I am surrounded by darkness. I can’t see anything. The only thing I can feel is the rope in my hands, taut, compelling. It is leading me where I want to go.
At least, That’s What Everyone Tells Me.
Though I can’t see anything, I can hear things. Voices, calling me. Begging me to join them. Sometimes, I want to.
Stick to the rope, don’t get sucked into the madness of their world. You let go, the
darkness pounces, driving you farther away. But no matter how hard it tries, and no matter how far away it seems, the rope will always be there. Sometimes people forget that.
I want to know what is at the end of the rope. What adventures lie before me upon reaching my destination. What wonders I will see. But the longer I walk, the farther away the end seems. I wonder if I will ever get there. Maybe Whatever It Is Isn’t Worth It.
To my right, I can feel the creaking of another rope. Another soul bound on a different journey to the same destination.
“How much longer?” I ask through the darkness. “When do you think all this will be over?”
“We’re almost there!” I hear a girl’s voice call. She is ecstatic. “Can’t you see it?”
I peer into the black. Nothing. My gut stiffens with disappointment.
“No,” I answer. “What do you see?”
“It’s so, so beautiful…” she whispers.
And then she is gone. Far, far away. Ready to meet what lies beyond the end of the rope.
I grasp and pull at my rope. It must be close. I strain my eyes for a glimpse of anything. Many people I hear have seen it. Why Can’t I?
Maybe it’s not real for me.
To my left, I hear another rope.
“Do you see anything?” I ask.
“No,” a gruff man’s voice growls. “I’ve never seen anything. I’m starting to believe there’s nothing out there for me.”
His words echo my thoughts.
“Sometimes there’s nothing left but faith,” I say.
“Well, I don’t feel like having faith anymore.”
The voices that constantly surround me rise with excitement. My heart sinks. He has let go. Sometimes, when someone nearby lets go, I can hear their voice among the hoards, telling me to join them. Telling me it’s so much better than whatever is at the end of the rope. It happens now.
The man calls my name. Begs me to let go. I want to. I’m curious about what is out in that darkness. What if it is better than the end of the rope?
I pause in my continuous march. Wraiths brush my figure, tickling my cheek. They know I hesitate. They want me.
I toy with the rope. Should I? I’ve been searching for the end for years. Could I give all that up? He wouldn’t like it…
The voices call again.
My fingers stroke the rope. Take a deep breath.
It’s Wonderful. People surround me, congratulate me. I can see. Colors and faces and things. It’s fascinating. I can’t imagine anything beyond the rope would be better than this. I’m given things. Things I’d never had before. I like them.
Slowly, the rope disappears from my mind. I can no longer feel it. I no longer think of it. I am wholly here. In this world. I Will Never Go Back, I decide.
But then, things begin to change. The colors fade. The beautiful things lose their sparkle. The people and things I have surrounded myself with are not good. Their minds are bent on deceit. I back away, but they surround me. Every way I look, they are there. Pressing me, pushing me, forcing me. I don’t want to be here anymore, but they aren’t done yet.
The faces around me turn horrible. Twisted and greedy. They force things into my hands. My body wants them, but I do not. I take them. I take and I lie and I do evil. There is no escape.
I Am Alone.
I reach out in the dark. All of this is wrong. I want to be free.
The rope grazes my fingers.
My heart leaps and I grasp on.
I am back. Quiet. Peace. Right. Darkness.
I feel ahead on the rope, peering forward. There, far off, is a light.
I step forward.
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