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The Low, Heavy Sky

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An artist stumbled through the City of Forms, drunk on resentment. The City had opened its gates to them with warm smiles and open arms, eager to share the jewel of their land with young, creative eyes.

The Forms were carefully placed behind crystal-clear glass. Visitors were ushered through the display hallway, tour guides eagerly filling their ears with history. Nobody knew what divine hands had crafted life, the guides explained, but who could deny the sheer perfection of their work?

Moon couldn’t.

 


 

“Are you lost?”

Moon jumped, clutching their bag to their chest. Pens and parchment rattled inside.

“Didn’t mean to scare you, there.” The old man laughed, patting Moon’s shoulder. “You’ve been staring at the wall for a few minutes now. Just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

“I’m fine,” Moon muttered. They were fine, weren’t they? They looked just like one of the Forms shown on the tour, a perfectly normal humanoid creature in the back row on the left. Perfectly normal. Perfect.

“Alrighty then.” The man looked Moon up and down, doubtless suspicious of them actually being fine. Moon returned the gesture. This man’s body had been somewhere at the beginning of the hallway.

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like to look...different?” Moon asked. “Like something not among the Forms.”

The man frowned. “That’s not possible. All the world is built from the Forms.”

“Yeah,” Moon said. “Yeah. Of course.”

 


 

While the City of Forms was fond of glass, it apparently didn’t care much for locks.

On their return trip to the City months later, Moon crept through the darkness undisturbed. Their bag bounced against their hip, heavier than it had ever been. Moon slipped through a workers’ entrance, around a few corners, through two doors, and all of life’s glorious creation was laid out before them, beautiful and vulnerable.

Moon stepped towards the closest Form slowly, fearfully. It was humanoid. Male. Brown hair. With shaking hands, Moon reached for its face and cupped it like a lover’s.

“You’re lovely,” Moon whispered, and dug their thumbs into the Form’s soft, fleshy cheeks. They dragged their nails downward, scarring permanent tear tracks into the smiling face.

 


 

Hours passed, and Moon was content. With a paintbrush dipped in red, they put the finishing touches on their latest masterpiece: A mouthless abomination made up of legs stolen from half a dozen other Forms, which lay in pieces on the floor.

Now there was only one problem left to address.

Moon’s Form stood pristine among the mass of bodies Moon had made their mark on. It smiled gently, beckoning Moon towards it with eyes that spoke of hidden malice. Moon walked to it, considered their options, and grabbed a spare limb that hadn’t quite fit onto the leg creature. With it, they smashed their Form until nothing remained but crumbs of blood and tissue.

When Moon looked down at their hands and saw nothing, they smiled.

When Moon stepped out of the museum and saw chaos, they laughed.