A man stands.
The wind silent and still, like the space in time when belligerents poised for battle pause for thought, deciding whether to escalate, or descend.
Ironic that those who speak of taking the high road, would in any case urge you to descend. Decent men, yes, but they hardly understand the concepts of which they speak.
I myself have never troubled with those thoughts, well, that’s only half the truth. I as I stand today, do not toil over philosophy, although, the me of yesteryear would disagree wholeheartedly.
Alas, I’m wandering, this isn’t where I meant to lead you. I’m merely following the road taken by others, my former self included. I’ll no longer fill you with drivel from my bowl. Let us discuss this Standing Man who’s journey unites us.
He stands approximately 3600 and some inches high. Not a man most would trouble to stare in the eyes, and yet, here he stands above the rest. But “What does this mean?” you ask. No reply.
The man did not always stand so tall, in fact, only recently has he reached such stature. After many months... no, many years, he’s arrived in a place dozens before and even more after will arrive.
Although he stands, he isn’t strong, actually, he stands idly because he’s weak. If he were brave, the deed would have been done. Instead he sways, day in and day out, zombie-like, waiting and wishing for some gale, or rock, or animal such as a man himself to topple this totem to human desperation.
He feels frail, sickly. There’s no mirror in sight, but if there had been, he wouldn’t stomach taking even a fleeting glance at his own putrid form. Vile, so very repulsive, he gags at just the thought.
He wonders if hell has mirrors.
No matter, it shouldn’t be long before all his questions have answers, if he could JUST...
A gasp and a shudder. Such a cold autumn day. The sad, solemn sort of day where the clouds paint everything a disgusting hue of green grey, and the atmosphere so frigid that even if Jason had placed his golden fleece upon your shoulders, your bones would still ache, and your soul still weep. It was a dark day, a day for death.
He hadn’t taken notice, not because he’s particularly warm blooded, but actually, and you might be surprised to find out, it’s the opposite. He’s been numb for a while.
Suddenly a great yawning came. The earth heaved, as if awakening from a deep slumber, producing a sinister hiss all the while. “Crackling leaves always felt so foreign.” He thought. And yet, his suspicions proved their merit, though the earth had drawn her breath, the rattling continued.
Unable to break the ice from her veins, she turned to face the source of her terror.
Forgive me, did I say she? Oh, I sincerely apologize. You see, I’m having a hard time remembering the details, I’ve told this story over and over, or rather, I’ve seen this repeat for ages. The specifics get muddy after a while. In any case, those minute details truly are irrelevant, what matters is the gist you see. Where was I? Oh yes, I remember now.
For accuracy’s sake, I’d love to tell you she was born in a small town, but unfortunately that isn’t true. Neither would it be truthful to call it a city, and to be honest, I’m unsure of the circumstances myself. She definitely had two half sisters, estranged, separated in youth by parents who bore love, no longer.
Hmm, that isn’t right either. Her siblings, if she has any, are of no particular interest to me, I merely misspoke. I know, at least, this next dialogue is sure to encapsulate SOME form of truth.
Born in no particular year, beginning and ending with some combination of 19, 20, and ties. He, or she if you’d prefer, meandered through their childhood.
Of course some might say they had it too easy, while others yet, claim “That’s no upbringing for a child.” He held no reservations. It’s simply a matter of perspective you see, we all have many.
I don’t know which schools she attended, perhaps she didn’t attend any, yet whether at home, or school, or college, the pain staking path to Wisdom she trekked.
“Wisdom, oh Wisdom, the greatest gift God gave to thee” Yes, of all the gifts god left man, Wisdom is surely the most pure. I jest, of course. It was the Serpent who gave man knowledge, not God.
Now you’ll claim, “But knowledge and Wisdom are so very different!“, to which I’ll agree. Wisdom is far more sinister.
You see, Wisdom can’t simply be taught, at least not by mortals. Life teaches these lessons, most artfully, sometimes even cruelly.
By god, I’ve ran off track again!
Well, in any case, his stomach sank, how terrible he felt. Between the cacophonous thumping in his ears, and that same primal drumming in his chest, every sinew and fiber felt hooked by fishing rods. He was being torn apart.
“Get away” he hissed before he registered the words leave his lips.
Connective tissue and muscle tensed all at once. The kinetic chain primed for action and suddenly, in the blink of an eye, mere inches from his mouth, emptiness became full and, in the same breath, empty once more.
He hadn’t even time to defend himself, luckily the first strike was warning. Beads of sweat slid down his form, molding and maneuvering through the dips of his eyes and nose, cheeks and neck.
Quickly a glance around him with the slightest movement. A rock, merely inches from his feet, if he could grasp it, surely winds would shift in his favor. Slowly, like the soft, steady breathing one makes while sleeping, he shifted.
The ticking had stopped, all clocks froze in anticipation, unable to suspend their interest for even a moment to do their duty. As he leaned, the serpent swayed, so hypnotic, he wondered if he might be sleeping.
No, his fingers brushed salvation, grasping tightly he lifted the rock.
Too soon, oh heavens no, the demon lashed out with incredible speed, and almost simultaneously our hero struck! A hit yes! The snake crumpled and writhed on the sediment beneath his perch, blood oozing from the wound on his crown, finally that wretched rattling ceased and all was calm once more. Exhausted and defeated, she slumped to the ground joining her adversary.
No, no, no, she was too slow, the lightning rod directing pain through her calf straight up towards her heart could not be mistaken. She had struck the devil on the recoil, not before. Surely his cruel, malicious wisdom would be coursing through her soul, right now.
Oddly enough the pain began to subside, she felt it draining from her torso, then pooling, in her leg, only to bubble over and evaporate. Pain departed and in it’s place came slumber.