Sunday, January 25, 2015

cold hard dark

It was cold, dark, damp, and hard. That was all he knew; it was nearly the very sum of his awareness.

He crawled slowly and carefully ahead. The last torch had guttered into dim blackness some time ago.

Bernard, Weston’s final companion, had been uncareful while striping inset gold from an ancient altar. The poison worked with the odd quickness of old magics. Blood flowed from thin Bernard like a horrible fountain; his already delicate frame a dry husk in mere minutes. Broken Green, that revolting sorcerer, lay crushed beneath a pile of pyrite. And, burly Jacque was bested by that beast which would not die.

Weston kept crawling forward. He could not remember all their turns. He had, however, found a small round stone. With it, Weston carefully tested the way ahead. Whichever way the stone rolled, he crawled against it, inching his way up, to the open air and remembered daylight.

In his other hand he held a jagged hunk of lapis lazuli – his father’s ax was still stuck in the spine of that sloughing flesh-beast that would not die. He had fought some few things in the darkness already. They may have been large rats or small dogs or monstrous children. Weston would never know.

The poison gold was well wrapped in Bernard’s shirt and several pouches. It hung heavy and dangerous in Weston’s pocket. Between it and the jagged rock in his hand, Weston would not have to worry for food nor shelter. He only needed to make it through this infinite darkness. He inched his way meticulously upward.

When he collapsed out of the cave’s hungry mouth and into the soft pink light of dawn, he wept.
Reborn in hard darkness, he would never forget to smile at the breaking light. Black eyed Weston would love light in a way few could understand.

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