AR Neal asked me to play along with one of the Scribe’s Cave Picture Prompts. Take a gander and a read and let me know how I did in the comments, and please forgive me for going over the 200 word count “limit.”
It wasn’t what he had expected.
The tower in his dreams had been surrounded by fields of bright red roses that had seemed to take days to hike through. Its polished exterior had gleamed under a brilliant sky and acted as a beacon to mimic the call he heard in his heart at all times. The ground had sloped ever-so-slightly towards the base so that the tower stood above all else. It was the center of the world after all. It was the center of all the worlds, the hub around which all other realities spun. It was fragile and strong. It was terrifying and serene. It was hideous and beautiful. It was magic.
The tower that stood before him, jutting from the wasted lands looked nothing like what he had dreamed. It did hold some hideous and fragile properties, but lacked the counterpoints to alleviate his doubts, his concerns that his quest was finally nearly its end. The song in his heart still sung clearly and his mind burst with the closeness of the tower, but his eyes whispered lies that his brain desperately wanted to believe. How could that monstrosity be the hub of worlds?
He stepped forward, his boots falling heavy in the dirt and grime of a land that had moved on. Thorns from his dreams pulled sharply at his hands and ragged clothes but he no longer cared about the growing madness pulling him apart, the discrepancy between what was real and what was imagined. There was no bite and sting of injuries to break his all in concentration.
However, in the very core of who he was, with each foot fall he hoped that the reality of what he was seeing would be replaced by the illusion he craved. He needed the roses, and sunshine, and gleaming dark spirals reaching for the heavens. Each step only brought further disappointment. A desperate depression sought to steal control of his thoughts.
And, yet, the song that had guided him before the dreams had even started grew stronger and clearer. It pushed against his insides and he clamped his mouth shut in fear it would burst from his lips and shatter the calm of his final march. He’d overcome so much, he’d lost so much, and he’d betrayed far too many to face any additional challenges now that his target was in his sights. He didn’t have the energy left. He didn’t have enough fight in his soul for anything beyond putting one foot in front of the other.
Crumbled chunks of metal and sheetrock sloughed away from the tower to crater into the ground at its base. It swayed in the breeze that also picked up a cloud of dust that filled his lungs and clouded his vision. The dark tower was falling apart before his eyes and as the truth finally overcame his doubts and the song in his heart, he began to sprint. He had to reach it before it collapsed. He had to know what was inside it. He had to fulfill his quest.
It wasn’t what he had expected, no, but it was still where he was meant to be.