We stand in a circle around our friends and acknowledge with heavy hearts; this is the last day we will feel solid ground beneath our hooves. Our task of herding the last creature into the Ark is finished. Before Noah and his family make their final ascent into the boat and the Master of the universe closes the door we gather for our farewells.
Tomorrow, when the rains begin, our whole species will be eradicated from the planet of our birth.
We were given voice on the sixth day.
On this, our last day, I remember my first song. I begin a melody of triumph and strength. I sing with gratitude and reverent awe of that first heaving breath of the man of mud. My brothers and sisters take up the melody, lift their voices and together we sing the song I first sang at his birth, amplified now by their voices soprano, tenor, alto and bass making a jubilant chord as we celebrate the coming into being of the crown of all creation.
That day when my first song was sung I frolicked with my mate and the man in paradise.
We carried him the length and breadth of the land that he might fulfil the Master’s command to name every creature. We journeyed to the farthest seas and the Master gave me a melody: deep bass notes that vibrated with vitality. I pushed my nose into the water and called. A creature heard and came in mighty exuberant leaps. He sojourned with us in the deep waters by the cliffs and my man of mud sought to know him and his nature and thus correctly name him, after many weeks, leviathan.
When the man of mud said he wished he too had a mate to sing and dance with we sang melodies to cheer his heart for, even though the Master walked with him, he was not complete.
His task of naming every thing that walked, swam or flew finished we returned to the centre of the garden. There the Master caused a great sleep to come upon the man from mud. We watched in reverent awe as He gently pried a bone lose from his ribs and fashioned a companion for our friend. A partner for life. I nodded to my forever partner; this would be her melody and she raised her lips to the skies, her eyes wide with ecstasy, love and worship. From her mouth issued the sweetest sound, soft, like the rise and fall of a cherubim’s wings in the moonlight. And when the man from mud named his companion, the song forever after became Eve’s Melody.
How we creatures mourned the day they were cast from the garden. No melodies formed in our minds, or bubbled up from our hearts.
Slowly the darkness has descended until here we stand, my love and I, our children and their children’s children, Noah and his children. There is no joyful melody left in me. I begin in a minor key, a song edged with sadness, set about with loneliness, catching at our throats as we begin our farewells. As the melody becomes clear my family join in with harmonies that are so deeply sad I wonder that the earth beneath our feet does not disintegrate.
Noah wraps his arms around my neck, ‘Of all the creatures, dear Juble, first among the unicorns, I wish your species were allowed to journey with me.’ Our tears mingle.
We sing our farewells until it was time for Noah and his family to climb into the Ark.
We watch the Master close the door. We feel the rains and, for the first time, we shiver.
Is that to be the end of us, drowning as the waters rise and we, surrounded by a mass of wailing humanity and confused creatures, are no longer able to find a hill high enough to stand on?
Forks of light ring between the skies and the ground. Our young skitter and fearful melodies escape their throats.
‘Who was and then was not?’
‘Yes. We go to join him. There will be no gasping of last breaths for you. You and your family will be forever with me making melodies that the stars will join in and set shooting stars dancing; criss-crossing the skies.
We take one last look at the Ark, now bobbing on wind whipped waters.
We bow our heads in farewell, turn and follow the Master.
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