The Path

There was a blur on the edge of his vision.  What was different was the bright coloring that was noted.  A glowing shade of green.  In the path it was unique.  

The figure moved away at a slow pace. He was pretty quiet, all things considered.  His feet had tread this path a hundred thousand times now, and his shoulders hung with weariness.  After about sixty paces, he wrote something into a notepad, then ventured off of the trail into the thicket of trees and bushes of nondescript colors that frame the trail.

A rustling of leaves behind me caught my attention, and I froze. Still new to walking the Path instead of the Red Road, I had been attempting to stay out of sight.

Glancing down at my necklace, I noticed a glowing green light emitting from my favorite jade dragon, a memento I had kept after the death of a friend many years ago. It was my talisman against evil, my link to the Sages and their bravery, and the totem that has kept me alive. 

Realizing quickly what that light must mean, I yanked mH head up and turned back around, only to see the silhouette of a man disappear into the tree line.

Dropping all pretense at logical thought, I kicked off my shoes and began to run. The figure was heading in the direction of the Door to Rabbit Hole.

If my hunch was right, I would be reunited with a friend. 

If not, I had to do all I could to protect Sanctuary.


~


He strays off the path, plants and leaves shifting in his wake, then moves deeper into the woods. Mostly, he walks adjacent to the path, wandering just a bit left and right, as if seeking something. The light dims and dims, until there's only the faintest of glows, and that comes from his hoodie.  

The air starts to grow thin, after a few more steps, things just begin to feel weird, like space or gravity have started to lessen their hold.  A buzzing sound fills his ears as it is nearly impossible to tell where he is.  Surely if there is an edge to the Path, or at least to his own private hell, this is it.  He rips a page off of his notepad and waves it around for a few moments.  

His hand opens, and the page is sucked into the void.


~



I tripped over a tree root, cursing myself angrily as I do so for costing myself time.

After about 30 seconds of running, I catch sight of the figure once more. "Wait! Don't touch that! It's not safe!!"

The figure stood about 6 ft tall, has a painfully lean build, and has shaggy brown hair. He has something of a severe face, and wears a black hoodie that has a lot of glow in the dark stuff on it,  most notably the Hollow Man. He has a sack on his hip, and a broken blade wedged into his belt.

The man showed no outward sign of acknowledging what I said, so I internally hit my "fuck it" switch and decided to do whatever I had to to get him away from the rabbit hole.

Ducking my head and shoulders down, I dove into the back of the figure, knocking him both down in the process.

"I told you, DON'T TOUCH THAT."

~

He panicks, being knocked down.  The buzzing, the distortion is disorienting out here on the edge of reality, but the sense of falling is real,and suddenly there's another figure, someone moving.  He lets out a yell, scrambles, and pushes them away.  Still on the ground, the man draws his weapon, raises it over his head, as if just ready for the kill right there. 

As the light coming from the other person washes over him, his eyes go wide, his hood falls back, showing what appears to be half of a monster mask atop his head, just the right size to be an eye mask.  Panting, he pauses from striking.

~

I put up my hands in a peaceful way, "Wait wait wait! I don't mean you any harm, I swear!"

I squint at the man, staring at him like trying to place an old photograph in a lost album.

"Zero?"

~

At this point, he sees a face, confused, frightened, and scared, he actually scrambles away from the far edge of the forest.  Eventually the buzzing slows and stops, and gravity and time seem to stop distorting as they were. He moves around on the actual path itself, his weapon still out, pacing erratically as if he's trying to process. A hand keeps going over his face and mouth, like what happens to people in shock.


~

I slowly lower my hands, reaching for my necklace. "Hold on. Just a moment."

I pull the still shining necklace from around my neck, still threaded with its old black leather cord, and hand it out to him in the palm of my hand.

"Zero, sweetheart. Breathe. Look at me. Look at my face. You know me. You know the necklace. Please, just look."

~

She spends a significant amount of time trying to calm him down, and it leaves him in tears.  The guy's been in torment, and probably the worst kind of torment for someone who wanted to be special.  For he was made to feel utterly insignificant.  If he were tortured physically, at least he could've kept the dream that he did something noble.  

Here, it was his psyche or perhaps his spirit that was rended.  He ends up on his knees, legitimately crying.  "Thank God...."  He wipes his face with his sleeve, "Maybe you can kill me...."


~


Have you ever heard of touch deprivation?  We, as humans, are social creatures.  Even people like myself, the ones that generally view society from out of arm's reach, we all sometimes need a bit of skin to skin contact.  Its been documented repeatedly that ensuring contact helps promote a better social nature, as well as better health.  

The touch of someone is a sign of support, of intimacy, even of the non-sexual kind.  In fact, I've always felt that the term 'healing hands' didn't refer to the actual channelling of deific energy to heal a person, but the reinforcement and positivity of another person's touch.

I sat there on my knees, mentally and physically exhausted, spiritually broken.  I saw a way out, and I asked for her to do what I couldn't do. Instead, she smiled and reached out to touch me, laying her hand over the side of my face.  

I'm not proclaiming anyone to be an angel.  I'm not even pretending it was anything more than a small act of compassion.  But I felt something right then, just the sheer proximity of another person, a necessity of life that I hadn't felt in what felt like forever.  I wept.  I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Comments

  1. Why do people talk about angels like they're this great thing you'd want to meet. If you ran into an angel as depicted in your bibles you'd probably mistake it for a fear. They're monsterous soldiers fueled by your lord's rightous fury. They have more in common with Tolkien's orcs than humanity.

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