step forward

 photo cavern_zps952a3632.jpg
Credit: National Geographic

He paused at the cusp of the portal and gazed into the depths of his new home.  Logic dictated that he was making the right decision but his emotional ties to the land were impossible to ignore.  He would miss the warmth of the sun caressing his skin, the feel of a cool breeze tousling his hair, and the crunch of fresh snow under his boots.  Most of all, though, he would miss the views from the mountain passes and valley floors.  Those sights had sustained him through the darkest of his adventures.

He had lived through more than his fair share of adventures.  His new life wouldn’t change that.  Nothing would change that.  His destiny was to wander forever, journey through the worlds, and experience all they had to offer.  And the time had come to finally slip into the dark realms of the hidden waterways.  Then he would see what waited for him there.

Mountains and valleys of a different sort, beasts to discover, currents for roads and trails, points previously unknown and never imagined…

Stepping into the pool that would transport him below he noticed that the water accepted him without complaint.  No tendrils of movement, no wake, no ebb and flow as the water parted to make room for him.  It knew who he was and was ready to receive him and allow him access to the secrets kept in the bowels of its recesses.  He took another step and his body adapted to the cold.  He took another step and his mind forgot the sun and wind and the snow as the water rose to his chest.

Pausing again, he clawed desperately at the memories of his beloved mountains, hoping to ensnare them and carry them with him always.  But, he had already lost the sun pouring over the high canyon walls to provide warmth on the cold mornings.  He had already lost the whispering trees set to their gossip by an afternoon breeze running down the valley.  He had already lost the crisp tingling of joy and hope and life that came with the first snow each year.  The memories were all tied together so that those which meant the most meant nothing without the small details most considered inconsequential.

There was nothing left to stay his forward progress and so he took the final step through the portal and vanished.


So… yeah.  I’m not really sure what to say about this one.  It didn’t end where I thought it was going to.  Once I started writing the words took me to a completely different place than I had planned on.  I decided to leave it as is, though, so you could take the same journey I took.

But, I’d also love to read what journey you would take on your own with this picture.  Write it, link it to this week’s Once More With Feeling Post, and the post it so we can all take your journey with you too.



71 thoughts on “step forward

    • Thank you.

      I owe you an email… Sorry. It’s been a hectic couple of days. Tonight isn’t looking much better. Do you need the picture? Or can you go forward without it?

      • No problem. Tell you what, I’ll copy and paste the book cover in my post (which I expect to publish tomorrow). If you sue me over the image, I’ll plead temporary insanity. 🙂

      • Hahahaha
        I won’t sue you over the image. That’s more than likely exactly what I would have done anyway.
        Looking forward to seeing the post today. Thanks for taking the time to read and do a review.

  1. That picture is stunning, and your story does it justice.
    At first, I thought he was settling into a normal life and saying goodbye to the old.
    Now it looks like suicide?

    • Suicide was one possible interpretation, yes.
      Was also just a way of moving from one stage of life to the next.
      And, a sci-fi story about a man who travels worlds.

  2. I really, really, really like the sentence, “He had already lost the whispering trees set to their gossip by an afternoon breeze running down the valley.” That is simply sheer brilliance! I don’t think I have ever heard or read the description of wind through leaves in so perfect a way.

  3. can I borrow your muse for a day or two? I’ll be nice to it – feed it whatever it needs – chips, chocolate or spinach. I won’t overwork it… I just need it for a little while…

    oh, never mind me you wanted a comment on this piece. I loved it — sort of reminded me of one of my little writes. Speaking of which you didn’t do the garbleblaster this week – and where does that name come from anyway

    I’m in a babble mode but should go to bed. It’s three hours later here than in sunny cal-i-fornia

    • My muse is available for rent… it works for cookies and cake, so isn’t all that expensive, but the transfer process is a bit tricky.

      I’m not sure… but, based on the 42 word count, I’m wondering if Garbleblaster is something from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series…

      • just send it over on an air canada flight – never mind – that won’t work. Muses are like ghosts – they can go anywhere by magic
        I’m waiting now, fingers poised over keyboard

  4. I think this is a wonderful way to world travel.

    My initial thought was suicide…the dark water invited me to join its darkness and leave the darkness that was my mind. Would I finally find company? I took the step.

  5. Beautifully written, haunting…though it had me feeling shire-like thoughts at first, it later took me through the looking glass, reflection of self and other dark and interesting places.

    Might consider taking a stab on this image as inspiration.

  6. Isn’t that part of the fun of writing… the unknown, unplanned parts of the story? I love when I write and things suddenly appear….. or disappear through portals…

  7. Ooh. Very good. I’m not sure your character is a man. As I was reading the story I started to picture some sort of creature that moves in different realms, and this is just another — perhaps a transfiguration. I enjoyed it immensely. Bring this character back for more. Lucy

    • I had definitely considered the possibility that he wasn’t a human in the sense of the word we regularly identify. And, thanks, perhaps I will bring him back for future stories. 😀

      • Agreed. I’ve done that before with a character I created for Trifecta that kept coming back for other posts, but it has been a while. I’ll have to see what I can do with this one.

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