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ITS BEHIND YOU  
behind you

One time of day as I was snoring feeling the sun grow hot upon my body. I perchance took a glance behind and there in my stare was it. A thing, kind of a monstrous ling, gruesome and not an appetizing prospect. I said to it. ‘Hail, fare thee well strange fellow.’ For I had a thought that it had lost its way and I would do a good turn by supplying a direction. It breathed a hollow sound all thud and hammer. The air turned chill, I sensed an illness from it. I shot my glance around seeking a weapon to defend myself if things got nasty. It took a step and then another, every step froze my heart, it was loathsome, vile, and the stench was enormous. It pointed its hand at me, opened its hole of a mouth and it spoke, there was some intelligence there. It said to me. ‘Thou, thou art it, I see thee, thou will be my company, get your things we go now.’ Well what could I do the creature was huge a disgusting brute, so I packed my book and followed.

Out to the wild. Out to the way where no people stay, hearing the dark rumours. Into that fog, dense intense and odious.

Into there. I kept my scare apart from it, braved my face so it would see I was not cowed and hopeless, a mere baggage piece. Down below and low and low we go, scraping walls of ancient battles, dead surround, their horror rictus grinning, pass them by. Onward, below and low. Left all sense behind me now. Open door, old as hell, wherein dwell the minds of Reason and of Terror. The thing my captor bowed and left me to face the twice throned beast on there sitting twain and twixt. Reason spoke, a clarion call, all clear and beauty to hear its clarity. ‘All those who believe in the freedom and the power of science. The ability to question fate and wring from her an answer, must follow me. We have a daughter of the world above, shall we see if she will follow me or follow that?’ There the beast indicated its companion. Terror slithered from its dais, circled me and licked my face. ‘Cousin you have no hope, this woman child will chose me, for she knows full well the anguish I can break on her. Isn’t that so my pretty.’ I spat in its loathsome face. It laughed.

Now where was I to stand? Reason or Terror? It was reasonable to follow Terror to forestall the consequences if I did not but surely Reason could banish Terror, its bright spotlight burning away a life of lies. I fought inside myself and I awakened this slight power that I have. I warned them that if by chance they were wanting to remain with their lives they had better leave post haste. Then I produced my addled daughter, the one who’s been dead for so long, and she in her rage consumed it all with burning hate. I gathered her back inside and scrawled a message for them. ‘To whom it may concern, you must learn from this that reason travels only far as it can see. And terror holds no power over those whose scars take root from hell. Have a nice life.’

But this was not the ending, no. For the thing that had bought me here reappeared, all humble now. It offered to take me back and now it lives with me as my adjustment. A reminder that though I may be scarred I can have a hope of providing a reason to another.