The Angel of Morpheus by J. Lang
Morpheus wakes from a dream. The gentle flutter of his grey eyelids indicates stirring. He sits up, eyes remaining closed. He turns and lowers his bare feet to the ground beside his bed. The tall god is adorned with a long black robe coated with constellational patterns; tired stars gripping the dark fabric. The floor creaks below Morpheus as he rises and walks slowly towards the door in egress. He clutches the doorframe. The exit to his room is lined with foreign beads that resist his attempts to push them aside. There is no floor outside the room, so Morpheus indolently falls through, spiraling downwards. The sewn stars of his cloak shake themselves loose, coating the blackness of his descent.
Morpheus lands amidst the branches of a large elm where he cringes in discomfort. As he sits up, the tree bends, lowering the god to the ground. When Morpheus rolls to the grass, the great elm lifts itself back towards the sky, using large hand-like branches as support. Morpheus sits there until twilight, drifting off to sleep. He dreams with his eyes wide – they open with the setting of the Sun.
Morpheus walks across a plain, approaching an open door facing skywards. The tall god climbs in. Morpheus is in a workshop. Here, he holds a feathered wing between tongs. The tall man has difficulty holding up this large object. At the wing’s beginning, he observes a socket. The man carries the wing awkwardly to the far end of the room. Here stands an androgynous creature about Morpheus’ own height. The creature has open eyes and a lone wing. The man lifts the large feathered object and fastens it to the creature. Morpheus is taken aback when his creature begins to emanate a stark blue light that fills the workshop. Somewhat blinded by the glow, Morpheus’ eyes widen to deal with the discomfort.
“Why do you do this to yourself, sad man?” The creature still looks distant.
Morpheus glances at its chest where there gapes a vicious wound. The pit contains the ends of connectional tubes that spew blood. “Where is your heart?” The old man steps back from the androgynous creature.
Somewhat offended, it replies “you are building me, you should know. What is this bleeding?” The creature’s angular nose lets go of a red droplet. Its masculine brow furrows. “Why do you do this to me, sad man?” Morpheus closes his eyes. He wakes in the field.
The tall god rises. The morning dew coats his long, black hair. He lifts his hands to his face, running his fingers over the charcoal form. A nude woman kicks the god’s shin. She turns and runs down into a valley, approaching a river. Morpheus steps up onto the back of a small cloud and rides it down into the valley. The cloud fades as the god’s feet reach a large stone. He sits and watches while the girl swims. He turns to see a deer. The god ignores it. Hearing a cry, Morpheus looks back. The deer lay struggling beneath a grey wolf. Two of the hunter’s kin join the feasting as the deer pounds the soil desperately with its hooves, trying to pull free. Morpheus turns back to watch the girl swimming. Blood is the scent of dusk today.
Drifting, Morpheus opens his eyes widely and falls to the floor of his workshop. The part-male, part-female winged creature looks tired. It continues to bleed, not only from the nose and the heart, but from the corners of its eyes. The old man heaves in nausea. Tears fall from the creature. The frail Morpheus stands and begins fiddling about on his tool bench. He builds a small steel cube with numerous sockets and funnels emerging from it. The cube contains a piston. He approaches the tall, weeping creature and inserts the steel heart into the angel’s chest. The pump begins to function, but the box bursts and dark red fluid sprays the man. He falls to the floor. The rift is wide again.
The old man draws a knife from his belt and slices open his shirt. Morpheus cuts out his heart and sews it into the chest of the angel. Standing upright, the angel thanks the man. It flies around and out a window, soaring into the dawn.
Morpheus awakes with open eyes and the heart of a selfless man.