Mu-Ren Mingxing is the eldest of the Mu-Rens. His body is aged, weathered down. He used to be the tallest, standing at a whole three inches. However the 2,800 years are finally taking its toll on him. On a good day, when the humidity in the air is just right, he is able to stand a little straighter reaching close to his proud three inch height. His bark is smooth, as is all Mu-Rens, however his is stained of deep mahogany.
Mu-Ren Mingxing is the Tinkerer of Little Town. All Mu-Rens go to him for creations. For tools, trinkets, and master pieces. Although he lives by himself in the light house, all Mu-Rens will say it’s well worth the lengthy hike to see him work.
No one really knows how the little wooden mannequins came to be of existence. They seem to be void of emotion, and they are so old, they themselves have forgotten their origin. They just exist to live.
During the night of a cold summer day, Mu-Ren Mingxing set up his telescope outside his light house and began to study the stars. The stars always seemed to amaze Mu-Ren Mingxing, and that was the only thing he could ever remember surely. As he focuses in on his favorite constellations, he hears footsteps from behind him. He turns around to see someone approaching him.
"Hello Mu-Ren Mingxing, It’s just me, sorry to come by at such a late time of night."
"Ah, hello! No need to apologize Mu-Ren Ai, It is a beautiful night. Come, take a look above."
Mu-Ren Ai, walks over to Mu-Ren Mingxing and looks into the telescope. She sees the beautiful constellations shine.
"Mu-Ren Mingxing, this is truly beautiful. In fact, it is because of this that I have come to you. This feeling, the same one you get when you look at these stars. The weightlessness, the butterflies, I want this feeling for eternity. I want to be able to feel this way whenever I please. Can you do this for me? Please?"
"Hmm. What you ask of me to do sounds impossible. But I promise you, Mu-Ren Ai, I will do what I can."
"I thank you so much Mu-Ren Mingxing."
And with that, Mu-Ren Ai strides back into Little Town.
Mu-Ren Mingxing spent all morning on the shores of the beach. It is here he finds all of the pieces to build from. The water always washed up rich metals such as large circular copper discs. Mu-Ren Mingxing would melt these down to form anything from goblets, to tables. Today, he was looking for anything he could use to put together something that could maintain the unexplainable feeling of viewing the stars.
He comes across a long gargantuan tube of rubber. He is not sure what it is, as it seems to not be hollow. Instead there are three smaller tubes inside, each on a different color: white, red and blue. Mu-Ren Mingxing clips parts of the inner tubes and keeps them for his project.
When he believes to have everything he needs, he races up back to his light house. Inside lies only a bed, a mirror, work desk, and a chair. He throws everything he gathered onto the desk and gets right to work.
Sparks fly and metal clashes.
The sun rises and sets three times before Mu-Ren Mingxing finally rises from his desk. He did it.
Mu-Ren Mingxing walks into Little Town. Every Mu-Ren he sees, is awkwardly staring at him with awe. Mu-Ren Mingxing assumes it’s because they never see him leave his light house. But today. Today Mu-Ren Mingxing felt ethereal.
He reaches the house of Mu-Ren Ai, and knocks on her door. A minute passes before someone comes to him.
"She isn't home"
Mu-Ren Mingxing turns around to see Mu-Ren Wu standing beside him.
"Ah, I'm sorry Mu-Ren Wu, can you please tell me then where I could find Mu-Ren Ai?"
"Mu-Ren Mingxing...She is dead. Passed away two nights ago, we made her one with the ash yesterday morning."
Mu-Ren Mingxing fell to his knees. Never has he felt this way before. The feeling of weightlessness became a feeling of overwhelming pressure, as if gravity was having harsher effect. Every Mu Ren in Little Town stared at Mu-Ren Mingxing.
"Mu-Ren Ai told me she went to you for help. That you were making her something to feel better. To take away her sickness."
"She was sick? She never told me she was sick, Mu-Ren Wu. I didn't know. I would have worked harder."
"So you completed this device? The one she said would make her whole again?"
"Yes. I call it a "heart". I have never made anything like this before. To fully gain its potential, it must be infused within you. I came here today to make it be one with Mu-Ren Ai."
"What will you do with this "heart" now? This sickness seems to be spreading in Little Town. I in fact have the symptoms now. Ever since we made Mu-Ren Ai become one with the ash."
"I am sorry. There is nothing I can do. I do not know what I will do with the heart. I just need time. Please, Mu-Ren Wu, do not allow anyone up the path to the light house. I cannot work feeling like this."
"Feeling? Feeling like how?"
"I cannot explain it Mu-Ren Wu. It is as if I myself am becoming one with the ash, but from the inside out."
Mu-Ren Mingxing looked through his telescope; it still remained focused on the constellation Mu-Ren Ai was last looking at. He studied the stars here for a moment when suddenly the impossible happened. A star fell. Mu-Ren Mingxing followed this star, moving the telescope frantically, trying to keep up with the star, but he could not find it again. Mu-Ren Mingxing had enough. He could no longer hold in the new feelings that have been overcoming his soul. He rushed into the light house and fell onto his bed screaming. Water fell from the carved holes on his face. Tears. But Mu-Ren Mingxing knew not what tears were. No Mu-Ren knew for that matter. Mu-Ren Mingxing wipes the tears from his eyes with his hands, but realizes something is different. His face is no longer smooth. There are now carved grooves. He turns in his bed to look at his mirror and sees for the first time a face.
His eyes are no longer two sunk in holes, but instead two elaborate horizontal ovals. A rounded triangle below and between his eyes, and under that, two more horizontal ovals, but thin and stacked upon one another, lips. He stares at himself in the mirror, making faces. He can makes expressions, for the first time ever he can see emotion. He can feel. He can see the tears falling from his eyes and onto his lips. He can taste them, the tangible emotions, the tears, they are salty. Mu-Ren Mingxing falls asleep crying, thinking of the falling star. Of Mu-Ren Ai. Of the heart.
Mu-Ren Mingxing dreams of holding hands with Mu-Ren Ai. They are floating, weightlessly among the stars. Together they chase after the falling star, laughing. For Mu-Ren Ai has a face too. She has beautiful eyes and lips that smile when looking at Mu-Ren Mingxing. She whispers to him but he cannot understand. He moves closer to her to hear her better. She grabs the back of his head and brings it in close to hers, she presses her lips onto his. An ethereal kiss. As she lets go of her grip, the falling star comes rushing towards them.
Mu-Ren Ai jumps out of the way and shouts "Mu-Ren Mingxing, do not worry, do not cry anymore. We can be together now. Here."
The falling star gains speed, the light blinds Mu-Ren Mingxing, he embraces himself for impact.
A knife thrusts into Mu-Ren Mingxing's chest. Wooden splinters fly across the room as his eyes open, now wide awake.
Mu-Ren Wu stands above Mu-Ren Mingxing, he slides the knife down and begins to carve a square in the chest.
Coughing sap, Mu-Ren Mingxing is just barely able to spit out words.
"We need your heart!"
"Everyone in Little Town is dying. It’s a plague spreading, you made the cure for Mu-Ren Ai and you're keeping it for yourself! You're not even sick! I am, and I can use your heart to save myself, and save all the other Mu-Rens when they get sick!"
"Mu-Ren Wu...This plauge. This sickness. I know now what it truly is... I...Feel it. It is depression. When Mu-Ren Ge became one with the ash, Mu-Ren Ai fell ill. She became depressed, and I made the heart, it is the only thing capable of holding the moments in life that we treasure, the happy moments along with the sad moments. But its these happy moments we can recall upon to save us from the depression. I couldn't make the heart soon enough for her. So her becoming one with the ash, made me fall ill. But I transcended. I survived. Look at me. Look at my face. I remember now who we are, we Mu-Rens. We are the unfinished remnants of man. We are the first creations. We were flawed but we were sinless..."
Mu-Ren Wu ripped the kife out of Mu-Ren Mingxing and his body fell lifelessly. Mu-Ren Wu lifted the piece of wood he cut to remove the heart from Mu-Ren Mingxing. But there was nothing. Just a hole. Mu-Ren Wu dropped the kife, and the wood. His body was pierced all over by splinters of Mu-Ren Mingxing. Sticky sap flowed all over the light house. Mu-Ren Wu looked over at the desk beside the bed and saw laying on it, the heart.
It was gorgeous, smooth metal rounded perfection, mechanical works contained within it. He picked it up and felt a rythmic pulse verberate from it. It felt cool in his hand, the silver coating made it heavy, but it was so beautiful. Mu-Ren Mingxing turns around and sees himself in the mirror. His face if covered in cracked wood. There are eyes upon his face. Deep sunken in eyes. A nose, two nasty slits. Lips, covered with cracks.
Mu-Ren Wu held the heart in his hand and realized that it's not the heart thats the cure. Its hope. Its love. Its happiness. That is what enables one to live and look forward for yet another day. Mu-Ren Wu walked over to the end of the cliff that the light house stood upon and looked over the water’s edge. He took one look in the sky and saw two falling stars pass over the horizon. He put the mechanical heart on the ground beside his feet, and fell forward into the water, to be washed away.
Created: Mar 14, 2014illnois Document Media