It is not too often that I write fiction, but something recently inspired me to write the following. Please leave comments (positive and negative are welcome) as I thoroughly enjoy criticism. Anyway, without further adieu:
A young, overconfident, man approached the Law, which was staunchly guarded by a towering gatekeeper whose fractured gray skin seemed barely able to hold in his protruding masses. A war hammer was tightly grasped in both of his claws with the pointed edge near his face in a defensive manner.
“I want to see the Law,” the young man proclaimed in a louder than normal voice.
The gatekeeper slammed the flat head of the hammer down onto the ground, shaking the crust of the earth while forcing the young man to stumble as though loosing his balance in an awkwardly unfamiliar dance. “What business do you have with the Law?” he inquired in a piercing, booming voice.
“Well,” the boy replied, quite simply, “I think that every man should have equal access to the Law.”
The gatekeeper stepped to the side revealing a stone barricade that stretched to the horizon in both directions. A stone slab, which was covered in vines, moved slowly to the left to reveal a narrow passageway. The boy peered inside, his smirk disappearing, as he realized that everything inside was cast in shadows.
“I am only the first protector,” the gatekeeper proclaimed, “and you may pass if you wish, but the more consumed you become with your journey, the more powerful the gatekeepers become. The third is so powerful that even the sight of him would obliterate me.”
The boy ran through the open gate, eyes wide but lips stiff, and it immediately slammed behind him. The crash of the closing gate penetrated his skull and stopped the young man in his tracks, giving him a moment to breathe deep and evaluate his surroundings. At either side, walls of verdant ivy reached toward the sky above, climbing over the ivory walls that now contained him. Ahead were more shadows obscuring the snarled path to the Law.
He ran forward into the shadow shroud until he came to a T in the path and, not knowing which direction would ultimately lead to the Law, decided to turn left. He continued his noble quest coming to many more forks and Ts in the road. Each branch in the road, however, brought on more disillusionment as he became lost and confused. “Which direction do I go?” his body quizzed his mind, “Tell me where to go.”
His mind continued churning, but his body became weaker as he scoured his labyrinth for the leviathan Law. Even his mind, however, was proving to become weaker. But the man was unwilling to give up and, instead of retracing his steps to retract from his journey, he continued on the path that was before him.
Nevertheless, his altruistic virtues were simply not enough to nurture his own body. His hair grew grayer, nails grew longer and his eyes got darker and fuller. The skin that surrounded his shrunken, cratered flesh seemed to grow tighter around his meager frame. The bones of his face became much more prominent as his cheeks began to sink in. Even so, a fugitive hope remained. Perhaps he could stumble across the next gate before it was too late.
His body eventually grew so decrepit that he could no longer run, or even walk. He was little more than a carcass discarded on the side of the road. His mind faltered more in his senility, but his lifeless remains somehow managed to creep on. The body that, so long ago, carried him bravely and arrogantly into this death trap was now a crippled wreck. He felt that he would soon die, but he could not fathom that his life was spent on such a vain quest. He wanted, no needed, to solve this problem. The very thought kept him fighting for a just end.
And so he continued on, but he was reduced to a nearly motionless crawl. His legs – from the years of overuse and malnourishment – eventually became paralyzed, lifeless and thin like those of a ragged voodoo doll. He began slithering along the ground pulling desperately with his arms only to resemble a soldier crawling through the trenches of some long forgotten battlefield.
The feeble old man pulled his useless body around one final corner and found himself lying in front of what he believed was a giant boulder.
Something tugged on the back of his shirt and he was lifted into the air. He found himself dangling, like the tiny ragdoll that he was, in front of a gigantic, hideously gray face, which seemed to be made completely out of slate and clay. The creature’s eyes were as big as the old man’s face and contained the deepest shade of shiny marble black that he had ever seen. It seemed to him that all of time and space could be contained in those eyes.
“And here I sit on a darkling plain”, the old man gasped, barely able to force the words from chest.
“You shall not PASS!” the creature screamed interrupting the mad ramblings. The old man refused to be quiet, latching onto that phrase, looking for some minutia of truth. “Here I sit on a darkling plain.”
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” The voice repeated this time with such a force that the wind escaping his demonic lungs blew the old man from between his fingers tips. He tumbled to the ground, still grasping the phrase, like the insignificant ragdoll that he was.
He hit the ground, shattering his ribs and useless legs, but he was not yet dead. The old man looked up at the beast with his colorless, cloudy eyes. He reached forward with his right hand, palm facing to the left, with his jagged fingers bending slightly inwards.
He took another look into the beast’s eyes and could now see the decaying infirm figure that was trapped within them. “Could that really be me in the reflection?” he wondered. His mouth opened as if to speak, but a mere gasp was released. His heart was failing and his lungs were unable to reinflate. The old man searched for the infinitesimal amount of strength that was required to reveal his last words, but the executioner brought down his wrath and smothered the man before he could speak his peace.
The old man was no longer a nuisance.