July~Fantasy Issue

In the Place Where Suffering Was Not

Forrest Aguirre

The boys sat across from each other, legs crossed on reed mats, arms folded across their fat-laden abdomens, twin Buddhas, their almond eyes glowering darkly at one another, never blinking. Neither spoke, lest the encompassing drone of the eternal "OHM" that ran as a constant background noise be disturbed in "that place where suffering is not". Outside, rain dripped down through the palms, cascading down to the cherry trees and bamboo stands in glowing strands, like fireflies stretched from sky to mud. The pulsing drizzle pooled into phosphorescent faces that mewed disapproval in the indigo night, seven thousand tiny, watery voices, bubbling up gibberish, a doggerel of something resembling weeping, arising from their shining throats. Sooner or later in this timeless place, the boys knew, father would find out. He would hear the weeping souls and come to investigate. There would be trouble…and punishment.

"It is your fault," Sinistrum said silently, with his hands. A smooth, steady movement, like the Ganges’ meandering in summertime. "You are clearly to blame."

"No. You started the contention," signed Dexter, his fingers and arms flailing like a wind-whipped Yangtze squall.

"It doesn’t matter. It is dead."

"It is dead," replied Dexter, "therefore it does matter."


"It is father’s creation."

Sinistrum nodded, knowing. "And we will be punished."

"Worms?" Dexter proposed.


"What could be worse than being consigned to a worm’s body for any number of lifetimes?" Dexter defended his stance.

Sinistrum dropped his eyes to the floor between them. Dexter’s eyes soon followed.

Between them lay a small human figure, no more than a hand-height tall, legs akimbo, arms splayed, body bruised and scuffed. Something like a sperm, a sperm containing a fetus in its transparent head, hung from the little man’s mouth: the psychoblast, that from which each soul is formed, that had been ejected from the homunculus’ body at the time of its demise.

Dexter acquiesced. "You are right. There is worse. What are we to do?"

"Flee?" Sinistrum half asked, half ordered.

"No! Where to? This is the highest paradise, The Golden Realm. You know what lays beyond."

Sinistrum’s looked past his brother’s head, his gaze racing through the open hut window, over the groaning faces, dodging the snowy-white moonlit cherry blossoms of the paradisiacal garden, then peeking through a tiny hole, no bigger than a gnat, that looked out beyond the jade walls that surrounded and protected their kingdom — their father’s kingdom. On the other side, a perpetual motion of cruelty, decay, sterilization, and hatred. Every woman, every man unaware of aught but their own suffering. Ignorance colored their every move, and ignorance brought pain. They clawed over each other, groping with callused hands to be where the twins were, in the place where suffering was not. Through a hair-thick nest of thorns, naked they fought, scratching, biting, choking, bleeding, pulling to be the first to arrive at the jade walls where, upon touching the sacrosanct palace of eternities, their unclean flesh would slough from their bones and their bodies fizzle into vapor, only to be carried into the dark red clouds that churned overhead, mixing with the miasmic acids and venoms that roiled therein. There, after their souls had been infused with the most exquisite torments: soggy, itching, freezing, burning unrest, they would fall as glowing droplets to the ground to mix their miserable complaints with those of the seven thousand agonized voices. In time, they would seep through the grime, draining again to the bramble thickets outside where they would grow again to their proper size, regenerating into their former shape, only to be seized once more by the unquenchable desire to touch those walls.

The brothers looked at each other as a gong, brassy, yet soothingly pleasant, sounded at the far end of the long hut.

"What will we do?" Sinistrum’s voice quavered. Fear widened his eyes.

"We will show that our purpose is one."

"Ah, that we are united." His eyes narrowed.

"And inseparable."

"Hence we could not have set father’s experiment awry. Our fight was an event that could not have taken place. The results impossible."

"It is as you say, brother."

"Brother." The two smiled at each other.


HE entered, golden skin reflecting the glow of the outside rain, like an amber idol. A shining halo of tantric symbols, the sacred signs of power, hovered in the air above and behind HIS head, a floating crown of godhood. HE smiled the smile of ultimate detachment, the visage of the un-suffering casting warmth throughout the room.

HE waved his hand, gently, with circumspection.

"What has been done? What has become of my creation? Do not deceive me." The background "OHM" wavered, rising slightly in volume, drowning out the sound of the tortured rain’s voices.

The boys waved their hands in unison, gesticulating a reply:

"Your creation should not concern you. It is susceptible to suffering, so must be cut off from this place."

"You understand, my sons, that you have brought upon yourselves punishment?"

"We understand," they said. Then, with their soft, plump, beautiful hands and fingers, they plucked out HIS eyes.


On the tops of the mountains, where the sounds of man do not reach, where corruption has little hold, if the wind blows right, you can hear the grunting aches and sharp, squeaking pleas for pity as they kick and trample his pronate body in that place where suffering is not…while the twin sons of Buddha await their eternal punishment.