The Dying Man This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The dying man watches that which will kill him, and this dying man watched himself as he struggled across the sand. Dunes rose to greet him, dunes rose to say farewell and the wind left nothing to mark his passage. When his people came to save him from the thirst that tore his throat, he cried out at their strangeness.

He fought and kicked as they dragged him across the desert, and he turned restlessly on the pallet they gave him to sleep. They spoke in that strange language; they demanded to know who he was; what he had been doing running in the sands. And he didn't answer, he simply stood there, not knowing what to make of the syllables that beat against his ears.

Day after day they spoke to him, and gave him strange robes to replace the tattered cloth they had found him in. They did not know who he was, neither did he, but they welcomed him into their homes and gave him food from their gardens. For years he lived with them, never understanding their words, never speaking another language, never speaking.

On one of the walls there was an image of trees so vast that clouds sifted through the branches. Forests so dense that the nearby dunes could not pass through, or even gain ground. The dying man stood and looked upon the wall with rapt attention, faint stirring in the back of his mind like the stirring of wind on leaves, making no mark of passage, told him things he did not want to hear.

And so he spoke those things to no one in particular, people passing by listened for a moment, and hearing the man ramble in some unknown and foreign language moved on quickly, shunning the strangeness of the man. The dying man was telling them who he was, where he was from, that he finally remembered, that for this moment at least he could think! He was concious of his surroundings, and concious that the people around him were foreign beyond understanding.

His speech wound down and he realized one thing: he had been insane, and now was the one great lucid moment he had, and that he preferred being insane. With one last look at the wall he turned his back on what he had been, who he had been and sunk once more into the blessed darkness and calm of insanity. And the dying man's people welcomed him home. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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