Can You See Me
Dear Mother,
I know this letter has been long overdue. I am sorry. I imagine you must be in your kitchen, the sterling silver one we have, fretting. I am sorry to make you fret. I know how much you hate it. I hate it too.
But although I have failed to send you a letter I feel I have an excuse to make in spite of the fact that my reason seems very petty now. We have arrived.
Yes, mother, we have arrived where they always promised us we would go, the wonderful, glorious planet of Ravagog. Do you remember when I got chosen? Yes, that was a happy day, mother. But sad, too. I would be leaving you.
Do you remember when they told us the story of Ravagog, the planet of splendor? They said it was milky-white, with clouds as wispy as the finest thread twisting through the clear blue skies. And the trees! they said. What marvelous trees! They were huge, towering, their thick trunks canvassed with the wrinkles of age, their big branches, loaded with the sweetest fruit imaginable. They sang about the glory of the holy angels that lived there, that flew across the cobalt dome of the heavens and sang their glorious songs.
And I remember that we laughed with joy at the fact that soon I would be departing for such a awing place. And I remember when I got on the ship, a sleek monster of gray, and stared out the tiny windows and waved at you as you grew smaller. And I never told you before, but tears then flecked my eyes.
But this journey has been gruelling. Many, many months have been spent on this suffocating aircraft, so many hours spent pressed on the cold glass, my warm breath misting the view in front of me.
And watching our beautiful planet spin farther and farther until it was swallowed by white speckled universe.
Four months ago we were close enough to see Ravagog. It was just a white dot, shining and pure in the blackness of the unknown. But it gave us hope. It made all the wearying time traveling through oblivion seem almost worth it.
And we laughed and shouted and clapped each other on the backs. We told each other we’d finally made it and thank God we are here now.
Mother, there is another reason I have written to you.
They have lied.
Yes, all those stories, those fantastic tales of lore and wonder are all lies. Deception. Trickery. Fraud.
We got closer to the planet, day by day seeing more and more of it, day by day being gripped by a mad longing to get on it, to touch it, to finally feel the grooves of the rocky ground beneath us. It merged into a obsession, and impatience that could not be stifled.
We grew closer and closer to Ravagog, drinking in its splendid glowing whiteness and staring at it all, so tantalizingly close, yet weeks away. Then our captain told us we would be landing the next day. We did not sleep that night. I though of the magical angels and the towering trees we would see there, and smiled at the magnificence that awaited us.
I got up in the middle of our sleeping hours, not being able to doze off, and rose to look out the window. And there it was, the huge orb that was Ravagog. So close I felt I could touch it.
And as we slowly, ever so slowly neared it, I felt different. A strange feeling. A sensation of darkness. Of shadow. Of Evil.
As I stared and stared outside, the beautiful white of Ravagog transformed before my eyes. Like an jet-black marker on paper, the stellar whiteness slowly turned to dark. Inky, malicious black. And the planet was transformed. Fully black, it now radiated something sinister. And I wondered if it had not transformed at all, but had in fact always been that way, waiting for someone to uncover its secret.
I was astounded. I thought it must be The Sun playing tricks on my eyes. Yes, that must be it. I thought, almost desperate. The Sun is deceiving us. That is all. And with that feeble reassurance I wrenched myself from the window and was greeted with the harsh Announcement that everyone must be up, as we were landing.
Little did I know that it was not The Sun deceiving us, but in fact something else.
Mother, all the men jumped up in an excited frenzy, and for a moment, I allowed myself to forget what I had seen outside that window and think of the sure wonders that awaited us. No one thought to look outside.
The landing gear was set down, the safety controls were switched on, and the pilots carefully maneuvered the ship down. We were not allowed into the pilot’s cabin. We all got into our seats and strapped our belts on, our hands shaking in terror and happiness.
I felt a huge force like a thousand fists pressed upon me pinning me to my seat, as I had when we had lifted off. I could feel the ship spiraling downwards as we landed.
Mother, I thought I would die there. The pressure was too great, flattening me like a predator destroying its prey. I felt the terrifying sensation of falling forever. And just as I could not bear it any longer, there was a tremendous clunk as our spaceship landed onto Ravagog, and the immense pressure lifted.
All was silent.
Not a cheer, not a shout, not a single word was spoken. Only deadly silence, a silence of pure astonishment.
I unbuckled myself, stood up, and walked over to the window, the same sparkling window that I had waved goodbye to you behind, the same window that I had pressed my face against when we were flying through nothingness, the same window through which I had glimpsed a darker, sinister Ravagog, and now the same window that I looked through to see the land that stood before me.
I could not speak. For a moment my heart stopped. Outside the window was Ravagog, yes. We had landed. But it was not the splendor we had been told it was, and impatiently waited for all these months. It was as I had feared. The ground spread out in all directions towards and invisible horizon was black. But not a luxurious, velvety black. A black of darkness, of fear. The ground was rutted and scraped, ugly and scarred everywhere I looked. There were no towering trees. There was not a plant in sight. There were no angels.
Mother, Ravagog is not a place of wonder, of justice, of peace. It is the epitome of death. This is not the playgound of cherubs but the lair of Evil himself. There is nothing here for us, and there will never be.
And it lured us in, Mother. Ravagog lured us by its beautiful prospects, and left us breathless in a crazed mania for it. It coaxed us to its trap of darkness, like a spider does to a fly in a web. And we followed, willingly, bewitchingly. Then, when it was too late, it exposed itself to what it really was.
And now we are trapped, mother. Among the spirits of panic and fear. We cannot get back. We had planned on living here forever. We only brought enough energy to get to Ravagog. Now we are lost in a place without hope.
As I write this I am sitting at the same window, my old companion that helped me see the truth, and I am looking out at the sky of pure gloom and strain my eyes in a futile attempt to catch a small glimpse of our planet, its beauty that I now know not to take for granted. But I cannot see it. No matter how hard I stare it is lost in the stars that do not shine here.
And as I imagine your our pretty home. I think about you. About the tall way you stood and guided me. About how your nose curved slightly at the point. About the way your cheeks dimpled when you smiled. I keep you in my mind, mother, before I forget. I shall remember everything I can, before this wretched place takes even your memory away from me.
And I wonder if you, perhaps, are staring out our small kitchen window, trying to catch a glimpse of our spaceship.
And I wonder if you can see me.

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