The Long Walk

The Long Walk
Image: Richard Manley-Tannis

He knew he was not conscious … but he also knew he was aware for the first time since his ‘transport.’ He wouldn’t lie to himself – had never been his thing – he was scared and knew he was way out of his depth. Wherever ‘here’ was, it wasn’t any place he should be. That realisation – confession – helped. He had always danced with fear: never from it. He knew that there was a lot wrong right now, the least of which is the extent of the damage he knew his body had endured in the snow. Since that memory was not giving up any revelation, he thought he would worry at the word he had heard more than once in his recent conscious moments: ‘Mirkle.’

It sounded … familiar? Like an old story that he had once overheard, a movie once spied during those first romances where the venue was the excuse to allow hormones to guide: in other words he was saying the word over and over, variation after variation …

“M’RKl!”

It blared in his unconscious process! No: really? A connexion? The implications … well at this point he realised that whatever they were made 3rd degree hypothermia look like a suntan after a great afternoon playing bball in the sun, when green used to be the predominate summer colour …

And as the key unlocked the memory, he heard the deep voice of the Elder begin one of the Tales …

At first – yes he knew it was rhetorical, it was sarcasm, it was denial – he thought, “really?” to himself. But he could not deny what he intuited. The Tales were pre-stories, truths coupled in rhyme and prose. Stories before the time of rendering fire from matter unseen. Whether elves or spaceships, fantastical or mundane, they were doors to inner wisdom and corporate meditation. They weren’t literal …

He was awake – for the first time since the snow had maimed him – he was awake. And there, through glass so thin, it seemed but a membrane akin to water’s edge upon which a bug might walk, was … he searched for the word … and resisted its uttering. But as he sat up, attached to and interwoven with strands of something akin to webs, he said, he asked, he challenged, he declared: “Angel?”

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