Overcoming Adversity Bloghop
Nick Wilford is hosting this bloghop in honor of his amazing stepson. He asked folks to write short pieces to fill an anthology, the proceeds of which will fund Andrew’s college education. My best to Andrew and his family in accomplishing his dreams. Some paths are harder than others, but I do believe all things are possible. I suppose that’s why I write the stories I do.
Muck suckled at my knees, gripping me, drawing me down beneath the earth. Around me, smothering shale walls rode up out of sight. Droplets coated their ragged frailty, and a lungful of sweet air eluded me. So did the sky. My world became mud, rock, darkness, and chill, permeated by the faint malodor of sulfur.
My muscles spasmed and twitched, cramping from the struggle to stay above the sludge. The effort seemed so futile, and I soon grew tired of being tired. I leaned back against the rocks, their myriad edges biting into my skin, their constant weeping soaking into my bones. Slowly, I slid down. The cloying mud claimed all but my shoulders, head, and neck. Somewhere in the murky depths were my hands, my poor lost hands.
I mourned them and my toes, the sun, and a sound sleep. Day and night I battled, and I seriously considered surrender.
When I was just about to succumb, one small sunbeam found its way down, warming my cheek, brightening all before me. That one brief respite reminded me I still had breath, and my mind still worked.
With those two precious gifts I floated above my morass to worlds never seen, worlds that never existed until I commanded them. I surfed nebulae and flew over Mars. Castles opened their doors and so did a land of mist and moss hidden in a great tree. I met diplomats from far off galaxies, fell in love with fantastic heroes, became the hero, and I stood tall. In new languages I spoke like a poet, and I danced on clouds with friends. So many friends. We laughed in a constant sing-song, and I always felt the sun.
My prison still exists, but it no longer matters. For despite all I’d lost, I can still dream. Wonder will always be mine.