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What Atlas Held
With every step toward the end, I move closer to the beginning. Morphing my way along a path not unfamiliar to my unfocused eyes, I reach my arms out to guide my drooping body into its final position. A muffled thud echoes against the oppressive walls of night and I have but seconds to pitifully resist before unconsciousness spirits me away to a place only the weary have traveled.
The air here is cool but lacks the intensity to bereave The One Who Wanders the warmth in which she is enfolded for she has been clothed in woolen tunics. The ground is nothing but a thin layer, dutifully supporting The One Who Wanders from falling into the abyss of oblivion. Up above ranges the sky in its entirety, darkened by night but re-illuminated by the millions of circumstances and destinies entrapped by the web of the witching hour. A clock stands in place of the moon, steadily ticking away the moments that mattered most to The One Who Wanders, as she stands below the tree that would loyally wait for her from sunrise to sunset, when she would inevitably return again.
Reality encroaches upon the horizon. The One Who Wanders shields her eyes from the piercing knives of deceit and corruption. It spews forth, igniting all that once was serene and genuine in this world with a furious mass of hatred and fire.
The air is thick with the smoke of madness.
The ground is cracking beneath the stress of the world, its Atlas-like strength ridden insignificant to the imposing forces raging above.
The sky is boiling as the blaze grows higher, warping the once beautiful ropes of opportunity into razor wires of miscommunication.
The tree, the silent sentinel of sanity, stands alone, encircled by the flames of anarchy. The One Who Wanders gathers her skirts about her, now heavy with the sweat of fear, and climbs into the branches and watches as the world she had created so full of life, crumbled around her into ash.
Higher and higher, striving upward, The One Who Wanders ascends into the crackling foliage as Reality inches its way to the roots of the tree. The hungry flames of greed begin licking the outer bark and in response the tear-filled wood spits and sizzles as a final stand against the overpowering force of desire.
Reality can see the end now. It was so close to snuffing out the last surviving enemy; it could practically taste the tantalizing particles of misery choking out the once supple air supply. Gathering its full force, Reality prepares for the final blow.
The One Who Wanders gasps as the smoke from below bellows forth the scent of finality. Now, at the top of the tree, she gazes across the burning void and the darkness of which it was disappearing. This is where the dream finds its conclusion. Flames had begun to bite her feet and she could feel her toes beginning to blister. From the base of the tree, a large cloud of steam erupted. “Fly away,” exhaled the tree as it began to catch aflame and tilt as the great weight of itself collapsed against the brutal onslaught of Reality.
So, I leaped.
I open my eyes and clear them of the congealed mess of a restless night. I yawn and breathe in the stagnant oxygen of my bedroom. My windows show me that the ground remains very much intact and the sky, now brighter with the morning light, is in fact not still smoldering with the night’s assault. The bottoms of my feet, though, can still feel the coarseness of the bark of the tree. I am still shaking as the surface had quaked beneath me. My skin still feels grainy from the ashes of the stars as they fell upon me. Above all, though, I can still smell the prominent stench of burning matter as the world as I had known it exploded into a fiery mass of chaos.
Then the sun rose and its clear rays ran askew across the folds of my blankets. Reality is out there, waiting for me to confront it. Throwing off the covers I get dressed and prepare for life, the battle I fight for the safety of my dreams.