Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Salt Silver Oxygen

Storm clouds crowd the sky, as they always had. Ever since she was a young girl, all she had known was the dark gray cloud cover. For as long as anyone could remember, the clouds had leer on high, menacing great storms, but never a drop came.

They stumble across the arid plain; he had struck out from their village all those months ago, pulled, he had said, pulled by a feeling that he needed to follow, and she had followed him.

Their water pouches had run dry and they had not found a cache of hidden moisture for days. The constant humidity in the air sucking the energy from her very being, but on she followed him; as long as he kept on, so would she.

Traveling so long and far from their home, in search of something he would only say was a feeling just out of his reach of understanding, a feeling he had to find a way to bring the long rumbling storm.

So many trials and dangers they had come through, over harsh lands that threatened to destroy them if they were to but falter. But they had been strong and endured.

Until now, in this vast, cracked earth plain that seemed to go on forever, never nearing the mountains that darkened the horizon between the gray sky and washed out land, now they stumble.

She trips on her own feet and falls to her hands and knees as he looks back to her. She wants to cry, but is too exhausted and her body is too dry now to bring tears anyway. He turns and staggers over to her, reaching out his hand to help her up.

A hoarse scream cracks from her throat. Why? She asks. Why does he go on?

He stops and lets his hand drop to his side as he looks at her with sad eyes; tired, but not yet defeated.

Because he must. He answers and turns to begin walking towards the mountains on the far horizon again.

Thunder cracks in the clouds above as he steps and he looks up at the rolling mass above. Each day the same, the clouds rumbling with the promise of a storm, and each day, nothing. Just rumblings and no more. Life had gone from the land and the sky would not give it back.

Yet, as another rumble comes, louder than the first, shaking the ground she holds onto as she kneels watching with burred eyes, he stops and looks up at the sky.

She watches as he cocks his head and seems to smell the air. Her shaking stops as she watches and he turns slowly, smiling with a goofy grin across his lips. He looks down from the sky toward her and passed her, to something behind her.

She lifts herself off her hands and cranes her head around to see a crowd of weary travelers stumble toward them. As they come closer she can see that it is their entire village. They had followed as well. Some carry the young and support the elderly, but they too had made it across the harsh land. Followed him.

She looks to her sides and can see more groups coming up, more villages all stumbling with exhaustion to where the the rest stood and stared at he whom they had all been pulled to follow.

And he smiles at all in a serene grin that has somehow wiped away all the tiredness from him.

when all had gathered behind where she knelt, she looked back to him and he gave her a broad smile which filled her with a desperate confusion.

Thunder booms in the sky above as the dark clouds are illuminated by a flashing light within. She had seen lightning a few times in her life, when the clouds looked as if they where going to burst but those times were few and far between.

Now the clouds are full with flashes of lightning that dance inside the billowing blackness above.

I know now. He says as he smiles at her and turns toward the horizon with his arms lifting up to the sky. Quietly, his sandaled feet lift off the ground and he floats up into the air.

She cries out to him and staggers to her feet to chase after, but he turns and shakes his head with the knowing smile still across his face.

His image waivers as a bolt of lightning streaks down from the biggest of the darkening clouds and he raises higher, lifting his head skyward, closing his eyes as a drop of rain falls upon his cheek, rolling down his face like a tear of joy.

Lighting cracks again and as the thunder booms in unison, more rain drops fall from the full clouds above, a shower at first that soon begins to pour down upon the land and the crowds that laugh and cry and dance around her.

She feels the rain's moisture wet her parched skin but she can only watch as he raises higher into the sky, finally disappearing into the storm.

Dropping her head she looks down at the ground that becomes muddy around her feet with the rain at long last. Her tears fall at long last as well and mix with the rain drops to add to the life-giving moisture the land has longed for.

She watches the drops plop as they hit the ground before her feet and then she sees a glint of light glimmering off the water droplets.

Startled, she looks up and sees a crack in the cloud cover, and a beam of golden light shining down from somewhere beyond the darkness that had always been complete in the skies above.

The crowds behind her stop their celebrations and stand silent as they all look up to the light that breaks through. One beam, and then another, and another; pushing through the darkness and opening the cracks larger and larger.

The rain still falls but the clouds begin to break up from each other and let more of the golden light through, until there is enough open space to see a bright blue behind.

A blue unseen for a thousand years.

And as she looks up into the sky for the first time, she smiles and laughs at his goofy grin and knows why as well.

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