sondersojourn

A collection of writings, essays, and thoughts.

Cloud

A lone cloud floated lazily across the blue sky. Pushed by the gentle breeze, the cloud passed over two people lying in a grassy field. The wispy, cotton-white cloud momentarily blocked the blazing stare of the angry mid-July sun, creating a brief rest from the heat.

A girl lying in the arms of a boy glanced upwards at the lonesome cloud. Her eyes studied its drifting form. One second she thought the cloud resembled a great white kite, then a dog, then the earth itself.

‘The cloud is for us’. She said.

The boy grinned, a smile of true happiness. He pulled the girl close to his chest, feeling her heart beat next to his. Tall grass rose above their bodies, topped with circles of sunburst yellow flowers. Honeysuckle filled the air, mixing with the earthy scent that comes with lying on the ground. Bees droned between the flowers, zigzagging without cause, direction or reason. Butterflies, resting on the stalks of the tall grass, stretched their vibrant wings as if saluting the summer sun.

The cloud passed by, taking with it the shade it had created, letting light and heat to drape across the couple. In each other’s embrace, the pair watch the cloud slowly drift away, blissful and content.

Over time, and a long way away from the young couple, the cloud disintegrated. The memory it designed that day, however, was forever emblazoned upon the two young lovers, and held their love strong ’till the end of days.

Up high

High above the tallest mountain there exists a forest in the clouds. The soaring canopies swell like an emerald sea across the horizon. A multitude of creatures made their homes on this lost plateau, unseen by human eyes and untroubled by human hands. The forest is unblemished, unknown, unsought and perfect.

Axiom of you

Though your mind may, at times, become tainted with corrupted thoughts and dark pretenses, your soul and heart will remain forever true to you – as long as you are true to them.

Star thief

My gaze found the night sky, and it was empty. Not a single star shone. Nothing glimmered or sparkled in the darkness. There were no pinpricks of light in the ceiling of existence.

I lowered my head. My eyes found hers, and in them I saw the universe. She had stolen the stars from the sky, willing captives enticed to new celestial pastures. The light of eternity burned from her bottomless pupils. The cosmos sparkled in her iris, a kaleidoscopic burst of colour and love.

In those eyes, I became lost. Within her mind, I fell through infinity and landed in her embrace. Cradled in her soul, I became whole.

Your path

Have you ever felt completely lost? I’m talking standing at a crossroads with no signposts, being adrift in a sea of emptiness, waking up and not knowing where, or even who, you are -lost. It’s a strange feeling, but not necessarily bad. Although you feel scared and anxious about where you are and what the hell you’re going to do next; there is, underneath, the wondrous lure of adventure.

Break free and use the build-up of caged independence that rages inside you. Like a young bird unfolding its virgin wings, the possibilities of what road to take is laid before your feet. Yes, being lost in your life is a terrifying experience, but don’t get dragged beneath the roiling waves. Make your direction your own, unguided by the desires of others, and fly away into the horizon of your choosing.

Morning

I could get used to waking up like this. I’ve barely been conscious more than a few seconds, but I am filled with a feeling of contentedness. It’s strange, only a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have recognised what this feeling is. In fact, the first time I felt it, I was scared. It overwhelmed me, this…fullness. But now, I know exactly what it is. In fact, I can’t believe I went so long in life without it.

It’s the first rays of the days light dappled across the bed sheets. It’s the gentle rise and fall of the covers, moving in sync with her breathing. It’s the warmth of her body. It’s the sound of the early morning breeze outside the window. It’s the gentle rustling and sniffing from the dog at the end of the bed. It’s the smell of her hair.

It’s being happy, and I could definitely get used to that.

Chapter Two

We could be great if we wanted. We could rise and stand upon the shoulders of those long dead giants, holding aloft the blazing torch of our people – but we do not. We dare not. Cowed and broken by fear, made docile by the promise of comfort, and weakened by a love for ignorance, we are failures. We are less than animals, lower than insects and all other crawling, gnawing, disgusting denizens that lie beneath the earth. To be laid so low, to be less than nothing in the eyes of our ancestors has shrivelled our hearts and minds. They look at us now, those dead and beautiful giants, with hatred and shame. Raging in the eternal night of the hallowed skies, they will strike at us with their wrath. We are a thrice damned people – subjugated by those who stole our lands, betrayed by those we called brother, and cursed by those who came before us. We are naught but the walking dead, withered and empty.

Yet, we can be redeemed. From the bottom of the abyss there is only one direction to go. Like the insects we have become, we will crawl and gnaw and climb and bite our way out of this darkness. Cloaked for so long in despair is itself a strength. As nothing, we can lose nothing, but we can take everything.

The weight of the ocean presses down on me, but I stride on. Slowly, inevitably, I will arrive. The call is strong, never fading or dimming, pulling and whispering at me to continue. In these black depths, I have gazed into the eyes of leviathans. They stare back with their dark intelligence and do nothing. At least these beings recognise what I am. Or do they pity me for what I have become?

The manacles of my enslavement still remain, a reminder of what I must do, what I must reclaim. The chains connecting them are broken, a few chipped links swaying in the water. Even though I broke the chains, the manacles still hold power enough. I am not yet whole. But the call promises to complete me.

I stride on, inevitable as the end.

As the moon

She is as the moon. Beautiful, shining, celestial. A force of intelligence and introspection, of longing and of mystery.

She is the cause of a thousand dreams. She is the silvery glow calming my stormy sea. She waxes and wanes, but never truly leaves. Through darkest night she guides me. Through loneliness she shines downs upon me.

She loves and is loved by all.

She is as the moon. Beautiful, shining, celestial – and forever out of my reach.

Chapter One

As the hatchet flew across the room, bouncing shaft-first off the wall, Jarratt muttered a prayer of thanks for fanatics. So caught up in their righteous fury, they will willingly throw their weapon in zealous madness. Idiots. As Jarratt ducked the hatchet, however, the fanatic charged forwards ramming him to the ground. Arms, legs and fists flailed around. On his back, Jarratt took an elbow to the face, his nose spurting blood. The fanatic shifted his weight on to Jarratt’s legs pinning him down. Locking his hands together, the fanatic swung them into his face. If Jarratt’s nose wasn’t broken before, it was now. The force of the blow slammed his head against the floor. Painful light bloomed across his vision, sending waves of nausea through his body.

Though some blood had trickled into his eyes, Jarratt saw the fanatic pull a long, jagged dagger from his belt. His legs were still pinned and the pounding and throbbing in his head was unbearable. Slowly, the fanatic dragged the blade across his own tongue with a sickening gurgle of laughter. Jarratt saw that his pupils were fully dilated, eyes bulging out of their sockets. It’s well known that these religious lunatics routinely ingest enough narcotics to kill even the biggest auroch. This one was no different, clearly out of his mind in a bid to bring him closer to the Old One.

Jarratt was wracked with fear. To be honest, he thought, it was a miracle he hadn’t shit himself yet. The fanatic leaned down towards him, blood from his cut tongue dripping onto Jarratt’s face, those deranged eyes filled with rage and hatred. Pure desperation gripped Jarratt. He surged his head forwards, smashing his bloody and broken face into the grinning one in front of him. Jarratt felt his nose squash in ways that shouldn’t be possible, stabs of pain shooting across his face. But his gambit paid off. The fanatic reeled away, easing the weight from his legs. Jarratt bucked upwards, knocking the man off him. Risking a glance, Jarratt saw the discarded hatchet a few feet away. He lunged towards it, but could sense that the fanatic had the same idea. Jarratt got there first, grabbing it and twisting around to meet his attacker. Swinging round, arm stretched out with the hatchet, Jarratt saw the fanatic was in mid leap towards him. The hatchet bit into the man’s neck with a meaty thud, the momentum of his jump pushing it deep into flesh and muscle. The fanatic crashed into Jarratt, slamming him against the floor again. This time, however, there was no struggle, just mild twitching. He was dead.

With his last vestige of energy, Jarratt pushed the dead weight of the fanatic off him and collapsed back onto the floor. He was panting hard and, now that the adrenaline of the fight was leaving him, the pain across his face was building.

OK, lesson learned. Jarratt thought to himself. Never underestimate the drugged-up deranged.

The chaos of the fight had lasted less than a minute, but a lot had happened in that time. For instance, Jarratt realised that smoke was filling the room.

Shit, they’ve started already?!

Even though he would have loved nothing more than to lie on the ground forever, Jarratt hauled himself to his feet. Blood flowed steadily from his broken nose, and his breathing was coming in gurgling rasps. The smoke was rapidly filling the room and the temperature was rising just as fast.

They were supposed to wait for me, dammit!

Something must have gone wrong. Well, something else must have gone wrong because the nutcase Jarratt just fought was not supposed to be there. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone here.

Some safe house.

Batting away smoke with one hand and covering his mouth with the other, Jarratt made his way out the house. The back way out, the safe way, was blocked by flames. Deciding it was better to be stabbed than burnt to death, he went out the front door. Blinking from the smoke, scenes of destruction and madness resolved around him. The entire street before him was aflame. Bright orange tendrils reached high into the air, hungrily consuming everything in their way. Everywhere there was people running, screaming, crying, dying. The noise was immense. The roar of the fires, the cries of the hurt, the sound of metal on metal. Jarratt could see men and women fighting, hacking and slashing at each other, or cutting down fleeing people.

What in the hell has happened?

A sharp pain struck Jarratt in the back. The tip of a sword was pressed firmly against him, just biting into the skin.

‘Hold it. Move a muscle and I’ll run you through.’

The voice was deep and gravelly, the words clipped and harsh. It was a voice Jarratt knew all too well. The fear and panic from the recent fight for his life seem trivial to Jarratt now. Now, he was in serious trouble.

Good people

Surround yourself with good people and bad times will be easy to overcome.

What a load of shit.

Her Mother had told her that, back when good people still existed. Back when being a good person was actually possible. Now, all it takes for a person to be good is for them to kill you quickly. Minimal pain, no torture, no…other things.

Good people. I’m not even sure those of us that are left can be called people anymore, least of all good.

As she stared at the filth-covered man in front of her, with his spiked bat and patched clothes, her Mother’s words were stark in her mind. He was leaning motionless against a wall with the bat resting in his right hand. Even from where was she tied up, 10 meters away, she could see that the bat was splattered with the brown colour of dried blood.

Huh, good peopleNo, there’s no good people. Only base animals, doing what they must to survive. 

That’s all that humanity was now. Roving packs of frenzied animals, where only the strongest, meanest and most vile could live. She tried to move her head to get the bearings of where she was being held. As she moved, she felt a trickle of blood slide down her forehead.

Must be from when he hit me. Only a few reasons to keep me alive…

She tried to remember how she became tied up. She scrunched her eyes, ignored the pounding pain in her head, and saw glimpses of what had happened. Creeping, stalking, fear; lots of fear. Sudden noises, then running. Frantic running. Through alleys and burnt out buildings. A chant. A sickening chant, joyous that food had been found. An open door. Darkness. Lots of feet hammering past. Laughter and shouts, fading away. A quiet hope.

I hid. I hid from the mob. They passed me, but how did I…

More flashes of memories. The door started to open, a faint crack of light appearing. A face peeked through, grinning. An arm reached out to grab her. Warm, stinking breath fell against her face. A sudden noise, a brief struggle. A moment of pain. Then silence.

She opened her eyes, panting as her heart thundered in her chest.  The man in the room was crouched in front of her. A strange half smile flitted across his face.

“Well, hello there.” He said, the smile never leaving his face.

An evil smile? No, that’s not the smile of someone who has won. 

“Do you remember?” he continued. “If it wasn’t for me, they’d have got you. Sorry about the knock on the head, accidents happen. I’m Daniel, pleased to meet you.”

Well I’ll be damned. Could this be the last good person? I fucking hope so.