Troubling Acquaintance

May 28, 2008
By Joey Christensen, Pipestone, MN

I was lost in the shadow-caped valley of unknown wonders to my mind, haunted with the stench of a thousand souls. All around, fields of ash and charcoal, I was engulfed in a sea of cinders. Images of opaque figures flooded my vision, triggering lost, unwelcome memories both vindictive and hateful. The sky blackened with the reflection of fire whose flames ever continue to consumre the wreckage of war. My shadow, amplified by the light of the moon made its appearance in the ash blacker than complete darkness. Walking in such unwavering fear, my feet once unblemished and undistrubed, now morphed into shredded flesh by the razor sharp debris below my trembling body. I collapsed to my knees only to realize what I now saw: silky red petals on a stem of thorns, defined by its picturesque essence of tranquility.

As I felt on jagged rocks below my knees, sharp pain shot through my body. Looking at the rose so intently, I wanted to scream due to the excruciating pain, but I was stifled by the elegance before me. Tears began to well up in my eyes; my vision was now blurred by a dark, dimming light. The rose made me question myself- Why? Why was I here? I was speechless; could not comprehend the past or the present, my past memories, my lost history. Now, all that seemed to matter was that I find the answers, the true purpose behind this nightmare. Perhaps this rose is what I am here for. Perhaps this rose exists merely to remind me of what is lost.

Through some unknown sense, something compelled me, as if it were instinct. I took hold, grasping its stem of fragile brittleness and with all my strength I pulled back; I felt that my arms were pulling away from their sockets.

Through all my efforts, the rose uprooted, floating into the darkness of the sky, a beacon of truth and hope. The ground shook, the earth quaked beneath my feet. The darkness faded to sunlight; the war-torn landscape morphed into a vivid beauty. I now knew my purpose.

I was beyond perplexed. Visions started to flood my memory again; they were much more intense and full of chaos. People were in plight, which made them appear estranged from peace, full of panic and turmoil. Screaming children and sirens began to fade into the background. In the horizon, I saw a quick bright blossom of light quickly growing in the distance until there was nothing but a pristine whiteness.

I thought it was over right then. I opened my eyes once again only to be staring into a blinding light fixture hanging from the ceiling. I looked over to my left to see a blank white wall, and then I looked over to my right only to find three opaque figures. One of them approached me and stared into my eyes saying, " It worked soldier! Well done! Well done!" Still in the confusion I felt, I glanced at the wall behind the officer; my attention was caught by a few figures I had never wanted to see again- AREA 51- SECTION 7A PSYCHIACTRIC TESTING FACILITIES. My memories of the past were now beginning to become clear once again.

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