The past twenty days, I committed to an assignment that demanded a lot of sacrifices, blogging even. So now, with eyes heavy as dumbbells, having won the assignment, I sat to scribble a short story.
Kindly read along, and of course, forgive the covert absence.
The wind picked up my call, turned it in a rising turbine, and smashed against the trees bordering both sides of the path.
I shielded my eyes and called again. Nothing. Nothing but the wind rolling and my heart slamming into the ribcages. One step forward.
I spun around, half-expecting to see a looming figure with a weapon. I found no one. A gust of dry leaves blew across my face. It must have been the wind.
Two, three steps forward. My shirt was beginning to soak. Saline water tripped down the left of my cheek.
“I’m here, Michael.”
A quicker spin. Certainly, this wasn’t the nature. A wind couldn’t have spelt my name, except we were in Hogwarts. I stepped behind a baked-bark tree with several dry leaves. As I hid, a branch on the tree cut, shaking several of its attachment. I waited, watching. A dry leaf wrestled with the wind, twisting, stretching, and finally, it cracked.
Fell at my foot.
I looked straight ahead. A path lay between two similar trees, wounding to a spiral form. There was no knowing what lay beyond the path. Or behind me.
Warm. Warmth swept through my shoulder blade. I froze.
“Don’t hurt me,” I said.
I heard a snicker or I thought I heard a snicker or I wished I heard a snicker. My anxiety got the better of me.
There was no one.
Or was there someone, and I wasn’t seeing? Perhaps my eyes had sight but was not seeing. Perhaps my ears had hearing but could not hear.
“Is anyone here?” I paused, picking out the howl of the wind, the chirp of a distant cricket, the tweet of a bluebird perched on a tree three paces ahead. And nothing.
“Does anyone hear me?”
“I do, Michael.”
“I am. You just do not see.”
I blinked. So I was right, I thought I was right. Anyway…
“But I do. I see innumerable trees on both sides of this path. I see a bird with blue feathers and a blade thinner than pencil lead. I see a giant rat skidding over to the other side. How do you tell me I do not see?”
The voice breathed. “What do you see, Michael? What do you want to see?”
I paused. Okay, so what I saw and what I wanted to see were mutually exclusive. That meant…
“I want to see Light. Life.”
A shadow whizzed before my eyes.
“And what do you see?”
The shadow flashed again. The image of a veil forming before my eyes. Linen, rich, and large.
“What should you see?”
“Light. How come I do not see as I should?”
“They have eyes but do not see. If only their eyes would be open.”
I did a half-circle rotation. “How are our eyes closed if we are ignorant?”
The veil split. I stared mouth gaping as a hand drew through the opening and reached for me.
“Come. Let me show you.”
Was this safe? Probably. Maybe not, but then… I stepped forward. A sudden force slammed me away from his hold against a wobbling tree. Pain shot upward my spine.
I raised my head slowly.
And there it was. A towering sentinel. Dark and brooding. Before the veil. Eyes shielded. It couldn’t behold the Light.
I looked in the direction of the Light.
“How did it get here?”
“From you, Michael. The more of Light you come into, the more of your darkness you see. Light can only penetrate darkness.”
I did not know what to say.
Afterword: What do you think? From the story, does it appear I need some hours of sleep?