06 ‑ Reach with a Claw

By late afternoon the next day, I am well on my way across the outer flats. Sure, I could call it a sign. In all my years of climbing, I have never been up on the cliffs that late at night. And with all that’s happened, a light on the horizon was enough for me to say goodbye to the village. Besides, it occurred to me, the ships flying by are always traveling in that same direction.

So, I grabbed the supplies Adam and I kept stashed, loaded up my pack, and set on my way.

I pass the time getting acquainted with my mother’s gift, recalling songs I knew as a child and getting started on some new ones. The fingerings all start to come back to me, and for the first time in my life, I explore some of the sadder notes. The crafting of long somber melodies keeps my mind busy and with the exhale of every breath, I focus on the precise touches of the phrasings. My Truth. That’s what she said when she died. The truth in my expression. How right she is. These dissonant notes carry wounds, sadness, the scars in my heart.

Keeping the march of my feet moving forward keeps the tears at bay. I try my best to go in a straight line, but the limited view from the flats is nothing compared to the perspective from on top of the cliffs.

By dusk I become aware of my exhaustion when I drag my legs up onto a small ridge. With the last step up, my shoulders drop; so happy to once again see the light in the distance. Having gotten much closer, I can now make out a tall structure. From here on the terrain is perfectly flat. If I go on through the night, I might make it to the structure by dawn.

Focusing on my destination, I begin to study the emerging details of the tower. What used to be a collective glow is slowly revealing itself to be a vast ornamentation of lights patterned across a rising surface. Strangely enough, on the path before me, I can see the lights reflecting off patches of the ground. Yes. Definitely bouncing off portions of the ground. That's weird.

I stop. Looking down at the flat surface, smooth spots blanketed with sparse collections of sand. With a stomp of my feet I unleash a large booming echo. It swells outward and tapers off with a timbre of small clicks. I kneel down and wipe away the thin layer of sand, revealing an incredibly smooth black surface. For a moment I see my own reflection, but then notice that the surface is littered with tiny cracks like ice... or...

GLASS?!! giving way, I close my eyes, crashing down through a series of scaffolded frames, tensing my body into a ball, tumbling through the rush of air and debris, bracing for the giant THUD as my body hits a solid platform below. Rolling over, I cover my head, recoiling in pain while a surging rush of adrenaline shoots through my body. The sound of glass and other debris continues to fall into the cavernous echoes of the extended depths below.