Fiction: ‘The Oracle’

52 - The Oracle

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Prometheus first shaped mankind out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his creation.

He loved mankind more than any of the Olympians.

I know because I was there in the very beginning.

I saw how he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man to better arm them against the cruelty of the world. He gave mankind knowledge of medicine, and taught them mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy and navigation. But his greatest gift had also been his biggest blunder: the gift of foresight.

Once upon a time, all men knew when and how they would die. Each person could see what became of his children, and how the disasters, plagues and disease which burst forth into the world would mar his life.

So Prometheus set about taking away this knowledge. Carefully, one person at a time, he plucked out the knowledge from their minds, leaving uncertainty in its place.

I was only a little girl at the time.

And I could read the stars better than anyone. They spoke to me and told me of my future, showing me everything which was yet to come.

That’s why I never feared the night.

I felt most at home amongst the stars.

Somehow, when all others were suddenly blind to what lay ahead in their lives, I could still see both their futures and mine. I knew I would be revered for my wisdom, and that many great men would seek me out as history unfolded before my eyes. I could see friends and enemies spanning across lifetimes, bloody battles that would rage for decades, and the hope that lay at the bottom of Pandora’s Box.

They called me The Oracle.

As rumour of my knowledge spread, people travelled far and wide to see me and find out what I could reveal to them of their future. Some asked of wealth and fortune. Others wanted to know about the fate of their children. And still others sought to know the outcome of wars, and the fall of powerful kingdoms.

But then one day the stars grew silent.

No matter how brightly they shone, I couldn’t hear them any longer nor trace the patterns they had formed in the sky to show me the future. It felt like I had lost one of my most basic senses.

Prometheus had made me blind.

I stumbled about trying to find my way in the darkness without my life-long companions.

For the first time the future was uncertain.

Perhaps Prometheus was just correcting his own error when he took the stars from me. I had been missed in the initial purging because the future had never been in my mind, but in the stars. I suppose it’s only fair that he intervened after so many years of foresight.

And now no-one comes to see The Oracle anymore.

I wander through life blindly with all the fear and uncertainty of our kind, trying to remember whether I was happier before or after Prometheus had robbed me.

 ~ Ekaterina

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