Mantra

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I’ve often pondered death and it’s consequences. What happens when the brain stops and the soul checks out, only God knows.
“Death” for our man was a lot like sleep, probably because it was, in fact, sleep. You know what they say, rest for the weary is death for the imprisoned. Sleep came in a series of images, a Leaf, an Island, a Frog, an Eel. Ice Skates and a Needle upon a Table, an Apple, how odd.
The sharp Red hue. Amazing. Guess what he saw next? Enchiladas, possibly due to hunger, and finally he saw the Door, concealing someone behind it... You.
Of course none of this makes sense, there’s no meaning in any of it, it’s simply a dream, right?
Suddenly the door shattered to pieces, shaken into tiny little fragments by an awful earthquake. The ground morphing and stirring around him, spiraling further and further away as some unknown force dragged him begrudgingly from the ground.
The shaking growing ever more violent and hurried, his breathing ragged, if this continues much longer his limbs will surely detach. A big ripping sound sliced through time as he jerked upright feeling his lungs swell with air.
Limbs still vibrating violently, the rhythmic tapping of his teeth could surely make for a hit song. It was still rather cold, but the cloud cover had hurried away.
The sun hung overhead, providing just enough warmth to tease his sorry soul awake. Initially he considered returning to his dreams but then realization crept in, he was alive. His hand snatched the rim of his pant leg, making way for curious eyes. No teeth marks, but in it’s place a small bruise. Had he dreamt the snake?
Snapping his head toward the source of his confusion, he found that vile THING lying motionless, curled and decrepit. Although, in this new welcoming sunlight, he could clearly make out beauty. The poor pitiful soul was only 6-7 feet long, thin, and meek looking. It’s spine and ribs pushing through it’s ashen brown and red scales. It’s skin mimicking the leather of an old worn out boot rather than the scales of a serpent, but despite it’s sickly demeanor, you could tell it looked brilliant in it’s youth. Furthermore, tracing from the nape of it’s neck, a golden bronze halo encircled it’s crown, accentuated by the specks of dried blood pockmarked across it’s dome. Finally her eyes settled on those of her counterpart. They were magnificent, and terrifying. It seemed as if all of time stretched from one lid to the other, each eye containing all that had come to pass, and all still set to arrive.
There was something peculiar gnawing at her conscience though, why hadn’t she been bitten?
Vertigo and a low weak chuckle, suddenly the pieces came together. In the center of each galaxy, a milky gray swamp was pictured. The beast was nearly blind. By mere luck the snake had collided with her leg before barring it’s fangs, had she been any further away or acted any slower, she’d surely still be sleeping. But how beautiful those eyes were.
Fearing she might continue staring, she promptly rotated, facing away from the corpse and rocked back, dangling her feet off the cliff, which was now to her front. He had chosen this spot because he knew it wasn’t well known, and even less traveled. He would come here any time he felt the levee straining to hold back the swell. Secretly he hopped it would break and take him and everything else over the cliff.
It never did.
Surprisingly though, he now felt relieved. He couldn’t place why, but knew that with time he’d understand. That hope was enough to stem the tide, he reasoned he could quell storms now or at least reinforce the levee so he’d never fear for it breaking again.
Times would be tough for sure, but he had finally found meaning. He swam in thought for several hours, all the while contemplating the message in his dream, one phrase stuck out to him with creeping interest. “You’re only a stones throw.”, it said. It was the message inscribed on that last object he peered into in his dream. He couldn’t recall what it was. A door, a gate, a mirror? “Oh well” he thought, “I’m certain I’ll remember later”. It’s amazing what rest does for the soul.
The sun was now low in the sky, clouds nowhere to be seen. Though the air was much more cool than during this morning, a comforting warmth enveloped him. Turning over and posting with his hands on the cool ground, he decided now was as good as any to depart.
He had just brought one leg up, and was working on the other, when his footing betrayed him. The pebbles and stones beneath his boots slid and lurched over the edge of the cliff, cascading to the bottom. And with the stones, went he.
Funny, in his final moments he wasn’t angry, nor was he melancholy. He didn’t think of the wife and children he might be leaving behind, nor his parents or friends. Nor did he contemplate unfulfilled promises or even reflect upon his life in any sentimental capacity. He didn’t have time, and even if he did, he surely wouldn’t have pondered matters such as those. No, his conscience overflowed with but one mantra.

“Thank God I wasn’t poisoned.”

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