They Sing It, You Write It – One Shot Story Making Contest: SEASON 1 – ROUND 2, FIRST PLACER, GRAND WINNER
The following story is inspired by the song A Thousand Years by Christina Perri (Ft. Steve Kazee)
Aleph and Luna: Moonless Infinity
By: Clovergiel ♣
Not all people believe in the word ‘Forever’. It’s true, it doesn’t exist. In a mankind’s viewpoint, that is.
There’s only a lifetime for us humans.
But you’ll never know. Someone’s love story can last for more than one lifetime.
I CAN STILL clearly remember my memories from that day.
The day we first met. The day I first saw those sapphire-blue eyes melting me right where I stood as they stared back at me. The day everything I knew about love had changed – my perspective, my beliefs, my fear.
I stood there frozen, unable to utter anything sensible from this once clever mouth of mine. I admit, that guy had got me tongue-tied.
I held my breath, as I saw him slowly walking towards me. I could hear the sound of his footsteps, and it just made my breathing uneven. I think my body just started malfunctioning. I couldn’t even move a muscle. Let alone lift a finger.
But my mind reminded me, this couldn’t be. It’s not possible and… it’s forbidden.
But… my heart knew better than that. It was as if it had its own mind, functioning fully at that precious moment. Because right from the start, my heart already knew. And I knew, too.
I knew that I finally found a home for my fragile heart.
Year 1015 AD
I am Luna, born from the clan of the Onsterfliks, who holds a big secret we wouldn’t want to leak out to any Normalis, the ordinary humans. Like you.
But I will tell you, because I want you to help me find something – or rather, someone.
And our secret – my secret – is we are ageless. Everlasting. Immortal.
Yes, I am immortal. That’s what my surname means in the Afrikaan language, which was used by people of Namibia, where I was born. I have lived since 77 AD, so I pretty much haven’t seen Jesus Christ – but my parents did. We’ve been living in different places and our surname changes from time to time, depending on that country’s translation of “immortal.”
But I never changed mine. Not only because I didn’t want to, but because I think that that would be the only way for me to find him. And for him to recognize and remember me.
Because I need to put back together the broken pieces of my once fragile heart, and he is the only solution I’ve got. And I only have a thousand years left. Well, exactly 999 years from now to do that.
But before I proceed in my search for him, I will tell you first what happened when we met, and how my once eternal life has been cut off to a thousand years.
It all started 20 years ago. . .
Philippines, 995 AD
It is by this year that we first moved in a land surrounded by bodies of water, an island in a country now popularly known as the Philippines. It is a whole new setting for me, so different from the Egyptian culture we followed where we last come from. But despite the huge differences, we Onsterfliks are very excellent adapters to change. Given of course that we have to move from country to country, continent to continent just to conceal our identity and, mainly, to hide from the perpetrators who hunt us to execute every single Onsterflik living in the earthland. The Annormalis.
Even though we are immortal, we are vulnerable to death. We are timeless, we don’t age, but we can be killed. That’s our weakness, and the Annormalis knew that. I don’t know if it’s true but they believe that if they take out the lives of all living Onsterfliks, they can gain our immortality.
And now, they are nearing their goal. There are only three Onsterfliks left known to existence. My mother, my father, and I.
That’s why we constantly move for at most every 10 years. And now, we choose to live in the Philippines.
Out of all the places I’ve been in, I can say that this place is paradise! They have a great culture, and most of their civilizations live by the seaside. The air is so refreshing, and the sea breeze… well, it’s just priceless.
And the day I first stepped on those soft-grained white sand, my whole world turned upside down. There he is, just emerging from the shallow vibrance of the sea as the saltwater clings perfectly on his deep-tanned skin, my true utopia. The Raja’s son.
It’s the first time I’ve seen him since we get here, but he qualifies for all the descriptions I’ve been hearing. Practically every maiden in the archipelago has been blabbering nonstop about this handsome man. They say he’s unwed, still up for grabs. But he doesn’t care less. And I didn’t too, when I first heard of it. But now seeing him up front is a different story.
Everyone around me seems to giggle as he starts walking out of the water, but I can’t hear any of them. Only the fast, rhythmic beating of my heart resonated in my ear. It even speeds up uncontrollably, when I realize that our eyes have met.
I can feel butterflies in my stomach. I feel like I am surrounded by thousands of colors of different shades. I am a stranger to such a feeling. I have never felt this before. Getting nervous and excited all in the same second.
He walks towards my direction. “Hi,” he says. “Are you new here? I think I haven’t seen you around. My name is Aleph, by the way. And you are…?”
“L-Luna. Luna Onsterflik.”
He offers his hand and I gladly accept it. And that’s how everything between us started.
But I can’t love him. We Onsterfliks are not allowed to love any Normalis. We’re very fragile, despite our immortality. It will break us to see people we love come and go.
And since we’re the only Onsterfliks left, I will pretty much be alone for the rest of my life.
But still, as time passed by, I can’t help my feelings for Aleph from getting deeper and deeper. My mind doesn’t like it, but my heart doesn’t want to listen. He feels like home, and my heart feels safe around him.
For almost 20 years, the two of us were inseparable. We have already forgotten the idea of moving every ten years, because this village feels like a safe refuge for an Onsterflik. Foreigners seldom come, and honestly, we are the first ones to be their guest.
And then it happened. The fortuitous event that we thought will never befall us. The Annormalis came.
I witness my parents getting killed. Oh, so that’s what it’s like to be killed. I want to join them. I want to die with them. I will give those Annormalis what they want.
I trace my steps towards my parents, but a strong grip in my right arm stopped me from doing so. “Luna! I know what you’re thinking. Please… don’t,” Aleph whispers, desperation obvious in his eyes.
Right, I still have him.
He leads me away from my parents’ corpse. That’s when I start to see the whole scene: the scorching flames and ashes from the burning houses, crying children and dead people. They not only want the Onsterfliks’ lives; they want to take out the whole civilization.
I am already losing my breath. We’ve been running like there’s no end. There are two people by my side: Aleph and Hayah, my family’s helper ever since we’re in Egypt. She knows all the secrets of our family, and I also treat her as my second mother.
Hayah stops at her tracks. She’s aging, so I guess it’s hard for her to keep up with us. “Are you alright? Can you still walk?” I ask worriedly.
“I’m fine, Lady Luna. Don’t worry about me,” she says, smiling weakly at me.
I look back and see that we have run far enough from the village. But what we haven’t realized is that we have come near the cliff… and that we’re far from being safe.
An Annormalis stands before us, a victorious smile etched on his ugly face.
“Well, well, well. Looks like the princess didn’t make it that far, huh? Too bad. I’ll be the one getting that immortality,” he says viciously.
Aleph grips my arm. “Luna, get away from here. Go with Hayah. Be safe, please.” He kisses my forehead then looks straight at my eyes. “I love you, forever and always. Be alive. For me, for your parents, and for everyone living in our village.”
I can’t help my tears from flowing.
Aleph, what are you planning to do? You sound like you’re leaving.
Then the next thing I know, he bolts towards the Annormalis and pushes him towards the cliff. Both of them… fall.
I rush towards the edge. “Noooooo! Aleph! W-Why?”
I cry over and over. This is too much pain. I can literally feel my heart breaking into pieces. Why did you have to die too? Why did you leave me? Why are you sacrificing your life for me? Why…?
I can feel Hayah’s comforting hands on my back. I hug her. “I-I can’t understand what I’m feeling. Why is it so painful? I feel like my heart is being torn apart.”
“Lady Luna, I’m afraid I know what you’re feeling and experiencing right now.”
I look up at her with a puzzled expression.
“Your mother knew that it would come to a time like this, where your heart would be broken by the Raja’s son. She saw how much you love him, and she’s afraid how you would be once he died. And now I’m seeing it. Just as what she had said. Your fragile heart had been broken – literally,” Hayah says.
“Literally? What do you mean by that?” I ask, bewildered.
“Once an Onsterflik’s heart has been broken, their immortality will cease. Your life will be cut off to a thousand years.”
“You mean, I wouldn’t be immortal anymore? That I only have a thousand years left?” I ask.
“Precisely. But, there is a way to restore your broken heart,” she says.
“H-How? Please tell me, Hayah,” I beg her.
She smiles before answering me. “According to your mother, you need to find the reincarnations of the person who broke your heart. Which means, you have to find Lord Aleph. A Normalis reincarnates every 250 years, which means you have four chances of finding him. But it won’t be easy, for he would be born in different countries, anywhere around the world. And you wouldn’t know at what exact year he reincarnates, and when he would die. But I know you can do it, Lady Luna. I know you can find him. You are strong. I believe in you.”
I smile at her. I don’t care about my immortality anymore. I just want to find Aleph and see him once again. He’s unfair. He didn’t let me tell him that I love him too.
We manage to escape the Annormalis and find a safe refuge at a neighboring country. Hayah did not last long after that though. She’s still a Normalis after all.
But I must not let my heart be broken any further. I have to be strong, just like what Hayah said.
And I must be alive, just like what Aleph said.
Wait for me, Aleph. And please find me too. Please let me know that you’re out there somewhere.
I will find you, even to the ends of the earth.
Even if it takes me a thousand years to do so.
Flight 270, Year 2014
Aleph Null’s POV
I HAVE LIVED for almost a thousand years. But I must tell you, I am not an immortal. I am a Normalis just like you. But I have died many times, and I can remember all of them. My memory is an extraordinary thing, but it’s not perfect. My early lives tend to blur a bit.
And I know every single one of us undergoes this process — reincarnation.
My only difference is that I can remember my past lives. My memory stretches out as far as year 1257 in Peloponnese, Greece. By that time, I thought I was normal. I still didn’t know that I could remember, but I already had vague visions I couldn’t understand. Up until now.
I died and was born again in Dublin, Ireland, year 1521. And right then, I knew I was special. Everything I did and had become before, I remembered — every single one of them. I could even remember how to speak in Greek, even better than the Irish English I was learning at that time.
However, I still keep seeing those random blurry visions that I’m sure haven’t happened before in my past lives. Maybe I have lived earlier than the 12th century, I can’t really say for sure. I told you, my memory is not perfect. Maybe I have, but I prefer to believe that my first life is in Greece.
By the 18th century, I had my third life in Minnesota. Nothing much happened there, but I should say that the western culture is amazing. However, my life there was short-lived. I died by the age of 14, still enjoying my adolescence when that happened. Too short, I know.
But by this time, the generations are moving fast. Too fast that by my present reincarnation, many things have been invented. Too many minds were moving. Some were foolish, some were clever. But either way, they have changed the whole world in just a snap.
And now, I’m boarding a flight to Manila, Philippines. I’m not born there. My current life is in Korea, my first time being born in an Asian country. I’m going to the Philippines for a special performance. As strange as it may sound, something urged me to try becoming famous. I became a popular singer not just in Korea but worldwide.
And now, Philippines have invited me to sing for them. It will be a special performance for a masquerade ball. Pretty mysterious because they wanted it to be a surprise, so I am required to wear a mask.
But what is most appalling is that I won’t be singing alone.
It will be a duet.
With a lady named Luna Onsterflik.
Philippines, Year 2014
I stand there in the middle of the dance hall, unsure of what to do next. Truly, no one recognized me behind my mask as the popular Aleph Null, but a lot noticed my great physique. But I am still not in the mood to dance. I just want to finish that duet and end this day fast.
I decide to head outside the garden for some fresh air. Here lies an abundant collection of almost every kind of flower you know. Name it, they have it. They shine and reflect the bright moonlight. Then I look above.
As always, the moon looks very beautiful. I love staring at its elegance, and it is one of the habits that remained with me in all of my reincarnations. I love the feeling of bathing in its cool light. It has always felt… nostalgic.
I close my eyes for a few seconds, and then slowly open them, only to find a figure of a lady, as beautiful as the elegance of the moon, right in front of me. She has her back to me, and I don’t think she is aware of my presence.
I stealthily stride towards her spot, unable to take my gaze away from her. As I am about a few inches away from her, I speak my first word for this night, “H-Hi.”
She seems surprised by my sudden greeting, but relaxes herself as she turns to face me. And for the first time, I see her face. Now I regret thinking she’s as elegant as the moon. That will be an understatement. She doesn’t resemble the moon… the moon resembles her.
But something doesn’t seem right here. She’s not wearing any mask, so I can freely see her… tears?
“A-Are you crying? What’s the matter? Is something wrong?” I ask her. She seems so fragile. It feels as if I need to protect her.
Unconsciously, I lift up my right thumb to wipe away the tears from her cheeks. The contact made a slight tug on my heart, making my heartbeat speed up every second. If looking at the moon felt nostalgic, looking at this lady would be the very definition of nostalgia.
I’m not prepared for what she did next. She hugs me and buries her face deep in my chest. This stranger… this beautiful stranger just hugged me and cried in my arms. And I, being unknown to my own self, envelop her wholeness with mine.
In between her sobs, I hear her utter a few words, “I-I’m n-nearing my end. I-I wouldn’t last long. Why is he so hard to find? I had been dying every day waiting for our chance to meet again. A-Are our souls not destined to be together? Do I not deserve to be loved? To feel loved? And… to love?”
She breaks the hug and wipes the tears from her face as she looks down the ground. “My once fragile heart had been broken. And it’s too late to be restored now. I have loved him for a thousand years. And even if I don’t know where I would be after this, I would still love him for a thousand more.”
Those are her last words before she starts running away. I place a hand above my chest… exactly right where my heart is. Why does it feel like she is directing her words right at me?
I am still dazed and barely sane when I walk back to the dance hall. A few moments and my performance will already start. I must get a grip of myself.
The light suddenly goes off and the stage shines with a circle of light. There she is, the girl I met earlier, composed, as if she haven’t just cried. Then I hear an instrumental of a song playing. The song I am supposed to be singing in a duet.
Then that means… she is Luna Onsterflik? I look at her intently, savoring her whole being. Then, my eyes widen as the fragments finally pieced back together before me.
The blurry visions I kept seeing ever since my first life—a lovely girl in a seashore, under the light of the moon. The killings. The burning houses. The Annormalis.
She starts the song. Her voice is the most beautiful melody I’ve ever heard.
So I really had a life before Greece. Why did I forget that? Why haven’t I remembered you? The first time we met. The past we shared. Your special existence. Your immortality.
You were so fragile. And I was the one who broke you. But that was to protect you. If I had not done that, we wouldn’t have the chance to meet again tonight. But what did you mean when you said that you’re nearing your end? You’re immortal, right?
But I won’t care less. I will cherish every moment now that I’m finally with you. I won’t let you be alone again.
I take a step closer towards her. I can feel the crowd giving way for me.
I take off my mask and start singing the chorus with her. She stops midway as her eyes widen the moment she sees me. But I continue singing. Do you recognize me, Luna?
Even if my mind failed to remember you, my heart did. All those years, it has not loved anyone, because it knew that it should be waiting for someone. Even if that took a thousand years.
She is still dazed when I get on stage. I look at her straight in the eyes. Then she mouths, I found yah, finally.
I continue the song.
Nothing’s ever going to take you away from me now. I will hold you and cherish you for dear life. You have waited for this moment, right? My heart waited, too.
We take a step closer to each other and hold our hands together. Everything around us seems magical. And it’s as if we’re the only people in here.
I can feel the intensity of every word you’re singing. It’s as if this song is made for us, and only we can truly use this song. I’m sorry if it took me a thousand years to remember you. But I will still love you for a thousand more. That’s for sure.
The clock ticks, signaling twelve midnight. Luna faintly smiles at me as she inches closer and whispers in my ear. “I’m very glad we finally met. But… it’s too late now. The clock already ticked. Too late to restore my broken heart. But, even if that’s the case I would still love you, even for a thousand years more.”
She draws back and smiles sadly at me. Why, Luna? Isn’t it enough that I’m already here?
In a split second, her lips are on mine. It’s pure bliss. I can’t describe what I am feeling right now; I just know that I love her so much. I kiss her back and embrace her fragile body, gently caressing her back. I deepen the kiss as she put her arms around my neck. Oh, how I love this girl! Moments after, we finally break the kiss.
“I love you, Aleph Null,” she says with deep sincerity in her eyes.
I smile. “I love you too—”
My words are cut off and my smile fades as I see her falling right in front of me. I catch her on time but…
I check her pulse. No! Don’t do this to me Luna! You’ve waited for me, right? I’m already here! Don’t leave me, please.
“Luna, come on. Wake up! This is not your end, right? Hey, stop playing with me. Get up now, please! No no no, Luna!”
I don’t know what to do. I can feel hot fluid flowing down my cheeks. I just cry and cry there. It’s so painful! It feels like my heart is being torn apart. She’s right here with me at last, in my arms, but why does fate have to be so cruel? Of all times, fate chose to take her away tonight.
Why do you have to die right now? Why aren’t we given a longer time for each other?
Is this how you felt? When I died in front of you? No wonder your heart was broken into pieces! And mine is breaking right now…
I hold her lifeless body against my own. If I have been quicker, faster to remember, to find you, maybe we’ve had our fair share of chance. Maybe we would have our time to show our great love for each other. But not all stories get their best end. And maybe ours is one of them.
Will we have a life after this? I hope so. Even if it takes another thousand years for us to meet, I’ll still continue loving you.
My heart will always remember and I know that yours will do too. Not only for a thousand years, but to infinity and beyond.
Oh. And you didn’t let me finish earlier. “I love you too, Luna Onsterflik.”
Copyright. clovergiel. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clovergiel is a 3rd year college student, taking up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy in Polytechnic University of The Philippines–Sta. Mesa, and is also a Youth Leader and Worship Leader in their church. It just so happened that she stumbled upon a pen and a piece of paper, and with a story in mind, she began writing her own tales. She claims herself to be a certified bookworm and otaku, and that she is (highly unbelievably) the wife of Trafalgar D. Water Law.
If she owes you something, hunt her down in the following sites:
Fanfiction: Clovergiel – Fanfiction.net
Blog: Clovergiel – Blogspot