which I decided to incorporate into my wee tale. Of course, Psyche makes an unlikely Messiah, being both a woman and extraterrestrial or extra-dimensional, but then, stories are sometimes made more interesting by presenting the unexpected. Imagine a world where the supernatural was demonstrated to be incontrovertibly real? How would it change your view of humanity, your moral certitude, your sense that you, as a human being, are the ultimate moral authority in the universe?

Yes, I borrowed part of Psyche’s comments from Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) dialog at the end of the 1999 film The Matrix. The phrase “hideous strength” comes from a C.S. Lewis novel.

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12 thoughts on “Psyche Poised Against Infinity

  1. Ah, yes … “The shadow of that hyddeous strength, sax [six] myle and more it is of length.” (quoted by CS Lewis in his book “That Hideous Strength”, from Sir David Lyndsay: from Ane Dialog, describing the Tower of Babel). But it’s an evocative phrase, and well-employed here. But your protagonist’s hypothesis that humanity would benefit from being awakened to greater awareness of the unseen reality surrounding them is not unreasonable. On the other hand, it would also raise the stakes in the game of life by increasing their moral accountability and removing their ability to resort to the excuse of “I didn’t know”.

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      • I suspect He will replay their memories for them to show them how much they actually did know (or at least suspect), and then He will ask them to choose — though there is a strong possibility that their habituated responses may cause them to react out of guilt and fear in denial rather than repentance. But why be pessimistic? Maybe some, at least, will get over it.

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  2. I caught those inclusions, James. And… very interesting; I often feel as if reading fiction is so much “work” (and a waste of time) — so that’s saying something.

    [By the way, C.S. Lewis’s book including Psyche (‘Till We Have Faces) is my least favorite of his… a mistake in my view. But nothing in your story bothered me. And I very much like The Matrix, as you may recall. I think it is possible for your character to be exemplar of human (extra-dimensional) rather than extraterrestrial per se.]

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  3. Nice reflection on the eternal struggle between good and evil.

    “I’m going to show them a world without you”

    I’m not so sure that would be a good thing, at least not in this world. Without darkness, how can we perceive the light? To comprehend the Light/good, we need something against which to compare it.

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