The Artefact

I have a dream of a burnt-out artefact. I see myself holding it in one hand: it is dark, carbonized and fuming. And I hold it there for everyone to see that it cannot be expected to ever work properly again. I know I was a fool, thinking anything could ever be expected of it, and yet hope was my favourite poison for a while.

As most artefacts, it was first found to be beautiful. Shining and full of promises, some people were even willing to fight for it. But behind its beauty lain darkness. And with time, people would have to admit how dangerous it was; mingling in people’s lives, passing off as generous, but soon enough revealing the curse it hid. When one would find it or stumble upon it, it would shine a thousand colours, replacing darkness with light in the heart of the beholder. Its light seemed so bright; none could pass it by without feeling a form of attraction. But it was blinding people to its own defects, to the price that would be later on to pay. The artefact would slowly stop shining, even dimming or sucking away light from the fool who contemplated it for too long, leaving that person in the cold and the dark; inflicting a pain as tremendous and tragic as the light that first shone upon the miserable soul who ever dared to touch it. It was the artefact’s cruel irony: promising a better life, giving a sense of serenity and allowing hope only to, one day, take it all back, leaving a throbbing hole in place of a need it had itself created.

Some mornings, I blind myself into thinking the artefact could one day give this light without taking everything back the next.

Some days, I surround myself by the light coming from others and bathe, for a moment, in the warmth that hope provides.

Some evenings, I fear how trying to reanimate the artefact might just reduce it to ashes.

And in the darkness of the night, I admit that it is burnt-out, capable of only one kindness: showing people a way out.


My heart is a burnt-out artefact.


~ Val.

(photo credit: Christopher See Hoye)