A Writer’s Vision

I’ve walked ten thousand miles and
I can’t walk anymore.
I’ve penned a thousand pages and
I can’t write anymore.

My feet trip on something, waking me up from the dream of mist that shivers before my eyes. For the first time in a thousand years, I breathe. The valley is as desolate as I remember it, flooded only by a peculiar smell. Carrion? But no vultures colour the sky hanging above me. No surprises there. If I were them, I wouldn’t want to fly in such grey skies either. The grey is otherworldly, filling the ocean where the azure should be, transitioning from shade to shade as it gallops across eternity. The grey is also infectious. It oozes through space, penetrating the sand beneath my feet and, from the sand, into me. The thought that I am naked strikes me, but I wave it aside as if it doesn’t matter. On both sides, the cliffs are black as obsidian. But, reflected in their surfaces, I can see the shimmery whiteness of the clouds. As always, they are sparse and stationary. Wait a minute. There’s something else there. Something that’s not black, white or in between. I take a step forward-

Woops!

I stamp my fore foot in order to prevent myself from crashing. Right, the reason why I stopped in the first place was because I tripped on something. I turn around and look. There in the sand lies an arm. And of course, connected to it is a body. Suddenly, a wave of nausea rushes down my nostrils and into my lungs. I sputter and recoil. Is that where the smell is coming from? As I trace my gaze across the fallen body, I notice a small cylindrical object wrapped between its fingers. I pinch my nose and inch closer. It is a pen. Suddenly becoming conscious that my left hand is clenched, I raise it into view and unfold the fingers. There on my palm is a pen just like his. I stuff it into my pocket. Then, I pry free the one held within the body’s fingers.

It’s out of ink. All that remains is the definitive smell of iron emanating from its golden nib, alongside a stain of fresh scarlet. Colours. Just then, a sound in between a slither and a whisper draws my attention back to the body. With a shudder, it crumbles into the sand. White shirt and black pants fall flat. I look back at the pen. It is completely grey now, the nib faded, the red non-existent.

Tossing the pen away, I rise and sigh. Lifting my head, I am met by my reflection in the obsidian glass. Black, white and grey. But on my face, two suns burn in all the colours of the rainbow. They are my eyes. At that moment, I wonder. Did ‘he’ have the same eyes as well?

I look across to the path ahead. Though faint, I can make out the silhouettes of bodies dotting the path all the way to where sky and earth meet, defying vision. Defying knowledge.

Will I become like them one day? If so, when and where will I stop? Will I ever reach where I’m going? Will I ever reach a point where I will even know where I’m going?

I raise my right arm and stretch towards the horizon. Suddenly, a horde of ghostly arms spring forth from behind me, phasing in and out of my own as they clamber and crawl towards that same elusive destination. My vision zooms in, accelerating until space is but shining meteor showers streaking in a white abyss. At the absolute end of everything, all colours unite to form the looming shadow of an object.

You are what I seek!

I lunge forward. But my fingers grasp at nothing. Just grey air under a grey sky.

Pulling my arm back, I uncurl the trembling fingers. Blood flows from where the nails cut deep. I relax my breathing. What are you? And are you real… or not?

Before I know it, I’ve pulled my pen out and started walking towards where I believe I must go. I guess I’ll just have to get there and find out. Blood drips out of the nib of my pen with each step I take, forming a scarlet trail in the sand behind me. I know it won’t last. This world doesn’t forgive the existence of colour. One day, there will be nothing left of me. But as long as there is, I will carry on. I have to carry on. To see the world that lies beyond this one. To reach the edge and see the scenery that has bewitched me all these years. A scenery that I have never once seen.

I’ve walked ten thousand miles and
I can’t walk anymore.
I’ve penned a thousand pages and
I can’t write anymore.

I can’t stop anymore.

Despite the pain that shackles his ankles and wrists, the viscosity of the sweat that crashes down his back in torrents, tearing the skin, the sting of blood gushing out of his body faster than his tears, the writer smiles. Once again, the mist pours into the valley. When again it breaks, where will he be?

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