The Noble Pursuit of Man

March 1, 2012
As I advance through this place, I marvel at its myriad artifacts. I respect the relics, as they are here - at home, at peace. I weave through the symmetrically carved tunnels with pure admiration. Who could have designed such a place? It is archaic, yet, it becomes alive and new as I go deeper. Suddenly, I find myself in a different room. This is it: the core. This is the heart of the primordial beast. Up until now I have remained docile, but this is too much; I have made a vast discovery. I must break my moral code - for science, I say. For history: for an evolutionary breakthrough for mankind. I pick it up, and immediately pay the price. The tunnels, slowly, begin to cave in. The beast is awake now, and I’ve angered it. Now it seeks to swallow me whole. But I won’t give in, not when I’ve come this far. I leap into action. My muscles feel alive. My brain spurs and whirls at a rate I never believed imaginable. My memory is photographic: I retrace my path perfectly, taking no time to think whether left should have been right, or whether up should have been down. Finally, I see gleams of light, and run outside. I sound a whoop as I exit the place. I am free! Or so I think.

The scenery is different. Where I stumbled is not where I originally entered. I hear echoes behind me. Whatever guardians left to defend this place have now stirred, and are coming for me. I break back into a rush and command myself to move. I maneuver through this outdoor labyrinth, navigating its byzantine twists and turns. I carefully hop over the overgrown roots of willows, while at the same time leaping over infinitely deep fissures. Each step I take reminds me of how I am dancing with death. It’s entrancing: I vault as though I were bounding over pillars of fire, barely missing being singed by their inviting tongues. Suddenly, for the first time, I lose my balance. My breakneck pace is broken, and I catch a wisp of my pursuers. They appear to me, in my deluded state, as mere shadows, screeching my demise. This motivates me to continue: I feel as if my weight were being lifted, and some angel were raising me up with wings - supporting me in case I fall. Yet, my confidence begins to falter.

I’ve been running for a while now, and I still feel my pursuers close behind. The path seems to become more precarious as I move along. Whatever wings had lifted me before have faded, because my once light steps have become heavy - denser with each lift, as if my legs were filled with lead. When will I escape this place? It’s paradoxical. Am I hallucinating? My enemies only appear to get faster behind me. I am moving mechanically now, skipping, sliding, sidling. I can’t do it anymore. I’m sorry world - at least I tried. But I’m confident. Someday, someone will take my place. I take my final breath, and leap, leaving the thing behind as I land in the black muck.

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mrjooolian said...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I usually disagree with the concept of "Women's Fiction."   I think it is a concept that is condescending, insulting, and degrading to woman authors as well as all readers.  I've read a lot of books by women, starting in elementary school with Betty Brock and the goddess Beverly Cleary, and going through Ursula Le Guin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Agatha Christie, Yoko Ono, Anais Nin, The Incredible Harper Lee, Gwendolyn Brooks, Gertrude S... (more »)

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