Next Life

There are those in the world who make wishes, and those who grant wishes, and those who push through life according to their own power, believing that to be on either end of a wish is to be weak. I am not one of the latter. I know my own weakness. I have accepted it as a part of who I am. I have always been weak, and I will always be weak. I am one who wishes.

Weakness is an interesting thing, because it can drive you to places that others couldn’t go in their strongest moments. I feared seeking those who could grant me my wish, because I had been taught to fear them, over the years. My fear was a weakness that kept me from seeking the only thing that could aid in granting me what I desired. It was only once my burden became unbearable that I could bring myself to approach them.

The fae are full of tricks, they say. Of all the types of entities, they are the most likely to promise one thing and give another, with their words twisted about to make it seem like they gave you what you had asked for all along. They are also the easiest to approach: if you can find the path, and you take it with your intent clear in your heart, you will find the place where they keep court, and they will hear your petition.

My life has been defined by my weakness. I have never accomplished anything. I have never gone anywhere. I have never made anything or made anything of myself. I have done nothing but waste the time I have been given on this earth, because I’ve been too weak to pursue anything. I’ve been too weak to even find something to pursue. And so I asked the fae for more time.

They told me time, itself, was not within their power. They said it with smiles on their faces, so that I knew they had kept something from me. The fae show you nothing by accident. So I asked, “What is within your power?”

The told me I could have my youth back again, but only once I had lived out my life. I had to reach the end of my time. I said, “To have my wish, I must die?”

They told me that once I died, they would ensure my rebirth. They said I would be born again, with memories and knowledge of my life. I would have a chance to start over. That’s all I wanted, really. The ease and direction of childhood, and the chance to try my adult life again. I asked, “What is your price?

They told me they wanted my soul. I hadn’t known what price to expect, and I hadn’t known the soul was something I could give. So I asked, “What does that mean?”

When I die, the fae will take my soul and keep it for themselves. This, they say, will be no factor in my rebirth, for they will collect my spirit as well. I did not understand at first, but I think I do, now. The soul is that which holds my being together. The spirit is me: my personality, my memories, and my experiences. It’s the part of me which thinks and defines myself. I asked, “Why do you want my soul?”

This, they would not answer. They deferred, and explained that they would attach my spirit to a new life, keeping the soul for themselves. The soul, they said, was not me. It was only glue. The spirit was me. They would keep it safe until they found a vessel, and I could begin life anew as a child.

I accepted. They frightened me, with their strange faces and their strange words, but I had come here with a goal in my heart, and the thought of not achieving it frightened me more. Weakness gave me a sort of strength. I could never have accepted their deal out of bravery. I’m too wary of danger. But the fear that something worse would happen, if I didn’t accept? That carried me through.

Now I live my life looking forward to the day I die, because that’s when I’ll start over. That will be my new beginning, without any of the baggage of my wasted life. I’ll do better next life. I know that I will. I just know.

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