Longing for life,

The old-one awoke to cold gray overcast skies. The only light was artificial light, which flooded into his cell through a window covered by bars. The light an eerie yellow, orange, and greenish blue color, so unnatural, not even close to the color of the light from the sun. The nobles had chosen this light to illuminate the compound it made things easy to see and put little strain on their beady little eyes.

Even through the old-one didn’t sleep well during the night tossing, turning, awaking, and then returning to sleep. He dreamed a cascade of dreams, all so vivid, all so real, he thought, he could taste, smell, and even touch those things within the dreams. He awoke feeling relaxed and refreshed. It had been many years since the old-one felt this way.

The world outside his window had not changed in any way, it was the same as it had been the day before, yet in some ways it was all anew. The gray overcast skies were not as dismal as they had been. It was as though the gray was now silver. A color the old-one had never noticed before or even associated with the color of the clouds.

He knew nothing outside had changed; therefore, the change had to come from within. Could this be? The old-one sat back, blinked his eyes, and then rubbed them with his fingertips. He took off his glasses, cleaned them, and slipped them back on his face. He looked again at his surroundings, at the outside world. Yet none of those had changed.

The changes were within the old one. He smiled, shaking his head as he had done a thousand times before, and it pleased him. His thoughts returned to his reconstruction. He remembered climbing into the narrow cave. Reliving his youth, he slowly rocked back and forth, thinking of all he saw and all he had relived in those memories from yesteryear and times gone by now it was time to move on.

The old one-stepped to the ledge outside his cave he looked up reaching out with his swollen raw blood soaked and stained hands. His hands so numb he could not feel the crags, cracks, or crevasses he searched for to aid his climb out of his melancholy, his abyss. Slowly, his hands and fingers slid over the slick, slimy rocks, he found the hand holds. He climbed up, upward and out of this abysmal hell.

The old-one knew not where he was gong or what he would find when he got there, he couldn’t even imagine what lay in store for him. His anxiety and trepidations soared higher and higher, as he climbed upward into the unknown.

The closer he came to the top; his climb became harder, and more unbearable. The higher he climbed; the rocks became what remained, of broken glass, nothing but shards.

The mist had given way to raindrops. Raindrops the size of marbles, fell from above torturing the old one’s body. Water ran down his face, blurring his vision, stinging his eyes.

His darkness was now complete. The abyss, as he called his melancholy was black and with his vision blurred, the slick slimy rocks were now even slicker with the rivulets of water, which cascaded over them.

He fought to hold on, he fought to climb, and he strained for every painful hand and toehold. The rags he wore were shredded, his exposed bare skin was torn and festering, yet he endured, he climbed.

He measured his climb by; mere fractions of inches, or sometimes by miles. He timed his accent by exclaiming, sometimes I am the tortoise, and sometimes, I am the hare.

As he climbed higher, the wind blew harder, and the rain fell faster, the rocks became sharper than they were before; sometimes his heart would beat as if it was going to fly out of his chest. There was no place to rest, no place to hold up. He had to climb. He had to keep climbing; to stop climbing would be to perish.

The old-one knew this was his last chance. He could not perish. He could not even think about failure at this time. Failure meant death, a death worse than dying. Many men die, but their bodies don’t die. The body keeps functioning and the heart keeps beating, but the man himself he is dead because they have used themselves up completely. That’s what would happen to the old one, if he stopped, he would be a walking image of himself.

The old-one knew; he had been an image long enough, now he wanted life. He longed for the life he never had. The old-one sighed and shuddered as he had done a thousand times before, and he kept climbing one memory at a time.