Gone too long
I could smell the damp, earthy scent of the bark on the trees. The rich black soil beneath my feet was like a sponge as I ran, absorbing the sounds of my footsteps. My breathing came fast and hard like I was being chased by the long-ago boogie-man of childhood.
I ran alone. Searching for something…some place. I knew I should know the way, but I had forgotten, the memory only a faint whisper in my mind’s eye. Panic begins to set in. I realize I’m becoming more and more hopelessly lost with every step. My mind screams at me to stop and take stock of my surroundings. Make an effort at getting my bearings, but my heart pushes me onward.
I need to find this place. This place out of time that was once mine and mine alone. I need the embrace of knowing I am exactly where I belong, like coming home.
It was getting darker and darker, like ink spilled on paper, reaching out to absorb it’s surroundings in an attempt to consume it all.
Night sounds come alive in the ink blot running hard on my heels. I know that I should not be afraid, but the fear licks at the corners of my mind like the flames of a bale-fire.
As the darkness reaches for me, I begin to see little flickers of light. I chase after them, feeling a deep-rooted rejection as they outpace my frantic feet. Somewhere deep in my heart, I feel a kinship with these lights. I know that if I can just keep up, I will find what I’m looking for.
The panic reaches deeper into my soul and I can feel the hot streaks marking the tears on my face, I can taste the salt of my fears.
Hopelessness consumes me. I can feel myself giving up the fight. I just want to feel safe and I begin to realize that I will not reach my destination this night.
My steps falter and I realize that one of the lights has slowed it’s pace to match mine. Then, it too, falters and circles back. As I slow, I realize the sound that I thought was the displaced air rushing past my ears is actually a whisper. I strain to hear, knowing I should be able to understand.
As I focus on the sound, the light takes shape and I see the tiny wings, the little face that seems to glow from within is before me. The whispered sounds take form, just as the light had taken form…my heart breaks as I hear her words and I close my eyes…
You have been gone too long….
I open my eyes to the sun beginning to peek through the curtains of a familiar room and I realize that I am once again in my bed. My faithful companion of this world, curled and sleeping at my side.
A feeling of loss consumes me and I know that I will not reach my destination this night.