The threads are there, waiting to be touched, to be caressed, to be pulled on. They’re there, just hanging and waving in the most gentle of breezes, just within our grasp but so tantalisingly out of reach. Threads of rough cotton, gossamer silk, the finest hand spun angora fleece, fine flaxen hair, barb wire, and glassed string. They’re all there, waiting to be pulled, twisted, braided, to be delicately woven into a fine tapestry, a worn rug, a wedding gown, a funeral shroud. To be knotted into fishing nets and dream catchers and a cat’s cradle to entrap the wisps of thoughts and emotions, desires and hates, to bind them all together into stories and tales. Of adventures into the depths of the ocean, of passionate dramas of love just missed, of sudden deaths and treacherous journeys. These are the threads that gently pull on to see where they lead, to see if there is something else on the other end pulling you towards them. These threads make us, inform who we are, create great swathes of cloth as we move through our lives, fraying at the edges and catching with others. Gentle or rough, makes no difference how we handle them, they survive because we create them as we go. To destroy them, well, that would be impossible. Unravel a bit, certainly, but the threads still remain, still intertwined, still knitted together. To unravel on cloth would be to unravel them all, a pile of unconnected strands.
To unravel them would inhumanly difficult.
To unravel them would require a vengeful god.
Or a perhaps just a bored one.
“Weaver, why am i here?”
The Weaver didn’t bother to so much as flick her eyes across to Mallerta. He wouldn’t notice her do so and she had her eyes removed eons ago anyway. To see the work may influence it and that was not her place amongst these gods. She merely wove the threads into the cloth of existence as life happened, she did not dictate which threads she pulled. At some point, having her eyes gouged out was deemed by humanity to be preferable to a blindfold.
“Its not my place to answer that question. Us gods are called into creation as required. We are and we do as the whims of humanity demand it. Nothing more, nothing less. Matters of existence are the domain of your Grandmother, ask her.”
Mallerta sighed and sat up on the table she had been sprawled along. “That’s not what I meant, Weaver. Why am I here now. in this room. With you.”
“Ahh, the boredom of the young in the presence of the ancient. Not enough carousing for you in here I guess, Mallerta my dear. You are here to watch, to learn, to study. To be ready for when you need to take over from me. For when you take up the weaving. There will be a time. I’m not as young as I used to be.”
“You’ve never been young, Weaver” snorted Mallerta. “You’re the oldest here, besides Grandmother. You were one of the first and shall be one of the last. If I’m here to take over from you, when will that be? I’ve been watching you for nearly 500 years.”
The Weaver continued weaving the cloth, but Mallerta could see her very so slightly pause. He knew that she was thinking that if Mallerta had been here for 500 years, then she’d been here constantly weaving for centuries. Never getting up, never eating, drinking, carousing, never seeing for millennia. He watched the Weaver carefully and could see her getting restless for the first time since he had arrived to learn the weaving. It hadn’t been his choice any more than it had been the Weaver’s to have her eyes removed. It was as it was. That was the role of the gods.
The Weaver harrumphed. “Come here boy. You’ve been watching? Think you can do this?”
Mallerta jumped to his feet almost in panic. As much as he was having an boredom induced existential crisis, he wasn’t sure that this was what was meant to happen. He stammered out a yes as he made his way across to the Weaver who – for the first time ever – stood. She was still weaving, her hands never stopping the pulling and twisting, the combining and the braiding, but she was standing and motioned with her head for Mallerta to sit. He sat there, unsure of if this was correct but a quick sharp jab in his ear from the Weaver’s elbow got his hands moving. He ran his hands along the dangling threads and could feel the building blocks of humanity in them. The Weaver dropped the cloth into his lap and Mallerta began weaving.
The Weaver stepped back and watched for a short while, her hands still making the motions. He was a bit hesitant, a bit careful, but wasn’t too bad. “You’ll be fine boy, you’re doing well. I have words I wish to have with Grandmother. I’ll return then.”
Mallerta nodded, concentrating too hard to notice the Weaver leave. For the first time in his existence he was alone, the Weaver had always been there in this room with him. He was too busy to notice for the moment though, he was finally weaving the cloth. He was making the stories of humanity. They lead such dreary lives though, he thought, such lives of ordinariness. He could feel their lives as he pulled on the threads and wove. This one spends his whole time alive just tending to cows, this one to the sheep. This one rules a kingdom, but so much paperwork to do! Mallerta wove on, fulfilling his creation story, apprentice to the Weaver. And so he wove.
Mallerta wove, chronicling in cloth the births and deaths of the humans that created him, that brought him forth. Their stories were much the same, the cows, the sheep, the paperwork. Before long, Mallerta began to grow tired of them, of the stories, of their adventures. He began to wonder where the Weaver had gone and when she would return. He began to wonder again why he was here. He could feel in the threads that the humans paid them little more than lip service. He could see in the cloth that they cared not for the gods that they had created so why was he here? What was the reason for him to weave? Mallerta became disenchanted.
Mallerta, the understudy to the god that Weaves the existence of humans, became bored.
Unlike the Weaver, Mallerta still had sight. He began to watch the threads, not just feel them. He began to think about which threads to pull, rather than just blindly clutching at them. He began to decide whether to braid, or to twist, or to fashion a net, or to fashion a fine brocade. Mallerta began to no longer just weave, but to make decisions about the weave. Without realising it, Mallerta began to influence the life of the humans.
Firstly, he brought the cow herd together with the shepherdess. At least they would have both sheep and cows to tend to. He did away with the paperwork of the king. And the priests and shamans, the priestesses and soothsayers, he put the fear of the gods into them. He began to weave stories of great richness, a extraordinary adventure. the cloth he wove was full of variety and texture, no two parts the same. He interwove threads of varying types, rough cotton against finest silk, caring only for the look of the thing in order to stave off his boredom. Soon, no human had a life of drudgery, why even bother with the herders when they all could be kings and queens, emperors and empresses? He wove in a way that the Weaver had never, working hard to stay just ahead of murky fog of boredom. Humans had everything they desired, and he had done that.
And then the weave began to fall apart.
It happened gradually at first, with Mallerta managing to just keep it check. The endless kings became bored with their life of plenty and began to desire the wealth of the empresses and the threads at the edge of the cloth began to fray. And then the soothsayers began to see the end of existence, that the gods would soon become angry and smite them all and confine humanity to the caves and the cloth started to unravel in parts. Then they all looked into the granaries and wondered where the farmers were and realised that it had been they. Famine struck, the shamans and soothsayers and priestesses and priest were proven right, and the kings and queens waged war on the emperors and empresses for the wealth of not jewels and gold but for milk and cheese and meat.
The world burned as the wars consumed humanity and Mallerta sat, desperately trying to keep the cloth whole as it all unraveled in his hands. As humanity died, the threads stopped coming and Mallerta was left with nothing to weave. The soothsayers were correct, humanity was about to wink out, but it wasn’t the anger of the gods that did it, just the boredom of one god.
And as go the the creators, so goes the created. Mallerta, along with the rest of the gods, ceased to be as the last thread dissappered.