The House on the Borderland
21. The Dark Sun
"HOW LONG our souls lay in the arms of joy, I cannot say; but, all at once, I was waked
from my happiness, by a diminution of the pale and gentle light that lit the Sea of Sleep. I
turned towards the huge, white orb, with a premonition of coming trouble. One side of it
was curving inward, as though a convex, black shadow were sweeping across it. My
memory went back. It was thus, that the darkness had come, before our last parting. I
turned towards my Love, inquiringly. With a sudden knowledge of woe, I noticed how
wan and unreal she had grown, even in that brief space. Her voice seemed to come to me
from a distance. The touch of her hands was no more than the gentle pressure of a
summer wind, and grew less perceptible. "Already, quite half of the immense globe was
shrouded. A feeling of desperation seized me. Was she about to leave me? Would she
have to go, as she had gone before? I questioned her, anxiously, frightenedly; and she,
nestling closer, explained, in that strange, faraway voice, that it was imperative she
should leave me, before the Sun of Darkness--as she termed it--blotted out the light. At
this confirmation of my fears, I was overcome with despair; and could only look,
voicelessly, across the quiet plains of the silent sea.
"How swiftly the darkness spread across the face of the White Orb. Yet, in reality, the
time must have been long, beyond human comprehension.
"At last, only a crescent of pale fire, lit the, now dim, Sea of Sleep. All this while, she had
held me; but, with so soft a caress, that I had been scarcely conscious of it. We waited
there, together, she and I; speechless, for very sorrow. In the dimming light, her face
showed, shadowy--blending into the dusky mistiness that encircled us.
"Then, when a thin, curved line of soft light was all that lit the sea, she released me--
pushing me from her, tenderly. Her voice sounded in my ears, 'I may not stay longer,
Dear One.' It ended in a sob.
"She seemed to float away from me, and became invisible. Her voice came to me, out of
the shadows, faintly; apparently from a great distance:--
" 'A little while--' It died away, remotely. In a breath, the Sea of Sleep darkened into
night. Far to my left, I seemed to see, for a brief instant, a soft glow. It vanished, and, in
the same moment, I became aware that I was no longer above the still sea; but once more
suspended in infinite space, with the Green Sun--now eclipsed by a vast, dark sphere--
"Utterly bewildered, I stared, almost unseeingly, at the ring of green flames, leaping
above the dark edge. Even in the chaos of my thoughts, I wondered, dully, at their
extraordinary shapes. A multitude of questions assailed me. I thought more of her, I had
so lately seen, than of the sight before me. My grief, and thoughts of the future, filled me.
Was I doomed to be separated from her, always? Even in the old earth-days, she had been