What happens when you can’t make up your mind? Part of you wants one thing, and the other part wants something else? If you’re in a human body, you’re pretty much stuck. It has to be one or the other. You can’t be in two places at once.

Gods and spirits, and people wandering around without their shells, don’t have to play by those rules. They can do both.

(TW: self harm, suicide)

Once upon a time, there was a dreamer who became enamored with the Thunder Being. They say that anyone who sees the Thunder Being will go insane. They say that the Thunder Being is so ugly that s/he was ordered to hide among the clouds. They are wrong of course. The Thunder Being is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. They also say that love is a form of madness. But this isn’t a tale of romance.

They talk as if Wakinyan chooses her “victims” at random, but I doubt that’s the case. Lightning appears random, but in truth, it strikes where it is most wanted, where it has an open path. That path may be invisible to us, but she can see it clearly. She found a dreamer whose truth was a lie which was also the truth. That was too bad for her to pass up.

She tried to talk to the dreamer before. She shook the sky on the day when they lit the fire. When steam rose in the darkness, her fire burned within the dreamer, hotter than the glowing rocks. When the dreamer called to her in a dream, she came, threatening to destroy everything false in her path. But the dreamer did not respond. Why not?

One evening, the clouds gathered around. The Thunder Being’s messengers dove in the air, in and out, catching their meals and returning to their nests. The dreamer thought about stories that had the Thunder Being in them, stories written by one who shouldn’t write such things. Would he be punished? Should he? Was it wrong for an outsider to be so obsessed? The dreamer saw the gathering darkness and the flashes of light. If the Thunder Being wanted to kill him, that would have been a good time.

The dreamer smiled. That confused him. He didn’t want to die! But the thought of having the Thunder Being notice him at all, even if it was just to kill him, brought a smile to his face.

I said it was a lie, though, didn’t I? Wakinyan is a healer. Wakinyan destroys things. Both of those are true. The dreamer wanted to die. She hurt him badly and he begged for more. He fought without fear. He was afraid of everything. He acted like he didn’t care as his heart overflowed. She taught him how to be alive. And then she killed him.

The dreamer and the Thunder Being stood together. They had been through a lot together. The dreamer was absolute in his devotion. Then the Thunder Being ordered him to fight. The dreamer was horrified. The thought of raising a had to his mentor was unthinkable! But the Thunder Being insisted.

The dreamer drew a knife against his skin and dropped blood upon the earth as he was taught. You don’t fight unless you’re willing to bleed. He fought with all the love, fury, and sadness in his heart, and when he looked up, the Thunder Being was gone. He fought himself instead. With the battle already begun, he did not back down. If it was a thing he must do, then he would do it. Finally, he killed his other self. He killed the one who wanted to die.

Staring in shock at what he had done, he sat down on a rock. Wakinyan sat next to him and offered the worst, cheapest, dirtiest cigarette he could find. They smoked together as they watched the body sink into the earth. The dreamer didn’t realize it at the time, but their work together had come to an end.

Do I stay or do I go? The answer is “both.”