Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1-21-15 Writing Warm-up
9:58 AM

1-21-15 Writing Warm-up

1-21-15 Writing Warm-up
Artwork © Kenneth Jensen, All Rights Reserved -
Story and Characters © Corey Blankenship, All Rights Reserved 
Brought to you by Four Fools Press: “Crazy Good Stories”

The water ran in a steady, warm river. The dirt of the road fell away under its soft caress. The traveler shook as his protective layer fell away. How long had it been since he felt such tender relief? The arid desert had afforded little respite beyond a few sudden rains and small streams. Both had been miles and memories ago.

The water opened his crusted vision and soothed his cracked lips. He drank in the refreshment and opened his gaze. The realms of salt and sand dissipated into a verdant oasis of coruscating lights. The veil of water which drenched his face had also cleared away the blockage that hindered real Sight. Life grew where barrenness had been moments before. Venerable trees stood where stone had denied weeds. Birds and beasts laughed in the distance. Across the river of water stood a man on fire.

“Welcome back.”

The river bubbled as the nomad sobbed with joy.

“It’s been so long.” Too long, the traveler thought.

The person amid the shimmering radiance spoke with words both mirthful and piercing.

“Haven’t I always been near at hand?”

Images of the journey blazed up into sight. A rock-strewn valley in which messengers encased in starlight danced and blazed about the sleeping traveler. Another camp many days later lay hidden under a withered tree, from which dew fell into a stone pool long prepared generations before the traveler’s tread. Clouds weaving their strands as a hood over a scorched land just when water became scarcest. Each moment flowed into the stream in hot relief. Jacob could not deny the presence’s truth. He never could.

“You have been with me, and I have not known. My vision has been blinded by the road,” confessed the weary wanderer.

“Cross over, and I will help you to see further.”

The words awakened slumbering fear and excited immense joy. The walker had always stood on this side of the veil looking into the realm of radiance. To go over meant to leave behind...what exactly he couldn’t say. So much had been left behind already. Lost. Given. Taken. Gone. Life in the wilderness whittled resources and possessions down to the barest necessities. But these few had become proportionately precious.

An involuntary spasm shook the wanderer. He planted one foot into the stream and the other heel dug into the earth. At once greater relief and anguish welled. He locked his gaze on the smiling, flaming figure before him, so full of life unfiltered. He took another step, dragging his braced leg forward. Half of him blazed with life. Half took on the nature of stone. Muscles had tensed, protested. Joints ceased functioning. Pain screamed from these seized parts of his body. A few feet became an ever expanding gulf. His long dehydration took its toll.

The wanderer shot out a hand which splashed in the water. He gasped as the current struck his waist, then his chest. He attempted to swim, but he sank as half his body betrayed him. The light rippled, then dimmed. He watched his air flee in rapid bubbles. Panic tore into his resolve like voracious piranhas hungering for his hope. Still he floundered. His good foot sunk into clay and he pushed forward. He bobbled and fell again into the mire. He hopped once more, stretching his fingers toward the surface. His chest blazed and darkness encroached into the rim of his gaze.

With one last, desperate leap the wanderer dove from the dark depths toward the light. Instead of hobbling onto shore, he soared above the stream. He felt two fiery hands lifted him from both water and realm. Lightness replaced the heavy numbness. The coruscating brilliance flowed about the nomad. He turned his glance about him and saw the stream had turned into a mighty torrent. A deluge of light. His eyes could see hues beyond any he had ever known.

Hovering now amid the luminous well, he saw the world as a beautiful sapphire sphere far below. Winter coated half in pleasant frost, while summer warmed the other in verdant green. Earth’s moon danced in faithful promenade, glistening ivory in the light. The traveler turned once more to the man behind him. He saw details he would never utter or dare to describe to mortal ears. The man's features declared nobility and power, while his eyes blazed with wisdom and compassion.

“I can see!” laughed the traveler.

“Yes, and never forget what you have seen.”

The wanderer furrowed his brow. “Am I not to stay?”

“No, messenger. You have work yet to do.”

The wanderer wiped his face. The heavy tears from crying out had made a mess of his clothes. He looked about himself. A twisted olive tree glistened in moonlight. Darkness otherwise covered the earth. Then he remembered. He had finished his provisions days ago. He had come to this barren tree to die. He had cast himself down and wept himself to sleep. His hand fell to something soft on the ground. An olive. Other similarly dark bulbs lay about him. He wept again.

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it!


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