Lotus-eater is an allusion that has come to mean something to us today, beyond the story of the indolent lotophagi. Jin most embodies the meaning of the word, though I didn’t play the definition straight. This is a counterpart of sorts to Asphyxiate. I hope you enjoy.
Fire and Ice
Lotus-eater (n): A daydreamer
Jin was sitting by the lake again.
Snowflakes flitted across his vision, uniting ephemeral grace with the bitter kiss of winter.
How did this dream end again?
His daughter was skating across the ice, beautiful in a way that reminded him of the ice crystals tumbling from the skies.
Imperfect, but captivating.
Her blades formed both fractals and flowers across the ice.
Vaguely, he contemplated fireflies.
For all his declarations that the world was blind, Jin was the worst of them all.
This was that dream.
He wanted to scream, to caution, to rescue. But he was paralyzed.
He saw the exact moment the ice gave way.
It replayed again and again in his head.
The sound fractured the world.
Like the simultaneous shattering of the thousands of dreams that had been the essence of his daughter.
She was gone.
Her red muffler, floating through the translucent darkness of death, burned into the back of his eyelids.
“Dad, one day let’s paint something together!”
Shock. Pain. Guilt. Shame.
Jin had become rather intimate with those feelings.
He woke up alone in an empty house.
His studio walls were covered with unfinished works. Yet still, he reached for a blank canvas.
He lit a cigar with trembling hands, wanting to forget himself and float away with the corrupted smoke.
Reaching for a paint brush, he tried to remember every line, every angle of his daughter’s face.
But memory was a cruel mistress.
The curve of her smile, the warmth of her sangria eyes, it was all fading away.
A slow tragedy in the making.
There were so many paintings of his daughter on this wall, but every one of them had a different face.
Still, he reached and reached and reached. He would never be able to paint anything else until he painted this.
It was his retribution for his blindness to the things that had mattered the most when his world had still been whole.
Hana… Tori… I’m sorry.
The heat slid over him as carelessly as his fallen ash tray. As carelessly as his daughter crashing through the ice.
It was snowing outside. Streaks of white muddled with the bitter gray of ash.
How terrified she must she have felt, standing on top of a broken, collapsing world.
The inferno grew, unnoticed.
Why couldn’t he have just checked?! Checked that the ice was firm. That there were no spots of thin ice near the center of the lake where the depths grew unfathomable.
Regret. As burning as the demon that now consumed his works.
That would soon consume him.
And Jin couldn’t bring himself to care at all.