Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A Dark Night

It was so dark that he couldn't see a thing, but he could hear the rain battering the edge of the cliff like hammers made from water. His hair was slick on his head, but with his head bent it didn't touch his face. Over the thunder and the rain there was just one sound - the hollow beat of the meat pump inside him. Beating away because that was its physiological imperitive, as dependable as the vagaries of life. It was unwavering in its dedication - beating through all the smiles, through the tears, through the summer days past and the nights laid awake. He looked around and saw nothing but black, the wind coming up from the cliff below and buffeting him, urging him to get further from the edge. It wasn't the first time he'd been here, but tonight was the time when the world, both inside him and out, was the darkest. The ship would come in soon, and he'd see its light illuminate a thin path through the water below. And he'd hear its horn, at this distance a physical force on his ears. If he stayed. And yet if he stayed, he would still feel nothing. As he came out of his crouch, and turned his back on the world, he remembered that there wasn't anyone out there waiting for him to come back, for his ship to come to dock. There wasn't a single person who would know that he had been there, or indeed that he'd been anywhere. Should he look to the future, dear reader? You would probably tell him that this is just the present, that the future holds as much for him as he wants it to. But he has walked this path before. His feet are tired, and there hasn't been a second set of footprints next to his for many years now. How long do you walk the path that ended long before, until you give up, and throw your hands in the air and admit to the world around you that you aren't its equal, and that despite your best play, it has won this time. Dear reader, his path has simply ended. There are no backward steps in this game, there are no take two moves back. When your feet find the end of the path, and all the world around is dark, all there is to do is take a moment to remember, truly remember all the things that you saw along the way, and then you must walk on. Into...anything. Something. Nothing.

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