The Wilderness

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There’s some pink, and purple, and then there’s texture, and form, overlapping petals and small spheres branching out from the center. There is a rose. The rest of the floor is covered in pine needles. At least that’s all he could see, all that was revealed by his blurred vision. He grasped the needles and felt the needles through, and they were rough, and they felt dead in his hands. There was only the rose; it was still alive surrounded by age and death. His vision cleared and there were pine trees. Not the ones that they plant next to houses, but majestic wild ones. The trunks were thick, solid, aged, warped and wrinkled. Their branches touched the sky. Soon, he would be in the sky, or wherever Heaven was or wasn’t. It wasn’t here anyways. Here there was no food left, and little water, but there was still residual snow, and rain, always devastating rain. The rain chilled him until he was exhausted from shivering, and it insulted the efforts he had wasted in building some semblance of a shelter. Yesterday he had cut open his leg, climbing to get food, and it was going to kill him. He suffered last night, more than he ever had before. The only thought that sustained him was her. He thought of her blue eyes and long blonde hair, and the way that she smiled when she saw him, and the way that she touched him. He thought that he loved her. He would never see her again. He would suffer until he died. There was so much blood; he almost couldn’t stand the sight of it. The splint he had improvised from a stick, and the string he cut with his knife, wasn’t working, so he gave up on it, and helplessly watched the vitality stream from him. The ground seemed soft, like it was going to absorb him into it, to become part of the dead earth, when it was time. Soon it would be time. He hadn't seen people for a while. The last conversation he had with his parents was more of an argument. He never believed them, especially when they told him not to go. Now it's darkly ironic. The kind of bitter irony that he always felt when life seemed like it was coming back on him. Maybe it was Karma, but he didn't believe in Karma. He didn't believe in anything, except surviving. He was dying with regrets. He had always envisioned himself dying with dignity, with all of his disputes resolved, with all of his fears conquered and his friends thanking him for his numerous contributions. He was dying out in the wilderness, as an animal. There was no dignity in this, only anxiety and fear, and a sort of desperate longing for it to come and put him out of his misery. That feeling struggled to overruled the fear. Then he saw the sun, and it blinded him.

When Saul saw the sun out in the desert, he had a revelation; he talked to God, and he changed his name to Paul.


It warmed his skin and diluted the chilling effects of the rain. He would last another few minutes. He wanted to survive. He had lasted through the night, and now he was going to last another few minutes. He wasn't perfect because he was human; he was dying because he was human, and he was trying. It was human to try, to fight ferociously for survival. He fought to see that girl again, and to see his parents again, and to reconcile their conflict, and to tell them all he loved them. He loved them, and he was going to tell them that when he survived. He would survive.

He saw the plane, and the people with ropes, and the people shoving him onto a stretcher, and stabbing an IV into his arm to hydrate him. The wound was melting his brain, overloading its receptors, burning him until there was little else to burn, but he would make it. The fluid from the IV would sustain him, and the plane would lift him to a hospital, and he would tell them that he loved them. He would see her blue eyes again, and feel her hair, and hear his parents' voices.

Then they were there, with doctors in white coats. His parents were there telling him that it would be okay, that he wouldn't have to worry anymore, that he wouldn't have to argue anymore, with them or with himself. She came, and her eyes felt his pain, longing, and her hair fell onto his face, and it smelled clean and felt soft. He didn't have to fantasize that she loved him; it was true.

The plane was passing overhead. The plane was passing until it covered the sun. Until it blotted out the light. The plane ceased to be a plane, and it was a silver glint above the only cloud in the...





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