Valarie stood at the foot of the rocky mountain that marked the path towards her destination. Her eyes traced upward and followed the jagged path spiraling halfway around it towards the top. The rain which had begun to fall splashed across her cheeks and darkening the view, making it difficult to make out the peak as she gazed sullenly up.
Determined, she began moving along the muddy path, drenched and soaking from the downpour. The sky was illuminated periodically by lightning and the air, shaken by the explosions of thunderclaps which rung in her ears. Carefully she steadied herself with one hand along the rock face and the other gripping tightly around the rope railing that stood as the only barrier between her and a short fall to her death.
She climbed ever higher, moving swiftly along the familiar path as he had dozens of times before. As she neared the summit, a small break in the clouds revealed the crestfallen face of the moon, shining down at her. Lightning struck and she could see the pointed lines of the peak stabbing violently at the sky. She had reached the point where the two paths met, one rising upward and the other down towards the forest below.
Unwavering, she began descending steadily down the path, carefully testing each step ensuring the rain had not slickened it in an effort of bringing her an early demise. Lower and lower she went, rain soaking her to the bone and thunder shouting in her ears.
Finally she reached the bottom and the great forest stretched out before her. She could only just make out where the path led deep into the recesses of the darkness. Worried but without other options, she began to make her way down the road and into the damp shadow of the great oaks that stood steadfast and solid, stretching upward and licking the clouds.
She trudged onward, through the damp leaves, through the mud, through great puddles splashing upward at her and soaking the bits of her clothing that peaked out under her raincoat. The path grew darker and damper the further she tread, until she could no longer make out where the path had vanished. Exhausted and lost, she peered out into the black hoping for a glimpse of anything that might suggest the direction of her destination. Then just as she began to feel defeated and like she would never make it out of the forest, she saw it. A light, shimmering in the distance peaking out around the trunks of the trees, flickering but distinct.
Her head filled with the persistent longing she felt for her sweetheart who awaited her inside. Oh how she longed to feel the warmth of her cheek pressed against hers, to feel the warmth of her embrace, the sweet taste of her lips. The longing was too much, she broke off in a mad sprint towards the light.
Lightning struck and thunder pierced her ears. A nearby tree collapsed, wasted at the mercy of the energy that had pierced it. Her hair stood on end and she could smell the fresh ozone in the air.
The hit was too close for comfort. She raced down the path, fear, anticipation and determination gripping her all at once in a torrent of undaunting ambivalence that pulled her past the point where she might have otherwise collapsed and relented.
Pain gripped her shin then her knee. She flew forward. Her face collided with the mushy ground. Her hands, which she threw out to catch herself, became covered in sticky mud. She had tripped on a fallen log. Her shin was bruised and her knee had scraped on the bark, tearing it open and leaving a bleeding gash. She let out an exasperated sound somewhere between anger, pain and frustration.
She reached down to her shirt which poked out under the coat, dripping and soggy. She tore off a piece and tied it around her knee, forming a makeshift bandage and keeping the splashing mud from getting inside the wound and spreading infection.
With no other options and the storm only growing in strength, she picked herself up and continued making her way down the path, slowed to a hobble by her damaged leg. She grew ever more exhausted with each step and finally when she reached the point where she feared she could carry on no further, she breached the edge of the clearing and saw the light for what it was. A candle sat in the windowsill of a dilapidated log cabin and a face pressed worryingly against the glass above it. As she emerged, the face changed from an expression of worry to one of relief, then one of concern as it gazed down at Valarie's damaged appendage. It was the face of her lover, her dear Samantha.
With great relief and a renewed sense of purpose, she surmounted the final distance of her journey. She had made it. She had reached her refuge on the precipice of forever. She had arrived at place where her inamorata awaited her, offering her sweet embrace. She had reached her shelter from the raging storm. She had arrived at the place of her longing. She had reached her sweet Samantha. She had arrived home.
released July 1, 2016
Words by Vanessa "V~Nessy" Kindell.