Dead eyes gaze across the sand. They were placed there by visitors to this land now long departed. They were hewn from the stone of the local cliffs, and they would outlive any civilisation bent on their destruction. Diamonds to a star are mere fodder; limestone to a human experience are harder than a billion diamonds. There are lessons here for us all to learn; we should learn them very well.
Temporary respite is given over to the respondents. They come not to be blessed by the monument but to lay their worries at its feet. It is a wonderful sight to behold. The views they command bring a chill to the core: there is a sense of infinity here; the horizon is cloaked in cloud, acting like a wall to the vastness of this expanse. It was the perfect place to construct such an imposing, mighty edifice.
A wisecrack breaks the tension and pulls us back in to the space. The steps are narrow and well worn – they elicit moans and groans from each and every one of the group. The older folks especially hide their inner conflict with a joke or two to lubricate the tension of such discomfort. This was no path to raise the dead, no matter what the local tall tales persisted on telling the coming tourist hordes.
Communications had failed; we were out on a limb now: stuck out on our own. It was sad to see after all of the support we had received on our way here that one turn to the inclement could so easily derail an expedition of this scale. We were well on our way to the summit, and some of the group were afraid. We huddled together for fear of falling off the edge of this hanging tree.
Abnormal sensations ripped through the psyche as we pushed through the walls of static and on in to the other plane. It was far from the smooth transition I had hoped it would be; and this was not going to be our only test of the trip. Iron will was needed to attack the pressure which we could all feel rising inside ourselves. Our next step would be the beginning of the toughest test of all.
An outlook, no matter how gifted, is flawed. We see what we want to see: we will not be swayed from our perceptions. I saw a plane of sand and mud, dragging off to infinity, and that is what was real to me. You may have caught the glimmer of a sea-borne reflection and felt that it was all but a mirage. We were looking at the same thing, but neither of us can reconcile our view with the other.
Cycles of pain and of ecstasy ring through the mind as our hands claw at the ether. Filaments of light fill the space between the absence of carbon. We dance on tortured dreams now, and the race is only just starting. We understand that this is a temporary hallucination, that it is part and parcel of a journey we have chosen to undertake willingly, but we wish it were over sooner rather than later.
Foundations of pain were built in this place. The ancient ones left proof of that; they were the epitome of an endless proof: logic writ large across the firmament in the language of the gods. If we were allowed to witness this for ourselves, then who was looking back at us? If we were mere guests of a higher power, how on earth could we make it out of any of this with our beings still in tact.
Chest pumps; heart racing through the influx of the adrenaline. We cannot keep up this pace, and nor should we have to. All recollection is gone: is this a self-imposed exercise in flagellation or are we fleeing for some unforeseen foe? I’m not sure, at this remove, if we will ever be allowed to know; not if we carry on at this pace, for sure. Either way, we must keep on running; keep on running.
Boundless energy runs through the place, and then it demands to be paid back. The rush follows the crash and the crash is only one small part of the cascading foam at the edge of the waveform. There are no faces anymore; all physical form has been reduced to an equation; a code woven in to silk. We are threads and we are knots, yet we understand that one day we will be untangled once more.
Limitless poise balances the beam on the razor’s edge. We understand that this is not the reality we are experiencing, but an echo of a sleight of hand, but we simply do not care. The sweat on my back mingles with the rain, and it seems to me that it rises up in to the sky, removing part of my essence. I look forward to recapturing the whole of it when this voluptuous ordeal is over, once and for all.
Valueless criticism levelled at the tourist experience mean nothing when compared against the sense of companionship we have all come to understand here. It was more than an excursion: it was an endeavour. We tried and we tried and we saw what we needed to see. If it were not for the effect of the people who had gone before us we would not have experienced it quite so very completely.
A shadow cast by the moon on the face of Mars is our guide through the understory. It is a marker on our divergent paths. We went so far together, but now we must part company with our other selves. The group will remain, but we cannot continue in this vein, lest someone contact the local constabulary. Our shame is fleeting, however, as we make our way in to the cove, and it is crisp.
Steam punk spectacles and peeling paint adorn the walls of the gallery. We feign interest as the owner eyes our meanderings. The eyes have drawn her in too, just as they drew us. We know that we are not the first to make this trail, but we live to preserve its secrecy. However, secrecy in the face of euphoria is rarely a stable isotope: its decay will come all too quickly upon us all.
Marine impressions on the surface of the sand reflect the sky back at us. We are back on dry land now, and we have reclaimed the composure we had lost when ascending the crag in the first place. If every experience brought with it this sense of shared experience I doubt that our cynical society would have the room it does to flourish. I doubt that I will remember any of this tomorrow.