A man stared into the distance. Cold fires sat in the sky, dethroning the sun. Its fingers cast the world in a dismal array. An oak railing sat on the edge of what seemed to be the end, holding us back from meeting it. The rail protested as the man lay his Burdens upon it. A bitter wind licked my tongue, lashing it for attempting to speak out of turn.
As I fell nearer, I could feel the air thickening like fog, yet I could see days ahead. Something told me that he had something to say, to let me know that the world was enough for now, yet he gandered motionless, beyond the reaches of us: at an entity unknown.
My eyes followed the path his created. With every step, I scoured the horizon like a barren wasteland in search of water. I found none.
“Is it beautiful?” I said, teasing the age lines that the railing had held so proudly.
The man said nothing, but I knew he had listened. His leather skin bunched, splaying the stumps of hair on his jaw. His face came to life for a brief fragment of time. The light taunted the wear on his skin; leading eyes to the toll life had had on him. I touched my face as I felt age reflect onto me like a mirror.
His overworked hand rubbed the railing at his side, inviting me to rest. I could hear the callus wearing at the wood as he prepared Their final place. I too placed my Burdens on the oak, and with protest, it too accepted them.
His face glowed as he lit a cigar. The cherry began to illuminate as pulses of sweet smoke cleansed my senses. He let out a plume. It flowed along the path his vision had bore until it reached beyond what I could explore, filling the room of a place I did not know. The water hung beneath us, in a sleep tarnished by nightmares. Cars pulled the voice of the waves that reached out to the heavens. Replacing it with sickening sounds of metal and fire.
He reached out, pulling a thought from the air. Wrapping it around his fingers gently, lovingly, as if it was something he missed. I watched as his mind lifted from his body, returning to the only pleasures he once loved. In reappearance, he lifted himself from the rail. Gnarled grey hairs clung to the splinters in protest, but they were shunned. The rail did not resort back to its old form, spilling the mans Burdens back upon the earth. It held, like putty, it was silent. A streak of glowing red plummeted to the abyss below. A quick enjoyment, lost for eternity. The last scent flushed from my nostrils as its wake of sparks dissipated on to better things.
Turning, the mans bare feet scraped the well-trodden floors as he escaped the nights glowers. I lifted in haste; I knew he had an answer, yet the question had escaped me. As I left the still railing the only sound that challenged the putrid grind of automobiles was the scream of boards beneath my shoes. In that, I was rendered motionless.
I felt as though existence had absolved everything I owed, reanimating me, filling my lungs with cool crisp air like a frigid shower. I tried to reach out, to pull answers from the air like he did thoughts, yet I could not move. The world had turned me on its wheel until my walls could take no more; folded back into a ball I had to start anew.
As his thinning grey hair caught the last flicker of the fitful night, an inaudible sound bellowed from his chest, yet only I could hear.
“Come what may.” He said.
I didn’t need to know what might come, for I knew I would find it out, just as he once had.
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